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Comment: Old timer here, I hope this helps... (Score 4, Insightful) 573

by rsk (#43264253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: New To Linux; Which Distro?

I haven't posted to SD in years, but felt compelled to brush the cobwebs off and reply to your question...

1. This is a semi-religious question, so you are going to get a lot of vitriol in some of the responses; ignore it.

2. Gentoo is the "dive in the deep end, with weights tied to my feet and battle my way back to the surface" answer to your question. You build everything. You won't just learn the command line, you'll learn build tools, config scripts, environment vars, libraries, manual dependency management and more. I DO NOT think this is the right choice for you right now given how new you are to all of this. This will be the "death by a thousand paper cuts" experience that runs the risk of driving you crazy after 3 days of work and you still don't have a GUI running because of some esoteric error that you don't understand.

That said, if you insist that this is how you like to learn, go for it. The community/forums are very helpful and PACKED with information. If you do this, mentally prepare yourself for days and days of an unbootable machine. Reformatting and reinstalling over and over again. Getting a boot loader wrong, not installing Grub right, killing your install that was almost working perfectly because you changed a VGA boot option and now everything hangs... just prepare for these KINDS of things. Don't go in thinking "Awesome, I'll get this done in a day and have GNOME running" -- you won't, and if you do, something weird will break it out of no where and you won't have any idea what to do so you'll need to start over again.

I am not trying to scare you, just setting the expectation. If that sounds like heart-burn city, move onto my next suggestion.

3. Arch Linux -- You already mentioned this in your post and I just want to confirm that I believe THIS is the right choice for you. It is the perfect middle ground between Gentoo and something like Ubuntu -- you do get to know the ins and outs of the system, without the compiling/building/dependency pitfalls of Gentoo. This is an EXCELLENT place to start, get really familiar with everything and grow from (either down to Gentoo, or out of system management entirely into something like Ubuntu).

4. Ubuntu / Fedora -- Use these if you want a working computer, want to "try" Linux with a nice GUI and slowly become familiar with the underlying system through SOME GUI tools, mostly command line and have tons of support for your hardware. This is the "Mac"-esque experience you can get in Linux, in that you can live in the GUI all day if you want, but there is an underlying CLI/Unix world there under the surface if you want to mess with it.

5. Mint / SUSE / Kubuntu / Slackware / Whatever -- I have always seen these as different flavors of the same things listed above. I'd start with the primaries first and go from there.

Have fun!

Android

+ - Samsung Moves To Reduce Android Dependence->

Submitted by bonch
bonch (38532) writes "Samsung, currently the largest Android smartphone maker, is building a platform with Intel called Tizen to reduce its dependence on Google's Android operating system. Based on its custom operating system Bada, Samsung says it will ship its first Tizen-powered device this year but cautioned that it would be some time before it would become their main platform. Samsung also announced an initiative to increase smartphone battery life, with the goal of lasting a full day on one charge."
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Databases

+ - Canonical drops CouchDB from Ubuntu One->

Submitted by
rsk
rsk writes "Since the Ubuntu One desktop synchronization service was launched by Canonical it has always been powered by CouchDB, a popular document-oriented NoSQL data store with a powerful master-master replication architecture that runs in many different environments (servers, mobile devices, etc.)

John Lenton, senior engineering manager at Canonical, announced that Canonical would be moving away from CouchDB due to a few unresolvable issues Canonical ran into in production with CouchDB and the scale/requirements of the Ubuntu One service. Instead, says Lenton, Canonical will be moving to a custom data storage abstraction layer (U1DB) that is platform agnostic as well as datastore agnostic; utilizing the native datastore on the host device (e.g. SQLite, MySQL, API layers, "everything"). U1DB will be complete at some point after the 12.04 release."

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Government

+ - An End To Removing Shoes In Airports? ->

Submitted by RedEaredSlider
RedEaredSlider (1855926) writes "The ritual of shoe removal has become familiar to air travelers flying inside and out of the United States, but most people still don’t like it. It takes time to do and slows down the security line.

Matthew Staymates of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, thinks he and his colleagues might have developed a way around having every passenger remove shoes for screening. The trick is to pick up trace amounts of explosives. Staymates came up with a device that blows particles off surfaces and analyze them.

The air jets to blow the particles off the passenger’s shoe would be located in some strategic locations. One version of the device might be a kiosk-style contraption the passengers would step into (similar to the body scanners in use at many airports). The sampling system can collect particles in a few seconds."

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AMD

+ - AMD cancels 28nm APUs, starts from scratch at TSMC->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "According to multiple independent sources, AMD has canned its 28nm Brazos-based Krishna and Wichita designs that were meant to replace Ontario and Zacate in the second half of 2012. Sunnyvale will likely announce a new set of 28nm APUs at its Financial Analyst Day in February — and the new chips will be manufactured by TMSC, rather than its long-time partner GlobalFoundries. The implications and financial repercussions could be enormous. Moving 28nm APUs from GloFo to TSMC means scrapping the existing designs and laying out new parts using gate-last rather than gate-first manufacturing. AMD may try to mitigate the damage by doing a straightforward 28nm die shrink of existing Ontario/Zacate products, but that's unlikely to fend off increasing competition from Intel and ARM in the mobile space. The momentum AMD built for itself through 2011 is on the verge of stalling out — and if it doesn't field something competitive in the next 24 months, it may find itself with an x86 gulf that is simply too wide to leap."
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Idle

+ - Underground Solar Irrigator Works in Arid Climates->

Submitted by
greenrainbow
greenrainbow writes "This solar and wind powered underground irrigator gathers the tiny water droplets present in the air of even the driest climates, condenses them, and funnels them through natural air flow into underground irrigation systems. This technology could make drought-ridden land fertile again."
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Cloud

+ - AWS ELB Sends 2 Million Netflix API reqs to wrong ->

Submitted by rsk
rsk (119464) writes "Amazon Web Services's Elastic Load Balancer is a dynamic load-balancer managed by Amazon. Load balancers regularly swapped around with each other which can lead to surprising results; like getting millions of requests meant for a different AWS customer. Using ELBs can result in AWS unintentionally introducing a man-in-the-middle (attack) into your application environment. Most AWS users do not realize this can happen and have not secured against it."
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Australia

+ - Worlds Safest Airline Grounded->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Australia's national airline QANTAS, famous for never having had a fatal crash, has been grounded immeditaley by management. The grounding is in response to ingoing industrial action by employees and has stranded passengers all over the world, with 108 planes grounded indefinitely.
The Australian Government is seeking an urgent industrial relations hearing in a likely bid to suspend the industrial action and halt further damage to the Australian economy.
This is occurring as Australia hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth with 15 world leaders in attendance and the Queen."

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+ - Anonymous takes on a Mexican drug cartel-> 1

Submitted by NarcoTraficante
NarcoTraficante (512390) writes "After one of their members was kidnapped in Veracruz, Mexico by the Zetas drug cartel, Mexican Anonymous members have issued an ultimatum to the Zetas in a recently posted YouTube video (Spanish). The video demands release of the kidnapped member and threatens to publish information of cartel members and affiliates in Veracruz if the victim is not released by November 5. The Houston Chronicle article warns that there will be bloodshed if Anonymous publishes information on the Zeta's operations, either perpetrated by rival cartels or reprisal attacks by the Zetas themselves."
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Crime

+ - Weaponizable Police UAV Now Operational in Texas-> 2

Submitted by crackspackle
crackspackle (759472) writes "The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in suburban Houston, Texas is preparing to launch operations with a newly received Vanguard Defense Industries Shadowhawk MK-III unmanned aerial vehicle, paid for by grant money received by the Department of Homeland Security. The MK-III is a product marketed for both military and law enforcement applications. Michael Buscher, chief executive officer of manufacturer Vanguard Defense Industries, said this is the first local law enforcement agency to buy one of his units. "The aircraft has the capability to have a number of different systems on board. Mostly, for law enforcement, we focus on what we call less lethal systems," he said, including Tazers that can send a jolt to a criminal on the ground or a gun that fires bean bags known as a "stun baton.You have a stun baton where you can actually engage somebody at altitude with the aircraft. A stun baton would essentially disable a suspect," he said. "To be in on the ground floor of this is pretty exciting for us here in Montgomery County," Sheriff Tommy Gage said. The MK-III also has more lethal options available, capable of carrying either a 40mm or 37mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun with laser designator. Sheriff Gage has stated he has no immediate plans to outfit his drone with weapons."
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First Person Shooters (Games)

+ - Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards, Ben->

Submitted by wesbascas
wesbascas (2475022) writes "Have you ever wanted to play a new PC game, but weren't sure where your PC falls between the minimum and recommended system requirements? I don't have a whole lot of time to game these days and with new hardware perpetually coming out and component vendors often tweaking their model numbering schemes, knowing exactly what kind of experience I'm buying for $60 can be difficult. Luckily, somebody benchmarked Battlefield 3's campaign on a wide range of hardware configurations and detail settings. If you've purchased a system in the past few years you should be in luck. The video cards tested start with the AMD Radeon HD 4670 and Nvidia GeForce 8500 GT, and go up to the brand new Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 590. I hate it that my aging Radeon HD 4870 isn't going to cut it at 1080p, but am glad that I found out BEFORE buying the game. I suppose it's time for an upgrade anyway, there's no way I'm missing this title."
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Science

+ - NASA explains sea level drop->

Submitted by
riverat1
riverat1 writes "In 2010 sea level dropped 6 mm (nearly 1/4 inch). An August 23, 2011 update from NASA's Sea Level Sentinels explains the shift from El Nino to La Nina in early 2010 led to changes in rainfall worldwide that produced massive flooding in places such as Australia and the northern Amazon basin. Data from the GRACE satellites shows that the missing water has piled up on the continents. But the drop won't last, water flows downhill and will eventually find its way back to the sea."
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Android

+ - Security Vulnerabilities on HTC Android Devices->

Submitted by
revjtanton
revjtanton writes "In recent updates to some of its devices, HTC introduces a suite of logging tools that collected information. Lots of information. LOTS. Whatever the reason was, whether for better understanding problems on users' devices, easier remote analysis, corporate evilness — it doesn't matter."
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Serving coffee on aircraft causes turbulence.

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