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I've been using windows for around 13 years, but I'm really starting to get sick of it, my PC has suddenly decided that 30 days is long enough after re-installing XP to run like treacle infused with superglue, and I'm not reinstalling again! If anybody could give me some help here, I would be hugely appreciative!
I would like to look at linux, but I'm finding it a little bit daunting. I couldn't live without windows totally due to gaming, but I would like to be able to manage without where possible. I'm not particularly fussed about getting something that 'looks like windows', mainly I'm sick of not being able to truly clear out the registry (if I remove programs, why do they never actually go away?), and have the most cut down of operating systems kill my PC.
It's a pretty good machine, built it at the end of last year, e6750, 2gb ram and an 8800GTS, so it shouldn't be this bad. I'm really wondering what types of distros I should be looking at, because I want them to be compatible with as much software as possible, ideally with some ability to play games (people have mentioned wine and cedega to me previously), and I guess something with a lot of opportunity for modification. Furthermore, as I said, I doubt I could manage without windows, but according to the wiki dual-booting could be suicide?
I've got a 1tb raid array in 4 partitions currently, with another 400gb drive in just one partition, if that makes any difference.
EDIT: I also don't particularly want to pay for a release, and I could do with downloading and burning rather than trying to get it directly on disc.
I think you should just download a live CD and take it for a spin. Any of the top distros at distrowatch.com should be okay. It'll run a bit slower since everything is being run off the CD, but you'll get the gist of what linux is like. Then when you're more comfortable, you can do an install. Probably best would be to install to a separate drive instead of into the raid.
The biggest problem you'll probably run into is the RAID array. I think Windows raid and linux raid are two different animals. But then again, I haven't done much with raid in either one.
Dual booting should be okay, though again, I don't know about how the raid will be handled.
In using linux, you need to remember that linux is NOT Windows. You'll probably have to unlearn a bunch of stuff. Google for "linux newbie" and you'll get a lot of good howto's. Some might be dated a bit, but they'll be pretty helpful.
With Linux: no registry to mess with; no defrag to mess with; no high cost of upgrades; no a bunch of things. My suggestion: try a few liveCD distributions (Gnu/Linux distributions that run off the cd and don't install anything to disk). LiveCDs give you a change to check things out, see what you like and don't like. Without commiting anything to disk. Downside: they exist as compressed files on the cd, so they will rull slower because of the need to decompress before running. But once in RAM, you're up to normal speed again.
The place to go shopping for liveCDs: your favorite supply store for a stack of cd to burn is the first stop. Then point your browser at distrowatch.com. In the side bar on the right (scroll down a bit) you wil see the top 100 distros. Most are free; a few (very few) are commercial, but still much less than mswindows. download and burn to cd a few to try out. My personal favorites that I've tried/installed: PCLinuxOS, Kanotix, Knoppix, Debian, Kubuntu, OpenSuse. Distrowatch also has a search utility (look in the selection of categories at the top of the page) so that you can refine your search. Such as: disaster recovery, forensic analysis (both related to disk failures or attacks), livdCD, scientific, etc.
Good luck. It took me a couple of years to cut the cord. I still kinds miss some games I had, and I occaisionally visit a few sites to post in the forum "when's the Linux release coming out". But other than than, I don't miss anything else about micro$oft.
One thing about liveCDs. If you find one you want to spend time with, again and again, you can't save your preferences on any applications you use, unless you save them to some other media. You can save them the floppy disk, you may be able to save them to hard disk. Should be no problem there; they are plain text files which windows only complaint would be that they aren't in a windows office format.
Last edited by bigrigdriver; 02-19-2008 at 04:55 PM.