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I do not have a Linux operating system yet. I am thinking of installing Xandros 3.0-Deluxe Edition. I currently have Windows XP and really want to try something different with less restrictions..I am sure I do not have to elaborate there! The problem I have with just installing Xandros 3.0 is that I take Computer Science classes at the community college......I haven't decided where my niche lies in the field yet. Most of my classes utilize Windows-based programs and many of the texts are based on Windows, also. Has anybody installed Xandros 3.0 and have it coexist with Windows XP? I have done my research on the Xandros installation and according to what I have read, it is supposedly easy to do the installation and Xandros will partition your hard drive automatically if you opt for the 2 OS's. I have 2 computers at home...my desktop(Compaq Presario; 80GB HDD, 512MB) and a laptop (Acer Aspire 40GB HDD, 512MB). I have a Linksys cable modem and a Linksys Wireless-G router. Does anybody foresee problems with compatibility with hardware? Thanks in advance!
Just about all the current distributions will do what you describe Xandros as doing.
In addition to the distributions mentioned above, I would strongly reccommend Mandriva 2006. One big advantage this has over many other sis the mandriva 'newbie' list - about the friendliest I've encountered anywhere.
I have to agree, using something like gentoo is good way to learn the basics - when you've installed and got everything running then go for something like 'Linux From Scratch' and build your own distro.
Regarding the hardware you have, there might be a problem with the laptop - they tend to use whatever bits and pieces they can get their hands on, changing chipsets if they can save half a cent midway through the production run. A good site to check out is the 'linux on laptops' site
Regarding applications and linux alternatives, there are plenty of alternatives to the MS apps; I did have a link to a site which listed them but can't find it now. If you really do have to use a windows application you *may* be able to run it under a program called wine; their site will give you a current list.
Finally, if you do intend to move forward in this field, a university lecturer I knew back in the UK reckoned that he spent the first year training computer science students not to use windows, then they were able to learn something.
For modern hardware and especially laptops you should go with a current distro. These distros (2.6.12 + kernel) will give you better hardware support. Xandros is a little old.
I've got to recommend PCLinuxOS for laptops considering it works excellent on mine. Wireless support is superb.
Kanotix and Mepis would be other good choices.
Live CDs are excellent to try and test your hardware. They are only one cd downloads with most everything you need. It is extremely easy to install extra programs at later dates with synaptic and apt-get.
Thanks for all the replies so quickly......I do appreciate it! If I do install a Linix distro, it will only be on my desktop. The laptop is my son's, it's a brand new Xmas gift..I don't think I'm going to fiddle with it. If I mess mine up, I will only get frustrated and try to get my self unmessed which can take some time of course. Does PCLinux OS and Mandriva allow a dual boot? I looked at the Mandriva website..particularly the Discovery edition i think..it's the one for people new to Linux.I did not see any info about the dual boot. BTW, I liked what Kwacka wrote about not learning Windows for the 1st year! Unfortunately, at the community college I attend, so many courses involve some kind of connection or text dealing with MS/Windows.
One thing to be aware of is that if your Desktop has an NTFS filesystem on it, some distributions have been found to occasionally screw up the partition when resizing it (you have to resize the windows partition so that there is room for linux). I always use my knoppix live CD and qtparted to resize partitions because I've never had a failure where windows was left unbootable. One of my colleagues had a Mandrake version (don't remember which one) damage the NTFS during resize.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should back up any important data before trying to resize the NTFS partition, in case something were to go wrong...
Yes...my hard drive is already partitioned. The active partition (Drive C) has the NTFS file system. DRive C is where the my files and documents are stored. The secondary partition is where MS "hides" their recovery console...it's Drive D. Drive D uses Fat 32 file system. I am to only access Drive D to recovery my system. Thanks for the info about the possibility of messing up the hard drive with NTFS. I wonder if I should convert it to FAT 32? I really don't need all the security measures NTFS boasts about.
And yes, backing up my files before I do any changes is definitely a good idea! Thanks!
If you've backed up your important data, then there's no reason not to just try to resize the NTFS partition. Leave the restore partition alone, because you can use it to repair windows if it gets hosed. ;> But you should make a FAT32 partition to share files between windows and linux. I'd do something like the following (I'm sure others would do it differently) using Knoppix and qtparted.
Change your existing partition table from:
75GB NTFS (just guessing the original sizes)
5GB FAT32 (restore partition)
to something like:
15 GB NTFS Existing winXP
44 GB FAT32 Shared
15 GB ext3 linux
1 GB swap linux
5 GB FAT32 (restore partition - leave it alone)
You'll have to adjust the partition sizes depending on how big that restore partition is and just how much room you want for windows. But the largest partition probably should be your shared partition so that you share files between windows and linux (like movies, mp3's, word docs, etc).
Also, some people recommend defragmenting and optimizing the windows partition before resizing. I've never done that though because I've always started with basically a clean windows install before resizing (I do it when it first arrives from the factory).
Oh, one more thing. Hardware compatibility: I don't know very much about that particular Compaq model, but in general, you may have problems with your internal modem and possibly sound card if it is one of those combo cards that they used to put in machines. Also, there are sometimes problems with peripherals like scanners and printers, although more and more are being supported every day. Most HP stuff works fine...
Most everything else should work out of the box...