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I don't know how many people will respond to a post in the newbie section,
but to be fair to those annoyed by stupid questions, I'll post here.
I am pretty new to linux, as far as commands and things. Haven't used it much. I just installed suse 9.1 on a celeron 650 machine, since it and knoppix are the only distros I have downloaded (I am on dial up).
I am wanting to find a distro that is good for booting up to one specific program.
In the future, I would like to make some gaming emulation and possibly home theater boxes. But now, the object to create: a StepMania Box. I know other people have done it, but no one tells about their configurations. If anyone has any links, please post.
I don't know how to strip down a linux distro, or make it so that a program starts up at the beginning, and not let a bunch of stuff I don't need start up(networking, etc.).
So, I could ditch Suse, or whatever, just someone help me by giving me a few steps to start out, since I don't really have time right now to read the whole man file.
Suse is probably not your best bet. I'd go with something base, Arch may be good. Gentoo would be as well except for the compile time and you probably don't need the optimisations it offers. From there you could just jump into that distros IRC channel and get all the help you'd need, I know both distros have a fantastic community and most people would be more than happy to help.
Doing what you want is pretty different depending on your distro so I can't really help too much until I know what you'll be using
Edit: And regarding home theatre, take a look at Geexbox, don't need to make your own distro do it there's one already out there.
Ya, I have played with geexbox, but I didn't have the video card for video out, so I put that on pause until this summer.
Ditch Suse... Got that. Haven't heard of Arch, so I will do some research. Hopefully it has an intuitive installer, because honestly I don't know much about linux yet, and I am going to school in the computer engineering department, which absorbs pretty much all of my spare time (the girlfriend absorbs the rest) that I could use to learn it.
I don't really totally know what you mean about Gentoo and the compiling time, but I'll take your word for it right now (unless you change your mind), and start with Arch. Since I'm on dial-up, it may take awhile.
Any quick advice if I get it downloaded, and am installing it (does it come with things that I should tell it not to install, etc.)?
Arch doesn't have the simplest installer but it's not that tricky. Arch was just an example though, any base distro would do. Ie one that doesn't come with KDE, GNOME, plus a gajillion other things installed.
Ok, so arch would be too hard. Is slackware several cd's long though? That was the impression I got when I looked at it last.
I started downloading gentoo, but its probably over my head too.
So, do I need the 700MB version of Gentoo, or just the 70MB version for this project?
How about slackware? I there a skinny version? I only have the patience for a 1 cd-length file, but maybe if you guys think it is worth it, I'll find someone with high speed internet and get it downloaded.
Nope. If Arch is too hard then don't even think about Gentoo. Personally, I think neither distro is very difficult at all to install provided the end user (you) can read documentation and do what it tells you to do. If you can it's no worries but sadly some people seem to struggle with that.
However something you may not understand about Gentoo is that it's a from-source distrobution. Meaning everything, all your program and even you base operating system, gets compiled from source code. This isn't by any means a fast process. Have a read of the Gentoo docs, they're huge. It's a great distro, just trying to make sure you know what you are getting into
Just to liven things up a bit: my arcade computer is running SuSE 9.1. Of course it's a matter of stripping, but other than that I encountered few problems. My arcade computer boots with a nice arcade bootsplash screen, and goes directly to my MAMEd front-end. From there I can just use my arcade controls to select and play the games I want to. Closing the front-end = turning off the computer.
Sounds like what I want to do here, and btw, a future project of mine is an arcade computer. I've decided to go with gentoo, since it has a good walk-through tutorial for installation, and will already be stripped to the way I want it after I get done with the install. I should learn quite a bit about linux just from going through the walk-through, which is always a plus.
I guess I am going to use kde as the gui, but I don't really know if that makes much difference since I won't be using it that much.