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Choosing a Linux Distribution


After much thought and research, I have decided to install Linux on my laptop. I have a Dell Inspiron E1505 (Intel T2300 @ 1.66GHz, 1 GB of RAM, 30 GB Hard Drive, and 500 GB External Hard Drive).

The only thing stopping me at the moment is which distro to choose. I have narrowed it down to three: Ubuntu 11, Linux Mint 12 (as they are both popular and newbie friendly), and Xubuntu 11 (a light-weight alternative for my elderly machine).

I would like to give all three a test-drive before settling on just one and am considering installing all three on my machine in separate partitions on the internal 30GB hard drive. All my media (Photos, Music, Documents, etc) are on my external hard drive, so they won’t be affected by the partitioning.

From the minimum space requirements I’ve found online, Ubuntu needs 15GB, Linux Mint 10GB and Xubuntu 5 GB. They all have a partition sizing program so I should be able to set up the partitions just like that regardless of the order I install them, although I plan on installing them in that order.

After a month or so (or earlier maybe), I’ll decide on which distro I like/works best for me, go back and expand its partition accordingly. I don’t foresee needing two or more distros installed on my machine, but I also don’t want to spend three months installing/uninstalling operating systems.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on my plan? Is there anything I’m overlooking here? Any words or wisdom from more knowledgeable persons than my self are welcome.



  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    You can also give them a test drive by downloading the Live CD's or a version of the ISO that will load on a usb stick and run them live from the CD or USB stick before you decide which distro to install. The only downside would be that the Live CD's/usb's will run slower, so, you should take that into account.

    Ubuntu is the heaviest of the three you've chosen, I myself would go with Linux Mint. Since you are going to use the whole hard disk there's really no problem doing the install, and, in fact, installing another of your choices, if you don't like the first one you've installed. But, installing all three at the same time, in order to test them, is not something a new user should be doing, even the most experienced of us have problems with dual and triple booting.

    As I said earlier, install one, play with it, and, if you don't like it, install the next, and then try that one out. It's easy to do fresh installs using the whole hard disk, it's a problem trying to dual and triple boot.

    If you need help while doing your testing, just come back to the forum and ask.


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