Nov 082011

The Fedora Project released version 16 of their distribution today, code named “Verne”. Among the many new features are Kernel 3.1, Gnome 3.2, KDE 4.7.2, better cloud computing integration and support for Grub2.

Although Fedora 15 failed to impress in my Switching To Linux Series, I am still open minded towards all new distributions and I will test this new release shortly.

The downloads can be found on fedoraproject.org. But, as always on release days, the downloads are a bit slow.  Fedora comes in many flavors, called “Spins”. So if you don’t like Gnome, you can chosse KDE, LXDE or  XFCE

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PC Hardware

Chapter 8.After selecting the 4 candidates and their testing order, it’s time to move to the real deal: an actual computer. The remaining distributions will be judged by their ability to simply install and recognize the hardware. But also how well they use the hardware.

The computer I will use to conduct these tests, is in fact my brand new PC. So no old hardware here, components include a Solid State Disk, several hard disks, dual monitors, a new ATI graphics card,  a Z68 chipset motherboard and 2 network interfaces (one onboard, 1 plugin card). This was one of the reasons I wanted an up-to-date operating system: it has to recognize the hardware.

So there are some real challenges here. Will the Solid State Disk work on full speed, will the distributions be able to use the graphics card to power the two screens, will all feature of the chipset be available and will Linux be able to handle itself when spread over several hard disks? Continue reading »

Oct 282011

Chapter 7.After all decisions made in the previous articles, we can now focus on the actual testing of the distributions. There is a lot of testing to be done, with 8 distributions in the running. However if I were to detail all setup steps for each distribution in the article, this would be one long article indeed.

So detailed setup instructions will be the subject of another series of (future) articles, for now I will focus on the general options and the differences between the distributions. All distributions will be judged on how well they meet the criteria set in the previous article: Switching to Linux: Expectations and Criteria.  In preparation of this article if have prepared 8 identical virtual machines and will install one distribution on each of them. As an install image I will use whatever the manufacturer wants me to download. Continue reading »

Oct 272011

Chapter 6.Now that we have established how we are going to set up each machine in Virtualbox and what distributions we are going to install, it is time to take a look a what my expectations are for each distribution. Because I included a wide range of possibilities, it would be unfair to compare them through a general set of parameters. Arch Linux for example is a do-it-yourself distribution and can hardly be compared with the installation comfort of a graphical installer.

This article tries to describe what I expect during the installation and what criteria I will judge by once the installation is finished. This gives me the opportunity to test all different distributions fairly. To that end, I will not use a points system, I will just take in account how good a certain distribution fulfills a certain expectation. So if a feature is not in the distribution, this will have no impact on my eventual choice. Continue reading »

Oct 262011

Chapter 4.Over the years I have tested and used a lot of distributions. For the “Switching to Linux” article series I wanted to pick the distribution that suited my needs best. Usability was the primary concern. A close second was looks, I have always been a sucker for eye candy. Things like installation and configuration where less important.

I consider myself (fairly) experienced in Linux, having setup a good number of servers and desktops. I have been using Linux as a secondary desktop for a number of years now. So I did not expect much problems in the distribution step towards my ultimate goal: a perfect Linux desktop, suitable for everyday use both professional and private. Continue reading »

Oct 242011

Chapter 1. When I recently started thinking about buying a new computer, I wanted to realize something I had been thinking about for a long time: switching to Linux as my primary operating system.

This article is the first one in a series that describes how I replaced Windows as the primary operating system on my workstation with Linux. This series is not meant as a “look how great Linux is” vs “Windows is the root of all evil“, quite the opposite in fact. The articles are meant as a continuing story of my adventures with the Linux operating system and to document how I did things.

I will detail my reasons in a future post, but let me make one thing clear: I have nothing against Windows or Microsoft. In fact I make my living installing and maintaining mainly Windows systems. I just want to try something different and new.

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