I'm going to install Linux for someone who isn't even very good with Windows. I've narrowed it down to either Linux Mint or PCLinuxOS. Which one should I install? Are there any other Linux distributions I should be considering?

Also, should I install Gnome, KDE, or something else?

asked 21 Aug '10, 17:31

Phenom's gravatar image

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I'll suggest you installing a VM first, this way you can taste linux before you have to deal with hard installations and partitioning. Once you are confortable then make the jump. On a VM you can taste different distribution. Mandriva, PCLinuxOS and Mint would be my recomendation.

For virtualization I recomend VirtualBox.org


answered 25 Aug '10, 17:59

JZA's gravatar image

accept rate: 50%

VirtualBox is ghetto. VMWare is better.

Moderator's Comment: The above over-generalized statement is opinion based on personal preference. It also does nothing to contribute to the question nor offer any real answer either.

(11 Sep '10, 12:06) Phenom

Given that you're going to install Linux, I would go with Gnome. KDE is for people who want to tweak this, adjust that, and configure another thing, until it fits them like a glove. Gnome, IMO, is for people who want it to just do its job, because dagnabit, they've got work to do.


answered 22 Aug '10, 19:27

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Kevin M
accept rate: 25%

Linux Mint 9 LXDE would be my suggestion for newbies, due primarily to the existing support (as sashi notes) and the quickness and simplicity of the desktop environment. Peppermint is another good one for laptops, especially.


answered 23 Aug '10, 05:59

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Ubuntu 10.04 is a good distro for new users. It has all the power, admins require and easy enough for newbies.


answered 24 Aug '10, 03:28

teddymills's gravatar image

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check out ZorinOS (http://www.zorin-os.webs.com/ ) it is a Ubuntu based distro.

From the website:

"Zorin OS is a multi-functional operating system designed specifically for Linux newcomers who want to have easy and smooth access to open source software. It is based on Ubuntu which is the most popular Linux operating system in the world."

I have tested it and have found quite polished and complete. also, the Gnome desktop has been tweaked to offer a familiar experience to windows users and computer "newbies"


answered 16 Sep '10, 02:27

madpuppy's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

In my opinion, Ubuntu desktop (or laptop depending on your platform) is really hard to beat. I've installed it for my mother who is in her 80's and she finds it "pretty easy" to use - as well as pretty solid. I'm not putting down the other distros, simply saying that Ubuntu really does a nice job for users - there is a significant Ubuntu community willing to help, and as Canonical has demonstrated, they continue to develop and upgrade their offering. You would not be making a mistake with Ubuntu.


answered 16 Sep '10, 11:45

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All the above will work. Choose one and do not be dazzled by the amount of options.You are right to go for ease of use to begin with, you can check out the vi editor later! Mint or even Fedora will do but shove it on its own hard drive, dual booting is just another complication for the sake of twenty quid.You could experiment with live cd's to find which flavour you prefer.



answered 25 Oct '10, 11:22

fred's gravatar image

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My wife has problems even with Windows. She only uses the internet or email...

After haveing some problems with her computer, I had to do major Windows XP maintenance to get it running for her. As an experiment, I installed Mint 8 Helena with a clean desktop with icons for Firefox, Thunderbird and Skype.

It's been over 6 months and she has not realized that she no longer has Windows on her computer. For most people that use computers for minimal routine use, one can easily set up a Linux system that "works" without their having to deal with any need to know what OS is running. Using open source software like Firefox and Thunderbird, which work equally well on multiple OSs, makes selection of an OS minor for those who are not nor have any interest in learning about computers. They want just to accomplish a task and "point and click work the same" no matter what engine lies beneath.


answered 02 Nov '10, 12:47

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jw benson
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edited 02 Nov '10, 12:52

I would recommend Ubuntu 10.04 as it is not only Ubuntu, which is very user friendly, but also a long term support release that is one year old now and has matured to become very stable. Plus, it has two years' worth of support left to it.


answered 22 Apr '11, 22:42

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ubuntu 10.10 simply because of the large user base. for someone starting out, the community surrounding a distro will be it's most valuable resource. it has well maintained forums that are active and geared toward beginners. there may be better software, but i think the beginner needs better community support, which is where i find ubuntu to excell... have fun with that for a while.. then explore your options.


answered 02 May '11, 08:23

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Asked: 21 Aug '10, 17:31

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Last updated: 07 Jun '11, 11:17

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