nelz wrote:While a fast computer is handy, but by no means essential. I don't understand why you feel broadband is needed. Why does downloading the source require so much more bandwidth than downloading pre-compiled binaries?
However, I wouldn't recommend Gentoo for someone new to Linux.
Surely generally speaking the source code is much larger than the binaries, because by definition it includes loads of code to cover different platforms, loads of white space, its not compiled, it has all options/features available instead of a binary which may be stripped down.
eg Abiword source = 27MB, installed binary package = 4MB
Having said that, in some cases the binaries themselves are larger than the source, because they compile in libraries from other packages installed on the system at compile time, this is sometimes then packaged as a whole package.
But most of the software I've installed, the source was larger than the resulting binary package.
Agreed that Gentoo is perhaps not the best distro to start with, as you don't really learn a huge amount about linux (depends if thats important to you I suppose), but also the resulting speed increase is negligible. From my own patience point of view, the time taken to setup, while interesting, was just annoying after a few hours. If you don't have >=2.6GHZ and >=512MB RAM dont bother..... IMHO
I started using Suse 7.0,found it confusing, when things broke, the graphical system control screens, in my mind, didn't lend themselves to problem solving as it made me think "the answer must be here, why is it broken, whats going on". I was also confused by the number of packages for one application, eg 12 for QT.
I used Slackware which I felt made me look at the config files, have a bit more understanding of what was going on, and single package for applications made installing new software seem easier, keeping a system up to date seemed easier.
So I would say Slackware is quite good for newbs, at least I used to, now Im not so sure, not because Slackware is difficult, it isn't, but because maybe big distros like Suse have improved to the point where things dont break every five minutes, so you don't need to know whats going on, the gui tools provided are good enough for most situations.
For new users, I would recommend Ubuntu, Suse and Slackware..... but of course, grabbing as many live cd's as possible can quickly weed out any distros which a user might find grabs their attention immediately or put them off straight away. Saves a lot of installing and then wiping an hour later.