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I need to get rid of this god-forsaken Microsoft Windows. Any and all advice you all can give would be great. I need to switch ASAP and need it to be a smooth transition from Windows XP to some sort of Linux. At this point i know little to nothing about linux but have a fair amount of Windows knowledge. Please feel free to instant message me at Kustom51Buick401 or email me at Kustom51Buick401@aol.com
If you want to run some of those windows programs, you might want to go for SuSE 8.1 (which includes Wine- a program that lets you run some win stull on linux) That costs like $30 for the personal edition, unless you can download it somewhere for free. I bought Linux for Dummies for $30 and it includes Red Hat 8.0. Red Hat and Mandrake are both available for free download (so are a bunch of others but those are some of the main ones. You can download Wine at www.winehq.com but if you don't know Linux (I only barely know it) then you might want to go with SuSE. I might get that soon myself.
Just my opinion.
I hate Windows...so slow...so unstable...tsk tsk tsk...
You're best bet is probably to go with RedHat or Mandrake. They seem to be pretty good to the newcomer. I started with RedHat. You could always do a dual installation and slowly migrate to linux, that's what a lot of people recommend. I had enough with Windows ME one day and just erased it and installed linux. My computer hasn't froze since.
Distribution: Red Hat (8.0, RHEL5,6), CentOS, SuSE (10.x, 11.x, 12.2, 13.2), Solaris (8-10), Tru64, MacOS, Raspian
What do you use your computer for?
That's the question that might help answer which Linux distribution people would suggest. If you're a total UNIX neophyte, I'd probably recommend Red Hat. No arguing with the amount of books out there that you can buy for reference (on the off chance that you're not connected to this site, of course). You'll find lots of people that will suggest Mandrake as well.
If you want a smooth transition from Windows to Linux, you probably aren't going to be switching cold turkey. If I had a working WinXP system at home (which I don't) what I would do is add a second hard disk to my system. Install the Linux OS (what distribution you choose, it doesn't matter) onto the second hard disk and make a boot floppy to bring Linux up. Leave the first hard drive alone just in case you need to jump into WinXP from time to time. Eventually, you'll have exported all your important files and documents into formats that you can read on Linux. And this may not even be necessary. OpenOffice does a darned good job of reading MS-Office docs. Other applications might be a tad more trouble. Once you find yourself not needing to reboot into WinXP for anything... wow! more disk space for Linux! You can swap the disk drives around (make the Linux disk hda), install your boot loader of choice, and start booting directly from the hard disk.
I found (years ago) that when I was learning UNIX that it was best to have some project that I wanted to complete that forced me to learn different aspects of the system in order to get it done. My project was to port a bunch of VAX FORTRAN code to C on Coherent running on my 386. (But I did switch cold turkey.) Your goal doesn't have to be quite so geeky. Writing the Great American Novel would work just as well.
Good luck. I don't think you'll regret the journey.
Quick suggestion from someone in a similar position (really naive newb) - Mandy 9.0 worked for me despite teething problems really was a breeze to install.
You might want to consider dual booting for a while until you find you're not using windows any more.
Mandy 9.0 installer (probably other current distros as well red had seems well suppoeted) makes dual booting really simple if you don't mind your mbr being overwritten - if you don't want this you'll have to make a boot floppy for linux or use a 3rd party utility like PQBoot.
here's a really fancy new distro called Xandros which has some good reviews, supposed to bvery usable by teh windows person and it's Debian based so you have apt-get which is Good - but it's not (yet?) available to dl or on cheap CD so you'd have to buy it, decided not to, it's $99!
However might be worth it, sounds as though it shld help you get rid of win in no time
IMO you won't have any probs with Mandy or probably rh/SuSe as long as yoo don't have any very old or very very new hardware on your system - just watch out for those winmodems, as mentioned in plenty 'o'threads.
I'd go for Redhat. The 8.x series is starting to get polished up, 8.1 will be out in a few months. SuSE is also a strong choice. Not so sure about Mandrake, I think the others have basically caught up with it in terms of ease of use, plus as a company they aren't too stable.
Avoid debian. Ignore people who tell you to use it, at least until you're more confidant with Linux.
Wine is available if you need it, but the current (free as in beer) WineHQ builds require a lot of knowledge to set it up correctly. Most don't, and then think Wine sucks. One of their targets for this year is to make wine easier to setup, until that point if you need MS Office, Lotus Notes or some other programs CrossOver is a better bet. Not all Windows programs run under it (wine is the windows emulation subsystem).
A good source of tech support for is #linuxhelp on freenode. All Linux distros come with at least one IRC client. This is a good resource for simple questions with a definite answer, like "how do I extract tarballs", or "what's the command to add a new user". For more general questions, or if nobody on IRC knows, use this forum.
Be patient. Linux isn't as easy to use as Windows yet, some things don't work properly, some things are being redesigned and are in transition (fonts, menus, c++ abi). Therefore, things will break and reform while you use it. Be prepared for that. Help out if you want it to get together faster.