(OT) Which flavour of Linux?

The problem. A nine year old son who is *desperate* to download and play with Ubantu, for reasons unknown. Posts here suggest that Ubantu may not be the best choice for someone who is keen to learn, but a complete novice (with a Father who knows a little about DOS and Windows but nothing of Linux).
Which flavour would you recommend?
We have a spare PC that he can use, without the risk of doing anything terminal to the main PC. He talks about Linux and dual booting, but doesn't really know much about the subject. I have a two port KVM switch box, the idea being that he can run two PCs at once, using Linux on one, then switching to the other standard Windows PC, to find help, etc.
Words of wisdom will be appreciated :-)
--
Graeme

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On 06/05/2010 16:00, Graeme wrote:

I'd say start with Ubuntu running from CD. I'd not bother with dual booting - if necessary get hold of a 50 quid computer to run it as primary os.
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"Clive George" wrote

Seconded! I have an old reclaimed Thinkpad T20 laptop and Ubuntu runs passably on that (as the installed OS). But as Clive points out, the beauty of Linux is that it will load and run straight off the CD, albeit a bit more slowly. So you and your son can investigate the new OS without installing, referring to on-line help on second PC - purfick.
Phil
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wrote:

Well I'm not sure about that (wisdom) but as a long term Linux dabbler the only one I've managed to get working across a fairly wide range of machines and ages is ... Unbunu.
The really good thing is you don't have to commit at all (LIveCD), commit lightly (installed from within Windows) or run side_by_side with Windows. It's only IF (and it's still a big 'if') you / he likes it 100% need you dedicate the whole machine to it. Even then and assuming the PC has a Windows licence it's very easy to install Windows in a Virtual Machine and still have Windows for the tricky bits.
The latest machine I have here (A Tosh A300) currently has (real) XP Home, Vista, Ubuntu 9.1 and Ubuntu 10.04 on it with other options on the VM on either Ubuntus.
Seriously, download 9.1 and burn the iso image (I use ImgBurn, free / easy). Boot from the CD into Ubuntu and check how much works (AN, Sound, Video etc etc). If it all looks good, install it from within Windows, that way if he gets bored or he screws it up you just go to Add / Remove and uninstall it. ;-)
All the best, T i m
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saying:

(9.10 - the version number is year.month - with releases in April & October)
No, I'd definitely go with 10.04. It's a "Long-Term Support" version, so the intent is for it to be really stable. I've been using it as my main OS since Beta 1 - and it's rock stable so far. The last year or so has seen a lot of changes, and 9.10 (Karmic Koala) was not one of the best releases. 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) is much, much better.
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W-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-llll.
I upgraded from 8.04 to 10.04 last weekend, and the current list of things that don't work as I would like currently has (mutter, mutter) 13 things on it. The most irritating of them being that I cannot get sound to work on the Flash plugin for Firefox. Works everywhere else, just not there.
Most of the rest of them are just irritating, but that's a PITA.
--
Today is Sweetmorn, the 53rd day of Discord in the YOLD 3176

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At ta.

Hmm, not been the case here so far I'd have to say (and I was ok with the RC also). I have had various 'funnies' like not being able to shut the machine down (it just takes me to a login box), not wanting to mount a USB pen drive that mounts ok in 9.10 <g> and then not being able to get into the user account properties to see why.
It does look a little more refined though.
Cheers, T i m
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Ubuntu. :o)

If you have spare hardware, far and away the easiest thing is to (i) download & burn Ubuntu to a DVD. Boot and run it on the spare box to make sure everything works, then if you're happy, click on the "Install" icon ...
--
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Graeme wrote:

Debian for stability, Ubuntu for latest and sometimes less than stable..a few people seem to rate Mint., whatever that is.
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wibbled on Thursday 06 May 2010 16:41

[Non serious]
Gentoo if you think Debian and Redhat are for poofs.
(Not me, but I knew someone who acted like they thought that!)
And you *must* recompile the entire system with every optimisation carefully tweaked just for you. If it doesn't run 1% faster, you have failed!
--
Tim Watts

Managers, politicians and environmentalists: Nature's carbon buffer.
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Obviously if its a learning exercise you must port it to some random hardware like an iPhone or a wifi router.
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Graeme wrote:

Ubuntu is probably a good choice for someone familiar with windows.

The installer will offer the option to make the machine dual boot if you want. Failing that you can run linux on a virtual machine under windows if you want. Just download and install a VM first and then install you alternate OS in that. (I run windows in a VM under windows sometimes!)
--
Cheers,

John.

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wibbled on Thursday 06 May 2010 16:00

At 9 YO, Ubuntu is a good choice. Without prior unix experience, he's going to have a hard time getting something "hard-assed" at the other end of the spectrum going. Better to have something that installs nicely, then point him in the direction of a text terminal (CTRL-ALT-F1) and encourage him to see how much is possible without a gui - that is a godly learning experience. Give him a hint that all config is under /etc (system) and $HOME/.* (personal) and help him to find a usable text editor (but he needs to ultimately learn vi to be a geek). If he's interested enough he can figure the rest out from the Internet...

Spare PC is a good way to start - he can install over and over which is good for the soul. Let him set up for dual boot when he's comfortable with installation options.

--
Tim Watts

Managers, politicians and environmentalists: Nature's carbon buffer.
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I'll refrain from responding to all the messages, but do want to say a huge thank you to everyone who replied.
Current state of play - we have downloaded Ubuntu 10.4, and will burn shortly. Yes, ImgBurn is already on this PC :-)
One small problem. I have a KVM switch box, but had forgotten that the Windows PC is fairly new, and only has USB for mouse and keyboard. Drat. Just means that the KVM box is switching monitor only - each PC has individual M & K. The keyboard is old, but works, despite having ketchup spilled all over it, followed by a visit to the dishwasher :-)
The good news seems to be that, if we want to experiment, we can download as many flavours of Linux as we like, the cost being limited to a blank CD, of which we seem to have many. Strangely, or perhaps not, we have far more PCs than people in this house.
Looking for blank CDs, I found a downloaded copy of Smoothwall 0.9.8, which I remember playing with, but not enough to actually use.
--
Graeme


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On 06/05/2010 19:33, Graeme wrote:

Not a problem. Use one of these connected between that PC and the KVM switch.
USB TO PS/2 PS2 CABLE MOUSE KEYBOARD CONVERTER ADAPTER http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/370352606138 1.39 inc. post
Mine (not the above but similar) works faultlessly with a Dell Dimension 3100 & Belkin Omni 4-port PS/2 KVM.
--
Adrian C

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Thanks Adrian. Similar ordered Thursday evening, posted Friday, arrived Saturday. All for less than a fiver.
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Graeme

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Like many others have recommended, Ubuntu is a good choice. Fedora is also very good. Both appear to work reliably across a range of hardware.
Others have suggested using a LiveCD which is a great suggestion, but even better, put the Live image onto a USB stick. It boots and runs quicker, and you can save files onto the stick while running Linux, which you couldn't do with a Live CD.
dan.
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On 06/05/2010 16:00, Graeme wrote:

In my opinion, Ubuntu has been got at by the open source Taliban and does not give a good experience out of the box. Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu and retains the old Ubuntu virtues of coming with a good selection of software (inc Firefox and Thunderbird) even if some are not "purer than pure".
It looks a lot nicer too.
Download a live CD from:
http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
Another Dave
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Ubuntu comes with Firefox & Thunderbird, too.
What it doesn't come with is any "non-free" software, but you can trivially add it.
--
Today is Sweetmorn, the 53rd day of Discord in the YOLD 3176

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On 06/05/2010 18:01, Huge wrote:

We may be at odds here but the Live CD I tried of (admittedly) Kubuntu 9.10 did not contain any mention of Thunderbird and only an installer for Firefox (which failed).
Mint detected my NVidia graphics card and offered to install the non-free driver. It gave you the choice.
I've used Kubuntu 8.04 since it came out, so I'm not a beginner and I still don't find installing non-free software a "trivial" matter.
Another Dave
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