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I currently have Windows XP Pro on a p4 1.8, 512mb ddr, 80gb hdd. I also have RedHat 8, mandrake 9 and debian 3, but I haven't installed them yet. I am using partition magic, and I am wondering, how much space should I put for the 3 linux os's? What amount of space is redhat comfortable on? I want to leave at least 40gb's for XP (my main os). Also, what is debian like? I've used redhat 7 and mandrake before, but not debian.
Indeed 5 gigs should be enough for a basic linux install, you could also make a seperate /home partition to be shared by all distros. The best distros IMO are Debian and Gentoo. But you must be willing to learn how linux runs things. There is loads of online info though and some good forums to help you. The good thing with these distros is how they take care of dependancies and how easy they are to update. Once installed and working, you never need to install the system again (as may be the case with major version updates in RedHat & Mandrake & the like).