Best version of Linux? and a few other questions

So i plan on looking into using linux. I always been interested in it but never really fully looked into it or anything else besides Ubuntu. So im curious to learn about it and would appreciate any help and direction. So this brings me to my first question.

  1. What is the best Linux distro and why?
  2. Is there a better distro for gaming than another?
  3. How is Steam OS, is it worth switching to and wiping my drive?
  4. Whats the compatibility like?
  5. What are some things i should know about it? Like learning the commands and etc.

Any help, things i should know, or what to read would be epic, thank you in advance.

  1. The one that best suits your needs
  2. No
  3. Hell no
  4. Crap for a lot of things - great for older stuff
  5. If you dont have a lot of patience i wouldnt bother - also accept that a lot of stuff just will not work

Well like Vandal already said: There is no "best" linux.
I am not really into gaming with linux but i tried it a while ago at Kali but it didn't work. But probably this was caused by the bad drivers for the gpu in my laptop (Even the windows drivers are terribly old and there is no newer driver).

So if you are new, there are basicly 2 ways to learn linux. The hard and the soft way. The hard is the fastest, but sometimes you want to kill your pc. The soft way is a bit too slow maybe but it also worked in many cases.

Hard: Install gentoo and you are done. I tried, i failed. Alternatively use Arch. I kinda like that distro cause of its speed (incredible). However: A gentoo install is very hard and you need about on or at least half a day freetime for this, but after that you got the basics and a very personnalised system that runs very fast.

Soft: Take something like Ubuntu or Mint. These are closer to Windows from stock than most others are. You got GUI's everywhere and its very easy to work with. With Ubuntu you got a big community behind you helping when you get into problems. And after a few days or weeks just try messing arround with the temrinal and do some stuff without a gui.

I personally would recommend installing arch and just do stuff with it. There is a very good tutorial at the arch wiki that leads you through. It is not very difficult, but you have to do the whole installation in the terminal. (After that you can install every WM you like of course).

And remember to read the manuals.
If you want to know how to do something, type "man --global-apropos somekeyword" (without ") and this will give you every manpage where your keyword occurs so you just can use "network" as a keyword and you will get lots of ideas what you can do.

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@Vandal85 im disappointed, your post makes it sound like GNU/Linux is just generally crap at everything.

I agree with the first couple of answers.

1 There probably isnt a 'best' distro, most are quite similar.

Ubuntu is generally widely used, openSUSE is also very good if you want something that will work without needing to know much right away,

I use Arch mainly. Its very much built it they way you want your OS to be. But in reality its not very difficult to install, if your technically minded even somewhat youll be able to install it with little problem (and theres already #teklinux on EFnet where a lot of us hang out for help).

2 I personally would say yes there are better distros for gaming.

The reason I say this is because a few distros (like Ach) are rolling release and have up to date software, this means it generally gets driver updates and opengl updates faster than anyone else. Its especially good if you use open drivers (intel or AMDs radeon drivers) as they improve with every release and they release often.

Thats not to say you cant get the latest drivers on more 'stable' ditros, but distros like Arch ship the latest drivers by default whereas Ubuntu requires adding repos etc.

3 Steam and Steam OS are two different things.

Though to be fair Steam OS is basically Debian with steam. Steam on Linux is great. I have no problems with it. On Arch and a few non debian/ubuntu distros when its first installed you sometimes have to delete a number of libraries it ships with because it conflicts with system libraries, but its a simple fix. the actual steam software works great.

Its Not however worth wiping your Windows drive yet. If you have a number of windows only games they wont work on GNU/Linux.

However! you can check winedb which is a compatibility layer that lets you play a number of windows games in GNU/Linux. A lot of games have very good support, this includes a lot of steam games.

4 Compatibility in what way?

For games. If it has a Linux versions, its supported. Some games dont work as well under the open drivers either becuase the graphics chip isnt powerful enough (intel) or the drivers dont fully support everything yet (radeon). (not that that said, the radeon drivers for me work very well with games like xcom, eu iv, civ, KSP, cities ckylines, and many more

For hardware. Support is very good. most general hardware (modern and old) has full support and in many cases is supported better than windows because its supported right out of the kernel (not need for driver installs).

'Gaming hardware' is a bit of a different story, generally because there's no standard and gaming hardware tends to be burdened by stupid amounts of software drivers and required programs support for them isnt as good. An example of this is if you have a killer NIC, because its a non standard hardware that was made with software to replace windows TCP stack it doesn't work well in Linux, this is improving with new releases of the kernel but its not up to par with something like Intel NICs.


Remember. GNU/Linux, whichever distro you try is not Windows. How long have you been using windows for? Now remember that you have not used GNU/Linux for anything like that amount of time. It will take time to learn just like Windows did, its different from Windows, it does things differently.

The command line is very useful. People think its an old archaic thing, but its very powerful and modern. It can do a lot for you, it can do almost anything really.

Play around with different desktop environments. Remember that (for example) ubuntu gnome is literally just plain old ubuntu with gnome installed (apt-get install gnome), so you dont need to reinstall a distro to try a different desktop environment as much as people seam to love shipping a stupid amount of distro variants for every single desktop environment out there.

  • What is the best Linux distro and why?

No, there isn't a 'best' distro - the best one is the best one that suits your needs if anything. As a beginner to ease the transition into Linux as well as have things just work generally something such as Linux Mint is recommended as you get Linux and its benefits but you get it in an easier to use format that is made in a way easier for newcomers.

  • Is there a better distro for gaming than another?

Right now something such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora is easiest to game on but you're able to game on just about any distro. The thing to consider becomes how easy (or sometimes hard) it is to install proprierty graphics drivers so you're able to game, Linux Mint makes this quite easy

  • How is Steam OS, is it worth switching to and wiping my drive?

It's good for what it's for - a living room oriented media and gaming OS meant to verge the gap between PCs and consoles. If this is something you're interested in than it is worth trying, but note that it's not a 24/7 regular use distro

  • Whats the compatibility like?

It depends what sort of compatibility you're referring to, if you're talking about hardware it's pretty amazing. It generally just works, there are of course unsupported hardware or buggy firmware so if you post your configuration or do some searching to see that'd be best.

  • What are some things i should know about it? Like learning the
    commands and etc.

There are a lot of things to know, some important things to know are it's not windows so don't expect it to work like it. Everything is a file, you can access hardware and configurations in file format so configurations are very easy. Most distros come with a software centre of sorts that you use to install software, unlike windows you don't have to be going on the internet and finding your programs to install from websites.

There's a lot of cool and useful things to know, but as for commands you don't need to worry about it as a new user. When you need help you'll be able to use commands from help forums or that we suggest to solve your problem. But make sure you try to understand commands as (or preferably before!) you use them so you can do some learning along the way

  • What is the best Linux distro and why?

The one that suits your need. If you're new to Linux, I recommend try using Linux Distros with a Virtual Machine and Find the one you need.

Go to DistroWatch to see Linux Distributions that are available

  • Is there a better distro for gaming than another?

For Gaming, No. Because almost everything that relates to gaming are the same...

  • How is Steam OS, is it worth switching to and wiping my drive?

Steam OS is just Debian with Steam. So, No.

  • Whats the compatibility like?

For the games that are available on Linux are great, but some of them require installation of Libraries.

Wine is great, but some games / programs are not compatible with Wine. See WineHQ's AppDB to see the compability list and Instructions to Install

  • What are some things i should know about it? Like learning the commands and etc.

Just Remember It's Linux not Windows / Mac OS X. For a good guide to learn the Command Line, Read this.

if you're planning on jumping ship from lets say Windows or OS X then yes. Plus not everyone can do just go jump ship like that, we've already seen from multiple users on the forum that some can use Linux and adjust to it, but most don't.

It's difficult to adjust to a new OS. Cause you're trying your hardest to adjust into a new environment. which not many can do. and you need to have patience and dedication. first things that happens, is "okay is the program i use on Linux? "is there a proper alternative? "is all my stuff going to work? "how's the support?" "are all my games going to work?" not every single question may have an answer.

Linux has it's pros, but the general consensus of many is that its cons overshadow the pros, which of course is subjective. some may agree, some will disagree. but @Vandal85 comment is justified. i'd rather people mess with Linux as a Hobby prior to jumping ship. the best way to learn is by experience.

Others have answered your question, but there's something I'd like to add. You don't have to learn to use the command line. But it can be very useful due to the fact that the shell is a common environment that programs work in. That way you can chain programs together to make something really cool, something that's not possible with a GUI. For example I needed to know how hot my GPU is. First I run a program called "sensors" that spits out ALL the data about ALL sensors, and then use a program called "grep" to only print the relevant line (the line that says something like "temp1: 50°c"), and then with a third program called "cut" I cut out exactly the characters I want. Then I use that one-liner in a program called "conky" to display my GPU temp on my desktop.

However, knowing your way with the terminal is not a requirement. It's a preference. Some prefer typing over clicking, some prefer clicking over typing and that's fine. You have a choice in almost every case. But if you want to get a bit of a understand of the shell I recommend the video below. Eli is great teacher, he seems to have a script because his videos are very professionally laid out, and he explains in a really pedagogical way. Also, don't stress it if you're not kung fu in command line, it comes with experience. Hopping in and installing Arch or Gentoo will not give you that. It might give you a better understanding of what happens when you (literally) start Linux.

I also want to add a note to @Eden's post, Arch is not the only rolling-release distro, and rolling-release distros are also a preference thing. Games and Steam will work just fine on a regular distro as long as it's not a few years out-of-date.

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Im not saying you can jump ship, which I think my post is reasonably clear about. It was just his post was very "linux isn't great" without much explanation. As it makes it sound like its generally just not very good which isn't he case as i tried to explain.

Agreed there are a few rolling releases, openSUSE probably being one of the easier ones. I will stick by my point, this that newer versions of software especially the linux (kernel), mesa stack can being big improvements over there 'stable' versions when it comes to bugs and general improvements. Most distros have some sort of repo for these somewhere.