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Old 08-29-2003, 09:17 AM   #1
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Complete Newbie


Hello,
I was looking for a bit of help with Linux as a whole and I presume this is as good a place to ask as any. Please excuse the newbieness.

My question is simple : Is Linux for me ?

As everybody's situations and requirements are different, if I list what I have right now and what I do with my machine, perhaps someone could answer and advise me upon the best path to take.

I have a Dell Inspiron 8000 laptop running Windows 2000 (so NTFS), I work in a small company on a Windows LAN and connect to the internet through a DHCP router. The software I mainly use is Macromedia's 'Flash' I mainly write actionscript for Flash apps/games, I use an external editor to do this (SciTE|Flash), then export it though Flash.

Apart from this, I just use a bog-standard ftp program and Outlook and browsers etc.

I am also a photographer and have a digital camera (Olympus E10 with card reader etc) and a mini usb video camera. I just lost my Palm, so that's not an issue anymore

I am interested in Linux because of the principle of the community and helpfulness of the whole idea, also I'm a bit fed up with Microsoft.

I understand that Flash can't run on Linux without an emulator of some sort and that a feasible option might be to dual boot for that purpose (although I would ideally not want to have to do that, (would that mean having two email programs running, one on each system in order to pick up mail while using Flash?))

I have looked all over the place and come to the decision that Mandrake would be the best Distro (?) for me to start with. Am I right in this judgment ?

Also, I have read up on the installation of a Dual boot system and think that the wisest route to go would be :
Partition Magic to section up the partitions for both Windows and Linux - leaving a FAT32 formated section for shared files (Linux writing to NTFS=bad?)
THEN go through Mandrakes disks.

Am I right in any of this? Am I right to want to go with Linux? IS there a way of running Flash THROUGH linux? Am I being cheeky asking too many questions in one post?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback as I am very keen to take advantage of my present enthusiasm for this idea

-Nath
 
Old 08-29-2003, 09:52 AM   #2
tyccea
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Mandrake sounds like a good candidate for the hardware you listed, though you should check their HCL - Hardware Compatibility List - on their website to see if your video card, sound card, monitor, etc. are supported. Most likely they are.
I really enjoy SuSE Linux myself; it's as easy as Mandrake to use for us beginners. "Wine" is the Linux program that emulates the Windows environment. I have read several articles (just search on google) about people being able to use a great variety of Windows-based programs with Wine, some popular games included. But I don't know about Flash - couldn't truthfully comment on that.
Wine is a subject in itself, however; several articles cover the setup, configuration and use of Wine - and trying to set it up will teach you a lot about Linux' innards, provided you have the time and patience to learn.
Dual-booting with Mandrake 9.x is just too easy It will ask you if you want to keep your Windows partition, and that's it - yes or no. Very simple.
 
Old 08-29-2003, 10:02 AM   #3
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Thank you for the fast responce tyccea,

The problem I have with the dual boot option is that (as I understand it) once booted, you can't jump between OS's (as I typed that sentence, I realised that of coarse you can't jump between them!)
So if I am working in Flash (is more than often the case given my job), I would need to have an email app running in windows to keep in touch with the world so then I would need a seperate email app running in Linux, - this is slightly less than convienient.

However I have just been reading about Wine and see a light at the end of the tunnel (a Flashlight perhaps ) with that, I'm downloading the iso's right now - I'll try to document my progression so as to help the next person who's in my position.

-nath
 
Old 08-29-2003, 10:10 AM   #4
Andy@DP
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http://appdb.codeweavers.com (wine database of win app that work) says flash 4, 5 and MX all work fine using Wine so you can run in linux. As for email app use the same one, have it installed on FAT32 so both can read/write and use Wine to access on linux! Bingo wine cures all, not bad for a FREE app...
 
Old 08-29-2003, 10:16 AM   #5
tyccea
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Good to hear and I hope you enjoy Linux; personally I now have no use for Windows anymore. I'm a land surveyor so my data collectors run Windows CE, but our GPS systems run an Open Source bluetooth variant. Linux in the office and at home of course.
You're right - you cannot jump between OS's, but at least from the Linux desktop you can look at all your files in Windows, import them to Linux, re-write .ini files, etc. (Make IE say something much different from "Page Cannot Be Found", heh-heh).
The way I understand it, there are several tools to set up a mail account quickly and easily with Mandrake (or any other distro). There are also tools to check your mail and notify you when mail arrives to a given inbox, so you wouldn't have to set up a different account.
 
Old 08-29-2003, 10:16 AM   #6
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Amazing, two (edit: 3) replies and I feel 100% more confident about creating a linux solution. Thanks both. I'll let you know how I get on.


-nath

Last edited by reset; 08-29-2003 at 10:17 AM.
 
Old 08-29-2003, 03:24 PM   #7
DrOzz
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one thing to note as flash is very well known to work with wine, but to make it a little closer to perfect you should just keep in mind that you should put some windows TTF fonts in the windows\fonts dir on your fake windows drive. you'll understand (if not already) what the fake windows drive is when/if you get into wine, and you have to install dcom like so before attempting wine + flash:
wine -dll ole32=n dcom98.exe
and then you'll type
wine flashsetupfile.exe
you'll understand what this also means when you start reading up on wine...and the dcom setup file is readily available from the microsoft site....
 
Old 08-30-2003, 07:08 AM   #8
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I have a feeling I'm going to be coming back to your post later on, thanks for the warning DrOzz.

-nath
 
Old 08-30-2003, 11:18 AM   #9
jhansman
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From one newbie to another, I can't say if Linux is for you given the apps you want to run and work you want to do, since I don't do those things. I have gotten a dual boot setup at work going (WinXP & Mandrake) and it works flawlessly (well, as flawlessly as these two can be), and yesterday I even got Mandrake to see our NT server so I can now share files. Still can't print, though. As for partitioning, I used PM8 to add two more partitions to my HD, one for Mandrake and one FAT32 as a 'common' drive both OSs can use for data. Setup was a bit dicey, and getting the setud to use one of the partitions as "/" took a bit of doing. Got it, finally and now am learning all I can about Linux.

Am I ready to dump Windows and commit to Linux completely? Not even close. It's not so much that I know (or like) Windows better, but how challenging Linux is at this point. I'm enjoying learning a new OS, but don't let anyone tell you that it (at lease RH or Mandrake) are ready for prime time; they aren't. When I have to compile my own printer drivers so I can run my HP 7350 on RH, I know it has a ways to go.
 
Old 08-30-2003, 04:24 PM   #10
Electro
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Even people say WINE is great. I would not use it in the developing environments. I would use Win4lin or VMWARE. Both Win4lin and VMWARE are virtual machines that runs an OS. Win4lin is designed for Windows. VMWARE is design to run any x86 Operating Systems, so you can test, fool around, use it for technical support, etc. You need a minimum of 256 megabytes or memory to run and a 500 MHz processor or faster. Though Win4Lin and VMWARE are commerical programs. VMWARE has a trial for 30 days before you buy it.

CUPS (Common Unix Printing Service) does not have support for HP 7350. Thats strange.

BTW, LINUX is about open source code, so its not for everybody.
 
Old 08-30-2003, 04:34 PM   #11
Skyline
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Quote:
Also, I have read up on the installation of a Dual boot system and think that the wisest route to go would be :
Partition Magic to section up the partitions for both Windows and Linux - leaving a FAT32 formated section for shared files (Linux writing to NTFS=bad?)
THEN go through Mandrakes disks
Personally - I'd use Partition Magic to set up your Windows partitions only - Use it to create a main NTFS partition for the main Win2000 install and a FAT32 partition to be used as a shared data partition - in doing this make sure you leave some unpartitiond free space at the end of your drive for a Linux dsitribution - then use the tools on the Linux cd to partition and format the free space ready for the Linux package installation.

( Just a note on NTFS write support - Neither of the Linux NTFS drivers currently emable succesful write support so don,t try and write to NTFS - There's a real chance of corrupting the filesystem. )

Last edited by Skyline; 08-30-2003 at 04:37 PM.
 
Old 08-30-2003, 08:36 PM   #12
jhansman
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Quote:
Personally - I'd use Partition Magic to set up your Windows partitions only - Use it to create a main NTFS partition for the main Win2000 install and a FAT32 partition to be used as a shared data partition - in doing this make sure you leave some unpartitiond free space at the end of your drive for a Linux dsitribution - then use the tools on the Linux cd to partition and format the free space ready for the Linux package installation.
In retrospect, I completely agree with this strategy. If I had done this initially, the install almost certainly would have been easier.

An to Electro, I like the fact that Linux is ( for now) open source, but , IMHO, that's not why it's not for everyone. Some folks are just going to be too technically challlenged by even the most user friendly distro to ever feel comfortable with Linux. Those people need to run Macs or Win boxes or live without a computer (perish the thought )
 
Old 08-31-2003, 08:21 AM   #13
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The story so far...

This is what I've done thus far...
  • I downloaded the iso's for Mandrake and burnt them out to cd's.
  • I backed up my whole machine.
  • I defragmented my hard-drive and ran Partition Magic to reduce the size of the NTFS partition which Window makes.

    I was reading a tute on doing exactly this and they instructed to create a suspend to disk partition in front of the windows one - I didn't , I don't know why was I scared? Confused? Or just couldn't be bothered? I don't know - I just didn't do it.
  • I booted of the first Mandrake disk and followed the instructions. It created the Extended Partition for Linux and the Logical Partitions inside of that. This is when the hiccups started...
The install asked for Disk 2, which I gave it...it didn't like it, so I skipped it and carried on. The install completed and I was a happy bunny. Although I am now left wondering what useful things are on disk 2 and 3 of the install which I missed out on... I mean in the 1.3 Gig of files I skillfully neglected, there has to be something important.

Anyway... I restarted and chose to see if the safety measures* I adopted while partitioning had paid off and the Windows OS was still running... they hadn't and it didn't - back to Partition Magic.

As I'd created the Partition Magic Boot disk's previously (I realize I have left that out my nicely formated and quickly abandoned, list above. I apologize). I slapped them in and fired it up (read: "ran the application"). Rather than mincing about trying to recover stuff, I formatted the NTFS partition altogether and I don't mind telling you, it feel quite nice. Being not, as you might think, entirely reckless, I then went about re-installing Windows and am now all fine and dandy, (having a backup server is terribly reassuring in these situations).

The hiccup which led to the formatting of the Partition also gave me the opportunity to leave a free space on the hard-drive. Right now I have 10Gig for NTFS holding Windows, 10Gig Free space and 10Gig Holding the Linux OS and all it's sub partitions (right now just 3).

So I am still able to work, I have two OS' on my laptop and am feeling quite pleased with myself. My next forries into Linux will be as follows (and I would appreciate your advice, as thus far it has proved quite encouraging)
  • Find out what I've missed by not using Disk 2 and 3 of the Mandrake Install
  • Format the free space on my hard-drive for data storage (NTFS or FAT or FAT32 or a combination?)
  • Attempt to get files shared between the OS'
  • Get Linux to see the office Network (Windows server)
  • Get WINE (or alternative) to run FlashMX
  • Run round buying t-shirts with penguins on while declaring never to have liked anything about windows

-nath

* The safety measures I opted to use while resizing the Windows partition were as follows. Cross middle finger on right hand over the back of the index finger, squint eyes, bite lip and turn head slightly away from the screen so as to monitor the progress out the corners of the eyes. (The method can be doubly secured by replicating the finger movements on the left hand although this does have known keyboard issues)
 
Old 08-31-2003, 12:07 PM   #14
jhansman
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Quote:
Run round buying t-shirts with penguins on while declaring never to have liked anything about windows
You mean this guy, right?

Well, by not being able to install discs 2 & 3, you one thing you missed out on was Mandrake installing its boot menu once it realized it was being installed on a disk with Windows. My WinXP / RH9 install at work is thus. You also don't get a wealth of apps that come with the OS, many of which make everyday use much easier for those of us still becoming re-acquainted with the command line.

If you are planning a dual boot setup at work on your Win2K network, you'll need to make sure Samba is installed, and do your homework on using it. This breif article helped me alot:

http://www.winnetmag.com/Articles/In...rticleID=8490#


Good luck!
 
Old 08-31-2003, 02:21 PM   #15
Joey.Dale
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Linux+NTFS=Shits Creek w/o a paddle
 
  


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