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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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You can install Linux on a computer with Windows already on it, however you will need free unpartitioned hard disk. You might be able to get this by using a program such as "Partition Magic" to resize your existing Windows partitions. You could also buy a new hard disk drive.
Linux is free, you can download it from the Internet, order it from companies who download it for you (for about £10) or buy a box set. A box set usually comes with paper manuals and support in addition to the software. Newbies are usually happiest with Mandrake Linux from http://www.mandrake.com/
Most distros of Linux install a bootloader called "lilo", this (if configured correctly - and most are) presents you with a menu when you boot, this lets you select which OS you want to use.
Using different system on one machine is called a "dual boot". Most modern Linux distros do it by default (of course, if there is Windows installed). Search this site for more info. It has been described so many times that you'll find everything you'd like to know about it.
Linux is released on GPL (GNU Public License, www.gnu.org). You can download distros (different versions of Linux) for free. You can also buy a boxed pack with books and technical support (or buy just to support your favourite distro).
I would suggest Red Hat, it's very user friendly and the with X and KDE setup it can look and act very much like windows does, minus the blue screens and constant reboots. Disk Druid makes it easy to repartition your hard drive, and the retail version comes with many spiffy apps, and nice manuals. But then again, I'm not a real big fan of Mandrake...I would say it's between those two distros, 'drake has a little bit too much fluff for my liking.
You can try download accelerator, I used that to download the 3 RH7.3 cd's, Went pretty fast, about 30mins for each cd. It has a resume funtion, but havnt had to use it so I dont know much about it. I beleave the FTP server has to support resume for it to work.