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Need help choosing a distro


I am not new to computers and windows, but I am new to Linux. I am planning on starting a non-profit within this year. What my organization will do is not important for this post, but if you are interested go to our website http://avoidd.org/

Obviously given the economic climate most people think I'm nuts for wanting to start a non-profit at this time, but I never did say I was sane. I have been told by several people in government and other organizations that when I start this it will probably get big fast. With that said my reason for this post is pure economics. I have several computers P3 and up that I will use when I start the organization.

I have tested a couple of distros in Virtualbox and have found that Ubuntu was by far the easiest to get up and running. It was the easiest for accessing shared windows printers and folders, however I do not like the fact that any user can install, remove programs, and install or remove hardware. I know that this next question is very subjective but I will ask anyway.

Can anyone recommend a Linux distro that is simple to install, and simple for people familiar with windows to use? Is very simple to configure to access windows shares. A distro that I will not have to constantly maintain and monitor, but one that requires root control to change anything.

Any input will be very appreciated.



  • MikeEnIke
    MikeEnIke Posts: 88
    I don't know the best distro for what you need, and I'm sure some people on here will be in to offer some helpful advice, but I just wanted to note that when you create users you can create users that need root authorization to do much of anything but use the desktop. Ubuntu should even ask for root authorization for program/hardware installation. To edit those settings, go into the control center and go into edit users, where you can adjust their permissions.
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    If you like the feel of ubuntu then you can modify it to exactly fix your needs.

    You can modify the menus in gnome to hide the software center option to keep users from thingking they can install software.
    If a user is not part of the sudo group then they cannot access administrative functions without knowing the root password, so the control is in place.

    As for setting up windows shared, you can easily add entries to the fstab file to automount windows/samba shared directories when the computer starts up.

    As for emulating the appearance and feel of windows you can modify the gnome appearance to look and feel more like windows. Or if you are seeking a more familiar interaction then you might want to consider trying out opensuse or mandriva, both are using the KDE windows manger which is very similar to windows and they are geared more toward enterprise use so they should have many tools to simplify your administration.
  • MikeEnIke
    MikeEnIke Posts: 88
    I have to add a quick note about Linux Mint. It's based off of ubuntu 9.10, but it's a little bit more windows friendly with a bottom menu bar. It's great if you really like ubuntu. I'm a KDE fan myself despite mint using gnome though.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    First, not just anyone can install or remove programs or hardware in Ubuntu. When you install Ubuntu, the first user account created (you) is granted sudo (admin) privileges. Other users you create are not so enabled, unless you add them to the sudoers list.

    So, for ease-of-use and general hardware support, you really can't go wrong with Ubuntu. I run Ubuntu on my laptops, but I run CentOS (community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux) on my workstation. Ubuntu is a lot better in supporting wireless and other such hardware like web cameras than RHEL/CentOS. I don't need that on my workstation, but I do on the laptops, hence the different systems.


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