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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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After dealing with a lot of vista issues I have decided to try out linux after some research, I see a lot of themes that work with kde as well as a lot of support. The thing is I just don't get the whole idea behind distributions exactly, I know there are two parts and KDE would be one part of it if I am getting it right, and that I can get distributions that use KDE or that come with kde but how do I know which distributions will be compatable with the themes I have found, when the themes say something like compatable with kde 3.2-3.5 ? can i use these themes with any distribution that uses that version of KDE?
KDE themes are not dependent on which distro you are running. As long you are running a version of KDE that is supported by the theme, then you should be ok to install and use the theme regardless of the distribution.
I have used Debian for 6 weeks and am therefore very new to the system but having sorted out several issues I have found that the best way is to try it and see- keep your other OS going & if possible play around with an older box. Debian is good (I can't tell you whether other OS's are better or worse) because the apt program (synaptic in the windows-style environment) keeps all your applications in trim, compatible and up to date.
Specifically, depending on the entries in your /etc/sources.list, say debian lenny for example, synaptic will give you a long list of applications, version installed, and latest versions- if you are out of date, you can mark the app. for upgrade. Synaptic will work out the "dependencies" for you- ie apps you will need in order to proceed, & apps it will delete as inconsistent.
So you can use "k" and "Gnome" and other applications (as I am doing) with confidence on the same system. Apt will give you an amazing choice of applications. There's no either/or about it.
I understand that, taking Debian as an example (as I say, can't tell you much else!) lenny is "experimental" but the latest apps appear on "sid" (described as "unstable" Its a toy story thing). Compared to another famous OS we all know, it's rock solid! I've had no trouble with it.
If you haven't seen "DOS/Windows to Linux" HOWTO By Guido Gonzato, ggonza at tin.it you might have a read, written 7yrs ago but very good advice if you've had a play with DOS commands. His advice was to get your feet wet & I completely agree.
If you have a 64bit processor you should be able to run 64 bit operating system. I originally tried a 64 bit Ubuntu distro, and found out that Flash was not available for linux in 64 bit, at least not from Adobe. I'm fairly new too, i have been playing with linux for over a year but just recently decided to use it as my primary OS.
I think that the first linux distro you use should be really friendly or you can be turned off real quick. Give Ubuntu a try, theres tons of hardware compatibality right after installation and there is tons of suport threw forums. And you can test it out before installation because its a live CD.
The thing is I just don't get the whole idea behind distributions exactly
If I understand you right, there are lots of distributions or flavors of linux. A person learns all he can about linux and decides to make his own flavor.
I suggest to go with one of the main distributions. You will be able to find much more help because other people will run into the same problem and have a solution for you. Debian has a reputation of being very stable. Ubuntu, is based on debian and seems to be more popular. Both distros seem to be easier to use. I now run slackware. It is the oldest distribution and seems to be quite stable. However you do not have apt-get. You do have slapt-get however it does not have near the packages. As I recall, debian has some 29K available packages.
I suggest to dual boot and get the ntfs-3g package and fuse. From linux you will be able to easily access the windows part of the hd to edit or copy files. Many times I have had to reboot to windows for certain applications. For example, I have not found a program that works as well as outlook for my list of contacts. I find that apple itunes work best for my ipod. Linux does have similar programs, but in my humble opinion, outlook and itunes work much better.
Linux is the OS KDE, Gnome, Fluxbox, are window managers. The biggest differences between Linux distro's is the package manager (The application used to install packages/programs). Red-Hat/Fedora use an .rpm/YUM package manager, while Debian and it's offspring Ubuntu use Synaptic Package manager.
The Package Manager helps to take care of dependencies, every program you install will be dependent on another program. And the package manager will help install every dependency the program needs. You are not limited to installing packages with the Package Manager but if you chose to install a program outside of this you will have to take care of the dependencies yourself.
If you learn the command line in Linux you will be at home in any linux OS. Learn how the linux file system is setup.
ok one more question for now, right now my computer runs a 32 bit vista ans there is only a 64 bit version of fedora available, I should be able to run a 64 bit os shouldnt I?
Here is the .i386.iso they only have the DVD download though.