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Re: Will you recommend fedora to a newcomer?

Jacques B. wrote:
If you check http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major, they
list the top 5 beginner friendly distros as:

1. Xandros Desktop
2. MEPIS Linux
3. Linspire
4. PCLinuxOS
5. Ark Linux

Jacques B.

Xandros is a marvel. I got a copy of the Open-Circulation edition free, on CD, which came with a Linux magazine that I bought off a rack at Barnes & Noble. The same mag included a free copy of Yoper (also on CD).

I tried them both. Xandros crawled into my box and went to work without a hitch. It did EVERYTHING it's supposed to do. The boot loader's performance is superb. The OS detected ALL of my hardware -- even the stuff it can't actually use (my label printer, for example). All I had to do was input my user info and my isp/modem-connection info, and to to work. Problems weren't encountered until I tried to download service packs and app updates, when the speed of my modem connection became a prohibitive factor. I'll have to wait for broadband access before I can resolve that issue. But given the performance of the OS to date, I have no doubt that a broad-band connection will make the entire Xandros system "a piece of cake."

Yoper, compared to Xandros, is a crippled piece of crap. Yoper brags that their distro boots faster than any other. It does boot quickly (though I'm not equipped to judge how quickly Yoper boots compared to others), and that's about all it does, unless you're a Linux geek who can get an Internet connection up and running with no help. On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who wants to join a development community, if you have a reliable system on one box and another box you can put Yoper on, and if you're also technically savvy, then you can join the Yoper community and give them a helping hand. They need one very badly, as their Web site plainly shows.

Ubuntu, like Yoper, suffers badly in the hardware detection area. Ubuntu crawled into my box blissfully, seemingly in its sleep, detected almost none of my peripherals, and was therefore crippled when it awoke. Internet connection and hardware detection in Ubuntu and in Yoper, I believe, are for geeks only. With both Yoper and Ubuntu, I did what any Windoze user would have done: I formatted the hard drives from a Windoze CD and installed --

Fedora Core 5! Core 5 is beautiful to look at. Parts of it are beautiful to use. Others are less than attractive. Hardware detection is a failure. The system can't find my USB, hardware modem, no matter how many times I plug the device in and unplug it. I'm working a thread elsewhere on this list called "modem blues" and Antonio is working with me to fix the problem -- but I'm pursuing that option (and typing this message) in Windoze, because I can't connect to the Internet with FC5 (yet). I'm sure I can get the problem fixed on this list, but for all that I have to say -- any Linux distro that requires new users to employ the command line to resolve hardware issues is a failure, out of the box.

And I'll add that such failures seem inexcusable to me at this point. I've been seeing Linux distros on the shelf in computer stores since 1994, at least. And if, after at 12 or more years in development, Red Hat Linux still can't detect (not necessarily USE, but detect, at least) every piece of 2-year-old, off-the-shelf hardware plugged into a home-user's 2-year-old, generic PC system, then there's something very seriously wrong at Red Hat. I admit that the situation is much improved since I first tried Caldera Linux back in 1998, but "much improved" is just not good enough. Hardware detection should be the FIRST priority of any development team that hopes to achieve a large number of installs on home desktops globally.

That's so simply because, with home users, any distro is garbage if it can't detect and use Windoze hardware. Xandros fails for me because it can't use my ($240) label printer. FC5 fails for me because it can't detect my ($150) US Robotics voice-data-fax modem. I tried SuSE 8 Professional a couple of years ago and it, too, failed the hardware-compatibility test. Not having tried SuSE 10 at this point, I'm nevertheless already certain that it won't use all of my hardware.

New hardware is expensive, as everyone knows. So why should I spend a hundred-odd dollars on a new laser printer to satisfy the demands of an OS that I bought for $8.95 on e-Bay when Windoze 2k likes my old laser just fine? I will do it because I'm bored with Windoze and feeling adventurous, but 99.99 percent of Windoze users will not.

Now that I'm about to be attacked by a horde of people in Red Hats armed with flamethrowers, I will don my asbestos suit and hunker down behind my firewall. I'm sure I've pissed some of you off, but that really wasn't my intent. This list has been most helpful for several days and I hope to continue here.


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