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Old 18. Jun 2009, 01:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
rikmayell
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Sorry to rain on your parade, but the variations in the graph originally posted render it meaningless from a statistical analysis point of view.

Please don't take this to mean I'm anti-Linux, I'm not. I recently converted my Sony Vaio laptop from Vista Ultimate to Ubuntu. The installation was a breeze and, needless to say, I won't be going back!

I'm currently working on simple Linux distros for an article on TSA. What I've seen so far of the 'simple' ones have not impressed. The four I've tested so far all require you to boot the live CD and install from there. The installation process in each case assumes you are familiar with GParted and which file system (I've selected ext3 in all cases) to choose.

When I've worked through them all the results will follow!

Last edited by rikmayell; 18. Jun 2009 at 01:56 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 18. Jun 2009, 02:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Just to be clear

You're saying Ubuntu isn't a "simple" distribution, I think.
Could you just briefly list some (4, perhaps) that are.
I'm not quibbling, just struggling a bit with these "new" things.
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Old 18. Jun 2009, 05:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by peter View Post
You're saying Ubuntu isn't a "simple" distribution, I think.
Could you just briefly list some (4, perhaps) that are.
I'm not quibbling, just struggling a bit with these "new" things.
Both Ubuntu and Kubuntu are simple distributions in my view. They allow you to install the OS to the hard drive without booting into Linux and also provide a simple mechanism for disk setup. You can partition the disk yourself if you are familiar with tools like GParted, or simply choose to let the installation routine use the whole drive.

The test PC I'm using is a Dell OptiPlex 170L, Pentium 4, single hard drive, CD writer, 2 Gb RAM (ok I know that's ott) and a wired Ethernet connection. Graphics card is an NVidia GeForce FX 5200. Flat panel display. Nothing too unusual.

The distros I've been asked to check out are:

Mepis
Freespire, as Xandros is not free and Linspire has been merged with it
PClinuxOS
Mandriva
Puppy
Sidux

Mepis and Sidux haven't impressed as they force you to boot to the Linux desktop and then run the local disk installation routine. Both require the user to understand how to use GParted to partition the system disk. Worse than that, Mepis expects you to guess the passwords for the 'demo' and 'root' accounts (they're demo and root, but that's hardly the point.)

Results will come in due course.

Last edited by rikmayell; 18. Jun 2009 at 05:13 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 18. Jun 2009, 05:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Mepis and Sidux haven't impressed as they force you to boot to the Linux desktop and then run the local disk installation routine. Both require the user to understand how to use GParted to partition the system disk. Worse than that, Mepis expects you to guess the passwords for the 'demo' and 'root' accounts (they're demo and root, but that's hardly the point.)

Not to be picky.

Until more new computers come preloaded with linux, things will remain as they are. Most people will continue to install linux as a dual boot setup up, or perhaps onto a second hard drive. Therefore the issues with partitioning will continue.

The point is, linux will continue to be a secondary OS choice. The vast majority of people will not give up windows. Me included. There remains to many hardware driver problems

As for booting to linux first to install. I would rather get a glimpse of what I am installing before I take the leap.

PS Your average user just expect things to work.
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Old 18. Jun 2009, 06:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdhpr View Post
Not to be picky.

PS Your average user just expect things to work.
Cheers
Wdhpr
You're being constructive, not picky, so thanks for the feedback.

With Ubuntu and Kubuntu you can still boot the live CD if you want to, to get a look at what you are thinking of installing. Your point was valid, I just wanted to make it clear that these distros include that option.

I agree that dual boot is the way many people will go unless they are just trying to make use of an old PC, or, as in my case, simply get fed up of trying to achieve decent performance from a PC that is supposed to be 'Vista Ready.'

From an evaluation point of view, the aim is to look at a number of distros and, if possible, find one or more that, as you correctly point out, just work. If the consensus is that the products should be evaluated as live CDs and also as dual boot with say XP, I am happy to do that but the process will simply take longer. Throw Vista into the equation and the whole thing becomes even more complex and time consuming.

I'm open to suggestions.

Last edited by rikmayell; 18. Jun 2009 at 06:17 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 18. Jun 2009, 09:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Yes sir

I believe there are millions of novice computer users out there that want to know what all the chatter is about. Curiosity is compelling people to try linux. I believe the same is true about blogs and websites. I include myself.

I installed Mepis along side my winxp. I have to say it was a struggle. If I was to make a guess, half of those installing linux will stop at the partitioning step during the install. This is the area the linux distro's should focus on. Hardware drivers should be the next, or how about both at the same time. Of course manufacture's of these devices have to cooperate more.

As far as evaluating various distro's the above issues will need to be addressed.
Your commitment to do these grueling tasks is also very commendable. Thanks

Cheers
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Old 19. Jun 2009, 12:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rikmayell View Post
Sorry to rain on your parade, but the variations in the graph originally posted render it meaningless from a statistical analysis point of view.

Please don't take this to mean I'm anti-Linux, I'm not. I recently converted my Sony Vaio laptop from Vista Ultimate to Ubuntu. The installation was a breeze and, needless to say, I won't be going back!

I'm currently working on simple Linux distros for an article on TSA. What I've seen so far of the 'simple' ones have not impressed. The four I've tested so far all require you to boot the live CD and install from there. The installation process in each case assumes you are familiar with GParted and which file system (I've selected ext3 in all cases) to choose.

When I've worked through them all the results will follow!
Hi rikmayell,
It's ironic that your study is on simple installations
because (as a linux user), the installation is meaningless.

How many partitions did you create? and why?
Did you define the mount points for each?
Why did you choose ext3?

Why is it such a bad thing to know some of this information?
If you could answer a few of these questions correctly, the system
you create will perform better and most likely be faster.
Multiple partitions have their advantages and disadvantages.

Ext3 is a journaling filesystem, if you set it up correctly and
don't exceed about 85% usage, you will probably never have to defrag!!
I find that more interesting then having to answer a question during a
15 minute installation.

If you understand how user and permission structures work in Linux,
you will understand why Linux is inherently safer and much more immune to viruses.
I find that very interesting and so should some of those people running
these expensive bloated anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware applications
that bring their systems down to a crawl, not to mention altering their
DNS and hoping others will block the "BAD" sites.
How about re-booting only once or twice a year... isn't that interesting

How easy is it to install, it's harder than buying Windows pre-installed.
Which is the easiest to install, I don't care, it's meaningless.

At different times, I've installed:
Red Hat,
Fedora,
Slackware,
Debian,
openSUSE,
Ubuntu,
etc...

I had different reasons for each,
but ease of installation never even crossed my mind.

Good luck on your (meaningless) article.

Stick with Linux, and by next year, you'll be writing meaningful articles.
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Old 19. Jun 2009, 10:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rikmayell View Post
I'm currently working on simple Linux distros for an article on TSA. What I've seen so far of the 'simple' ones have not impressed. The four I've tested so far all require you to boot the live CD and install from there. The installation process in each case assumes you are familiar with GParted and which file system (I've selected ext3 in all cases) to choose.

When I've worked through them all the results will follow!
Installing from the LiveCD ain't that bad, you can get a glimpse of the OS to see if it suits you, check for compatibility issues, make sure everything works and etc before installing, but I doubt that most people will even bother with that part. It's one of the important points I would consider due to the 'fun' in Linux. Whereas installing it straight away is quite risky, not to mention you have to uninstall it if things didn't go according to plan.

The partitioning part of installation drives new users away, I can agree with that but that happens whenever you install an OS. Though there is always the choice of using the whole hard disk that most people ignore mainly because they want to go the dual-boot route.

I have to agree with debtboy, installation really is quite pointless to Linux users, to those who have never installed an OS before (those who have always used a pre-installed OS like Windows) will find the installation process to be a bit problematic. Yes, the installation process is quite important for new user. To Linux users (I mean, to me), the important thing is about the OS itself like hardware compatibility, command lines, the flexibility of the OS, what the OS can or can't do and etc.

One important point to note is the steepness of the learning curve. You should also note how different distros connect to the internet, I'm talking about dial-ups, wireless connections and 'Sony Ericsson mobile broadband modems' (ask MC), not those direct internet access, it's one of the things that drives new user away from using Linux (it's also one of the things I had trouble with).

Good luck with your article, we're all open to give out suggestions if you need any!
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Old 19. Jun 2009, 12:13 PM   #19 (permalink)
rikmayell
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The article is not intended for people who are familiar with operating systems in general, and/or Linux in particular.

Linux has generated considerable interest amongst those who simply want to be able to play with it (live CD), or install it, probably dual boot, as pointed out. We want to try and encourage people to give Linux a go, but have to accept that the average die hard Windows users isn't interested in GParted, guessing user passwords (Mepis) or bash. They simply want something that is easy to install, if that is the route they decide to take, and 'just works.'

To meet the 'just works' requirement they will want to be able to easily setup their internet connection, have common packages like Open Office and Firefox installed, and setup printing. There are probably other core requirements, so feel free to point them out.

@debtboy: I have not, do not, and will not, write useless articles. I hope we are 100% clear on that point.
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Old 19. Jun 2009, 01:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rikmayell View Post
The article is not intended for people who are familiar with operating systems in general, and/or Linux in particular.
If your not at least somewhat familiar with how an OS works in general,
then you shouldn't be messing around with installing a new one.
If you play with fire, you might get burned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rikmayell View Post
They simply want something that is easy to install, if that is the route they decide to take, and 'just works.'
Then they want Windows, and should save us all a lot of grief.
They will probably tell everyone they know, how aweful this new "LINUX"
thing is, because it didn't automatically set up networking
(it didn't recognize the network card) and thank god they were able to
immediately re-install Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rikmayell View Post
@debtboy: I have not, do not, and will not, write useless articles. I hope we are 100% clear on that point.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
I'm just making my point, which if you haven't figured it out yet is...
Your coming to Linux from a Windows point of view.
(Windows = easy install, simple to use, familiarity)
Your article will judge particular Linux distros by the first Windows standard,
(how easy is it install).
Part 2 of the article will probably be...
How simple is Linux to use

What I'm saying is, Linux isn't Windows and should be judged by Windows standards.
It's a different animal, and takes a different point of view.
With almost unlimited configurability and flexability,
I would expect to have to know something about it and at the very least
answer some install questions.
"With power comes responsibility"

I never said your article will be useless, just meaningless.

Lets say I'm going on a deep sea fishing trip and arrive at the boat
where my friends are and instead of talking about fishing line, tackle
and bait, my friends want to know what kind of car I drove to get there.
The car I drove to get there is very important, but when it comes to fishing
it's meaningless.

IMHO, Linux is about fishing, not the car you drove to get there...
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