What is the Best Version of Linux?

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    • #3774
      Thegmandrive
      Participant

      I am a noob, when it comes to linux. I’m somewhat familiar with Linux commands because I use many Unix packets with Mac Osx Terminal. However, I have been doing some research on the best distributions of Linux, and have come across no consensus.  From what I have read, it seems that the best version of “Linux” depends on what you want to use Linux for. For Pen testing, the word on the street is Backtrack is ONE of the best. I’m looking for some suggestions.

      1. I need a Version of Linux that is easy to use and is a Windows replacement (Something that is an easy transition for the non technically inclined). I read that Fedora KDE is fairly popular, any thoughts?

      2. A version of Linux that is a little more customizable for someone (like me), but is a good learning version as well. I read that GNU/Linux has a hardcore following 🙂

      I read that Red Hat is a good version for businesses?

      I have read many good things about Unbutu 

      What do you think is the best version and why?

      Thanks, I know this is a Noob question. 🙂

    • #24129
      Ketchup
      Participant

      Wow, that’s a loaded question.  I can’t tell you what’s best for you.  You have to find out for yourself.  Here is what I can tell you from my experience.

      I started with Slackware.  I wouldn’t say that’s a good distro for a beginner.  It is, however, very light and portable.

      I then moved to Redhat and later Fedora.  Fedora is great in terms of ease of use.  It’s very friendly to a Windows user.  I will say that it sucks in terms of its packager (what you use to load software and do upgrades, it’s similar to add/remove programs and windows installer). 

      Ubuntu is based on Debian and is currently my favorite distribution of Linux.  The package manager is fantastic, making it easy to install and upgrade software.  It’s very user friendly.  I actually have a box running that I call the “fakintosh.”  I made Ubuntu look like OS X, which you are familiar with.  It is highly customizable.

      I also use the BackTrack distribution.  BT4 is Debian based as well.  It has the familiar apt-get functionality.  I primarily use it in VmWare on my Windows boxes. 

      I think that you should just give one a try.  If you don’t like, scrap it and install another one.  It’s good practice anyway.

    • #24130
      balder
      Participant

      like ketchup i can only tell you my experiance it really is a personal thing.  As far as backtrack goes i too only ever use it in a vm it is a livecd distro and can be a bit of a pain if you try and run it as a desktop os.  ubuntu is a very good sytem, it is easy to use but its linux so you can still do everything at the command line if you want.  if you want to learn how linux works i would recomend lfs then gentoo.  Once you know linux my recomendation would be archLinux.  however i have recently moved to BSD

    • #24131
      Otter
      Participant

      Howdy,

      This is sorta like asking drummers who the best drummer in the world is.    You’re not going to get a convergent answer, and in the process you may just get a bunch of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  🙂

      I think the best version of Linux — particularly if you’re learning — I think is the one for which you can find the easiest support.  What do close friends/coworkers use who are more experienced than you who wouldn’t mind answering a specific question of ya once in a while?  Or who you can actually sit with from time to time?   

      I think for a noob though, it’s hard to argue too much with Ubuntu or a hard drive Backtrack 4 (which is Ubuntu based).  You’ll find loads of online support for either in either the Ubuntu and/or Remote Exploit forums, and it’s an easy enough distro to maintain that you’re likely to find users of it locally or among your circle of peeps. 

      There is, however, a case for a noob that has some time and wants to REALLY learn how everything works under the covers,  to go through the pain and the agony of installing and keeping Gentoo Linux up to date.      I’d recommend this only if you have a fast machine that’s going to be hosting it (because it’ll be compiling stuff a lot), and you have a patient buddy who runs it that you can bug with questions.  You’ll learn a ton going the the Gentoo Guide step by step, but it’s not pretty.    Myself, I’m over it and don’t have time for gentoo care/feeding, but I did learn a lot that other more friendly distributions these days keep you from ever seeing/caring about.  gentoo.org

      Good luck and enjoy!

    • #24132
      Otter
      Participant

      @Thegmandrive wrote:

      I read that Red Hat is a good version for businesses?

      It’s probably the most popular distro with businesses that absolutely feel they need third party support/ someone to sue.  However, CentOS  is a distro worth looking at that’s free and aims to do everything RHEL does. 

    • #24133
      TTewell
      Participant

      Considering you are new to linux, I’d go with Ubuntu.  It is very user friendly and will ease you into the world of Linux.  Backtrack is almost universally considered the best security distribution though.

    • #24134
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Yes, I also think that you can try with Ubuntu first, or you can try with debian, thats what I’ve been using the last three years.

    • #24135
      Kev
      Participant

      I believe there is no question about it and Ubuntu is the way to go. I use it in pentests and love it. The amount of community support and how well most security tools compile on it makes it the choice for someone new to Linux.  It was a great choice and interesting to note that it was decided to move Backtrack to this distro ,so perhaps that says something in itself. In the past Backtrack was never considered a very good distro, but a very good collection of tools. It was cumbersome to install programs on Bactrack due to its modular construction and the lack of certain libraries. 

    • #24136
      Michael J. Conway
      Participant

      If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts, then Gentoo may be the way to go. It is not too unfriendly, but is not nearly as friendly as Ubuntu. I run Ubuntu as my alternate desktop and am thrilled to no end that BT4 is debian/ubuntu based. Get a live CD of whatever distro and play around with it. Find what works right for you. There are so many choices it is unreal. Once you find the distro you like, than it comes down to what desktop, kde, gnome, xfc, etc, that you like. Again, you will find no clear consensus on that either. Good luck.

    • #24137
      Otter
      Participant

      @sgt_mjc wrote:

      If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts, then Gentoo may be the way to go. It is not too unfriendly, but is not nearly as friendly as Ubuntu. I run Ubuntu as my alternate desktop and am thrilled to no end that BT4 is debian/ubuntu based. Get a live CD of whatever distro and play around with it. Find what works right for you. There are so many choices it is unreal. Once you find the distro you like, than it comes down to what desktop, kde, gnome, xfc, etc, that you like. Again, you will find no clear consensus on that either. Good luck.

      Not too unfriendly?  As of 2 years ago at least, gentoo was nothing short of a ridiculous.  I’ve got the biggest love/hate relationship with portage that you’ve ever seen.    Compiling everything from source is definitely sexy, but even if you have veteran gentoo-ites as close friends, I’d still be loathe to recommend it to a noob. 

      Or has anything changed significantly in the past 2 years to make gentoo less of a nightmare for first install / maintenance / resolving portage package conflicts / trying to get X to work again after every friggin xorg update?

      (not that I’m bitter, mind you lol)

    • #24138
      former33t
      Participant

      I’m late to the game, but here’s my two cents.  If you are wanting to go with a redhat based distro in any environment where you are supporting more than one or two machines, I would put my vote in for CentOS.  It is RH based but doesn’t suffer from atrophy of support the way Fedora and RHEL do.  Fedora and RHEL have the release cycles set very narrow and this means that support for your version will wane before you are ready to install a new distro.

      I like SUSE okay.  It has major backing (Novell) and a little longer release cycle last time I checked.

      Again, I’m partial to CentOS since I grew up on RedHat but don’t like the lack of long term support.

    • #24139
      adamj
      Participant

      Backtrack based on Ubuntu?  Since when?  It’s based on SLAX.  Version 3 is anyway.  Personally, I don’t like Ubuntu, but I will concede it’s a good distro for those who are new to Linux and it’s easy to install.  Slackware, Arch, Fedora and OpenSUSE are all worth consideration for a desktop Linux system.

    • #24140
      Kev
      Participant

      Check out Backtrack 4.

    • #24141
      jason
      Participant

      @adamj wrote:

      Backtrack based on Ubuntu?  Since when?  It’s based on SLAX.

      A vote for Ubuntu here. BT4 is based on Ubuntu.

    • #24142
      Otter
      Participant

      @adamj wrote:

      Backtrack based on Ubuntu?  Since when?  It’s based on SLAX.  Version 3 is anyway. 

      Since Backtrack 4 Beta released a Shmoocon in February.  It’s now Debian based and uses Ubuntu repositories.

    • #24143
      timmedin
      Participant

      Ubuntu seems to be the most main stream of the bunch. Once you feel comfortable with it then take a whack at Gentoo or something else. I definately would recommend against starting with Gentoo.

    • #24144
      Thegmandrive
      Participant

      WOW Thank you all for your replies, I have read them all and they have been very helpful. I have downloaded and installed Ubuntu and so far I like it. Had a little trouble trying to get the Broadcom Wireless card working, but there was lot’s of support. Also had some trouble using the “adduser” command but found out the problem was with my folder permissions and had to chmod the temp folder to be written by a “group” I created. Fun stuff!!!

      Thanks again!

    • #24145
      timmedin
      Participant

      Good luck. Let us know if you have any questions with it.

    • #24146
      hayabusa
      Participant

      Yeah. Linux takes some getting used to, and while you get to know it, you’ll find that many tasks actually make you think of what they do and how to do them (unlike windows, where it’s point and click.)  I’d agree with your findings, that Ubuntu is a good starting point, and as timmedin said, I definitely would take some time before moving up to Gentoo, etc.

      Might even take some time, or spend the energy, and get yourself some study materials for Linux+, or for the LPI level 1 or 2 training, as you’ll learn a lot about the inner workings of Linux, and how to do more advanced things, that you might want to dig in on.  (Such as iptables / ipchains, shadow passwords, etc.)

      Good luck, and keep us posted as you progress, Thegmandrive.

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