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I have had a little (read very little) experience with using Linux on my PC in the past, though I have used it for years as my website hosting platform.
Currently I want to do a major upgrade to my website (which uses an Invision forum), and, as this is going to take quite some time to achieve I want to be able to do all the work on my desktop PC before overwriting the live website.
I have just tried installing Ubuntu 9.10 but rant into problems during the installation. It did not recognise that my primary OS is Widows 7, nor did it recognise the partitions I have on my hard drives as their correct sizes.
My setup is that I am running a 64 bit system, with two hard drives. Both drives have three partitions. I have created a small partition on the second drive, and that is the one I want to install Linux into. I already have Windows 7 (main OS), and Windows XP installed on the primary drive.
Would prefer not to create another partition on that drive and use the one on the secondary drive instead.
I really only need to be able to use a web browser,file editor, phpmyadmin, and mysql databases on the Linux setup. I do not need any other software or bells and whistles as this will simply be used for major overhauls of my websites.
Can anyone advise me as to which distro would be best suited to my needs, and how I can install into the location I wish it to go?
I really don't see the difficulty in doing what you ask for with any mainstream Linux distro. But then, I don't really see why Ubuntu should have given you the install problem that you had, although I've only actually tried older versions of Ubuntu, so maybe its a bug in that particular version.
honestly ubuntus the easiest distro ive come across. you should have no problems. i have ubuntu server on an old dell p4 with 512mb ram, and it runs great ive only rebooted once in about 6 months. whats your hardware setup? if anything try ubuntu 8.04 its very stable. you should try that then come back you know?
The promblem I had when I tried to install Ubuntu was that it saw XP as my primary OS, and only saw two partitions on the primary drive (lumping my Windows 7 partition & my XP partition together as a single partition). Did not recognise Windows 7 at all (Xp has a 25Gb partition, W7 has 250Gb)
When I selected the option to select the partition to install on, the only options I was being shown existed on the primary drive, the drive I wanted to use was not being show. At that point I chickened out as I really do not want to screw my primary setup.
Would have happily put it into the existing XP partition, but that was being shown as around 275Gb, and that is simply wrong.
BTW I am NOT trying to setup a server here, just some workspace to do the required file changes before uploading to my webserver
Ubuntu 9.04 is a very good distro, and really impressed people by how well everything worked.
The current release of Ubuntu (9.10) seems to have caused a few problems for people with hardware being incompatible, packages not working etc. The developers have been ambitious and added so much new stuff that bugs were inevitable. I think most pertinent to your situation is that a new bootloader is being used in Karmic, GRUB2. Ubuntu is the first distro to try out the new version (I think), which is still in its beta stage.
With your system, you are better off trying a distro which uses the older, stable version of GRUB. Try Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04), it's very stable and is fully supported until October 2010. The next Long Term Service edition, Lucid Lynx, will be released in April so if all of the bugs have been sorted out by then (very likely) you will have plenty of time to switch over.