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I've just dived into the exciting world of linux.. I have run basically all prev. versions of windows and am unfortunately a XP "power user" so I've got a lot of bad habits to unlearn.. I'm a self confessed geek, so that should be an advantage :P I have also been hit with the google stick, so have had a bit of a search..
My current setup is a PIII 866MHz with 512MB RAM, 2x IDE HDD (130GB & 40GB), old school AGP dual output video card (Matrox), etc etc.. It was basically built out of a stack of bits lying round the shop.
(I also have my notebook running XP, so I can do work when neccessary without spending hours)
I currently have the 130GB evenly divided into 5 partitions, the first being a primary ex2 and the rest logical ex2. The second drive has been formatted as a linux swap space (about 2G), with the rest formated as a ex2 space that I can use to store files.
My current plans (half completed) is to install a number of different distributions and experiment, learn and have a bit of fun. I have had a little UNIX experience at Uni, but it doesn't count for much.
My planned distro's are:
1 - Slackware 11 (found a DVD, inspired me to try linux again, installed)
2 - Fedora Core 5 (just installed)
3 - Ubuntu 6.06 (Downloaded but not burnt to DVD)
4 - SUSE (Still trying to figure out which one to DL)
5 - Mandriva (also yet to DL)
I have been reading a fair bit on the net, and have also bought a text (Linux Bible 2006 by Christopher Negus). However, I'm looking for a little more startup info.
Is there any issues with my distro selection? Any particular releases that I should avoid.
Is there any problems sharing the 2nd HDD (swap and storage space) between the different distributions?
Is there a particular reason Partition Magic 8 (run using a bart CD) limits the linux swapspace to about 2GB? The first Slackware install gave me a 5GB partition.
With the different file systems, I went with ex2 as it appears to be the plain vanilla linux format. Is there any advantage to ex3? there was also another option (can't remember the name.. also journalling started with a "ri" i think)
How can I change the keyboard repeat? (I assume thats what its called). When I type it often puts in like 4 characters when I double tap. Also really frustrating when I delete characters. I have been playing with KDE on Slackware and have found an option in the menu's to change it, but what about from the command prompt?
I have had some trouble installing Slackware and Fedora, both of which stuffed up half way through a couple of times. The weird thing was that the points at which the install's broke were different, when doing a single distro (ie Slackware install stuffed up at different points each time). Is this normal?
I'm happy to spend the time messing around, I just wanted to check that I wasn't making stupid choices before spending a week trying to get something to work. (it took me 2hrs to get the right display res. at the slackware prompt. hence buying a book, lol)
And to those of you who have made it this far in the post I thank you, and hope I haven't made u dumber with these basic questions :P.
Sounds like you've gotten off to a good start. Those seem like decent distros to get a sense of what's out there. I just want to point out that ubuntu now has a newer version, 6.10. You might also add debian to the list of distros to try, and if you like the feel of slackware, then arch could also be worthwhile.
Not sure what the issue with the swap restriction is, though 2 GB of swap is probably more than you'll need, unless you're doing some really memory intensive tasks. I have the same amount of RAM as you, and I don't think I've come close to maxing out my 1GB of swap.
I'm not real familiar with the differences in file systems, but I think the main difference between ext2 and ext3 is that ext3 has journaling capability. The other option you were probably thinking of is reiserfs, though again I don't know much about the benefits of using one filesystem over another.
Not sure what's going on with the keyboard or the install problems. It might help if you say where the install has given you errors, and any messages it might give. If you have other problems it would be better to post separate threads so that it's easier for people to recognize what issues you're having without having to read through irrelevant stuff.
Definitely use ext3 in place of ext2, as the journalling capabilities can be seriously useful in the event of any unexpected errors. Personally, setting the size to 512Mg should be plenty.
You can create one single swap partition and use it for all distros. In contrast, I would recommend keeping everything else in its own space. Sure, you will end up with multiple /home directories, etc, but because different distros sometimes put things in slightly different places, or use slightly different directories structures, I find it to be helpful to keep everything self-contained. Besides, if you decide that a particular distro isn't working for you and you want to delete it, you don't have to worry about inadvertently deleting something that another distro needs, nor will you end up with misc file "litter"
It looks like you've got a good handle on things, good luck with the project and Welcome to LQ