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I am hoping to see, get an inkling of an idea of how people choose their distro of choice and how much of a role the install media plays in that decision.
Please feel free to elaborate on how the install medium affects your decisions in this area.
Always a live cd. Want to see if it will work on my system and get a feel of the distro before I install.
Of course I like to check a distro with a live cd but if one is not available I will stall install a distro to check it out. And must say some of the distros I hold in high regard didnt have live cd versions.
Live CD's have their purpose (testing hardware compatibility, fixing partitions, retrieving files, etc.) but they are a pretty poor choice to actually test a distro (way too slow, plus adding/updating/modifying packages can be problematic).
I find to actually test a distro, it's better to install it in a VM. Although there is still a performance hit, it's tiny compared to the LiveCD version, plus you have the full distro (in all it's glory or shame) to play with - all without effecting your primary OS or data.
To test (boot it to see if hardware is recognized, if the artwork is appealing, application selection, etc) a distro to which is unknown to me I prefer the LiveCD.
However if I've already used the distro I prefer the install CD. These are faster, more straight to the point especially when text based.
In fact to actually install the distro I prefer a simple text based install CD has I tend to hate 'point and click' and the keyboard feels much faster to me.
And please regardless of the format always but always place documentation on the media and alert the user of it. And I don't mean stupid help stuff, please go for full fledged documentation like Gentoo's Handbook or Arch documentation with both distros being examples on how to place useful documentation on the install media.
As a side note I love Debian' text mode installer. FreeBSD's text mode installer is also very good as it explains each option in a very clean fashion.
I like the USB flashdrive for installs.
Starting with Kubuntu Intrepid Ibex, a Live CD on a USB drive is a simple matter (see Pendrivelinux.com).
Of course, this wasn't one of your poll options.
I have now installed Kubuntu Intrepid Ibex on two laptops from a USB flashdrive. (I also use the flashdrive as a "Live CD").
It's way nice!
Now that Ubuntu includes a graphical "usb-creator" utility right on the live CD, it's very easy, and also includes the option of having a persistent overlay, so changes are kept...for the most part.
(If you've previously run another distro off your USB key - like Slax - that uses syslinux to boot, you may have to repartition your USB stick and set the boot flag before running usb-creator for it to work properly.)
Ubuntu doesn't seem to like my nvidia card very well, though.
When I run Ubuntu from the live CD, X only comes up with a resolution of 800x600 on my 1280x1024 monitor. On closer inspection, /etc/X11/xorg.conf was practically empty. Running "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg" only took me through keyboard selection and quit. Cute. I mounted my openSUSE partition, copied an xorg.conf file over (one using the free "nv" driver), did a Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to restart X, and was in business at 1280x1024.
When running from the USB key, Ubuntu backs up the known-good xorg.conf file and writes its own nearly empty xorg.conf - the one that only gets me 800x600 resolution. (Fortunately, it does back up the good one, which you can then restore.)
You can install the proprietary nvidia driver when running Ubuntu from a USB stick - you just have to restore the known-good xorg.conf file, load the nvidia driver ("modprobe nvidia"), and then restart GNOME, every time you use it.
Please don't degenerate the thread into a another "Ubuntu this Ubuntu that" thread.
Almost every distro these days offer a USB image along with instructions on how to use it. Some offer it officially, others the community offers the USB image.
USB images offer a big advantage: no need to burn CDs or DVDs. And with the price of todays flashdrives falling and the storage increasing...
Also, if using CD or DVD images people should use CDRW or DVDRW as to not increase our individual and collective carbon footprints.
Personally, I find drooling unoobtu fanboys way less annoying then vacuous tree huggers that can't do simple math or physics (excess CD/DVD usage is item 419,342 down on the list of crap that might make a tiny insignificant change in the overall worldwide global warming problem).
Dude what's wrong with using rewritable media? Are you allergic to it?
If it has a slight chance of helping out fixing the global warming problem and saving some money over burning tons of CDs just to try a distro for 30 minutes why not?
"fixing the global warming problem"
There is no conclusive evidence that there is a global warming problem. Scientists to this day are still debating the concept. So to use a possibly false argument as a basis for technological behavior is rather unreasonable.
There are several other good reasons one could give in promotion of conservation of resources. The theory of global warming isn't one of them.
Also, being a Linux tech site, it really is a misplaced discussion.
"scientists to this day are still debating the concept"
Take a look here for some numbers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
Of course we can all bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is ok.
And yes it's a very misplaced discussion.
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