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Old 11-15-2008, 03:04 AM   #1
DMJS268
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Linux n00b questions


First off I don't have Linux at all right now. I'm in the process of debating wether or not its worth to even get into it. I want to install YD6.0 on my PS3 to kind of get a feel for it. Then I want to install Ubuntu on my desktop to replace Vista. But I have a few questions first

-Are certain programs not available "right out of the box" such as WiFi, ability to go on youtube?

-Are there certain programs that I would use such as a p2p program, itunes, firefox, AIM that I won't be able to use on Linux?

-Which version of Linux is best suited for web surfing, listing to music, watching movies, downloading, limited word processing?


Also is linux a type of OS you can customize or something? I have this thought in my head that everything in linux uses command prompts for some reason.
 
Old 11-15-2008, 03:52 AM   #2
repo
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Quote:
Are certain programs not available "right out of the box" such as WiFi, ability to go on youtube?
Depends on your hardware, mostly it works out of the box, if not help is available
Quote:
Are there certain programs that I would use such as a p2p program, itunes, firefox, AIM that I won't be able to use on Linux?
itunes
Quote:
Which version of Linux is best suited for web surfing, listing to music, watching movies, downloading, limited word processing?
Ubuntu is a good choice
Quote:
Also is linux a type of OS you can customize or something? I have this thought in my head that everything in linux uses command prompts for some reason.
Just grab a live CD and see for yourself, also you can see if all hardware is supported
 
Old 11-15-2008, 04:16 AM   #3
jschiwal
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Quote:
Which version of Linux is best suited for web surfing, listing to music, watching movies, downloading, limited word processing?
Any distro, really.

Your wifi may be the trickiest part. It depends on the controller chip that that wifi device uses.
On SuSE, with the previously nearly impossible broadcom wifi controller, I installed the b43-fwcutter, and ran a script that it installed to download the firmware from the net and copy it where it needed to be. Sometimes a device is to new, and doesn't have a supported kernel module, and you need to patiently wait until one is released. In a situation like this, it may not matter which disto you choose, if there isn't a driver for it anywhere.

I am able to watch utube and with a dwhelper firefox plugin, download flash videos as well. This is on a 64 bit distro (SuSE). It does take some setting up. Whichever dstro you select, look in it's forum on this site. There is usually a sticky near the top with instructions on adding a "media" friendly repository. Use that repo for mp3, dvd, video/audio related programs. Often the codecs you need are tied up with sw patents, or are propriety and can't be distributed on an open source distro.

There is a multipurpose instant messager program called "Pidgen". It used to be called GAIM, but they were requested to change their name.

There are many torrent clients available. Use your package manager to find them. In KDE there is ktorrent. There are several java based clients as well.
 
Old 11-15-2008, 04:28 AM   #4
blackhole54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268 View Post
Also is linux a type of OS you can customize or something? I have this thought in my head that everything in linux uses command prompts for some reason.
I'll pass on your first three questions. But I see that repo has already provided answers.

But wrt to the question I just quoted, the operative word is "can". Yes you can customize Linux. (Or more precisely GNU/Linux.) GNU/Linux is free (as in freedom) software, and you can customize to your hearts content. Nothing is hidden from you. But you don't have to customize. As far as using the command prompt ... There seem to be a lot of adversaries of Linux out there who (because it suits their purpose to limit adoption of Linux) are pushing the notion that you have to use the command line (aka shell) to do anything. For the "mainstream" distros, this is definitely not true. I happen to like the command line and I use it for many things. That is my choice. I also see the usefulness for GUIs. I am typing this in a graphical browser (although some people prefer text based browsers -- that is their choice!) But for at least most things you don't need to visit the command line. (Since I like the command line I can't comment about whether there is ever an actual need to use it.)

I second repo's suggestions of trying a live CD. If you want to "shop" before you commit, live CDs are a great way to do that. I think most of the "major" distros now offer one. Ubuntu now seems to be popular with newcomers.

In case you have never heard the term before, a live CD is one that you can run completely off the CD w/o installing to the hard drive. It won't touch your hard drive unless you explicitly tell it to. They do run a little slower than a hard drive installation. The same functionality on USB flash drives is also starting to become popular. I don't know if the term "live flash drive" has caught on yet!

Last edited by blackhole54; 11-15-2008 at 04:32 AM. Reason: Website problems
 
Old 11-15-2008, 04:36 AM   #5
JosipBroz
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You don't have to worry about your applications - there are linux replacements for almost any mainstream Win application you can think of. As a matter of fact, there are some which surpass anything I'd seen in Windows. The thing I'd suggest, though, is not to select your distro in advance. There are HUGE differences among distros, and although Ubuntu is a great one, it might just so happen that it won't work out of the box on your particular machine, while, say, Mandriva or OpenSuSE might. So, you may either stick to your pre-selected distro and take a day or two for troubleshooting, or go with another distro and have your computer working out of the box. It' your choice, really. If I were you, I'd try at least a couple of additional distros - with live CDs they come on, you can't mess up anything, yet you can evaluate them quite thoroughly.
 
Old 11-15-2008, 05:15 AM   #6
lakedude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268 View Post
First off I don't have Linux at all right now. I'm in the process of debating wether or not its worth to even get into it. I want to install YD6.0 on my PS3 to kind of get a feel for it. Then I want to install Ubuntu on my desktop to replace Vista.
Why Ubuntu?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268 View Post
-Are certain programs not available "right out of the box" such as WiFi, ability to go on youtube?
I run Sabayon and Puppy because they both worked great with my hardware, including Wireless right out of the "box".



Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268 View Post
-Which version of Linux is best suited for web surfing, listing to music, watching movies, downloading, limited word processing?
Check out Distrowatch and read up on the distros that have a multimedia focus like Sabayon, Mint, Ubuntu Studio, etc.

Naturally I prefer Sabayon but you should pick a distro that works well with your hardware even if it isn't Sabayon.

Also:

You should not install any distro over Vista, at least not right away. You can check out several distros with Live CD or DVD and not need to install them at all. They will run straight from the optical drive. Of course they run faster installed to a hard drive but you can check em out without changing a thing on your hard drive. Once you have decided on a distro, then you can install it along side Vista or even erase Vista and install Linux in its place.
 
Old 11-16-2008, 04:26 AM   #7
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268 View Post
Also is linux a type of OS you can customize or something? I have this thought in my head that everything in linux uses command prompts for some reason.
The "everything in linux uses command prompts" illusion is an oddly persistent one, give that it hasn't been true since the mid 1990s or something. Its not true, and you have a choice of GUIs (unlike some other Operating Systems which don't really give you a choice).

Its probably also more customisable than anything else that you are likely to have experienced, but you would have to know what to do and how to do it and you would need to have some expertise to do that. Of course, you can always come back here to ask questions...

If I were you, I would first be seeking to try out some GUIs (KDE and Gnome, maybe XFCE and Enlightenment, too) by trying out a few live CDs.
Don't be too put off by the inital look, because you can change it.

When you have found a GUI, or several, that you like, try out a distro with that (not all distros make it equally easy to use every GUI, so if you have a prefered GUI, you want to select one that supports at least your first choice), for maybe six months, or so. Then, think again; you might want to stick.

BTW, if it turns out that you want a KDE Ubuntu, its called Kubuntu. But you can get it by installing Ubuntu and adding the KDE bit via the package manager. Some other distros (SuSE comes to mind) give you several GUIs on the DVD.

The CDs are a bit more space-constrained and you don't tend to get several GUIs on something as small as a CD.
 
Old 11-16-2008, 06:13 AM   #8
pinniped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268 View Post
First off I don't have Linux at all right now. I'm in the process of debating wether or not its worth to even get into it. I want to install YD6.0 on my PS3 to kind of get a feel for it. Then I want to install Ubuntu on my desktop to replace Vista. But I have a few questions first
Well, go for it. Another option (already suggested) is to play around with 'LiveCD' distributions (like Ubuntu/Kubuntu, Mepis, Puppy ... )

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268
-Are certain programs not available "right out of the box" such as WiFi, ability to go on youtube?
WiFi is an issue sometimes (just search this forum for people looking for help with their wireless). *many* WiFi devices have a Linux driver and in most cases those that don't can still be made to run with the MSWin drivers and the 'ndiswrapper' program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268
-Are there certain programs that I would use such as a p2p program, itunes, firefox, AIM that I won't be able to use on Linux?
Each distro will have a few p2p clients, but unless you name specific winduhs ones that you want to use, no one can guess if you'll have the exact same equivalent. FireFox works. With ITunes the story changes every few months (Apple don't seem to like the idea of ITunes working with Linux) so you'll have to trawl the web for answers. Firefox is fine. AIM should work - but you'll be using some other client, not the AIM client you're familiar with on winduhs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268
-Which version of Linux is best suited for web surfing, listing to music, watching movies, downloading, limited word processing?
Any of the main distributions would be safe. (RedHat, Suse, Debian, K/Ubuntu and more)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMJS268
Also is linux a type of OS you can customize or something? I have this thought in my head that everything in linux uses command prompts for some reason.
Linux can be customized - but maybe you have a different idea from other people about what that means.

A basic Linux installation will give you the kernel (which basically gives software access to the hardware but without the software needing to know any details about the hardware) and a shell (the 'command line') plus a few tools. Most distributions would give you the option to add a GUI to that (which means installing the X11 windowing system and a 'window manager') - there are many choices for the window manager but KDE and Gnome are probably the most popular (as long as your computer has the grunt to support them).

Many things can now be configured via the GUI, but in many cases it's better to bring up a shell and edit the configuration files yourself; although this may sound scary, it's not half as scary as winduhs hiding all sorts of secrets in its 'registry' and on the command line you can find and edit configuration files much quicker than you possibly can clicking about in something like "regedit".

In my experience, the command line is used mostly for system administration work or actually building software; when the system is set up just the way you like, you will probably not invoke the command line as often.
 
Old 11-16-2008, 09:51 AM   #9
blackhole54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Most distributions would give you the option to add a GUI to that (which means installing the X11 windowing system and a 'window manager') - there are many choices for the window manager but KDE and Gnome are probably the most popular (as long as your computer has the grunt to support them).
Just to make sure the OP doesn't misunderstand this statement, I will point out that any system made in the last several years (edit: except perhaps netbooks) should have plenty of "grunt" to run either KDE or Gnome. And certainly if the system was capable of running MS Windows Vista, it should have plenty of power to run any Linux distro/window manager/desktop environment I've ever heard of!

Also, don't let all of the choice discussed on this thread frighten you. Check out whatever feels comfortable to you. Choice is great, but you don't have to explore everything at once!

Last edited by blackhole54; 11-16-2008 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Added last paragraph
 
  


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