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Old 09-14-2008, 05:59 AM   #1
rohan_1
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First timer with linux


HI,
I'll be trying linux for the first time. With so many linux versions available, i cant make out which one to try. can somebody help me zero-in on a version that would make me feel comfortable to install and use. I have a Pentium Dual core 1.8G with 512 MB of RAM and a 160GB HDD. Should i use a 32bit version or a 64 bit
any and all help welcome
Thanks in advance

Rohan
 
Old 09-14-2008, 06:12 AM   #2
BobNutfield
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Hello and welcome to LQ! With those specs, just any of the popular distros will run fine. I personally run 32bit versions, but many will tell you that 64bit runs faster. I have found very little difference in performance on my machines. Have a look here:

http://distrowatch.com/

There is a lot of information about various distros. A little research will give you some insight into what you want out of an operating system, your skill level with computers in general and other tidbits.

If you want ease of use and a less steep learning curve, you might try Ubuntu, PCLinux or Mepis. The distros with steeper learning curves tend to be the most stable (in my opinion): Slackware, Debian, Arch. You will get plenty of help here.

Welcome to Linux!!

Bob
 
Old 09-14-2008, 10:09 PM   #3
sundialsvcs
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The biggest "obstacle" for a first-timer with Linux (I've been 'in the business' for twenty-five years and I felt it too!! ) is that it is so different from what you are probably used to.

Companies like Microsoft and Apple are very, very good at presenting what is actually an insanely-complicated technology ... an operating system ... in a way that, say, "your grandmother" can actually ignore. In other words, they have become pretty darned good at presenting it as "a consumer-electronics never-mind the little man behind the curtain thingy" that the user will happily take for granted.

When you dive into the Linux world, you will find that you actually have to learn about quite a number of things. You will find that, in places where you never dreamed that 'a choice' existed, you are actually presented with 'a choice' that you have to make! You will find that "there is more than one way to do it." You will also find that you are leaving-behind your compatriots who have utterly no idea what you are talking about these days. (And in time, you will regard them with 'a curiously condescending smile...')

When you dive into the Linux world, don't re-configure your existing "war horse" computer... grab that 'old' machine out of your closet instead. Dust the 'old' machine off, plug it in next to your "war horse," wipe its hard drives clean, and dive in. "With such a machine... what's the worst that could happen? You'd have to start over again from scratch... 'so what?' You did that anyway!" Prepare yourself: this is a learning experience, and one of the things that you will have to learn is what you have to learn! This is a learning experience that will make you feel like an absolute idiot. But... it will also open up to you an entire world of computing that you never knew existed, and that you will wonder how you ever did without.

You can expect the learning experience to take you at least a calendar year for "basic skills," and a full two to three years for serious proficiency. But never mind that! Dive in!
 
Old 09-15-2008, 03:48 AM   #4
resetreset
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what do you wish to DO with Linux? the distro you use would be very connected to that....
 
Old 09-15-2008, 06:39 AM   #5
vdx
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fedora is one of the most popular linux distro, easy to use and install.
u can get fedora from fedora project site "fedoraproject.org"....

Fedora is fev distro....
 
Old 09-15-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
rohan_1
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Thanks everyone for all the msgs.
I did go on to the Ubuntu site (cudn't download it though, have a slow internet connection). Its amazing, they just agreed to send me a cd for free. no shipping charges too. its never happened to me with any of the other softwares. Finally there's a free world.
In the meantime, i tried installing a borrowed copy of Ubuntu 6.06 but (have already put a post to that too). but its right when you say its a learning experience and its learning the free way
 
Old 09-15-2008, 10:15 AM   #7
rohan_1
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By the way ... how are all the different distros different from each other?
 
Old 09-15-2008, 10:47 AM   #8
bitpicker
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Ubuntu 6.06 is old, don't use it. Two years do make a lot of difference.

A distribution comes about as a series of choices: which software to team up with a given kernel, which libraries etc. to use and so on. You can think of Linux as a lot of building blocks, and the distributors decide on working sets of building blocks to achieve their goal. With Ubuntu that's mainly being user-friendly.

Linux includes a huge number of decisions to be made, and a distribution takes over quite a huge part of that decision making process.

Distributions differ in the building blocks they use. They can have different hardware support or even a different target group (like specific distros geared towards music production, or others geared towards system security or maintenance).

They also belong to different families. Ubuntu comes fro the Debian family, meaning it is derived from Debian Linux, while other distributions may not be related to Debian.

One feature which can make a huge difference is the package manager, i.e. the way the distribution provides more software to install.

Robin
 
Old 09-15-2008, 02:31 PM   #9
darksyde
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Some puritans may not care for this answer but I've found that the best place to start, which I've recently done, is to purchase a good book with several distros included (esp. if some are live, so you can run them without installing first to see if they are compatible with your hardware). One great book is Linux Bible, 2008 Edition by Christopher Negus.
The distros I've experimented with and liked the most (as a newb) are Simply Mepis, Suse, Debian (a bit challenging), Damn Small Linux, and Fedora, not quite in order. Oh, Knoppix and Ubuntu are pretty cool too. Sounds like a lot, but that's just a drop in the bucket.
Good luck,
Darksyde
 
Old 09-16-2008, 04:28 AM   #10
bitpicker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darksyde View Post
Some puritans may not care for this answer but I've found that the best place to start, which I've recently done, is to purchase a good book with several distros included (esp. if some are live, so you can run them without installing first to see if they are compatible with your hardware). One great book is Linux Bible, 2008 Edition by Christopher Negus.
I would only recommend making sure that the book isn't too old; when it says 2008 edition it's all nice and well, but it wouldn't be prudent to buy a book which has spent two years or more sitting on a shelf.

Robin
 
Old 09-16-2008, 08:02 AM   #11
amishtechie
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One of the best easy to use linux distros is PCLinuxOS. But that is just my opinion. If you feel you are up for a challenge I would highly recommend either Slackware or Debian but the learning curve for both is very steep. Many people recommend the easier to use distros for new Linux users and they are very good for acclimating yourself to Linux.
 
Old 09-16-2008, 08:30 AM   #12
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_1 View Post
By the way ... how are all the different distros different from each other?
BobNutfield had the answer for you in post #2:
http://distrowatch.com/

There are many metrics of "different", but one of the big differences is the choice of the desktop environment---the most popular being KDE and Gnome. This is not really a fundamental difference because you can run KDE and Gnome on any distro.

The other main difference to the user is the various utilities provided to help with certain tasks.

The ultimate answer to the original question is simply to try several until you find what you like.
 
  


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