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Infant user to LINUX (Mandriva or Ubuntu) is requesting some sincere 1st time guidance with...downloads, forum help, manuals, insight & maybe a mentor.
I have been (and still am) on the Microsoft based PC platform since the days of the DX2-66 & Pentium 100's, with 128mg\RAM, 20 gig HD's & 28.8 modems. I was in IT as a desktop support tech for many years. I've heard about and, last June (2009) toyed briefly with Mandriva. It seemed intimidating (at start-up), with all its' "lines of codes & commands". As I am NOT A PROGRAMMER, by ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION...I turned-away from it for fear of frustration (that [it] could possibly lead me to a drug relapse!!). I more of "auto-setup" guy (which, I might add, it did quite well)! The GUI seemed very user-friendly and intuitive.
With that said, is there anybody willing to help point me in the right direction to get me started, OR, maybe mentor me?
Thanks for ANY help you can provide me,
first thing i wish to tell you that you strongly need to upgrade your PC, but its your personal thing so i will not force you !
Second on based on your experience with window and computers i suggest you to try Ubuntu, its simple to use and very friendly to newbie.
Well at first glance mandriva seem to be eye catchy to you but belive me it is not suitable for those who want to start with linux. Well as starting with linux you must first know the full detail of your computer hardware so that your installation proccess will be no more painful to you !
You can first of all play around with a Live CD to get a feel for it. It will allow you to figure out if all your PC hardware will work (video, wireless, ...)
Next you can start of with a dual boot system (a system where you can choose at startup which OS to start). Therefore you need to have some free space on one of your current partitions (about 10GB will probably be more than sufficient if you just want to play around and it gives a little room for growth). Defrag the partition that you want to use for your second OS and shrink it by about 10GB. You're now ready to install.
Be aware that Linux does not use drive letters like windows, but refers to harddisks as /dev/sda or /dev/hdb and to partitions as /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2 etc. So make sure that you install on the correct partition.
Windows uses a pagefile for swapping, linux uses a swap partition. So during the install you need to create two partitions (one for the actual install and one for the swap); the size of the swap partition should be 2x size of memory; for a desktop you can limit it to about 1GB.
Before you install, it's highly recommended to make a backup of your current data; accidents can happen (power failure, user error). If you backup to an external HD and disconnect it before installing.
Once installed, play with it, research the internet in case of problems and if you can't figure it out, ask the questions here or on a forum dedicated to your distro.
If you have a PC laying around that you want to dedicate to Linux, I suggest that you create 3 partitions. One for swap, one root partition ( / ) where OS and programs will be installed (about 10GB or a little more if your HD is big enough) and the rest for a home partition ( /home ) where the data of the users will go (compare to 'documents and settings' under Windows).
I think the DX2 was just used by Mike to indicate how long he has been involved in computers
I've heard that the most MS like distros are Mint and Ubuntu. Try the LiveCD versions first ie it just runs from the CD and does NOT affect your HDD. Of course it'll be a little slower than running from HDD.
If you are willing to read and understand and put some time, it should not be too difficult for you since you have been into IT. As brian said, Linux is not difficult, its different.
You could start off with Ubuntu Live. Use it and if you find it useful go and install. Ubuntu has got good documentation online and the new documentation project is out with a neat manual that you can go through for day to day operations.
Also, in addition to Arch, if you could avoid Slackware and Gentoo for some time do that. I am not saying these are difficult, but you need to put time to unlearn windows and do it Slackware way.
Just my opinion though.
requesting some sincere 1st time guidance with...downloads, forum help, manuals, insight & maybe a mentor.
Help that general is only possible in person, not through a forum. You probably don't need that level of help anyway.
To get help in a forum, you need to make some effort yourself and you need to ask specific questions.
Regarding the choice of distribution, I think the related choice of desktop environment is more important. I think KDE 3 is the best choice for a Windows experienced Linux beginner. I think Mepis version 8 (not 8.5) is the best choice for a beginner friendly (very GUI oriented) distribution defaulting to KDE 3.
Please read and thank Wim Sturkenboom Post- Take it to Heart.
Read Linux Is Not Windows.
Google Is your Best Help
As for a Distro New users Should try Linux Mint 9 or PCLinuxOS
Whatever You Choose Join and Use That Forum- Ask Questions
After those enlightening advice from the masters you are now prepared.
You may now try download a LinuxMint live CD iso here.
And as you toy around and wanted to ask for help requiring an immediate answer you may consult a linux book, download Rute Linux from here, by using Ctl+F you can search the book for anything you wanted to know about using a linux.
But this should not prevent you from coming here for help. You are most welcome and ...