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I think i want to try linux out

  1. Oct 26, 2007 #1
    So after punching my computer and sending it to the repair place, i figure they will have to reformat it. im thinking about doing a double OS (forgot what the term is) with Win XP Media Center edition and some distro of linux. i have a couple of questions though.

    1. Which linux should i use? im going to be doing a lot of video editing and using progs llike MATLAB and solidworks. i assume those 2 progs wont work on it. anyways, im new to linux.

    2. can i somehow network the linux computer to my other windows xp PC's so i can share files?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2007 #2


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    Dual boot.
  4. Oct 26, 2007 #3
    Ubuntu was what was recommended to me first, and that's what I've been using for nearly a year. Doesn't give me problem...of course, my computer's hardware is neither new nor very old (okay, there might be a few tech-junkies out there who may not agree with that. :tongue2:), so everything seems to go smoothly, except for a few problems with display every now and then. (I'm sure it's the 6yo graphics card.)

    Of course which distro (short for '(Linux) distribution') you should use depends on what you want to use it for. According to the http://www.mathworks.com/products/availability/Linux_x86.html [Broken], the program should work in the Linux environment.

    This is a pretty useful site for you to look through the list of various distros available.

    Ubuntu (and a few other distros) provides what is known as a LiveCD. You can actually preview what you'll be installing. Download and burn the .iso file onto a CD or DVD, and restart the comp and boot from the CD/DVD, and you'll have a working desktop, but nothing would have been installed in your computer. If you like, you can proceed to install the whole thing later.

    Also you should take some care while trying to dual boot (install two different OS's) in the computer. http://users.bigpond.net.au/hermanzone/

    Once you have a linux desktop running, you can download the guides to learn the basics of Linux and shell scriptshere.

    I'm not sure but, I think you should be able to do that. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  5. Oct 26, 2007 #4
    thanks for the replies. well i have used knoppix live cd before, and about 4 years ago i installed red hat and windows 2000 on one computer. despite all that, i have used linux in total for about 5 hrs lol its a relief to see that matlab works though

    ill check out Ubuntu once i get my comp back and see what its about :)
  6. Oct 26, 2007 #5


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    Yeah, Matlab works in pretty much whatever linux distro better than in win (imho of course :tongue2: ) . The live cds/dvds are a good idea to start and ubuntu spreading as it is getting 'support' and finding answers is relatively easy. I think it's probably easiest to build a dual-boot system by first installing XP and leaving a free partition for installing linux, the after have gotten XP in there installing linux and a linux distro like ubuntu will take care of installing the boot loader after which the dual-boot system is complete (doing it this way around is I think the easiest way around)(a number of guides exist online how to do this, actually many are mentioned in various posts around Pf).

    Linux has a working ntfs-3g driver which enables you to mount ntfs partitions which is the typical filesystem of win boxes. With full read & write abilities. Of course you can set up a samba server pretty easily on some computer which creates a network share you can access from both win & linux which makes living with both OSs really easy.

    Once you get going with linux and play around for a while a neat way of getting really multiple OSs (if feel like it) is to get acquainted with virtualization, can install multiple OSs on top of one OS (for example)(I for one have my old win2003 server "running virtual" within my RH EL, but I don't have the system anymore on a separate disk/partition other than as a big image file of it. +A number of linux variants for testing platforms etc.).
  7. Oct 26, 2007 #6


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    1. I haven't had any problems with the linux version of Matlab. Solidworks works by installing the windows version using an API called wine and running it using the same API.

    I've always been a fan of slackware and rpm based distors. So I would recommend that you try the very lite Zenwalk (slackware based).

    2. It is fairly easy to share files between a networked linux and windows machines:
    The above is the command line version. If you dont like it, use a GUI frontend like fusesmbtool.
    It would be good if you have a separate fat32 partition to share files between your networked linux and windows box. Dont trust the linux ntfs driver!

    Oh, if you're doing a dual boot. Install your windows OS first. It just makes things simpiler.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2007
  8. Oct 26, 2007 #7
    lol that was when i had to recover my data this summer! thanks
  9. Oct 27, 2007 #8
    Here is another question. say i use one of those distros you guys suggested, what happens when they come out with a new version? will i have to reformat again to use it, or would it just update without loss of data?
  10. Oct 27, 2007 #9
    With Ubuntu, you either do an upgrade via the internet, or download the new version's ALTERNATE CD(basically it's a non-GUI install CD, which does a few other things, as well.) Insert the CD while you're still working in Ubuntu, and assuming that you have installed all the updates, you can start the upgrade process immediately. It took me just under a couple of hours for the whole thing to get over and restart the system. (Feisty->Gutsy)

    Also, they have LTS version (Long Term Support), which is supported for a longer period than other versions. This is for those who don't require bleeding-edge apps.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2007
  11. Oct 27, 2007 #10


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    Solidworks working under wine? Haven't tried since was sure it wouldn't, but will try now (using native pro/e usually). What you've got against the ntfs driver? I've thought the latest versions are 'pretty solid' and are included e.g. in ubuntu distros (not quite sure if already in latest or next upcoming ones).
  12. Oct 27, 2007 #11
    ntfs-3g is included in Gutsy (current version).
  13. Oct 27, 2007 #12
  14. Oct 27, 2007 #13


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    I only made a quick glance at the wine apps database. Looks like theres varied levels of success depending on which version you're using. I myself have never tried it.

    I would only use the ntfs driver to read from ntfs partitions, not write to them. If you look http://www.ntfs-3g.org/quality.html [Broken], you'll see claims and testimonials praising the stability of the current stable release.
    If you look at the ntfs-3g forums, you'll see the problems that people are having. For now I'll keep all data to be shared on a fat32 partition/drive. I cannot run the risk of my data being accidentally overwritten; not written at all; or having the ntfs filesystem not recognized by windows.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  15. Oct 27, 2007 #14
    yep, Ubuntu is my favorite distribution..

    the most distinguishing feature among distributions is the package handling mechanism:

    *the Debian based distributions (Ubuntu is one of them) use .deb packages, and apt-get - i find it very easy to install and manage my installed programs with apt-get (or synaptic - the GUI frontend of apt-get).
    *the redhat based distributions use RPM packages, there are several tools for RPM packages - yum, Yast, urpmi, smart and now apt-get can handle them too... i don't know how using this packaging system is right now, but two years ago when i used it with SUSE it was quite annoying... i had to look across the net to find the right version of everything so that my new program would install...
    *the slackware based distributions don't have a package manager - they just decompress a tar.gz file which contain the source, and type ./configure, make and make install to install their packages - it takes some time to compile these packages and it fails more then never.
    *the Gentoo based distributions use emerge, it also compiles the packages, but it's more sophisticated then slackware.

    these are the major package handling mechanisms in linux distributions as far as i know.

    it's nice to try many distribution and compare them to each other - if you have the time...
    I recommend Ubuntu, but have a look here and see their recommendation.

    as for matlab - i use ipython with scipy and pylab - you should check it out... it covers all my matlab needs.
  16. Oct 27, 2007 #15


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    This is incorrect. Well at least the way the comment was phrased. There is a package management system. Slackware and slackware derived systems use the native .tgz file (slackware package). You can install, upgrade, remove, etc such files like you would on a rpm or dep distro. using tools such as installpkg, removepkg, etc (lookup pkgtools). There is also something similar to apt-get, yum, and the like. Its called netpkg. I believe that slapt-get is also similar. Its not always ./configure, make, make install :wink:
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2007
  17. Oct 27, 2007 #16
    i stand corrected.
    do these pkgtools solve dependencies?
  18. Oct 27, 2007 #17


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    Well if I were to install a slackware package using installpkg, it would not do any dependency checking. You are left to resolve deps on your own. This is because these packages where not designed to be dependency aware. However, if I were to use a networked based tool such as netpkg to install a slack package, it would do dependency checking and fetch those deps if needed.
  19. Oct 27, 2007 #18
    hmm the ones that came up for me were kubuntu, mandriva, ubuntu, opensuse. im not gonna lie, you guys have me sold on unbuntu for right now. i cant wait til i get my computer (i hope they reformatted it so i dont have to worry about trying to save some old files lol) and get to try it out :)

    now only question for myself is how should i split the HD :p
  20. Oct 27, 2007 #19


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    I doubt you'd want to use the command line (fdisk or cfdisk). You can use tools such as partition magic. But I've heard that people hold gparted in high regards. You can google for a suitable tutorial on using this tool. I believe that ubuntu uses gparted so maybe you can make your life miserable by partitioning from the ubuntu liveCD.
  21. Oct 27, 2007 #20
    oops, i meant, the ratio, should it be 50/50? that sounds good right now.
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