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Thread: Looking for a new linux distro

  1. #1

    Default Looking for a new linux distro

    For the last 6 months, I've been on Ubuntu for my main Linux system. Now ubuntu's great and all, but it has some weaknesses. The repos suck big time (I've had to manually install some software to get the latest versions), and at least for me, the graphics card drivers need some work.

    So, I'm looking for a new distro. I have a few discs of older versions of other distros at home (as included with the Linux Bible 2008), but apart from Ubuntu/Kubuntu, they all lack drivers for one of these two:

    • My Graphics Card (ATI Radeon HD 3650 laptop version)
    • My Wireless Network Card (Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g)

    Which leads to no GUI, or no internet, which isn't good enough. I'm hoping the newer versions have the nessecary drivers, but I can't download them all to try out as my internet connection sucks.

    Also, even Ubuntu can't use my card reader (the Ricoh model included in Dell Studio 17 laptops), so I don't need the distro to have it, but it is nice

    So what I'm looking for is a distro with:
    • Good repos with a wide range of packages that are updated to new versions when the new one comes out (as opposed to Ubuntu's only security updates between releases).
    • Good number of drivers.
    • A LiveCD

    Before Ubuntu, I had used PCLinuxOS on my old PC, but even the latest version of that lacks the drivers for my wireless network card.

  2. #2


    The new Fedora is due out soon. That is DEFINITELY worth a try! I plan on going over from Ubuntu myself (and I've been using Ubuntu exclusively since the 7.04 days!)

    Really, Fedora is a great system. It's different from Debian based distros, it's based on Red Hat (IIRC) so the terminal is a tad different as well as the package manager.

  3. #3


    If you can live without a Live CD and are willing to put up some effort up front into reading documentation and setting up your system, Arch linux's rolling release means you always have the latests software. The wiki also has very detailed instructions for most wireless and video cards.

  4. #4


    In my experience, ATI and Linux don't mix, period. I had an ATI Radeon and I tried... and tried... and tried to make it work, but those catalyst drivers just suck. I ended up getting a Nvidia GPU and had no driver problems at all.

    As far as the network card, can't tell you much on that.

  5. #5


    Well, ATI drivers are getting better. Latest release even works with the current kernel without patches.
    And the current build of the open ones delivered 2D and xvideo recently

    I'm using Archlinux myself. Not the easiest distro available - but a simple one if you want to understand the system. You shouldnt be afraid of terminal usage. Documententation is quite good and its very customizable. Plus it doesnt come with those main version bumps.

    Fedora seems ok, they make lots of core development and their releases are up to date. You need to use third party mirrors for all software, especially closed drivers, then its fine.

  6. #6


    With Ubuntu, nearly every single NIC I've come across has worked straight out of the box (minus certain PCI WLAN cards). Broadcom support is awesome though, my 1390 Broadcom chip from a Dell machine works great with full WPA/WEP support out of the box.

  7. #7


    I like openSuSE, which is the free version of SuSE Linux, a product of Novell...

    Check out for info.

  8. #8


    @mm3: Long time =) I've used Ubuntu since the 5.04 days off and on =).

    I agree, Fedora is a nice system, used it back in the Core 2 or 3 days in high school for classes I took. I still love Arch Linux though, it's just so awesome. I use it because I really didn't have the time to sit and watch Gentoo compile everything lol.

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