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Old 11-01-2008, 11:10 PM   #1
Solouko
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Registered: Apr 2007
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Microsoft fanboy needs to know basics


Hi, My name's Solouko and I've been a microsoft fanboy for the past 10 years. I think it's about time I kicked the habbit and learnt how to use a real computer however learning a new OS is hard and I think it would help if i could relate the ins and outs of a linux distro to the workings of a windows one.

So I've got set asside a spare system which has all the things I need in it, and is not needed for anyhting else so tomorrow I'm going to look at installing ubunto on it because i've been told it's the moste 'friendly' distro to use. I'm not going to bother dual booting it or anything silly like that because I already have 3 computers in the house running XP.

Being an advanced windows user I think ahead when installing a system especialy with partitions, now I have used ubuntus partitioning tool before and loved it =D however I'm in a quandry about how to partition my drives for a ubuntu install.

1/ Are there any peramiters which are recomended for partitions like allocation sizes ect.. ?

2/ Do linux distros use anything like a page file? if so what sort of size should it be for general computer usage, possible file server application.

3/ If I set up a seperate partition on a seperate disk for the page file can I specify the allocation of that partition for the page file once installed? and if so, how?

4/ should I reserve any other partitions and fast sectors for any part of the OS that frequently utalises disk space?

5/ When installing or after installing Ubunto are there anyhtings that I should enable or dissable?

6/ I've recently found out you can get virus scanners for linux OS's, does ubuntu have one already on the disk or should I download one?

7/ how can I get it to play MP3s? (this is the most important question)

Just to let you know more about my little test system it's a 1.1GHz AMD Duron with 1GB SDRAM, 2 IDE HDDs hopefully a working DVD ROM (not tested that yet) and a lan card... thought i'd keep it simple, it's even got onboard graphics.


Any help and advice is greatly apreciated, I really need it.
Thank you in advance
 
Old 11-01-2008, 11:18 PM   #2
AceofSpades19
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2)Linux uses a swap partition, since you have 1 gb of memory you should make it about 1 gb in size
3)This question doesn't really make sense
4)I usually make 1 /(similar to C:\ in windows) partition and make a /home parition(similar to Documents and Settings in windows)
5)You probably want to enable the universe repositories for synaptic/apt-get(Whats called the package manager, what you use to install programs)
6)You don't really need one unless you are planning on running a mail server
 
Old 11-02-2008, 02:37 AM   #3
Count Zero
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1) Depends on what you are setting up your machine for. A server will usually have different partition scheme from a home desktop. Also, some people vary the partition scheme depending on the number of users.

7) Ubuntu pretty much automates the installation and use of proprietary software, such as drivers from nVidia and ATI or playing closed-source media formats, such as mp3. Just find the right box to tick in under settings and your set to go. Should be under software or something. There are specific instructions easy enough to find (haven't used Ubuntu for quite a while, otherwise I would have given you the specifics myself).

/CZ
 
Old 11-02-2008, 03:38 AM   #4
pinniped
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I once knew of a website which was meant to help educate people about Linux - pity I can't even remember the name now.

Linux and MSWindows are very different beasts, so don't worry about comparisons about how X is done on Linux/Winduhs - those are mostly useless and you learn best by reading the articles on "how to do X in Linux".

Just a few words of warning: different distributions do some configuration different ways - the chief differences I see are in configuring the network. Some distributions like Ubuntu try to use graphical configuration tools a lot - which often leads to hijacking the usual way things are done and confusing otherwise useful people who would normally say "edit file X".

One very important thing to do before you install is read the manual. For Debian the Installation Manual is quite extensive (though still needs a lot of work). Most installation questions asked by frustrated people are in fact explained well in the manual. The other thing is to take time to read what the installer is telling you. A lot of people go click-happy because they're accustomed to just clicking "Yes, I agree to Microsoft's opressive terms" - such messages are extremely rare on Linux systems (except for some proprietary software such as Java, Adobe software, skype ...) so if you click before you read people will have no pity.

[edit]

This isn't what I had in mind and I can't say I'd recommend it (I think there are too many useless words) but you can have a peek if you wish:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/li...-roadmap1.html

Last edited by pinniped; 11-02-2008 at 03:40 AM.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 05:20 AM   #5
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solouko View Post
Being an advanced windows user...
You won't like me telling you this, but that's probably a disadvantage; there is a certain amount of windows-ism that you'll have to unlearn.

Quote:
I think ahead when installing a system especialy with partitions...

1/ Are there any peramiters

2/ Do linux distros use anything like a page file?

3/ If I set up a seperate partition on a seperate disk for the page file can I specify the allocation of that partition for the page file once installed? and if so, how?
To deal briefly with partitions;
-with only 1 G of RAM, I'd push the swap file up to 2 G (although 1 G is still easily workable, as would be 512M). This will only be an issue if you get very adventurous about running lots of big programs, and I'm assuming with two disk drives you've got plenty of disk space. (Although, they are probably old disks and therefore small and slow by today's standards).
Use a simple-ish partition scheme (always advisable for beginners); a separate /home partition and a root (/) partition; that should be all you need (along with the swap that mentioned earlier).
The only real need for thought is how you'll distibute these round the available disks; you need to say the disk sizes for more guesses from me! (I'm assuming thsese are IDE disks and your DVD is IDE also.)
Quote:
4/ should I reserve any other partitions and fast sectors for any part of the OS that frequently utalises disk space?
Follow previous advice and its already done.

Quote:
5/ When installing or after installing Ubunto are there anyhtings that I should enable or dissable?
You can always fix it later. Assuming that you've got net bandwidth, the install and remove applications facility is what you want (synaptic).

The only question that comes to mind is whether you have really chosen the GUI correctly? This isn't a big problem (remember I said you can always fix it later - that's true of the GUI, too), but, in addition to Gnome, you may also want to have a look at KDE (also big, like Gnome, but ex-windows users often find it more to their taste) or XFCE (lighter that the big two, and likely to make the computer have a bit more of a spring in its step). While technically a *buntu with KDE is called Kubuntu, you get the same thing by adding KDE to any *buntu.

For a good Ubuntu getting started guide see
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/
For a general beginers Unix tutorial, see
http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Teaching/Unix/
 
Old 11-02-2008, 09:10 AM   #6
Solouko
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Thanks alot salasi and the rest of you guys, that's exactly the advice I was hoping for. The drives are 2 20GB IDE drives, however I do have a couple of 40GB drives as well but i was saving them for another system =/

Would 3 partitions be about right? the root partition on the first disk, the swap partition as the first partition on the second drive and the home partition as the second partition on the second drive?

is that sort of setup easy to astablish during an install?

oh and before i forget... there will only be one user on it, just me but it doesnt need to be passworded or anything

Last edited by Solouko; 11-02-2008 at 09:12 AM.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 09:43 AM   #7
Disillusionist
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Even if you are the only user on the system, you should still have a password on your account.

When you use the administrative tools, you will be asked for your password. This is a basic security aspect and good practice, even Windows asks for confirmation before running administrative tools these days (Vista).

EDIT:

The following link may prove to be useful
http://dsl.org/cookbook/cookbook_toc.html

Last edited by Disillusionist; 11-02-2008 at 09:47 AM.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 09:45 AM   #8
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solouko View Post
Hi, My name's Solouko and I've been a microsoft fanboy for the past 10 years. I think it's about time I kicked the habbit and learnt how to use a real computer however learning a new OS is hard and I think it would help if i could relate the ins and outs of a linux distro to the workings of a windows one.
Hello and welcome. I wouldn't concentrate on comparisons, it would be like comparing tanks with airplanes, there's not much point in doing so. It's just something different, and as some other user above said, you should start without assumptions on how the things should or must be done. Linux does not work like windows.

Quote:
1/ Are there any peramiters which are recomended for partitions like allocation sizes ect.. ?
This really depends on the purpose. Yours right now is learning, so the most basic layout that I recommend is at least three partitions: /, /home and swap. The size for them is arbitrary. There are tons of discussions about swap. Lots of people think that 2x your ram size is an absolute must. I think that's idiotic for any computer that is not at least 10 years old. About 0.5-1GB is ok for desktop usage in my humble opinion. About /, it depends on what do you plan to install. All the software will be there, most under /usr. For a desktop, around 5-10GB nowadays should be OK. But it all depends on what you are going to do.

The rest goes for home, which is where all your personal data, music, movies and such stuff is going to be stored.

Having a separate home partition will easy the migration to another distro in the future.

Quote:
2/ Do linux distros use anything like a page file? if so what sort of size should it be for general computer usage, possible file server application.
This was sorted on 1)

Quote:
3/ If I set up a seperate partition on a seperate disk for the page file can I specify the allocation of that partition for the page file once installed? and if so, how?
/etc/fstab is a plain text file which is used to mount all your partitions. swap is not mounted, but it still can be specified there. You can as well add or remove swap partitions on command line using swapon and swapoff, but I won't bother you with that.

A tipical line for swap on fstab will look like this:

Code:
/dev/sda2 none swap sw 0 1
Where /dev/sda2 is your partition swap. Adjust accordingly.

Quote:
4/ should I reserve any other partitions and fast sectors for any part of the OS that frequently utalises disk space?
/tmp and /var/tmp is where all the temporal stuff is stored, they are about the two locations on your system that change more often, if that's what you are talking about. I usually recommend a separate partition for those. Even more, I usually mount both locations on the same partition. On a desktop system there's really no point in having them separated. I usually reserve 4-5GB for these, because Gentoo uses them to store stuff while compiling, and some big packages can take a few GB. But a regular desktop system might work ok with less space. It all depends on what do you exactly do. For example, if the program to rip dvd movies that you use must use this directory, then it will need to be bigger. However, most times you can configure everything to store this kind of temp data in your home, hence you will not need that much space on /tmp or /var/tmp.

Quote:
5/ When installing or after installing Ubunto are there anyhtings that I should enable or dissable?
I don't use ubuntu, so I don't know. There are probably some system services or daemons that will be useless to you and you might want to disable. But I can't tell you anything specific.

Quote:
6/ I've recently found out you can get virus scanners for linux OS's, does ubuntu have one already on the disk or should I download one?
Clamav is probably the most famous one.

Quote:
7/ how can I get it to play MP3s? (this is the most important question)
I think Ubuntu ships some kind of automatic installer for this. However, it shouldn't be a problem even if it requires some manual work. It's perfectly doable.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 09:57 AM   #9
deathalele
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6. Dont bother with a virus scanner. The only time i got a virus was when i downloaded a bad .exe file It ran through wine, so all i had to do was restart the computer and delete the files on the virtual c drive.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 12:20 PM   #10
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deathalele View Post
6. Dont bother with a virus scanner. The only time i got a virus was when i downloaded a bad .exe file It ran through wine, so all i had to do was restart the computer and delete the files on the virtual c drive.
Is not a bad thing to have if you send mails to people who's not using Linux. Just for the sake of avoiding to forward infected mail, while saving also a bit of bandwidth in the process.
 
Old 11-02-2008, 01:35 PM   #11
Maligree
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Quote:
I'm going to look at installing ubunto on it because i've been told it's the moste 'friendly' distro to use.
Disregard that, MANDRIVA ONE IS THE MOST FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTION!

Really!
 
Old 11-02-2008, 08:16 PM   #12
chrism01
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Here's some good links to get you started

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz
 
Old 11-03-2008, 07:57 AM   #13
dickgregory
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maligree View Post
Disregard that, MANDRIVA ONE IS THE MOST FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTION!

Really!
OK, let's be careful not to start a distro flame war here.

As it happens, I agree with you about Mandriva. I have 2009 on two of my systems and the third will soon be on it. I have tried various releases of *buntu and got so frustrated that I vowed to put them on my "avoid permanently" list. I've also tried PCLOS, Debian, SUSE, Sabayon, Gentoo, LFS, and I don't know how many others. Mandriva just feels comfortable to me.

However, I do recognize that it is all a matter of personal preferences, just as with cars or politics. *buntu did not achieve its popularity by being a pile of junk, and Canonical's marketing has been invaluable in generating public awareness of Linux in general. Many people find *buntu to be as comfortable as I find Mandriva to be, and as the MS people find Windows to be.

I would recommend starting with a distro you can get the most help with from acquaintances and friends. Even the geeky distros can be easy if you have a friend who is willing to take time to be a personal tutor.


If you don't know such a person, choose from http://distrowatch.com/ top 10. They are all free (as in cost), and they are all good. Then use the forums for help as you have already started to do.
 
Old 11-06-2008, 04:09 PM   #14
Solouko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickgregory View Post
I would recommend starting with a distro you can get the most help with from acquaintances and friends. Even the geeky distros can be easy if you have a friend who is willing to take time to be a personal tutor.

Thanks alot, and you know what, i dont know anyone who has ever used any version of linux or anyhting other than windows, which is a little bit sad. I've decided to put off installing the system untill i know more about the ins and outs of a linux OS because otherwise i might get too scared again and cling to my familiar windows =/

One thing that has been keeping my interest in linux is the 'remote' aspect of it and it's ability to network and share processes, I dont know much about it but can you really use linux to run a single multi-threaded application on two different PCs linked only by a network cable?
 
Old 11-06-2008, 05:52 PM   #15
chrism01
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Well, why don't you try a 'Live' CD. This is Linux running purely off the CD, doesn't write to your HDD. Enables you to try it out without any danger of losing your MS setup.
Obviously it'll be a mite slower in places.
Another option is dual-boot.
 
  


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