Which distro for a beginner?

I'm having issues getting windows going on my PC (I'll update my build log once I have the ability to boot into an OS)

So I thought it'd be a good idea to get a start with working on Linux, since most of the things I do from day to day I can do on Linux as well, so I can get used to it, and do some gaming on Linux (source and indie)

I was wondering which distro should I go for? (preferably something where installation and such isn't a complicated or convoluted process)


For an absolute beginner I think Ubuntu can be a good place to start. But if you have issues "getting windows going on" I think the same issues will apply to any OS.

I might suggest Debian, instead of Ubuntu.  Yes, Ubuntu is based on Debian but is almost no longer the same. Ubuntu has a lot of entitled whiners wanting instant answers to a lot of questions, which is fine, perhaps they learn in their own way - by getting handouts; however Debian is and ever shall be stable.

It might not work on the very latest hardware, but it is just interesting enough to be able to use quickly, has loads of support, and (almost) anything you learn on that system will translate over to Ubuntu if you ever need to go that route.

I'm sure someone will come in with something else (Suse, Fedora, Mint, Arch [lol]), but for the largest support network, and cross-help availability - go Debian.

Installation is easy, via Live DVD or (the preferred) Net-Install.  It also supports the most hardware, unlike Ubuntu which has dropped support for a lot of older hardware.  Since APT and synaptic front-end works on most/all Debian based releases, installing software will be easy if you go exploring with other distros.

If you want Ubuntu, by all means, it's easy to install and will do everything for you.  I personally can't stand the Unity interface and would recommend anything else, Xubuntu being my favorite. 


Other Distros such as Arch, and Ubuntu 14 support the latest mainstream hardware, if you need options for that.  All my 10-15 year old machines run Debian with no problems. My 6-Core AMD desktop runs Debian x64, and I have a laptop running Xubuntu because I'm too lazy to change it. 

If you have more specific questions, please ask away!

I agree Debian is better in so many ways. And far being from me wanting to proliferate the cult of Ubuntu but... the OP seems to be someone that doesn't expect the level of involvement that a clean distro implies. If installing the OS seems to the OP as a complicated step, how will setting up a repository be? Or setting up modules/drivers. It looks like a new build since there is a build log in the making...

Come to think of it, maybe something that comes with some packages preinstalled would be better. Dare I say Ubuntu Studio.

I was thinking either Debian, Mint or dive in with Arch, cause I need to learn them anyways. But my only real confusion with linux is things like "this program requires wine" and the whole package system. I just don't quite understand how it works, and if someone could point me to a good, reliable guide, that'd also be awesome.

and I don't really want Ubuntu, a butts tier distro, on my system, That's for my phone once support is live.

Also, Windows just wont install because I've misplaced my windows disk, and I can't find any .iso that work online.

I'd also prefer installing via USB if possible. Disks are not a thing for me. 

For an absolute beginner, I agree.  Ubuntu is probably the way to go.  It's by far the most user friendly and easy to set up distro I've used (my tech illiterate mother is using Ubuntu for shit's sake).  So for someone who has no linux experience, it's likely to be the least frustrating door to the linux world.  Once you get comfortable with the basics and start to dig beneath the gui, you can move on to something that's a little less bloated and hand-holdy if you like.  No need to make the learning curve steeper than it needs to be.

I don't mind it being frustrating, as long as I have some guide of some sort. If I could get a clean windows iso that will actually not give me "Installation media is missing required drivers" errors, this would be something I'd keep till this summer when I take the online Linux course.

Found a working .iso, I'm fine till summer guys.

Lol, alright.  When you're ready, if you want to dive in, Arch is a good choice.  It's very modular.  You only install what you want to install.  It's solid, relatively stable and lightweight (which is why I've got it running on my old amd 939 based server right now).  It's also a rolling release, so updates come often (this is both a plus and a minus, for obvious reasons).  It's quite a bit more in-depth than most distros, but it's very logical and deceptively simple once you get the basics down.

As for a guide, these should help:



As far as Mint goes, if you don't want Ubuntu, you don't want Mint.  From what I know, (I've never used it personally), It's basically a slightly more user friendly, but ultimately less flexible version of Ubuntu.  If you want user friendly but also want to learn, I'd stick with Ubuntu.  It's less tied down and would be a better introduction to linux than Mint.

Thanks! I know arch is really fun from all of the feedback about it, so it, and Sabayon are on my "to do" list.

And my PC is fairly beefy, I just upgraded from a 3570K to the FX8350

(for VMs and general stronger multi-tasking, and yes I was hitting a wall of unusable at times with the 3570K, I run a lot of things all the time. IRC, Foobar with mods, DisplayFusion, Rainmeter, Mumble, TeamSpeak, Chrome with 200 tabs, Skype, a few others and I want to also have stronger streaming performance. alot of small things do add up pretty quickly with the limited threads on the 3570K)

I want to move to Linux with minimal Windows use (mainly for program support) because I'm sick of having operating systems holding my hand or restricting things that I can do. Notably Windows being a nice medium, but it's still way too hand-holdy

I run an Arch/Ubuntu dual-boot. I use Arch to full-fill my open source curiosities, and Ubuntu for all things proprietary Linux. You'll likely have a hard time setting up Arch Linux, simply because you misunderstand certain parts of the wiki at first, at least that was how I was in the beginning, but it is quite an enjoyable experience tailoring your OS to your exact needs. 

I've played with a lot of linux distributions...mostly ubuntu...but also fedora, debian, mandrake and some others...

I say once you learn some of the basics, you can jump around at any time with only a slight learning curve...with exceptions...

Arch isn't what I would consider a "beginner" distro...ubuntu and fedora are a bit more friendly...thats all I'll say...

  • If you are good at problem solving, I would actually recommend giving either Arch or Gentoo a go first. The reason I say this is because you will learn the most with these distros compared to using a pre-configured distro.
  • However, you must come in with an attitude of expecting a lot of problems before you get something nice. Use the installation process more of a learning experience than trying to get a practical operating system.
  • When you go back to Debian, Fedora, etc you will understand concepts like partitioning, filesystems, compilation (if you use Gentoo), chrooting, kernel, network, system tools, bootloader and the desktop environment (if you got that far).
  • All this said, if you really struggle with solving computer problems, then it is more beneficial to start with something simpler and then move up. But if you're looking for a rewarding project, Arch or Gentoo are the way to go.

I suppose I am just strange, I started asking "how to" questions and got thrown into Backtrack (KDE) which was Ubuntu. However I think Kali is based on Debian. I hope to try it out soon, I have not used Debian.

I think you should install Ubuntu or Debian until you get a feel for Linux and then you should install Gentoo.

I'm gonna throw Mint out there until you get a "feel" for Linux, depending which build you get it can be based straight off Debian or a forked Ubuntu, plus no spyware ;)