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Thread: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Question Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    I've only ever used Linux on a VBox on my native Windows 7 PC. I used Ubuntu distribution there, for about 50 hours or so. Still, very much a beginner.

    Soon I'll begin a grad school program in mathematics. Many classes will use programming, particularly in C++ (but also many other languages).

    I'll get a laptop with Ubuntu on it. I'll use it almost exclusively for programming and taking notes during class.

    So, I want the best environment for programming. Basically, I want something that's very efficient, and low latency. Is the desktop even important in that regard? Or, is a desktop mostly for aesthetics? I apologize for my ignorance.

    Besides aesthetics, and window/program management, what is the important of choosing a particular desktop?

    I'd also be particularly enthusiastic to use a desktop that professionals may use most often. Is there any sort of favored environment for professional developers using LINUX?

    Or perhaps, as a develop, should I be considering using another distro altogether?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    When choosing a "Desktop Environment [DE]", the most important consideration, IMO, is your machine's specifications; especially, RAM, Graphics and CPU. Some DEs need more system resources than others. For instance, Gnome-Shell, Unity, Cinnamon and KDE utilize more system resources while others need a lot less resources like, XFCE, LXDE etc. Then there are "Window Managers [WM]" like OpenBox, Enlightenment, etc which run perfectly well with low resource computers.

    The second consideration will be your aesthetic taste, and the third will be your definition of 'ease of use'. The second and third depend purely on your personal choice.

    If you are going to get a new laptop with reasonable resources than the first consideration will not matter much. However if you use an 'old' or low resource machine like any low-cost Netbooks, then the first consideration will come into the picture big time.

    The choice of DE's and WM's will not matter when it comes to programming, there is no "programmer's special".

    Why don't you spend some time figuring out which DE/WM is best for you. Download and Try various DE/WM from LiveCD/DVD/USB and figure it out yourself.

    See the following Links for more details:
    http://distrowatch.com/
    http://www.ghacks.net/2008/12/09/get...indow-manager/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compar...p_environments

    Good Luck...
    Last edited by fantab; April 6th, 2013 at 04:16 AM.
    "Evolution is Nature's way of issuing upgrades."

  3. #3
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    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    Thank you for the detailed reply.

    The choice of DE's and WM's will not matter when it comes to programming
    I'm especially glad to hear that. My biggest concern was making sure I choose whatever is best or most commonly used by programmers.

    The machine I'm looking has the following relevant specs:

    3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor ( 2.40GHz 6MB L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )
    8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Nothing special in terms of graphics, but powerful elsewhere.

    I'm glad that I should be able to have freedom to choose something based on my aesthetic taste (I'm not very particular about that), and easy of use. So, I guess my main concern at this point would be easy of use. I'll look around and test some things.

    I'm still open to suggestions too. I'm just glad that I don't have to worry too much about making poor choices.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    I think with those specs you can put on anything your heart desires. Try Kubuntu, then Bohdi, then open SUSE, then CrunchBang, then Fedora first.

    Note: Puppy Slacko (and the whole Puppy family) can be run solely from a USB drive. Knoppix is designed to be run solely from a DVD.
    DistroWatch.com is the best source for Info on distro's.


    PS: Pick a Dual Boot install to start. Some programs only work on Windows.
    I only have a 120GB hard drive and had as many as four OS's. 45GB for Windows XP, 40GB for Super OS 11.10, a 20GB partition I used to try out different Distro's, and Puppy Slacko on a USB drive.
    Last edited by AndyOpie150; April 6th, 2013 at 05:18 AM.

  5. #5
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    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    Quote Originally Posted by ClarkH85 View Post
    Thank you for the detailed reply.



    I'm especially glad to hear that. My biggest concern was making sure I choose whatever is best or most commonly used by programmers.

    The machine I'm looking has the following relevant specs:

    3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor ( 2.40GHz 6MB L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )
    8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Nothing special in terms of graphics, but powerful elsewhere.

    I'm glad that I should be able to have freedom to choose something based on my aesthetic taste (I'm not very particular about that), and easy of use. So, I guess my main concern at this point would be easy of use. I'll look around and test some things.

    I'm still open to suggestions too. I'm just glad that I don't have to worry too much about making poor choices.

    Thanks!
    With that computer you can run almost any Desktop Environment you want. But since you're a beginner I suggest you start where everyone starts.

    DISTROHOPPING!

    Try every distro you may like. And only you can decide which one fits the bill.
    Good starting point are the ones listed in www.distrowatch.com
    The Philippine Team
    The best Ubuntu derivative: Linux Mint
    Relax. Head to the Community Cafe.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2011
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    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    Quote Originally Posted by nerdtron View Post
    With that computer you can run almost any Desktop Environment you want. But since you're a beginner I suggest you start where everyone starts.

    DISTROHOPPING!

    Try every distro you may like. And only you can decide which one fits the bill.
    Good starting point are the ones listed in www.distrowatch.com
    Actually, I really look forward to that. It seems fun to test. But, if it is anything akin to changing Windows versions, it seems like it could be a huge pain in the neck.

    One thing I've loved about LINUX so far is the ease of finding/installing/implementing software. I'm sure the laptop I buy will ship with Ubuntu. Will switching distros be as easy as it is to install other software? Or, is it more painful, like changing Windows versions?

    Do you know of any simple guides for changing distros? I've found some from a Google search, but if you have any preferred guide, I'd appreciate your suggestion. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Southwest USA
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    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    I would like to offer another opinion: use the latest Ubuntu long term support version.
    If you are in grad school you will have enough other stuff to worry about. Ubuntu is well supported and very user friendly. You won't have to worry about learning different environments. You can focus on learning the command line and your classes.

  8. #8
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    Tennessee
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    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    Pretty much any desktop environment is being used by some group of programmers. I don't think there's any sort of consensus on which is best.

    Personally I switched to Awesome window manager, which is a programmable tiling window manager. It's great for programming because it's heavily keyboard-driven and makes the most efficient use of my screen without any work on my part. I can also customize its behavior and automate a lot of things using lua, and it's very efficient.

    Not for everyone though; there's a learning curve to a desktop like that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    Ubuntu comes with many DEs. Ubuntu=UNITY (default); Xubuntu=XFCE; Lubuntu=LXDE; Kubuntu=KDE. I have Ubuntu with UNITY and CINNAMON. We can switch DE at login screen and log into whichever the 'mood' recommends.

    To Get started consider:
    *Buntu=Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu
    Fedora=Gnome-shell (Default).
    OpenSUSE=KDE (Default)
    Bodhi Linux= Enlightenment WM (Default)
    CrunchBang= Openbox WM (Default)
    Linux MINT= Cinnamon; MATE


    Note: If you want, you can install most of the DEs and WM on Ubuntu. Like I have. Gnome-Shell; Gnome-Classic etc can be installed on Ubuntu with ease.
    All are Linux. The core will be same, more or less. The best thing about *buntu is its forum support, its best IMO.

    Read HERE, and HERE to try Multiple Distros if you have a good (4-32 GB) USB Flash Drive.
    "Evolution is Nature's way of issuing upgrades."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    13
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Which desktop is right for me? And why?

    As someone who still distro-hops even after years of running Linux..I'd strongly recommend setting up /home as a seperate partition when you install the OS'es. (and, of course, don't select 'format' for that partition when installing a new distro!).
    It has really helped me.

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