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Old 07-27-2003, 06:15 AM   #1
Foxy
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Talking 100% Linux n00b with a ton of Linux questions


Hey,

I have never used Linux, and have never seen it, and so I have a ton of questions which need answering.

Thing is, I would like to try Linux in the future. I have heard that it is fast, stable and less prone to viruses and the like because it doesn't stupidly run everything it receives like stupid Windoze. I would like to try it for 3 main purposes:

1) I have an old computer that I use for backing up files, and for playing old Windows and some DOS games that my main system objects to. It is also useful for doing stuff on should my main PC be busy/not working. Linux might be good for it as a second OS as its filing system is a lot better, so I hear.

2) I am gradually building a website with MySQL and PHP. I want it to be hosted on Linux eventually its far superior to Microsoft's pathetic efforts at a decent hosting OS. So, I need a Linux testbed. it would be good to put Linux, MySQL, PHP and the website files on the other computer, and be able to access it via my main Windows 98 computer like accessing a website.

3) I want to investigate hosting Codename Eagle on Linux (its a Windows based game).

4) In the future I might want to start using Linux for more stuff, (TCPA and Palladium, argh!!!...) so I need to know more about it.

Some more general info:
I have a 10/100 Ethernet LAN conncting the two computers.

So, my questions:

1) The look of Linux.
Does it have a WIMP GUI? Or is it console based? Does it look horrendous like DOS based programs? (I started using computers with Windows 3.1, and avoid using DOS as much as possible as it looks revolting and is nasty to use. I have had to start form scratch with it about 3 times though before installing Windoze.)

2) Can I transfer files from my Windows computer to a computer with Linux running succesfully and easily? I would like to code on my Windows machine, and save the files to the other computer running Linux).

3) Can I use ISDN on Linux (I have a BT Speedway adapter).

4) How fast does Linux generally load?

5) How easy is it to install Linux succesfully on a PC with just Windows 98 on it, and 1 partition? (With Windows still being the standard OS). How would I switch between them?

6) Which is the best distro to use?

7) How big a download are distros?

8) What are KDE and GNOME???

9) Will Windows object to having Linux on the computer or vice versa?

10) What kind of Linux alternatives for the following programs are available?

Pegasus Mail
GetRight
MSN Messenger
mIRC
Winamp

(I know Opera 7 has a Linux version, hooray!)

Is there an office suite that is as good as MS Office on Linux?

11) Is there a decent firewall and virus scanning suite available for Linux?

12) Running Windows games on Linux is a no-no I guess?

13) How good is hardware support on Linux?

14) Does Linux object to USB peripherals?

15) Have I forgotten any questions?

Last edited by Foxy; 07-27-2003 at 06:19 AM.
 
Old 07-27-2003, 06:38 AM   #2
acid_kewpie
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You'd do well to go and use http://google.com/linux or a similar search engine. you have asked an awful lot of extremely basic questions, which you could find the answer yourself in seconds... e.g.

http://www.google.com/linux?hl=en&lr...=Google+Search
http://www.google.com/linux?hl=en&lr...=Google+Search
 
Old 07-27-2003, 06:54 AM   #3
MasterC
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Let me do my best to field those in order, I usually go in reverse, but we'll try standard 1-15:

1.Linux has a gui, much like the gui in windoze only it's MUCH more versatile and has quite a bit more functionality to it. It's not so wrapped up in the OS that it's required to function though, on the other hand is works great with many system tools so you don't ever have to see a command line (for most users anyway ).

2. Yes, there is something called SAMBA which is basically networking between a windoze and linux setup on 2 seperate computers. There's TONS of information on setting that up.

3. Honestly I don't know. I'd be willing to bet my new laptop that it does work with ISDN though, it's rather the hardware that is the question...

4. Depends on the services you have starting at bootup and what distro you choose. Some of the longer ones I've seen will take over 10 minutes to boot successfully, and some of the shorter ones I've ran are less than 10 seconds.

5. Depends again on the distro. Most of the modern distros will easily pick up that you have 98 on there and do it's best not to mess with it. For ease of use though, I suggest using linux's boot loader and booting into either linux or windoze with that as it will be much less work (since most of the modern distros will set this up by default anyway). Switching between them is done at boot time.

6. That's a flame war waiting to happen. Search the site for "Best distribution" or something similar. For newbies I recommend looking at the very least, at least 3 distros, you choose which 3. After you've given them each a try for at least a week a piece, decide which one works better for your needs.

7. They can rangle from 1 floppy (1.44mb) to a full set of 7 discs (Debian Woody full download version). You can also purchase boxed copies of these from the distro's themselves which will include support as well as usually a manual and some stickers You can also find some on Ebay occasionally for a decent price or check around the boards for various questions on where to get them from, some people have found stores that offer 7 disc download sets for 4 bux plus shipping.

8. These are the graphical environments (rather known as desktop environments) that are usually considered the "big 2" in linux. It's the gui you were asking about earlier. KDE is sometimes considered to be closer to a windoze type look than Gnome, but both are VERY versatile, and very in depth. Much more than explorer.exe in windoze. There are others as well, but KDE and Gnome come on nearly every distro as I said, because these are like "The big 2".

9. Yes and no. Windoze will not recognize the drive at all once it's formatted for linux (there are some exceptions but those are not the rule ). Linux has no problem with windoze or where it's installed to. However windoze MUST be (or believe it's) installed on the Primary Master drive on the first partition. Linux doesn't care and even easily reads and writes to fat32 partitions and reads NTFS just fine.

10. Some of the members on this site point towards another site that will list ALL KINDS of replacements for applications in windoze. However, for general purposes, here's an idea for those above:
* Pegasus Mail (assuming you mean the client not the server, it's been a while since I've used that): Kmail or sylpheed (almost all linux (open source) applications can be found at www.freshmeat.net if that helps)
* GetRight: Probably Prozilla or wget. You can also look at things like Downloader4x, or d4x
* MSN Messenger: Gaim BY FAR THE BEST (bring it on anyone! )
* mIRC: A lot! X Chat to name 1 of literally a thousand
* Winamp: XMMS

11. Linux IS a decent firewall Nearly all distros come with a built in firewall called IPTables. There are graphical front ends to this, the first one to come to mind is firestarter. Virus scanning is also available, look at the first thread in the Security section of this site to find A LOT of information regarding this question.

12. Well, it's coming around. www.transgaming.com and www.winehq.org are probably 2 of the biggest projects related to that.

13. Depends on the hardware! Great for all my stuff

14. No, my USB Memory Stick reader was picked right up and worked without any work (on my first distro Mandrake ). However some people will surely say that USB sucks in linux. It's not always a hit and miss thing either, sometimes it works no problem, other times you have to tinker a bit. Other times it flat out doesn't work. Again though, I've had great luck with this area as well.

15. Oh yeah, tons! That's what we are here for, but you'll get em when you start using it, and then you can come back and ask away (after a search of course ).

Welcome to LQ

Cool
 
Old 07-27-2003, 06:56 AM   #4
miknight
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Linux is very customizable, way beyond what you are imagining now. You can't ask questions like "How fast does Linux generally load?" or "Does Linux have a GUI or is it console based?".

I found that I had to unlearn a lot of what I had learned coming from a Windows background myself. Windows is a very integrated suite of software. In a way, Linux and Windows are not talking about the same type of thing. Windows is an OS 'suite' while Linux is really just a kernel (if you don't know what the word kernel means, please find out, it's very important).

If we take 'Linux' to mean the Linux kernel and the GNU tools and other such software and conventions, then:

Does Linux have a console? - For all intents and purposes, yes. The console is usually call bash (Bourne Again SHell) but you can use other 'consoles', even at the same time.

Does Linux have a GUI? - Yes it can if you put one on (or choose a distro that puts one (or some) on). But a 'GUI' is broken up into many independent pieces of software too: an X server, a window manager and sometimes a desktop environment (a D.E. is what Gnome and KDE are, they run on top of X along side a window manager). It would probably help to google some of these terms.

Can you transfer files to Windows machines? - Yes, you just have to get the software (Samba would be your best bet, most distros have it).

How big a download are distros? - Anywhere from a few MB to 10+ CD's worth (that gives you an idea how customizable Linux is)

I've played a bit of Codename but I never knew there was a Linux server available for it....

You can use ISDN on Linux although I have no experience in this area.

How fast does Linux load? - You could probably get it down to a few seconds if that was your sole goal. Realistically it's similar-ish to Windows.

"Will Windows object to having Linux on the computer or vice versa?" - You mean on the LAN or on the computer at the same time? Either way both answers are 'no'.

Pegasus Mail - Mozilla Mail, Sylpheed, Ximian Evolution
GetRight - d4x (Downloader for X), Prozilla
MSN Messenger - GAIM, amsn (Al's Messenger)
mIRC - bitchX, ChatZilla
Winamp - XMMS

But there are many more, these are just the ones that popped into my head.

There are virus scanners for Linux, although haven't tried many. Also Linux is the firewall king so you will have no trouble there (some Linux distros are meant to only be firewall's such as IPCop and I think ClarkConnect).

Generally you can't run Windows games on Linux however some games have Linux versions, such as Quake 3 or UT2003. Otherwise you can try your luck with Wine (software which provides Windows-like libraries enabling you to run some Windows software - http://winehq.com).

How good is hardware support on Linux? - Pretty good, not as good as Windows admittedly, but that's mostly because the people who make the hardware only provide Windows and maybe Mac drivers. There are champion Linux hackers out there who manage to write drivers for a lot of the stuff, but obviously they can't do everything. Unless you have some really exotic hardware you should definitely be OK.

Does Linux object to USB peripherals? - No, it all works.

"Have I forgotten any questions?" - You have a long road ahead of you. If you really have the motivation to 'learn Linux' then you should make it. Consider each problem you come across as a challenge and use the internet (read: Google) and forums like these (in that order) to help yourself. Then you will find true freedom

Good luck!
 
Old 07-27-2003, 07:50 AM   #5
scott_R
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Okay, acid's got the best suggestion, because your questions are pretty basic, but to save you (and others) some time, I'll give a few brief answers, mostly because I've been there.

1) Depends on how old the system is, and how much you expect from it. From experience, 233 or better with at least 128Meg ram is probably the minimum for modern distros, and like any other minimum, probably not the best way to experience linux.

2)no problem, as long as you don't mind taking the time to learn a little.

3) I don't know that game, but if it requires windows specific things (directx from the server), sorry. Not linux's fault, but playstation games don't work on a Xbox, either.

4) I know what ya mean.

---------

1) Yes and no. You can do almost everything from a GUI nowadays, and most of them work like Windows. On the other hand, having a basic grasp of the command line can be really helpful. One thing to remember is that Linux's command line isn't as crippled as MS has made DOS since windows came out. (And DOS wasn't that great to begin with.)

2) You'll need to learn how to use samba, which allows windows and linux to talk together. That said, you'll probably find programming easier and more flexible on linux over time, and might find yourself programming in linux, then porting your stuff to windows.

3) Probably. ISP's won't help you with support, but sites like this can usually step you through the process, and there's lots of documentation online about linux.

4) Depends what you have installed. For a basic, windows type system (no frills), linux seems to load a lot faster than windows. On the other hand, if you load it down with all sorts of server programs and so on, it will naturally slow it down a little. In my experience, Linux seems to feel faster when it loads, even with tons of stuff loading at boot.

5) That's pretty much the easiest install. Defrag your drive, boot the linux distro, resize your windows partition, create space for linux, install a bootloader to switch between the two. Most distros are pro's at doing this, and as long as you read the instructions, it's a peice of cake. It can be little nerve wracking at first, mostly because of the scary looking warnings that pop up for your benefit.

6) It's a matter of opinion, and you're likely to play with a couple different onces at first, depending on your personal tastes. For a newbie, you should stick with one of the major ones, Redhat, SuSE, or Mandrake. Other distros like debian and gentoo can be tough to cope with for someone with no linux or UNIX experience.

7) Huge. If you're not on a broadband connection, your best bet is probably to find a site that will ship disks to you for a couple bucks. Or have a friend do it. Or get a linux book that includes them. Or fork out the cash, and enjoy the support that comes with a full version. Typically you can get the official distro for thirty dollars, or the "pro" version for $70. (US dollars) Full distros are usually 3 or more cd's, and over a dialup, it would take far too long and be too much of a hassle to download. Usually the first disk is the vital one, then the rest are packed with all sorts of software and maybe a disk or two of source code.

8) Desktops. Think of them as what you see with windows. They include "extra" software like editors, simple games, and other stuff to make your experience more enjoyable. Which one you choose isn't really that important, as they both tend to work the same, but everyone has their personal favorite.

9) No, but the bean counters at MS probably won't like it much.

10) The amount of software available for linux will astound you. While you may not find exactly the same program, you'll probably be more satisfied with what Linux has to offer. A lot of great linux software is yours to use freely, unlike the limited time demos and adware that seems prevalant in windows. As far as office suites go, most people don't use enough features to miss MS Office. Openoffice is good, and it's available for windows too, so you can run it on both types of systems.

11) Yes and no. Firewalling comes with most distros, and there is virus software, but it's not as polished (as far as gui interface) as Windows stuff. Still, not having VB, activeX, and windows macros viruses haunting you helps cut your risks as well.

12) Depends on the game. More publishers are beginning to offer ways to run windows games, but this is still a weakness for Linux. There are various independant projects for some games as well, although they are in various stages depending on the game.

13) better than ever. Unless you're using really old (pentium I or older) hardware, or really obscure stuff, linux will probably support it just fine. You might have to do a little work installing software for your 3d graphics card, but it depends on the distro/card. Most hardware works just fine.

14) See above. Some USB hardware can be a little more troublesome, but there is also lots of help out there to guide you through it if you ask nice. Most stuff, camera's mice, keyboards, work pretty well, though.

15) Yes, one. How much effort does it take to learn/use linux? The answer depends on you. If you're inquisitive enough to type out all those questions, you probably have the patience/willingness to learn linux. Keep in mind, though, that linux isn't windows. It's not that linux is harder, it's just that learning anything new takes a little effort on your part, and there will be times when you'll want to throw in the towel. The same holds true whether you're going from windows to linux, or a mac, or vice versa. If you don't give it an honest effort and aren't willing to ask for help, you'll probably give up on it for a while.

I'm not saying that to scare you away, but I just think it's better that you approach linux like you approached computers the first time. In some ways, you'll find yourself having to unlearn some of the assumptions about computing that windows has given you. Eventually, you'll be so amazed at what linux offers, that you'll wonder why people still use Windows.
 
Old 07-27-2003, 08:40 AM   #6
Foxy
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Wow, thanks for the promt, informative replies!!!

I do know how to use Google (no other search engine cuts it) but anything I've read about Linux just confused me. I needed an entry point with some nice, simple explanations, which you kindly provided

Just out of interest, how risky is installing a distro with the accompanying messing about with partitions? I don't really want to lose any data if possible.

Codename Eagle is Windows only, but hosting it on Windows is a pain! There are very few servers left these days, so being able to get it running on Linux via an emulator would be mega helpful. All attempts so far have failed.

Last edited by Foxy; 07-27-2003 at 08:48 AM.
 
Old 07-27-2003, 08:43 AM   #7
MasterC
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Most of your modern distros don't have problems resizing partitions during the install. I've seen it go both ways, but for the most part, no problems.

You are of course ALWAYS suggested to backup important data before doing anything (I think even before installing software in windoze right?) so if you going to be putting an entire OS and resizing partitions, that's probably a good idea then too

Cool
 
Old 07-27-2003, 12:07 PM   #8
Foxy
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Quote:
SuSE Linux for i386
SuSE Linux for PPC
Uh? What? What do those terms mean?

I think I'm going to try Mandrake, SuSE and Redhat. Thing is, I'll have to try and get them mailed - even one iso is far too much to download on ISDN 64K

Hm, Mandrake and SuSE are 50 each. That is far too much just to try them out. Do you know of any reputable and secure UK sites that will send the CDs for 'a few bucks' (or a few quid )?

Last edited by Foxy; 07-27-2003 at 01:03 PM.
 
Old 07-27-2003, 02:09 PM   #9
Skyline
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Hi Foxy

There's a site affiliated with Distrowatch in my signature at the bottom - just click on the link and it will take you to distrowatch

The affiliated site is called ;

Yourlinux.com

I've used it before with no problems

3 cd sets for both Mandrake 9.1 and Red Hat 9 are 6

You can get Slackware 9 for 2

Last edited by Skyline; 07-27-2003 at 02:11 PM.
 
Old 07-27-2003, 10:20 PM   #10
miknight
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Quote:
Originally posted by Foxy
[B]Uh? What? What do those terms mean?
i386 basically means the Intel 32-bit platform. So you want this version if you have an Intel or Intel compatible CPU (all of AMD's stuff and those new VIA ones).

PPC is the PowerPC platform, which alot of Macs run on, like the G4's for example.


For a basic entry point into Linux you could probably a "Linux from a Windows user's perspective"-type site. If you have a good bookshop you might be able to buy a nice book on it too (although try and get one that uses the same distro as what you plan to use).
 
Old 07-27-2003, 11:14 PM   #11
chiatello
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Quote:
Originally posted by Foxy
Wow, thanks for the promt, informative replies!!!

I do know how to use Google (no other search engine cuts it) but anything I've read about Linux just confused me. I needed an entry point with some nice, simple explanations, which you kindly provided

Just out of interest, how risky is installing a distro with the accompanying messing about with partitions? I don't really want to lose any data if possible.

Codename Eagle is Windows only, but hosting it on Windows is a pain! There are very few servers left these days, so being able to get it running on Linux via an emulator would be mega helpful. All attempts so far have failed.

therse virtually no risk, if you know what your doing and understand it


but then again, no one knows what theyre doing lol


so id backup all extremely importatn data, then do it



i dont htink this is answering one of your questions but


this is what i did


i instaslled mandrake 9.1 with almost every single application
i got used to the appliations, i got used to the command console (granted with all those programs it was very slow)


then a week later im on gentoo right now
and i only installed certain applications
the +'s about gentoo is that it is very, very speedy its gotta be the fastest distro, and it has ebuilds


on gentoo, you modify certain configuration files, to make it speedier for your cpu

then everything is compiled from source code
so it takes a while to compile, but ONCE you get it set up its well worth it imo


to get a program lets say KDE in gentoo

all you do is type

emerge kde, it downloads the program and installs it with no input from you

its really that cool


debian also has something similar, but it isnot source based

Last edited by chiatello; 07-27-2003 at 11:18 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2003, 06:04 AM   #12
Foxy
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Quote:
There's a site affiliated with Distrowatch in my signature at the bottom - just click on the link and it will take you to distrowatch

The affiliated site is called ;

Yourlinux.com

I've used it before with no problems

3 cd sets for both Mandrake 9.1 and Red Hat 9 are 6

You can get Slackware 9 for 2
Cool! That sounds good to me.

I could only find the SuSE 'Live-evaluation' version that runs directly from the CD on there though. Can you install SuSE from this CD or not?
 
Old 07-28-2003, 06:15 AM   #13
MasterC
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Not

SuSE pretty much only allows ISO download from their 3rd newest release (I think that would be 7.3?) but they do allow FTP install which isn't too bad if you can find a fast server (64K ISDN, I don't know...). Some sites will offer the FTP version as well, you might have to hunt around for that though.

Might I suggest:
http://www.yourlinux.com/product_inf...a9ff115d79783a



Cool
 
Old 07-28-2003, 08:33 AM   #14
davholla
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'Hm, Mandrake and SuSE are 50 each. That is far too much just to try them out. Do you know of any reputable and secure UK sites that will send the CDs for 'a few bucks' (or a few quid )?'

Go to WHSmiths you should be able to find a magazine that comes with a free distro.
 
Old 07-28-2003, 10:24 AM   #15
Foxy
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*crosses out 'SuSE' on his ''Distributions to try' list*

Oh yeah, this is one question I thought of. I'll try to explain what I mean with my limited knowledge of networking within Windoze. In Windoze, I have to run a firewall that 'hides' all the ports on my computer from the internet, and blocks anybody trying to access my computer through those ports. (So to a hacker it is as if my computer doesn't exist.) The firewall only allows programs I have "ok'd" to send and receive data over the internet. You said that distros kind of have firewalls built in, but how do they work? Do they not open any ports except ones that are used by programs? (So ports are effectively closed by default, rather than open by default in Windoze?).

Last edited by Foxy; 07-28-2003 at 10:26 AM.
 
  


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