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I just registered because I'd like to install linux on an old PC at home.
Which is the best Linux version to use? There seem to be a few different types out there - I'd like to have a version which is widely known and supported (especially as I'll probably be spending a lot of time here asking questions...)
The pc is an old 466mhz thing with 256MB ram and an 8GB hard disk.
You said your goal was "to learn Linux." If this your real goal and you will not be using this PC as a production machine, I would recommend trying a distrobution of Linux that is more involved. What I mean is to try a distrobution that REQUIRES you to learn Linux (if you don't already know). The best example of this is Gentoo or Free BSD. I learned all about Linux by getting my feet wet with Gentoo a couple of years ago. Their documentation is probably the most complete (in comparison to other distrobutions), plus they have a huge fan base with people willing to help with your problems.
On 8 GB, you can easily install a full one-or-two CD distro. You will still have space left for data (estimate 4..5 GB).
Processor power is sufficient (466 Celeron I guess) and memory is plenty.
Advise: if you straight away want to be able to use some desktop apps, Ubuntu will probably do the trick. If you don't mind to install some desktop stuff yourself (and sometimes do some research before you get something to work), Slackware will be absolutely rewarding.
I noticed that nobody suggested Redhat - does it no longer exist or is it not suited, perhaps, for my purposes?
If you want to have a feel of linux, then try knoppix or slax or dsl or puppy linux which are live cds.
If you want a full distro but which is also easier, try pclinuxos or vector linux.
If you want to learn and understand linux, then go for slcakware or debian.
Redhat has a community supported edition named Fedora but in this , by default all the mp3 and some other proprietary plug ins are removed.
If you are much more serious go far gentoo or arch linux.
And after toying with various distros, go for linux from scratch to make your own distro.
Whatever be the distro, never get frustrated by your failures. Always the friendly linux fora are there to help you.
Unfortunantly, when you ask a question like this you will get a million different answers. Any distrobution will probably work for you. Most all distrobutions (except those that compile everything from source like Gentoo and Slackware) are based off of either Debian (use .deb packages) or Red Hat (use .rpm packages). Because of this, you can pretty much install any program on any distrobution you choose. You're also going to have to learn a lot no matter what distrobution you go to, so just dive in. I won't recommend any certain distrobution this time, but I will recommend that you choose a "Major" distrobution. See the Distrowatch list of major distrobutions: Here's the link.
The best think about Linux is that you can choose any distrobution and basically turn it into any other distrobution. After all, Linux is really GNU Linux and is just a huge collection of a small specific tools.
Although this is not particularly good device, I picked the distrobution with the best looking webpage.
I would suggest installing a different window manager than either Gnome or KDE
Good point. On such an old system, you'd be much better off running a light WM. Plus you'll learn more, since that is your goal, because KDE and Gnome do a lot of stuff for you whereas you would have to learn how to do it yourself with the light WM.
When starting with a new OS, go for the default install packages maybe... That way you will not get lost to much trying to dig through a pile of installed software to find what is important but you can always add more packages later as you need them! Just keep the setup disks near your computer.
Ubuntu uses .deb packages. Check to see if synaptic is installed if not you can install it easy.
Open a terminal and type sudo apt-get install synaptic.
Synaptic is the GUI front end to apt. It lets you look for packages and install them simply by selecting them and choosing install.
Not sure but I think Adept comes installed on Ubuntu it is similiar but not quite as easy to use.
Thanks - I'll do that once I've installed it. I was just booting up from the CD to run it and see what it's like before installing. It's been booting for around 45 minutes or more so far and it seems to be accessing the hard disk an awful lot - I have a sneaky feeling that it's installing itself rather than just booting...
(feeling rather worried as I didn't back up my data before trying it out...)
It wouldn't install itself without asking, would it?