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Old 08-17-2004, 02:38 AM   #1
Rexversusu
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: British Columbia
Distribution: Debian Testing
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UBER-Newbie Wants To Attempt A Debian Install - PLEASE ADVISE


I've been told the Linux comunity is generally friendly and helpful to newbies. I hope so because I'm sure I"ll be taxing your patience in the near future.

Background on my abilities -

I am a barely capable WinXP user. I can download and install programs. I can use programs like Bittorent and even mIRC to a minor degree. I recently reformatted and re-installed XP from the original CD (with a little help from the internet before I tried it).

Hopefully that gives you an idea of my level (or lack of) expertise.

My System -

AMD Athlon 1800XP (1.53 GHz)
ASUS A7V266-E Motherboard w/ VIA KT266A Chipset and 256MB DDR RAM
NVidia GeForce2 MX
Creative SB Live!
40 GB Maxtor 6LO40J2
LiteOn LTR-16102B CD Writer
Realtec RTL8139 Family PCI Fast Ethernet NIC
Windows XP Home Ed (sp1)

My Quest -

Install Debian as a secondary OS (dual boot), maintain Windows functionality, but allow myself to boot into Debian in order to learn the wonderful world of Linux as I have come to generally despise everything Microsoft.

If I can get a good handle on Linux, I would like to eventually transfer full control of my machine to Linux.

My Questions -

- Should I bother? Am I too much of a newb?
- Is a dual-boot system relatively stable and safe?
- Partitioning - Fdisk? CFdisk? Partition Magic?
- How many partitions should I make?
- Seriously, will I even be able to use this OS to do anything?

ANY help or recommendations you guys can provide would be awesome. I've never been much of a computer geek, but I wish I was. I know that the real power users use Linux, and I'd like to learn how.

Thanks in advance!
 
Old 08-17-2004, 03:00 AM   #2
psoh
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: ghades
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Your best bet...

After reading your post Rexversusu I'm inclined to say a few things about linux. Firstly if your looking for a easy to decern operating system your better off getting as many books about linux as you can. That is the first and foremost important thing. Secondly your using XP home Edition as I am, there are some issues I don't like with Microsoft mainly because of the security reasons and linux is a better supporter of security in a great deal of ways. Third when you want a stable o.s. Linux offers a great deal of the stablity for high or low end apps especially if your into artistic programs, heck most game developers use Linux O.S. soley for code base developments, and design...especially Playstation.
Now for what you intend to do with Linux is up to you.

There are many helpful guides here at Linuxquestions.org for you to immerse yourself with. Don't become impatient with understanding linux, its a big world full of different codes and how each dependency is as important as the next. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the command lines, SU = super user

Tar's

Rpm's

./configure

make

make install

make clean


Have a good working idea of whats involved with file structures. You must know a little bit about where files go. Become real familar with the Root because thats where any tweaking gets done. You can thru the Gnome or KDE part but I find once you figure out whats going on it becomes easier to understand.

Linux O.S.'s from what I understand aren't compatible with many dial up modems, hence this O.S. is network based.

I'm not a fundamental Linux user in any regard but I've learned a lot more with Linux than with Windoze. How file structures work, whats involved with command codes, etc.
There are drawbacks with using linux and that is a uniform code structure that works on all platforms. Sometimes that gets real confusing especially when your trying to install a program it gets nerve racking sometimes.
So be patient read as much as you can. Ask questions, you'll be more prepared when you eventually move to linux. I on the other hand have tried 3 linux systems, Mandrake 9.1, Redhat 9, and Fedora Core 2. I'm not big on either of those because of command issues. I've gotten real frustrated with dependencies where as specific programs available aren't even legit anymore. So if your real good a digging for stuff, this will be a great investment. Otherwise if your only into pointing and installing then you might want to look for something else entirely.
 
Old 08-17-2004, 03:03 AM   #3
Bruce Hill
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Registered: Jun 2003
Location: McCalla, AL
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My recommendation - read this Debian Install Guide which is the best available,
and if you can't install with that, run a Knoppix - Linux Live CD for a while.

You could also try a GUI based distro just to "check out Linux," such as Mandrake-10.0
Official. It will probably find all your hardware and get it setup okay.

Also, read the first two links in my sig below. Once you start learning a little bit about
how computers should work, things will begin to fall into place. And be patient - the
best thing you have going for you is a "lack of Windoze knowledge."
 
Old 08-17-2004, 03:21 AM   #4
Rexversusu
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: British Columbia
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 47

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Thanks for the replies, guys - I have the links bookmarked and am reading through them already.

And, no, I want MORE than just point and install. I really want a better idea of how computers work and I want to be able to make my computer do what I want it to do.

I'm also sick of the buggy behaviour of Windows (sorry, Windoze) and the fact that I feel like a kid using it ("don't worry about how it works, honey, just click there and everything will be alright."
 
Old 08-17-2004, 03:23 AM   #5
nuka_t
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Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Kalifornia
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about su, psoh was wrong about that. it means switch user. root is just the default so when you dont specify another user it automatically goes to su. however, if you type in su yourname, it will switch to your name.

oh, the easiest way to get debian isntalled on a system is to use a distro like Mepis. its based on debian and it has an easy gui installer and it also works as a livecd, so if you ever mess anything up, you can just boot into the livecd and come running to linuxquestions.org to fix it all up.

edit: about your questions


- Should I bother? Am I too much of a newb?
- Is a dual-boot system relatively stable and safe?
- Partitioning - Fdisk? CFdisk? Partition Magic?
- How many partitions should I make?
- Seriously, will I even be able to use this OS to do anything?

-debian installation is pretty hard, but once installed its a piece of cake to maintain cause of apt. thats why i recommended mepis.

-no reason it shouldnt be. just done ever be root and delete the windows folder

-use qtparted wich comes with mepis, you can launch it from the installer.

you need 3 partitions(not including windows). i recommend reiserfs over ext3. youll need a 600ish mb swap partition ("/swap/"), 5 gb "/" partition, whatever else is left "/home/" partition.

- yes, yes you can.

Last edited by nuka_t; 08-17-2004 at 03:28 AM.
 
Old 08-17-2004, 03:45 AM   #6
Rexversusu
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: British Columbia
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 47

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Looking into that Mepis distribution. Looks interesting indeed. The main thing I'm concerned about with the Debian install is the INSTALL.

I like the idea of a Debian based distro with an install "wizard" built in.

Anyone else have comments on the Mepis distro? (Look at me, I'm already learing the jargon - distro - I'm so proud of me!).
 
Old 08-17-2004, 04:50 AM   #7
nuka_t
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Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Kalifornia
Distribution: YOPER+KDE
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here are some reviews

latest version-
http://mepislovers.com/modules/weblo....php?blog_id=3

http://www.desktopos.com/reviews.php...wcontent&id=12

2003 verison

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=6164

http://82.42.128.43/mepis_2003.htm

http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=04/01/12/135232

...

more reviews and link to download mirrors available at

http://distrowatch.org/table.php?distribution=mepis
 
Old 08-17-2004, 10:05 AM   #8
BaptismOfFire
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Registered: Aug 2004
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my turn.....

I am a newb too, picked up debian about 3 weeks ago, after much pestering from my bro-in-law to look at linux.


First things first, make sure you pick the right distro for you, there are many to choose from, and it can be a headache. I chose Debian purely based on my experience of Knoppix.

Secondly, before you do anything to your harddisk, get a copy of knoppix and learn your way around it.

If your are not familiar with the command line interface you may have a longer learning curve, I hankfully, learned dos to some extent before I hit windows.

If you choose Debian, you have 3 options, stable, testing or unstable. You can find out more about these flavours direct from debian.

If you choose stable, you have a tried and tested OS, but nearly a year out of date driver wise. I am currently running testing. It is more stable than unstable, but it may break occasionally. Having said that unstable WILL break at some point because new packages are released into it in the alpha stage.

The beauty of testing, atm, is much better default hardware support, especially for newer cards and also and easier installer. If you don't want to take the risk of testing, but need the drivers, check out backports.

Also testing comes with the new debian installer, which is much easier to use than doing it manually.

regarding dual boot, this is extremely possible, and there are some good howtos on aboutdebian (i forget their URL). Bear in mind that these howto's are more with the stable release in mind, but you can easily port them to testing.

when doing anyinstall, at the veryfirst prompt press F3 (for debian anyway) this gives a hidden list of commands to further customise your install, like which kernel to use. ie 2.4.x or 2.6.x.

When you have the base system installed, don't forget to update your kernel to better support your CPU. as default you will have i386, I am using i686 for my P4, but I believe their is an AMD kernel their too.

nvidia drivers can be a pain, but you are in safer hands than ati. their are plenty of howto's nd other pages of problems and solutions regarding the nvidia driver.

note, after playing about I now have a dual boot XPPro/DebianKDE machine

it is not difficult, but neither is it easy. If your are only usede to GUI then I severely recomend swatting up before you do anything.

And be careful about non-destructive partitioning, it can be a black art. If you can, get a second HDD, it will save a few headaches if things go potty, failing that back up all important data. in case of probs, but by far the best way to repartion is to just delete and start again. install XP in the primary partition, do not partition the rest of the disk, debian will do that for you.

hope that helps, if anyone wishes to comment on what i have said feel free, as I am a noob too.
 
Old 08-18-2004, 12:20 AM   #9
Rexversusu
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: British Columbia
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 47

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally posted by Chinaman
My recommendation - read this Debian Install Guide which is the best available,
and if you can't install with that, run a Knoppix - Linux Live CD for a while.

You could also try a GUI based distro just to "check out Linux," such as Mandrake-10.0
Official. It will probably find all your hardware and get it setup okay.

Also, read the first two links in my sig below. Once you start learning a little bit about
how computers should work, things will begin to fall into place. And be patient - the
best thing you have going for you is a "lack of Windoze knowledge."
Thanks for the excellent links.

The linked Debian Install Guide was excellent and it has given me the courage to try a dual boot install with Debian 3.0. I like that he only loaded the most basic programs, so you start with a very lean machine - just what I was hoping for.

Well, hopefully this all goes well. Pray for me (well, for my poor computer!).
 
Old 10-23-2004, 01:36 PM   #10
mark_alfred
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu Linux 16.04
Posts: 1,258

Rep: Reputation: 147Reputation: 147
definately go with debian

Hello. I believe you've made the right choice to go directly with Debian. I tried Mepis last year, and it was okay, but the install and configuration still took me a bit of time. Now that Debian Sarge has a graphical installer, there really is no need to go with Mepis, Libranet, Xandros . . .or any other child of Debian.
I installed Debian, and it is the most stable distribution I have used. I run a web server, and other distros (SuSE, Mandrake, Mepis) would often disconnect. This has never happened with Debian.

You'll encounter various installation annoyances whether you use Mandrake, Mepis, SuSE, or Debian. So just go for Debian. For instance, one issue I had with the installation was not knowing how to get it started in the first instance (I ended up at a command line). I did figure it out though. If you encounter this, type "startx" and you'll be entered into gnome. Then, install gdm (gnome display manager), and whatever other programs you need.
Read up on apt-get, and the sources.list, at the Debian Site

You'll likely encounter some issues with your internet connection, or setting up a printer. But, a couple of hours of messing around will fix this. People are very helpful at the Debian Help site
Good luck!

Last edited by mark_alfred; 10-23-2004 at 01:38 PM.
 
  


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