Thread: Best UNIX/Linux OS for technical learning

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    Registered User subdene's Avatar
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    Best UNIX/Linux OS for technical learning

    Hi all,

    I have : Asus X205TA Intel Quad Core Atom Z3735F 2GB 32GB SSD 11.6 inch Laptop. And I was think of putting FreeBSD on it as my main OS to really immerse myself into Linux. I've been a user of Windows since I can remember, and I'm just really tired of their behaviour of Windows 10 trying to bully everyone into upgrading. Additionally their privacy stance is very disconcerting.

    For this laptop would you recommend FreeBSD? I'm a software engineer so I'd really like to be thrown in the deep end and start learning. Or would you recommend any other distribution of Linux/UNIX

    Thank you!
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    Quote Originally Posted by subdene View Post
    ...putting FreeBSD on it as my main OS to really immerse myself into Linux.
    FreeBSD is not Linux. It is a completely distinct operating system

    Quote Originally Posted by subdene View Post
    I've been a user of Windows since I can remember, and I'm just really tired of their behaviour of Windows 10 trying to bully everyone into upgrading.
    I agree. Fortunately for me, my computer at home is running windows 7, and only windows 8/8.1 was subject to forced updates, as far as I know.

    Quote Originally Posted by subdene View Post
    Additionally their privacy stance is very disconcerting.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by subdene View Post
    For this laptop would you recommend FreeBSD? I'm a software engineer so I'd really like to be thrown in the deep end and start learning. Or would you recommend any other distribution of Linux/UNIX
    I would not recommend FreeBSD for someone new to Linux/Unix. Personally, I'd recommend Linux Mint. It's essentially Ubuntu, but with a different standard desktop environment (Cinnamon), that tends to be a little easier for people that are accustomed to Windows.
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    Registered User subdene's Avatar
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    Hello thank you for your reply, I thought edited the first item quoted. I was mainly inferring that the FreeBSD has items in common with Linux yet other parts completely different.

    I am fairly familiar with Linux, but I still have many areas still to cover. I've done some work in the interrupt vector table just tinkering and recompiling. And also the BFS scheduler which has had significant improvements on my laptop. I don't want to use anything like Mint or Ubuntu. I do want to be immersed into a distribution that has is not targeted for average users. I'm a developer so I do want to have a fluffy UI for example.

    I'm just looking for a good distribution that will work well with the laptop. I probably won't be installing a GUI to get use to the shell a bit more.
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    I think you'll find that Ubuntu is still a good choice, even if you don't install a desktop environment. The community support for Ubuntu eclipses all other distributions. Ubuntu is the de-facto standard Linux distribution for PC, and it's very likely that it will run well on your hardware.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I really depends on how committed you will be to your learning.

    Some distros are more rewarding and offer the fastest path to learn and mastery, but come at the expense of a serious investment in terms of dedication. This is the case with Arch Linux, Slackware or Gentoo.
    Other distros offer a gentle, but slower learning curve with the advantage that you can set up a working and productive environment fast, but with the disadvantage that learning the Linux ecosystem will take longer. This is the case of distros like Linux Mint, or Ubuntu.

    You will not know at this point exactly what your commitment will be. But some introspection will help you make an early decision: Do you like to understand the nuts and bolts, dive into configuration files and read extensively? The first group is probably for you. Or do you prefer to learn in a more controlled environment and be able to improve your experience as you learn? The second group is probably for you.

    On the first group I highly advise Arch Linux, over any other. It's a large community and The Arch Wiki sports what is without any argument that largest Linux knowledge base anywhere.
    On the second group I **strongly** discourage Linux Mint, despite all that it is being said about it, for reasons that I can explain if asked. Instead choose an Ubuntu-based distribution. You don't want Ubuntu itself because you will probably dislike it the same you do Windows 10. Of them all, one of the best and that will most likely fit into a Windows 7 workflow is Ubuntu-MATE, with the advantage that it has an excellent community of really friendly users (not kidding, friendly. They are a web oddity).

    Next, no matter what group of learner you fit in, you want to start from a Virtual Machine. Once you get more or less comfortable, it's ok to move to dual-boot. And once the Linux bug sets in, do as all the cool cats are doing and move to a full Linux machine with Windows from then on becoming a lowly VM on your super Linux box.

    Join the community to whatever distribution you chose. Do not stick only with the web forums. Linux communities and general Linux support are both very active in IRC. You will want that and you will need that. IRC is indispensable for someone wanting to learn Linux (or use the OS it in any capacity, really).

    Finally, once you settle in, you can start looking a other distros on your own and install and test them in a VMs. Currently one of the siren calls of the Linux community is the Solus distro. A new completely independent distro with a very promising future. I've been playing around with it and seriously thinking replacing Arch with it. I'm myself an Arch Linux user at home and until recently Mint at work. We just ditched the latter for Ubuntu-MATE, thank goodness.
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    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Registered User MutantJohn's Avatar
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    Honestly, I recommend Ubuntu. It's got the most commercial support out of all the distros.

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    Registered User subdene's Avatar
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    Definitely the first group. I want to learn. I really want to transition into cyber security/analyst. And I think understanding the the internal workings of Linux and/or UNIX will be beneficial. I have Kali Linux and have been working my way through that. My worst nightmare is just being a script kiddie and not knowing fully what's going on behind the scenes.
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    Registered User subdene's Avatar
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    Just to let you guys/girls know. I've been listening to a brilliant podcast called "Linix Unplugged"

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/linuxunplugged
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkvis View Post
    I agree. Fortunately for me, my computer at home is running windows 7, and only windows 8/8.1 was subject to forced updates, as far as I know.
    Windows 7 user have been bullied into upgrading, as well. I know someone who it happened to.
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    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

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