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Phase2 05-08-2005 04:11 AM

Ready To Take The Plunge
 
Longtime Windows user (:() who is beyond ready for a quest with Linux. I'm indeed new to this, and I hate to sound like the novice I am, but any help you guys & gals can provide would be much appreciated.

The PC I'm using now has an AMD 64 3400+ Processor, 512 MB RAM (although I'd like to upgrade with at least another 512), DVD Drive & DVD+-RW, Asus MB.

I really don't know much at all about Linux, yet I'm raring to go, and ready to take the plunge. As I'm sure you hear from many first time Linux users, I'm quite unsure which distro to use. The only time I've ever spoken to someone about Linux, and it was a very brief conversation with no details, they linked me to a Mandrake download. I went ahead and downloaded the 3-CDs, and more or less put them away, as I wasn't exactly ready at that time to make a switch. It was Mandrake 10.1.

I pretty much do the basics--browse the net, burn CD's (and now beginning to enter the DVD burning world), and more or less explore what's out there, although I'm taking my time. :D I want to expand much more than the simple things I'm currently engaging in.

For an absolute beginnier, coming from a windows world, would you recommend any particular distro as far as ease of use is concerned? I'm very flexible, and if that means 4 months from now I'll be starting from scratch with another distro, I have no problem with that. What I'm interested in is something that will gently introduce me to the basic Linux world. Would the aforementioned Mandrake (now Mandriva, as I just visited the website again) be a good place to start?

I would welcome any suggestions, and I really do appreciate your help.

Phase2

__J 05-08-2005 04:34 AM

you are going to get alot of differing opinions about this....but:

my opinion is to try a live cd first, like slax, knoppix, etc...

you can try out linux without altering your harddrive. It will be slower than a native linux install, but IMO the benifits outweight the drawbacks in this case ( if you don't like it, remove the cd, toss it in the trash, reboot and everything is back to normal).

also, a good idea would be to browse these forums and get a good idea what problems people are having with certain hardware/distros/versions etc... you can get a long way just by doing that. next, I'd recommend going to different distro's sites and see what it is that they are offering, as one person swears that slackware is all you need, the next swears that it's fedora/debian/gentoo/ etc..

basically, define what you want and what you need. A big problem judging by these boards is software installation. One thing I would recommend is finding a distro that suits your needs, and sticking with that distro long enough to learn the in's and out's of it's package management. Any distro of linux can pretty much do anything that another distro can do, it's just a matter of how it's set up and what exactly do you have to do. In my experience, if you move from distro to distro without learning the in's and out's of the
distro that you are currently using, it's more or less just a waste of time as sooner or later you are going to have to troubleshoot things and solve your problem one way or another.

Remember, linux is not just a "free windows" or a "windows replacement", it's a completely different operating system that does things completely different ways and you have to learn it just as you had to learn Windows.

Lleb_KCir 05-08-2005 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by __J
you are going to get alot of differing opinions about this....but:

my opinion is to try a live cd first, like slax, knoppix, etc...

you can try out linux without altering your harddrive. It will be slower than a native linux install, but IMO the benifits outweight the drawbacks in this case ( if you don't like it, remove the cd, toss it in the trash, reboot and everything is back to normal).

also, a good idea would be to browse these forums and get a good idea what problems people are having with certain hardware/distros/versions etc... you can get a long way just by doing that. next, I'd recommend going to different distro's sites and see what it is that they are offering, as one person swears that slackware is all you need, the next swears that it's fedora/debian/gentoo/ etc..

Remember, linux is not just a "free windows" or a "windows replacement", it's a completely different operating system that does things completely different ways and you have to learn it just as you had to learn Windows.

those are 3 HUGE points.


i also sujest the SuSe live CD. my story as a newbie about 18months back now i started with a book by the Wronx group for RH9. it was a HUGE help as it talked to the windows user not the linux user so i was able to start my conversion from windows to linux much simpler.

this site is the #2 online referance for linux help. IMHO the #1 is your local user group called a LUG. they are right there and you can get to them as most LUGs will have what are called install fests. these let you get with people who know a lot about linux and can stand by your shoulder as you take the plunge. for me that is a bigger help, but for getting and finding answeres it is extreemly hard to beat this site.

i sujest one of the RPM based distros to start with Fedora Core (was the red hate line) or SuSe, i personally have a thing against Mandrake after it ate it self on my laptop when i was first learning about linux, but it is a 3rd newbie type option.

All 3 of those distros have very intuitive GUI installs that if you can install windows you can install those linux distros. the first 2 have great update GUI managers that do not have week long ques. Mandrake on the other hand not only will it run the risk of destroying it self with an update, but you will have 7 - 10 day ques trying to get into their update servers unless you pay them an annual fee for faster update service. sorry, not my cup of tea.

All three can use either apt-get or YUM in addition to the built in update managers. i personally loved YUM when i was running RH9. it is so simple once you have the respositories configured.

just type:

yum update
yum install
yum remove
yum upgrade

and put a file name at the end of install/remove and you were done. it did all the hard work for you just like apt-get does. Currently the only one of those 3 i have touched in the last 6 months is SuSe 9.2 pro. i can tell you as a newbie i was very temped to move to that distro from Debian, but i am sticking with debian for now as i like it a lot. the SuSe pro line gives you some very heavy built in packages (little bit of bloat much like windows does) that are very usefull. there just are a handful the normal user will never use.

that is the only draw back to those distros. they are full of bloat with MDK and FC being the most bloated. the SuSe 9.3 live CD should be out now for download and if it is as good as 9.2 i would sujest starting there.

mjjzf 05-08-2005 01:43 PM

Install Mandrake.
That's where I started - it probably won't be your last distribution, but a nice place to start.
Yes: Live-CDs are good for learning, but you won't be able to work with the system and adapt it to your needs, since the system will be back to default once you've rebooted. What makes Linux great is the flexibility - and that requires an installed system. If you're worried about frying your data, consider bying a spare hard disk.

masonm 05-08-2005 02:44 PM

Personally I always suggest a Debian-based distro for newbies as it can avoid some of the dependency hell associated with RPMS and is easier to upgrade. But, as always, this is merely a personal opinion. I have found SimplyMepis to be a good newbie distro as it is a LiveCD distro and if you like it you simply click the desktop icon and install it to the HDD.

But there are a lot of differing opinions just as there are a lot of different distros. :)

Read through www.distrowatch.org compare different distros and decide what sounds like it may appeal to you. As for Mandrake, it's a popular first distro but I found it to have certain "quirks" and a tad too buggy for my taste. Others swear bu it.

Poetics 05-08-2005 03:43 PM

Of course you're going to get as many differing opinions as we have users -- go Slackware!

You really have the right attitude going into this, though -- for me, the hardest and most arduous part of Linux is getting the system set up, customized, and configured just for me. The power however lies in that you can get the OS to do just about anything you want (short of buttering your toast for you, but I hear that's in the 2.8.x kernel).

I second the notion of going to a LiveCD first, the most popular being Knoppix. This will give you a good overall view of what linux is like without permanently touching your harddrive. Take a look in the Distrobution forum to find out what others have to say about all the various distros before choosing one yourself.

But most of all, have fun!

Phase2 05-08-2005 05:09 PM

I want to thank everyone who responded in this thread. I truly appreciate it. For some reason I believed the members here would be very helpful, and apparently I was right. My mind is in overload right now, trying to make a decision on exactly what I want to do. I don't share my PC with anyone, and at this point, I literally have nothing on here that I care about saving, so I'm actually leaning toward just installing a distro from scratch, deleting windows, and seeing how that goes. Now to make the decision on which one to go with. I'm going to try to enjoy this, and thereby make it seem more fun than stressful.

Phase2

dolphans1 05-30-2005 02:24 AM

I like Mandrake as it offers more freedom than the others, in my opinion....

d-1


Quote:

Originally posted by Phase2
I want to thank everyone who responded in this thread. I truly appreciate it. For some reason I believed the members here would be very helpful, and apparently I was right. My mind is in overload right now, trying to make a decision on exactly what I want to do. I don't share my PC with anyone, and at this point, I literally have nothing on here that I care about saving, so I'm actually leaning toward just installing a distro from scratch, deleting windows, and seeing how that goes. Now to make the decision on which one to go with. I'm going to try to enjoy this, and thereby make it seem more fun than stressful.

Phase2


Ynot Irucrem 05-30-2005 03:07 AM

I second everything in masonm's post. apparently slackware is good for learning, which is why I want to try it next. just whatever you do, do NOT use linspire. quoting "a thing" from linuxforums.org:
Quote:

For the third time in two days...

NO to Linspire

Linspire was my first distro. It sucked horribly. I couldn't even compile (install) packages. Also it's expensive and has a lot of proprietary things in it. Oh yeah the only install options were take over whole harddrive or take over whole partition. It's Linux, but no way is it GNU.

Linspire, Inc. cheats Linux newbs out of their money.

craigevil 05-30-2005 03:22 AM

GO Debian. If you take a look at DistroWatch's top ten, 5 are Debian based. Ubuntu, MEPIS, Xandros, Knoppix and Debian.

Get a LIVECD of either Knoppix , MEPIS, or Kanotix. If you set a persistent Home directory you can even install software and save your settings.

Read the Beginner's guide at Distrowatch. Download a few distros. Try to spend anywhere from a week to a month playing around with each one, longer if you find done that you like.

Once you find one that fits your needs/wants READ all of the documentation that is available for it.

Know where to look for docs on your system. Buy a separate hard drive that way you do not have to worry about you windows data.


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