10 Jan 2006 leio   » (Journeyer)

User-friendly GNU/Linux distributions exist?

I've always in the past year told to my friends, that Linux being hard is just a myth, and there are easy for beginners distributions out there, like Fedora core, Ubuntu, Mandrive, suse, and so on. Lately I've been suggesting Ubuntu based on the hype to friends that I certainly can't classify as complete dumb-users, but quite knowledgeable people with computers - but not GNU/Linux.

Results:

One could install Ubuntu and talk with me over MSN, only to let out the frustration about it: estonian keyboard layout didn't work despite best efforts in configuring it in the keyboard preferences of GNOME; could after long messing around get just one program to work with mp3's (I hope Fluendo's recent MP3 plugin for gst will have a remedy there); NTFS partitions were inaccessible; videos didn't work (codecs likely).

So him I walked through editing xorg.conf to get a more permanent solution than setxkbcomp after each reboot. I also instructed him to edit /etc/fstab accordingly - turnt out it did have the mountpoints in /media, but only accessible to root. After failing with a proper umask, a uid option did the trick in /etc/fstab. No way he could have figured that out by himself without looking hours for the answer. To be honest, I don't know if there is a GUI front-end to fstab in Ubuntu, but it certainly wasn't findable for him. Video playing support is postponed right now.

Update: He got videos to work after messing on his own for a couple hours (extra repositories, and so on).

Another one tried Ubuntu too. Result: reboots during installation process, leading to nowhere near of getting the thing even installed.

In the first half of last year I suggested Fedora to another friend. He could get it installed, but to get it close to usable to his needs, I had to hack on the system myself for quite many hours, after he failed in a couple days of trying.

So, what distribution ought I suggest for my friends who want to get away from the (to me) inferior OS?

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