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Old 04-30-2005, 07:02 AM   #1
perl
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Having trouble chosing a distro appropriate for someone who is v. compitent with XP


I'm looking for some suggestions on a distro to pick to give Linux a try for the first time. Let me explain the situation:

I have been using windows for years and am more than experienced with using a variety of version and am currently on XP. I have looked at Slax and am very interested in installing linux now but can't seem to work out which is the best distro for my situation.

I have never used Linux before (other than running the Live CD versions a couple of times) and want to be able to run it along side my current XP insitllation. One of the main reasons is I want to try out MythTV which I believe needs QT which is part of KDE, correct? On top of this I want to be able to re-encode my recorded TV programs using something like Gordian Knot on Win as well as doing the usual browsing of the internet etc.

My machine is ok speced at 1.2GHz AMD with 256MB of Ram and a GEForce2. In terms of HD I have a 120GB with all my files and windows on it and a second HD of 10GB just for a Scratch Disk and some extra storage - I would reckon reformatting and partitioning the second HD would be safer and easier as it would not put any of the XP files at risk when I have to repartition it.

I have looked at distrowatch and reckon that Mandrake/Debian/Suse or Slackware would probably be ok. I would really like something that is secure as the machine is will most likely be connected all the time via broadband. In addition and easy to update and relativly attractive GUI would be a bonus.

Could anyone suggest a distro suitable for these circumstances -ask me any more questions if needed?

Forgot to mention it should allow dual booting between the Linux and XP and be free (e.g. I will be able to download it over the internet).

Last edited by perl; 04-30-2005 at 07:04 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2005, 07:09 AM   #2
win32sux
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welcome to LQ!!!

=)


mandriva (mandrake) and suse seem to fit the description of what you are looking for...

they have graphical installers and plenty of graphical administration utilities...



Last edited by win32sux; 04-30-2005 at 07:11 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2005, 07:18 AM   #3
perl
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Distribution: SuSE 9.1
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Thanks for the welcome.

I have had a look into SuSE as it was recommended as by a friend. I downloaded the Live 9.3 version and wrote it to a DVD-RW and it never seemed to get past the initilizing hardware stage (not sure if this was something to do with it being on a DVD RW). One of the things I found very confusing is that SuSE are owned by Novel aren't they? or have I gone to the wrong site? On top of that the free (no boxed bought version) which appears to be 9.2 is labled as eval but there doesnt seem to be any indication of what this package does and doesn't include. If I download the eval 9.2 version will there be any sort of restriction other than no phone support (I guess is a given for it being a free DL).
 
Old 04-30-2005, 07:26 AM   #4
win32sux
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yeah, suse is owned by novell...

i'm not sure what their deal is with the gratis version, but from what i hear the paid version is very reasonably priced considering how good it is...


Last edited by win32sux; 04-30-2005 at 07:28 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2005, 07:39 AM   #5
perl
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Thanks for the info.

I think I might just try out mandriva as I know it is completely free and will not find out (after installing it) what I can''t do because of restrictions like if I were to install SuSE.

With either of those two distros though, will I be able to dual boot between XP and Linux even though I have XP on one of the HDs already but will be installing Linux to the other HD? Any suitable methods to suggest for this?

Finaly forgot to mention, is there anyway to auto update in Linux distros or do you have to go get the new version of the distro and reinstall it every time a new release becomes avaliable or new patch becomes avaliable?

Last edited by perl; 04-30-2005 at 07:43 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2005, 07:42 AM   #6
win32sux
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Quote:
Originally posted by perl
With either of those two distros though, will I be able to dual boot between XP and Linux even though I have XP on one of the HDs already but will be installing Linux to the other HD? Any suitable methods to suggest for this?
yeah, you can do that with any distro...

on most distros, the installer itself has a part where they walk you through the installation/configuration of your bootloader... usually what you wanna do is install the bootloader to the MBR of the primary disk... and the bootloader will (at boot) give you the option of booting either your windows disk or you linux disk...


Last edited by win32sux; 04-30-2005 at 07:46 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2005, 07:51 AM   #7
win32sux
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Quote:
Originally posted by perl
is there anyway to auto update in Linux distros or do you have to go get the new version of the distro and reinstall it every time a new release becomes avaliable or new patch becomes avaliable?
every distro needs to be kept up-to-date (patched) after installation...

part of mandriva and suse's wide assortment of GUI tools is one to manage all your updates easily... here's a screenshot to give you an idea: http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/i/z/rv/20...rake-10-i1.gif

distro releases are usually provided with patches even after a new release is made, so you don't necessarily need to move to the latest release version to stay up to date with security patches - only if you'd wanna have all the latest stuff...

for example, ubuntu linux: they try to make a new release every six months... but each release is provided with patches for 18 months... so it would be up to you if you'd wanna move-up to the latest version (you want to have the latest and greatest) or if you'd stay with your current version (you place a high value on stability)...

i'm not sure what the mandriva release/support cycles are, though...


Last edited by win32sux; 04-30-2005 at 08:22 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2005, 03:43 PM   #8
perl
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win32sux, thanks for all the info.

In reference to the dual booting - I have read up on this but am somewhat confused and worried about damanging my existing XP HD.

As explained I have two HDs one that is used for storage of 10GB and a 120GB which has windows and all my main files on it. I had guessed that I should use the second HD of 10GB to install linux and its swap on there as not to harm XP in anyway using GRUB. The tutorials (especially on LQ) are all in reference to dual booting and installs on one HD using multiple partitions.

Can someone suggest a solution to this problem and should I change the 10GB HD to be the primary drive on the IDE channel so that this will be the main booting device and then have the XP drive as the secondary HD. As I understand from my reading having it like this will mean that I would not have to mess with MBR as Linux would sort this in the instillation on the 10GB hd and would be the main booting drive if it were set a primary and then I could just change the linux booting to add the option of booting into win. Is this correct and how would I get it to boot into win once I had set and installed linux on the 10GB as a primary drive?

Please say if there is a better solution for this problem!
 
Old 04-30-2005, 03:55 PM   #9
win32sux
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Quote:
Originally posted by perl
should I change the 10GB HD to be the primary drive on the IDE channel so that this will be the main booting device and then have the XP drive as the secondary HD. As I understand from my reading having it like this will mean that I would not have to mess with MBR as Linux would sort this in the instillation on the 10GB hd and would be the main booting drive if it were set a primary and then I could just change the linux booting to add the option of booting into win.
yeah, that would work... by making your windows disk the secondary one and making the linux one the primary, then you wouldn't even need to touch the windows drive... just install the bootloader into the MBR of the primary (linux) disk... the mandriva installer should detect your windows drive and add an appropriate entry into the bootloader for you... and even if it doesn't, it's easy to add it later by editing a text file... i'm pretty sure that mandriva even has a GUI tool to do this in the control center... so it's all good...

Quote:
how would I get it to boot into win once I had set and installed linux on the 10GB as a primary drive?
well, the pc would boot into the bootloader on the primary disk and it would bring up the options where you select which OS you want to boot... if you select linux then the linux disk will be booted, if you select windows then the windows disk will be booted... it's pretty straight-forward...
 
  


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