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Old 05-27-2007, 05:27 PM   #1
cmik
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Registered: May 2007
Location: Oregon, US
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installing linux on pre-existing vista machine


Hello all.

I have recently acquired a new Dell E521 desktop with an athlon processor, 1 GB and vista premium installed. I have experienced some control issues with this new OS. They are: administrator privileges for installing or uninstalling software, buggy installs when i do install, and, in a vague sense (admittedly) a lack of being able to control tasks the system is performing when I'm active and inactive. Even sleep mode doesn't work... This new OS seems to have mind of it's own... As a result I am considering installing a linux distro, as my desire is to have a streamlined OS that i have more control over and still do my normal tasks (word processing, web, music library, photo editing, system maintenance and tweaking..) I have been browsing for basic information and known concerns with a linux install and would like basic advice on what I've gathered and whether this is advisable. I don't even consider myself to be an intermediate user so an "out of the box" install might be appropriate but i am willing to do some learning to achieve my goal. There are some technical issues I have identified that I will need to address if I move in this direction. They are: hardware compatibility and the issues with partitioning my current hard drive. On this last issue, I have 2 options as i see it: partition my single drive and then install linux or get another hard drive and install linux on this. This seems to be the better option but I'd like any advice on what I can do to solve my general disenchantment with vista. Maybe I just need to spend more time figuring out how to deal with it!! Much thanks in advance....hope this a worthy inquiry..

cheers
cmik
 
Old 05-27-2007, 06:36 PM   #2
pusrob
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Hello cmik!
Well, I have a distribution suggestion for you. It is Mepis Linux 6.5.02. This distro is a very good distro for those who just want to use the system, and don't want to deal with too much configurations. It has an excellent hardware detection. It is a live CD (it means it can be run from the CD), so the installation to your harddrive will be very simple, because it has a very nice, easy-to-use and fast installer. The installer can be started when you boot up from CD. On the desktop you will find the installer shortcut icon. Through the installer (separately too) you can start gparted, a very powerful partitioner. With that you won't have partitioning problems. Now it can detect Vista properly, so you will be able to boot Vista if you want. I suggest you to visit mepis' homepage for more information: http://www.mepis.org/ Especially check out mepis manual http://www.mepis.org/files/MEPIS User Guide.pdf, and there pages 59-61. Anyway, this manual is a really helpful manual for Mepis. I Hope I helped.

Last edited by pusrob; 05-27-2007 at 07:02 PM.
 
Old 05-27-2007, 07:21 PM   #3
2damncommon
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Quote:
installing linux on pre-existing vista machine
This is a good place to start. I find it difficult to install Linux on a machine that does not exist.
Quote:
I have experienced some control issues with this new OS. They are: administrator privileges for installing or uninstalling software, buggy installs when i do install, and, in a vague sense (admittedly) a lack of being able to control tasks the system is performing when I'm active and inactive. Even sleep mode doesn't work... This new OS seems to have mind of it's own... As a result I am considering installing a linux distro, as my desire is to have a streamlined OS that i have more control over and still do my normal tasks (word processing, web, music library, photo editing, system maintenance and tweaking..)
First things first then. If you have not seen it before, check out the Linux is not Windows site.
There is no way I am going to try to talk you out of trying Linux. But be aware that you will need to do some learning with Linux (hence the "Linux is not Windows" site).
I don't know how much research you have done on the issue of software compatibility between XP and Vista but the short story is don't count on it. You will want to wait for Vista ready apps, install in compatibility mode if it works, or find replacement applications as needed.

If you are able to purchase and install a second hard drive that is your best option. Installing to the current hard drive would involve resizing the Windows partition then installing Linux.

Before you do anything you may wish to try a couple of the Linux live CDs. They can be run from CD without installing them. They are a bit sluggish since they use only your RAM and the CD drive but they are great to check things out.

I will mention Ubuntu first since it is popular and easy. The CD is both a live CD and an install CD.
Knoppix is great and actually has a live DVD, lots of stuff to take a look at.

I will go with the advice to take a look at the Distrowatch top 10 when considering what to install.

Good Luck

Last edited by 2damncommon; 05-27-2007 at 07:23 PM.
 
Old 05-28-2007, 07:08 AM   #4
pusrob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2damncommon
First things first then. If you have not seen it before, check out the Linux is not Windows site.
I read this article and I really liked it. I think everybody, who thinks to switch from win to Linux or are complaining about Linux, should read this. Thanks for linking it.
 
Old 05-28-2007, 01:16 PM   #5
cmik
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food for thought


Thanks for the great advice, (humor) and info. The links have been informative. I will most likely get a separate drive when I decide to do a permanent install. In the meantime, the live CDs will be a great way to decide what's best...
Question: When I acquire the 2nd drive will I want to look into linux compatibility?
Concern: In reading some ubuntu reviews I came across comments about this distro not being so concerned about keeping 'in sync' with debian. Might this make one have a tendency to be dependent on a single source? How important is the synchronization of distros when it comes to hardware and software drivers?

thanks again
 
Old 05-28-2007, 02:14 PM   #6
lleb
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yes Vista is NOT ready for the public. it should not of been released for at least an other year. sadly MS has to make its money. oh well sorry you are being sacked with the POC that Vista is.

http://www.sabayonlinux.org

go there download the DVD. it is a liveDVD that means you can put it in your computer, boot from it and NOT install anything on your Vista hard drive. This will allow you to TEST the hardware before you do anything.

you will know if your video, sound, and network are all working BEFORE you install.

do you have a need to keep Vista running? what program and what kind of photo editing do you do? if it is just fun stuff then:

http://www.gimp.org/

The Gimp is a very powerful FREE graphic editing tool that is almost as nice as photoshop.

If you can live without Vista then just install Sabayon Linux over the top of Vista and never deal with Vista again.

If you have to keep Vista a 2nd HDD will be the easier way to get things up and running, but the Sabayon Installer has a partition tool to resize Vista to a much smaller partition and make enough room to install Sabayon at the same time.

FYI all of that is done while you are LIVE off of the DVD. very powerful tool.

best of luck and welcome to the Linux world. FYI Sabayon is 100% out of the box friendly.
 
Old 05-28-2007, 02:41 PM   #7
cmik
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GIS in linux

lleb asked --> "do you have a need to keep Vista running?"

..funny you ask. I had thought that running GIS apps would necessitate the need to keep vista but, after doing some research, I have found that the open source community has created quite a bit of GIS apps so I may be pursuing these options as well. It's awesome to see a real shift towards the "free world" despite other less admirable developments going on...
thanks for the added distro.

cheers
 
Old 05-29-2007, 07:03 PM   #8
2damncommon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmik
Question: When I acquire the 2nd drive will I want to look into linux compatibility?
Concern: In reading some ubuntu reviews I came across comments about this distro not being so concerned about keeping 'in sync' with debian. Might this make one have a tendency to be dependent on a single source? How important is the synchronization of distros when it comes to hardware and software drivers?
For hardware compatibility check out how a few of the live versions detect hardware and behave. Support for SATA hard drives has improved but at one time there were enough issues to keep me away from them with my multibooting. See if you have any issues with the live-CDs.

Linux is funny and often is not confined to a "single source".
Many major distributions have packages available from other sources.
It is an interesting adventure to check out available forums, tutorials, and howtos when I install a new distribution.

While not knowing the exact issue discussed in regards to Ubuntu not being "in sync" with Debian, I would consider it more informational than a big problem.
 
Old 05-29-2007, 07:23 PM   #9
IsaacKuo
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
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I recently installed Debian 4.0 on a Dell E521 with preinstalled Vista. Everything worked perfectly, out of box. EVERYTHING.

The "tricky part", if you can call it that, was knowing to use Vista's built in partitioner to shrink its own partition a bit so I could fit Debian in at the end of the drive. I don't remember exactly where it is...well, it doesn't actually matter if you want to blow away Vista entirely. But heck--you paid for it, you might as well keep it around if someday you want to use it. Besides, it's nice to know that if you somehow royally mess up your Linux OS you can reboot into Windows to ask for help here.

Anyway, the Debian installer auto-detected the existing Vista OS and set up dual boot with Vista and Debian without a sweat.
 
  


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