You may have read hundreds of reviews, shoot-outs and comparisons for Linux distros - telling you this or that one is best. But, until you face them yourself, you simply can’t tell which one may be best for you.
I tried (actually – forced to try) three most popular Linux in succession - known to be easiest for beginners – Mandriva Spring 2007, Ubuntu 7.01 and Knoppix 5.1.1
I had used Live CD version of these to install Linux on my New Laptop.
My laptop’s configuration is as follows –
Compaq Pressario 3225AU
AMD Turion-x64, 2.0 GHz
1 GB RAM
Nvidia GO 6150 shared Graphic card,
Nvidia Network card
At first, I installed Knoppix 5.1.1 on my system. It simply failed to detect my laptop’s Nvidia Go 6150 Graphic card. It also failed to detect Nvidia network card. Therefore, I was unable to connect to Internet, and, as display was limited to only VGA, visibility was also very poor. Further, Knoppix had a command line installer that needs to run through non graphical environment.
Next, I tried Ubuntu 7.01 x64 bit edition. Ubuntu also failed to detect my laptop’s Nvidia graphic card. Though it successfully installed Nvidia network drivers. I tried to download and install Nvidia Linux Graphics drivers, but failed due to Kernel compatibility issues. My display again struck to a very limited, VGA quality only. Further, during 7 step no-nonsense installation, it simply didn’t ask me to set root password and, after installation, it had taken many precious minutes to set things right. Its disk partitioner utility is also very confusing - especially while working with advanced option.
In my third attempt, I tried to install Mandriva Spring 2007 x64 edition. Though it needed a few extra steps to install Mandriva as against their counterpart, but the process is interactive one and involves easy steps. Further, its partitioner utility is graphical one and during installation, you can set advanced boot options too. Mandriva successfully detected and configured my Nvidia Go 6150 graphic card as well as Nvidia Network card. It also detected my laptop’s Synaptic touch pad – the other Linux that I had tested had set it as simple mouse. Mandriva also asked me to choose my Display quality – whether I use plain or 3D display. Its 3D display quality is good and it had very nice online software update and installation tool.
My Verdict –
For early adopters and for beginners too, Mandriva is best. It detects and configures my laptop’s latest drivers and is painless in installation, configuring and running.