The best distro for my new and powerful notebook

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by adam993, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. adam993

    adam993 Registered Member

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    Hi guys and gals!

    I've just unpacked my shiny new notebook, Lenovo Y50-70 with 8 gigs of RAM, 256 GB SSD Samsung, i5 dual-core processor (4 threads) and GeForce 960M (with Intel 4600 integrated graphics).

    I'm looking for a beatiful, well configured distro. I'm very lazy Java programmer, so latest JDK in repos is an advantage, other dev's tools too.

    Well written articles on distro wiki is another plus (this means that big community is "must have" thingie). Ahhh, I hate compiling software on Linux, so I'm looking for a huge repo.

    So, the notebook will be used to:
    - programming in Java and creating websites in HTML/PHP/CSS
    - listening the music over Deezer (competitor for Spotify or Apple Music)
    - typical home use (LibreOffice, mails, photos, videos)

    I will install Windows on tiny partition for playing computer games. Or I will check if wine supports my games.

    My first thoughts:
    - Ubuntu (especially MATE edition)
    - openSUSE KDE
    - Mageia KDE

    Ahhh, I'm not a Unix newbie, I had Debian/Arch installed on my previous laptop. But I'm not sure what distro is the best for my case, when I have new notebook. I've just checked some websites and it seems that I need support for Nvidia Optimus. So this is the most important thing.

    Adam!
     
  2. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    My obsiously biased opinion is: go with Arch :D

    Arch vs:

    Debian:
    • Arch has a smaller but tighter community;
    • Arch has the best documentation out there;
    • Arch is a distro you "build" to yourself, not the "distro that developer joe thinks is the best thing in the world" and it doesn't come with hundreds of unwanted programs;
    • Arch will have the latest software and they always work. Debian sid lags behind Arch and yet breaks a lot, because it's a very complex distro and developers are sloppy when it comes to testing and fixing packages, even though Debian has thousands of developers (against only 30 Arch developers);
    • Pacman installs things 10x faster than apt;
    • Debian forums are more hostile towards newbies than Arch forums;
    • Arch has less official packages, but when you add in the AUR it comes close to what Debian has;
    • grsecurity support only goes till version 3.14 of the Kernel, and Arch will always have the latest linux-grsec Kernel;
    • Debian Stable is the one that breaks the least, but has the oldest pacakges. Debian Sid has the most recent packages available to Debian, but it breaks a lot. Testing falls into a middle ground, but it's the least secure of them all because security updates can take months to get in (it's rare, but could happen).
    openSUSE:
    • openSUSE works well and is a well maintained distro. However, KDE 5 doesn't work well on 13.2;
    • openSUSE tumbleweed breaks less than Debian sid, but way more than Arch;
    • openSUSE has the best forums you can get. Moderators and admins are mostly professionals in the area and they know openSUSE like no one else, yet they're always present helping the users with the best support for free;
    • You'll face a lot of package errors if you need multimedia support. You'll have to use the "packman" repo on openSUSE and the system will buzz you and ask for Vendor Change on a lot of multimedia pacakges;
    • openSUSE has the best installer of Linux there is. It's smart, efficient, and looks gorgeous;
    • No grsecurity support by the distro maintainers;
    • Pacman installs things 10x faster than zypper;
    Mint:

    • Mint, of all distros I tested, offers the worse control over the system. It installs "as it is" and offers no advanced installation configuration;
    • Mint, like Ubuntu and Debian, will install a lot of things you probably won't want. That includes proprietary codecs and even Flash Player, as well as other unnecessary packages;
    • Mint has a "Debian Edition" that is based off Debian Testing. However, this Mint version lags a lot when it comes to packages, and updates are way slower than Debian Testing and IIRC happen once every 3 months;
    • Mint fixes a lot of Ubuntu bugs and is way more stable then Ubuntu, in some regards. The last time I used it (around 2013) it's package manager used to close itself sometimes, thus breaking the packages that were being installed. On the other hand, once in Ubuntu 12.10 I installed the nvidia proprietary driver and rebooted into tty1 because Ubuntu developers "forgot" to mark the kernel-headers to be installed with the driver; this problem didn't happen on Mint;
    • Pacman installs things 10x faster than apt;
    Ubuntu:
    • Ubuntu LTS releases are relatively stable. However, they too have bugs. Steam doesn't install properly on Ubuntu 14.04, and it's store still have bugs;
    • Ubuntu non-LTS releases (like 15.10) are surprisingly more stable then Debian sid (the base for Ubuntu non-LTS). They contain newer software, but some packages will stay the same for it's entire life, which is 9 months;
    • Ubuntu is well-known for "just working" when it comes to hardware. The hardware compatibility problems you'd get on other distros will likely not happen on Ubuntu;
    • Ubuntu still breaks more than Arch;
    • Pacman installs things 10x faster than apt;

    To sum it up, Arch is a distro that you build to yourself, program by program, and it's packages (like KDE or MATE or GIMP) are always "vanilla", meaning they don't contain modifications. Debian, Ubuntu, Mageia, openSUSE, etc, will all try to put a new "face" into things, and that annoys the hell out of me.

    Arch will almost always have the newest stable releases, that includes MATE, Java, LibreOffice, etc. They might not push the newest pacakge right away, but you'll get a reliable and stable system, even more than any other rolling-release distro out there. Heck, I've had only 2 problems running Arch for 3 years, but had 3 problems running Ubuntu for 10 minutes ;)

    Don't forget that you don't need to compile Arch's official packages, only the ones from the AUR (which it all comes pre-configured to work with Arch, you only have to install the package).
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  3. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Ubuntu LTS or Debian (via Debian Live images). Personally I would recommend the Xfce versions, due to Xfce's more official status in the Ubuntu repos (last I checked). Unity IMO doesn't have any pressing advantages; and has the major disadvantage of absolutely requiring working 3D support, and also having built-in Amazon ads that you have to turn off. KDE is better, but I find it needs some configuration due to overuse of default eyecandy.

    Java: Ubuntu LTS should have an up to date version of OpenJDK. Debian has a policy of only backporting security fixes for the stable branch, as such the version of OpenJDK may be outdated and buggy. In either case you could just download the Oracle version, and the latest Eclipse to go with it.

    Deezer: might need Adobe Flash. Ubuntu has that in the repos, Debian has it in the non-free repo. Assuming Deezer does use Flash, you probably want to disable that plugin for all other sites, as it's a gaping security hole.

    Office stuff: they can all do that. :)

    Wine: maaaaaybe. Don't count on anything too intensive being workable, Wine is pretty slow.

    Tiny Windows partition: might have to be not-so-tiny, current Windows and its software tend to be big.

    nVidia Optimus: this is probably the hardest thing. I believe you'll need something called Bumblebee.
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee
    https://wiki.debian.org/Bumblebee

    Oh, and one more thing: don't count on suspend/hibernate working. That's always a guessing game, and it's gotten worse with recent kernels.

    (Not that it matters though, a laptop like you describe will boot in about 4 seconds.)

    Anyway good luck!
     
  4. adam993

    adam993 Registered Member

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    I'm not sure if Arch is a distro what I'm looking for. With Arch, I must configure almost everything :/, I'm lazy and bored. I'm not going to spend few hours or even days to configure system for my requirements. You know, I must connect all devices ar home (printer, scanner, iPhone) and configure them. Install Xorg, basic software, DE, drivers... Oh my God.

    I would like to use full power of my graphic card, so distro with Eye-candy effects is welcome.

    I would install Ubuntu. But Canonical... This company is like a cancer for FOSS. They are able to steal achievements of other developers without any Message. And Mir... What the Hell is that? Wayland looks very promising, why does Canonical develop own display server to use on Ubuntu only?
    i'm not so convinced to Canonical's distro. But if there is no good alternative for *buntus, let's install Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu or openSUSE. Others dont't have chances to show their powers.
     
  5. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Why don't you spin a half dozen or LiveDVDs. Easy enough to do. But be forewarned most play the same from LiveDVD to installed as far as hardware recognition. But not all. Last time I spun distros around 10 of them. A couple worked really nice in LiveDVD but stank when installed. Silly to get your hopes up unless folks have your exact hardware. Also I agree that the Nvidia card might have limited functionality compared to the Windows OS, I'd go as far as saying it will be limited.
     
  6. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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  7. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

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    Since march 2015, Mint's Debian Edition is called LMDE 2 and is based on Debian stable.
    I prefer to use Debian directly than LMDE 2, FWIW.
     
  8. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    If Stable is the choice, then yes I prefer pure Debian too.

    Wait, are we back in 2009 again? heheeh

    Arch is not different than most distros configuration-wide. You isntall, say, XFCE, then sddm, and sddm will automatically detect XFCE.

    For your nvidia card a simple "pacman -S nvidia" and you're done :)

    I just installed Arch, took me around 20 minutes and that includes downloading all packages and configuring a few (because there isn't a lot to configure). What exactly would take you days to configure?

    :p How long since you last used Arch?

    If you want I can give you my install command list. It's not that hard

    Good. KDE 5, GNOME 3, Unity... which do you want? You can easily install all on Arch :argh::argh:

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I think that was your laziness talking ;)
     
  9. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    I have a Lenovo G500 laptop that was pre-installed with Ubuntu Trusty Tahr LTS, so a lot of Lenovo hardware is compatible with Ubuntu.
     
  10. Impet

    Impet Registered Member

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    You could try Ubuntu 15.10 or Xubuntu if you don't like the Ubuntu UI. :thumb:
     
  11. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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    yep, use Virtual Box and chose whatever tickles your fancy
     
  12. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Doesn't running a distro from live media expose more hardware recognition or not than Virtual Box?
     
  13. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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    yes, I think so
    but I was thinking of playing around with the distro for several days, tweaking it to functionality and visuals
     
  14. AutoCascade

    AutoCascade Registered Member

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    It's odd to me that Debian is easier to install than LMDE but LMDE has, I believe drivers, that are missing off the bat from Debian - just my relatively inexperienced experience.
     
  15. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

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    Well, it's up to a developer to add or remove things to his distro.
    There are many other things than drivers added in LMDE2 versus Debian.
    But many of them can be manually installed with Synaptic.
     
  16. AutoCascade

    AutoCascade Registered Member

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    When I installed Debian it said I was using a laptop and my screen resolution was limited despite having the correct ATI drivers installed. I only installed the first image which it says installs everything necessary. I thought the drivers were missing but they were there. Debian's wiki has several pages dedicated to getting the ATI drivers installed so it's obviously a problem for them.

    That's just my take on it and my Debian experience may be way off from the norm. I did get LMDE to install and with grsec later but I moved back to Fedora.
     
  17. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    I'd use Fedora if my mouse acceleration actually behaved the way it should :( I don't know why, but it doesn't matter what I did, my mouse would still have acceleration, even after setting everything to 1.0 (meaning no accel) on KDE 5. Is it just me?
     
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