Suggest an open source OS
June 28, 2005 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone advise a non techy person of an open source OS that I can use? I want it to be reliable, easy to use and intuitive. I know I am asking a lot but it needs to suit all the family. I currently use XP.
posted by ClanvidHorse to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Ubuntu Linux might meet your needs. They will ship you a bootable CD that lets you try it out without having to install, for free.
posted by hilker at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2005

Howzabout this one?

If by open-source you mean "free linux on an x86" I would recommend Ubuntu. It seems to be aimed at real people.
posted by docgonzo at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2005

Ubuntu. it's the fashionable choice right now, but it's genuinely good.

As soon as I can get MythTV running on it, I'm going to switch off XP completely.

(Also have a powerbook, so I'm an OS agnostic)
posted by socratic at 11:52 AM on June 28, 2005

Sorry, just re-read my post and it seems overly snarky, which was not the intention. I blame the 35 degrees C temp, my attic apartment and the smog warning...
posted by docgonzo at 11:57 AM on June 28, 2005

Knoppix is pretty easy to use, too. Don't let all that talk about it being a "live CD" bother you. It can be installed just like any other distribution.

Why are you especially concerned about your OS being "open source?" Are you planning to make source modifications? Or do you just want something free?
posted by majick at 11:58 AM on June 28, 2005

its not about something being free but its about using something that is made for a common purpose and nary a profit motive in sight.

I used the term open source meaning its aims of community benefits. I am not a miser wanting something just because its free. I dont really intend to fiddle about to much with code unless there is somewhere that I can actually help.

This kind of stuff doesn't encourage me to give money to Microsoft either.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 12:15 PM on June 28, 2005

Ubuntu is the one.
posted by callicles at 1:09 PM on June 28, 2005

I would suggest keeping an eye on Distrowatch. They have links to reviews and downloads, plus news about various BSD and Linux distros.

I didn't like Ubuntu. It isn't compatible with regular Debian archives and had trouble with some of my hardware. I am partial to Libranet. Knoppix is very difficult to upgrade, but booting off a Knoppix CD and going about your everyday business is a very good way to make sure that Linux will meet the needs of your household.
posted by QIbHom at 1:52 PM on June 28, 2005

its not about something being free but its about using something that is made for a common purpose and nary a profit motive in sight.

If you are a software engineer, you might appreciate the Open Source Community. If not, you will have a much better time with the Apple user community.

There is plenty of profit motive in the Open Source world, it is just achieved differently than in the commercial world. You can still take part in Open Source by using FireFox, or using an operating environment that draws heavily on OS software like OSX.

Choosing an Open Source platform because you want an easy to use, intuitive, family system is sort of like buying a Hummer because you want to save a few dollars on gas. There are a lot of things that Open Source does well, ease of use is not one of them.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:31 PM on June 28, 2005

This comparison of Linux distros was posted to an AskMe thread yesterday.

But I'd agree with the Ubuntu recommendations -- I think it fits your stated goals best (and I use it and like it.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:46 PM on June 28, 2005

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