Newbie wants to use Linux

  1. I’ve been a Windows user ever since I started using a computer, but of late I’ve been curious to know how it feels to use Linux. Though I’m interested in tech-topics, I’m nowhere near being a computer-wiz. I’ve been reading some material on the net about installing and using Linux. I gather that I need to partition the hard drive for a dual boot system. I’ve never done this before, so I will need help. Before I proceed further, here’s some info about my comp :

    Windows XP Pro SP2
    Intel p4 1.7Ghz
    256MB RAM (it’s listed as 224)
    ~60GB Hard disk space (It was just a few months ago that 40GB were added and I have two drives completely empty totalling to ~ 37-38GB. Actually, one has a 78 MB file, but I can shift that elsewhere. Although it each is supposed to be 20, it’s listed as a GB or so less.)

    Almost every application that I use is free and/or open source, or requires a Windows emulator, except the media players, so I will not face the problem of finding alternatives. I must also mention that my copy of Windows is not legal (and I don’t have the CD either). That’s one reason that I want to try out Linux.

    Seeing that there are many here who use Linux, I’d like some advice on which “distro” to use – I’m just your average computer user; I don’t do any programming (I may do simple stuff in the future, but nothing now), don’t host websites or anything of that sort. I would prefer to download a copy of Linux off the internet.

    So what precautions do I take before I start, and would you at all recommend Linux to someone like me?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Well, if you want to avoid partitioning, as it is your first time using Linux and you may or may not like it - I would suggest either ordering a LiveCD (it's free, you don't even pay shipping and handling for many distros) or burning the distro to a CD. The latter would give you the same result, albeit much quicker if you have the capabilites to burn something to a CD.

    Ubuntu has generally emerged as a good choice for first time Windows-to-Linux switchers, although many other distros will suffice. Google around and read descriptions of certian distros and pick the one of your choice.

    https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ - Link for having a Ubuntu LiveCD shipped to your door absolutely free.

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download - As long as you have the ability to burn CD's on your computer you can do it this way so you can avoid the 4-6 week wait for the shipping option.

    The main reason I linked to Ubuntu is solely because I was doing some Ubuntu-related, I would recommend reading descriptions of many distros to see which one you feel would fit you best.

    If you don't want to wait for the shipping and don't have the ability to burn it to a CD, I could probably help you with partitioning, although Google (or others on the forum) will provide an answer much quicker as I won't be around for a few days after today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2006
  4. I like Mandriva http://www.mandriva.com/download just because it's so easy to get up and running right out of the box. I have a apache/tomcat server running on mine at home and it was fairly simple to deploy. I don't do anything major on it but play around. It is also RPM based so installing new software isn't too bad either.
     
  5. Thanks a lot for the suggestions and links, guys. I have a CD burner, so I think downloading will be the better option. I think I'll spend a day or two checking out the various distros available.
     
  6. OK. You can separate usually into two categories; advanced and beginner distros..

    Advanced distros include Gentoo (gentoo.org), Debian(debian.net) and Slackware(slackware.com)..

    Popular beginner distros include Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora..

    I would choose Ubuntu, and then when you are ready change to Gentoo.
     
  7. Agreed.

    Although, I do personally love Fedora Core 5 as a beginner distro. Mandriva is great as well.
     
  8. eh, ive got something against gentoo, it's a system who's purpose in life is to be the bleeding edge - meaning constantly upgrade.
    while this would'nt be such a big problem with other distros, who use normal package management (like apt or even RPM), gentoo insists on compiling the package... so 90% of the time the computer is working on it's operating system's compilation....

    and i don't think you gain much from choosing your own flags, and compiling yourself...


    for beginners, and for those who don't want to costumize every bit of their computer - ubuntu is fine.
    if you got too much spare time, and a fast processor with nothing to throw at, gentoo is the choice for you.
    debian has nice text tools for costumizing and it uses apt - so installing apps is fast and easy (i preffer apt over RPM, though the last time i used RPM was in 2003, so it might have improved).
    and i hear slack is not bad for costumizing either...

    back on topic:
    i'd suggest a distro which uses gnome for a windows user.
    it has one good app for every need (unlike KDE, which has atleast ten apps with slightly different options),
    it's less confusing.
    (and it crashes less in my opinion)

    you could also try xfce, it runs faster, and it looks nice...
    and enlightenment is shaping quite nicely... there's a script that builds the CVS (when it isn't broken), i could find it for you if you wish.

    just remember - don't be afraid to break things... you learn from your mistakes more then from the things you do right. (and it'll be smart to back-up everything before you go and break it :biggrin: )
     
  9. chroot

    chroot 10,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet... but you should first, before you do anything else, download a copy of the Knoppix LiveCD. It's a Linux distribution that runs off a CD, and requires no installation at all.

    This way, you can play with Linux a bit and learn some of its features without having to actually go through the effort of modifying your hard drive.

    - Warren
     
  10. well, actually, GlounZ already said it:
    but he suggested he'd use ubuntu and not knoppix.
    ubuntu 6.06 is a liveCD that can be installed to the HD, but can be explored with no installation.

    there are several other distros with liveCDs, ive tried only knoppix and ubuntu so far, and i like ubuntu better... but thats just me.
     
  11. It's good that you brought these up...

    I was going through the articles on Ubuntu and came across the different versions, K/X/Ed-ubuntu. I was wondering if there are any differences between Ubuntu and Kubuntu. Is it just the looks (of which I prefer Kubuntu's), or something more?

    Yes, backing up files is important, but even in the case of using a LiveCD? I hope the chances of losing Windows files are very less.

    Some more questions...

    INTERNET: Can I use the internet from a LiveCD? I may need to configure the modem.

    If I can, then there's no need for this question, but I'll ask anyway : If I'm not able to connect to the internet, I need to download the Linux versions of the apps. (through Windows) and store it on a CD. But then how do I
    go about installing them on Linux (I have just one CD drive)?

    And if I get to install them, will one CD (700MB) hold all the stuff. If I'm not mistaken, the Ubuntu file was about 650MB.
     
  12. Regular Ubuntu uses GNOME by default, and Kubuntu uses KDE. The desktops don't just look different, they also behave a bit differently (though you can use the same apps under either).

    Yes, you can use the internet from the live Ubuntu CD, but I have no idea how it handles modems, I haven't used one in years. That was always painful in Linux, and if it's not a real hardware modem, but a winmodem (very likely, I'm afraid), forget it. (I assume we're talking about a telephone modem; a cable modem should not need configuring).
     
  13. you should be able to connect to the internet with a livecd - and if you can't theres a good chance you won't be able with the installed version.

    if its a modem which connects to an ethernet card, or usb, most chances are it'll work.
    but if its a pci modem, most chances are it won't....

    anyway, you should make sure you know exactly how you connect to the net - you may need to create a dialer, there are scripts that would make it easy.

    linux can read/write on fat32 (win 9x drives) and read NTFS (NT file system, used in winXP) though writing on it gets better, and in the near future most distros would do it out of the box).

    so you don't have to burn the apps you download, just save them on the windows hard drive, and get them from there once you are running the livecd.


    as for KDE, gnome, xfce etc.
    i like gnome the most, but thats a matter of taste, try as many alternatives as you can (for more then a week, so you'd be comfortable with it, and know lots of features) - and decide for yourself.

    oh, and don't worry, using livecd is pretty safe, you won't destroy you win files.
    what i said is a general advice on computer using =)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2006
  14. Very helpful stuff. Thanks. I had to add an ethernet card before I could install the modem (btw, it says ADSL MODEM on it), so if what you're saying is correct, I shouldn't be having probs connecting to the 'net.

    I've been reading some reviews of the latest update, which, incidentally, was released yesterday, and everyone had only good things to say about Ubuntu. I think I'll download Kubuntu tonight.

    Thanks again for the help, everyone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2006
  15. ive just ordered a live CD, after curing a registry bug of windows by using it, lol that was a good day. i cant wait to use it, it seems so good
     
  16. With a DSL modem it should connect to the Internet with no problems at all.

    Also, the only difference is between Ubuntu and Kubuntu is the former uses the GNOME interface, and the latter uses the KDE interface. Pick depending on your personal preference.

    A LiveCD shouldn't effect your Windows installation in any way.
     
  17. oh but it did, i asure you, afterwards it workd fine, after trying to fix it with the install disk, it crashed again and again, so i tried the live disk and it worked after restarting into windos
     
  18. Hey, I'm back!

    I have successfully downloaded the iso file, burned it to a CD, and run a few sessions of Kubuntu (it took some googling to find out what it means to "boot from the CD" :redface: ). It does take quite some time to load. Some of the apps. open very quickly, while the Open Office Word Processor was slow. It will definitely take me a few weeks to get familiar with all the programs that are available, but mostly everything is intuitive.

    Regarding internet, I checked the Network Settings, and my ethernet card was detected, my IP was there, and everything was enabled; but I couldn't access any site (Though I have a connection that is technically broadband, I have to go through a dial-up process (In Windows), but it takes less than a second to connect). There has been some problems on the ISP's side today. So, I'll try to get online once more from Kubuntu.

    P.S. Kit kreally kbugs kme kthat kthey khave kto khave ka K kin kthe kname kof kevery kapplication. :grumpy:
     
  19. openoffice is slow anyway
     
  20. Haven't used it before.
     
  21. you probably use PPPoE (Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet) to connect, its the standard in DSL and ADSL connections...

    just look for a PPPoE dialer.

    oh, about the slowness... it gets much faster if you install it on your HD.
     
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