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I have a roomate that could give me advice, but he's not all that experienced at linux anyways. I'm a Electrical Engineering major and want to learn some Unix before getting out into the job field.
What I want to ask is:
1. anyone know where I can go to get suggestions of partitioning (if I use slackware on a 4 gig drive)
2. What would be the best distro for a newbie? I tried Mdrake, but I couldn't compile anything (qt didn't exist and wouldn't compile the new one either)
3. Any other suggestions to anyone just getting their feet wet?
whoa... yeah, don't use slack if you're a newbie. i was pretty experienced with redhat when i made the transition from rh to slack and i was almost completely lost. honestly, i'd give redhat a go. it's easy enough to install/use, but doesn't give you all the fluff mandrake does.
I would agree with Syncrm... if you were an english major. With EE you've probably at least learned how to navigate around a Unix environment by now. If you learn Slack to start with, you won't have all of the candy-covered garbage in your way that would probably bother you... but get ready to hack out your XF86Config file by hand.
I have to agree with tricky's partitioning idea and finegan's faith that Slackware would be fine to start with. As you have already said you've had compilation problems, it's assumable to me that you aren't as newbie as you say if you've gotten to that point. Slack doesn't have all the distribution specific kernel garbage. It's alot more universal. I'd go with Slack and don't look back. It truly isn't as daunting as some may make it, really!
I have just installed Slackware as my first Linux system on my ancient Compaq 166 Deskpro. Slackware is not hard to install and partitioning is up to you but I would reccomend a much larger swap space than before, mine is 64mb. I also created a seperate partition for /opt but that was jsut me fiddling.
The Slackware reference menu is invaluable as it guides you through everything.