Which version of Linux is best for me? :/

Hi and sorry for what i imagine is a very typical question to be asked on here but im hoping someone can help!

I’ve been using windows 7 for some time now as a pc gamer but have decided i dont care about pc gaming anymore. I did breifly run ubuntu on a laptop in the past, probably for a couple weeks because the linux thing has always appealed to me. That is my only experience with it though.

My main use for a computer is music and video editing/production (which may involve using wine to run windows programs but im hoping to fully avoid using ms software if possible). Im good with computers and fix/build them for a living, but this is with windows based systems. Im only an end user at the end of the day and i dont know much about programing. Out of the many options it looks like the main ones are Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint, just through their popularity. I really dont know whats best for me though. Also i plan on running linux on a laptop rather than a desktop pc if that makes any difference. What do you guys think would be best for me?

Thanks so much :slight_smile:

I’d say go for Ubuntu, or Mint main edition (as it’s based on Ubuntu), if for no other reason than you’ll find help easier to come by.

My main use for a computer is music and video editing/production

You might want to look at Ubuntu Studio:

But there is nothing in Ubuntu Studio that you can’t add to ‘vanilla’ Ubuntu.

Mint is basically Ubuntu with a few extra codecs and stuff installed by default, though they can easily be added in Ubuntu.

You’d probably be best served by Ubuntu Studio 10.10 for your quoted uses… Ubuntu Studio is Ubuntu with software included that’s more tuned to Multimedia editing/production… ‘vanilla’ Ubuntu is more general purpose… but you can add/remove whatever you want in either… it’s just a different default software selection.

But the choice is yours.

Thanks for the great advice. That studio version does seem like a good choice and id never heard of it before! I’m thinking i’ll probably go for that one at the moment, very excited about using linux as my main os :slight_smile:

Oh, one more thought has just crossed my mind. I haven’t yet bought myself a laptop for running linux on. Are there any processors or motherboards, anything like that, which i will have trouble running linux on? I’m probably going to buy something like an old g3 macbook as i know linux doesnt need a lot of rescources to run, but i cant be sure what i’ll end up getting as it just depends on what is the best thing i can buy on my budget. Anything people would recommend, or not recommend? Thanks.

If you’re looking at a Macbook… see here:

for info on how well Ubuntu works with different Macbook models hardware.

Any particular reason you want a Macbook ?

I’m no expert on Mac specs, but didn’t the earlier Macbooks have a limited amount of RAM ? … IMHO you want at least 1GB for a full GNOME or KDE desktop… though it WILL run in much less, it will be much slower as a result… or you could run a lighter desktop, but then may run into other issues such as ease of setup and/or lack of support.

I personally wouldn’t bother with overpriced Mac hardware unless there was an overriding reason to… you’ll get much better spec for your money if you go for a standard laptop… even if I really wanted OS X (which I don’t :wink: ), I’d still either get a laptop that is known to work well as a “hackintosh”, and/or get a laptop with a Core 2 Duo (or i3 etc.) and run OS X in a virtual machine (VM), from what I gather you need hardware VM acceleration for OS X to run in a VM which is why the Core 2 Duo (probably work with any CPU that supports Hardware accelerated virtualization, but I’m not 100% sure).

Ubuntu/Ubuntu Studio (full GNOME desktop) might not be as light on system resources as you think, and more specifically with your stated uses of Audio/Video editing/production, you’re going to want the highest spec you can get for your money.

‘Specific’ laptop hardware, particularly when second hand is a bit difficult to recommend in ‘general’ terms…
An example…
‘Normally’ the rule-of-thumb is to go for something with an NVIDIA graphics chip, but then when talking about second hand, you might end up with one of the NVIDIA chips that were known to fail which you don’t need if it’s “integrated” onto the motherboard.
and many more articles all over the web at the time.
(I personally have seen MANY dead laptops because of failed NVIDIA chips from this period, and am still pissed at NVIDIA for this debacle, and the subsequent cover up)

All I can suggest is do your homework, and do a search for known issues with any laptop model before buying, or ask in this forum when you can be more specific about the make/model/hardware.

That said, Linux can be made to run on just about anything… just a matter of how much work is involved in getting all the hardware to work (such as integrated wireless, webcams, daft Apple extra keys etc.), and how fast it will run (obviously resource dependant) :wink:

Thanks for another great reply :slight_smile: The sole reason i was thinking of getting a macbook was because of the build quality of their laptops, but as you said, i know you get lower spec for the money with them. its just that a lot of other laptops ive seen have been pretty cheaply made… again it was just a thought, knowing me i will most likely just end up getting the highest spec for my money but also taking into consideration the brands of the hardware. i was going to aim for something with an nvidia graphics card as ive never been to keen on the onboard intel ones and others i have used before. i will have to have a proper look through what you’ve linked me though to help me out with what i end up buying. As i said though, great info and very much appreciated!! once i get to grips with linux im sure i’ll be on here giving other people support to so i can return the favour to the community :slight_smile:

If I were to recommend some laptop models / CPU’s etc then I would definitely have a look at a ASUS motherboard which can take AMD 3+ Socket CPU’s. Personally I’d recommend the AMD Phenom II Black Series processor for your multi-media needs. I’d suggest you take a look at getting a NVidia Ge-Force 9500 GS graphics card for the laptop as well. However like Mark’s said, you’ll have to be careful when choosing a laptop model. Some of them have integrated CPU’s & Graphics chips, and don’t allow for PCI components to be fitted. I’d recommend you look at Acer laptop models, personally Aspire 7000 series.


I think that spec is gonna be out of my budget. I can only spend about £200… If integrated graphics are a thing to avoid though i shall take that into consideration but not sure im gonna be able to get anything else on my budget :confused: thanks for the advice though :slight_smile:

Integrated graphics chips are fine, just read those links first… and be aware of the problem with SOME nVidia chips from that period.

Sony laptops (though more expensive than most… at least new) usually use decent components including Japanese capacitors on the mobo (rather than cheap Chinese or Korean)… as do ASUS lappies (well at least the ones I’ve taken apart)… don’t read too much into “taken apart”, it was just for thing like cleaning the heatsink or replacing a fan etc.

But nothing is better than Google for working out which laptops have issues :wink:

Does it need to be a Laptop (ie. portable) ?

Yeah i will check out the links in greater detail when i come to buying the laptop :slight_smile: I do need a laptop though yeah, Ive built plenty of desktop computers in my time and am very comfortable doing so, i just dont know quite as much about laptops. I actually broke down and sold my gaming pc not so long ago with the intent to buy a laptop so i can just take it with me wherever i go and make music on it. its basically going to be a portable studio for me more than anything else!