LinuxQuestions.org
Latest LQ Deal: Complete CCNA, CCNP & Red Hat Certification Training Bundle
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 02-09-2010, 02:32 PM   #1
JD99
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2010
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: 0
Question Which Linux to use?


HI, Linux virgin here!
I know nothing about Linux but want to install it as an OS on my laptop. If someone can point me in the right direction, I'm happy to do my own research but I'm having difficulty. For instance what is the difference between Red Hat and Ubuntu and where can I find information about using Linux as an OS?

I'd also like to learn about the pros and cons of using Linux and again if someone can give me directions to a useful source of information, I'll be happy with that. (might even get back into writing code!)

I'd like to find out how to ensure I load the correct drivers for my laptop and where I can find these.

I suppose I could buy a Linux for Dummies book but I suspect that is aimed at writing code which is not what I want to do (at least, initially). All suggestions gratefully received - thanks.
 
Old 02-09-2010, 02:38 PM   #2
MTK358
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Sep 2009
Posts: 6,443
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720
www.distrowatch.com
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-09-2010, 02:39 PM   #3
dixiedancer
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2010
Location: Florida, Occupied CSA
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 98
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 37
There are soooo many to choose from! There's a way-kewl "distribution chooser" to help newbies decide, here.

For complete newbies coming from Windows (as I did a few months ago), I can tell you that Mepis and Ubuntu are great for newcomers! It ain't Windows, it's different, but wonderfully so.

Enjoy!

-Robin
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-09-2010, 02:39 PM   #4
0ct0
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2010
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: 0
Download virtualbox and install a couple of different distros. my preference is red hat based systems. i'd say stay away from ubuntu as it drives you away from the cli
 
Old 02-09-2010, 02:43 PM   #5
johnsfine
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2007
Distribution: Centos
Posts: 5,286

Rep: Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD99 View Post
what is the difference between Red Hat and Ubuntu
IIUC, the Red Hat work station version is no longer maintained (Fedora is the free version of what an updated Red Hat workstation would have been). RHEL (the Red Hat server version of Linux) costs money for updates (which you need) and for support (which you probably don't need). CENTOS is the free version of RHEL.

Ubuntu is probably the most popular workstation version of Linux. Ubuntu has some server stuff as well, but I think Centos is the clear choice for server Linux.

I think KDE is the best choice for desktop for a beginner or for someone coming from Windows. So KUbuntu (Ubuntu with KDE as the default desktop) may be a better choice than Ubuntu.

I use Mepis for my home Linux systems. That is similar to KUbuntu, but I think slightly better.

Quote:
I'd also like to learn about the pros and cons of using Linux
The big con is that it is different from what you are used to. The big pro is that it is more resistant to malware. There are lots of other pros and cons.

Quote:
I'd like to find out how to ensure I load the correct drivers for my laptop and where I can find these.
Most distributions (including KUbuntu and Mepis) are available as a LiveCD. That means you can run Linux (with some annoying pauses) booted from the CD without loading anything onto your hard drive.

Use a liveCD to test for basic hardware compatibility and to be prepared for any issues you might hit during install. So before you start to install on your hard drive you should know what driver issues you will hit.

Issues are likely with wireless network and with the display adapter. If you hit an issue with wireless network look for similar threads and/or start a thread to ask about it.

NVidia display adapters tend to fail to operate with the open source nv driver. You may need a boot time option to force it to use a more generic driver such as VESA. Then you get lower speed and maybe limited resolution. Once you have Linux installed, it is easy to switch to the non open source nvidia driver. After that driver switch, nVidia tends to be better than other brands. KUbuntu and Mepis and some other distributions have built in tools to help you through the switch to the nvidia driver. Alternately, the nvidia website has a generic Linux install file that will put the driver into any Linux distribution (but using that non distribution specific method usually means you'll need to do it again on every kernel update).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0ct0 View Post
Download virtualbox and install a couple of different distros. my preference is red hat based systems. i'd say stay away from ubuntu as it drives you away from the cli
I think that whole class of suggestion acts to drive newbies away from Linux entirely. Newbies should start with the easiest methods. virtualbox is both more difficult and less meaningful than trying Linux with a liveCD. Fedora (Red Hat based workstation distribution) is less beginner friendly than Ubuntu or Mepis. CLI is less beginner friendly than GUI.

Last edited by johnsfine; 02-09-2010 at 03:05 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-09-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
pixellany
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Annapolis, MD
Distribution: Arch/XFCE
Posts: 17,802

Rep: Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738
The first thing to do is try some different versions---I typically recommend anything in the top ten at distrowatch (link above). Most of these will be available as a "Live CD", meaning that you can run Linux without installing it.

When you are ready, then install to your hard drive and start working with it.
Quote:
I suppose I could buy a Linux for Dummies book but I suspect that is aimed at writing code
No--you will see reference to some basic shell commands, but you do not need to write code (ever). You may eventually WANT to write some simple scripts, but that comes later.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-09-2010, 02:48 PM   #7
MTK358
LQ 5k Club
 
Registered: Sep 2009
Posts: 6,443
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720Reputation: 720
I forgot about this great distro chooser:

http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-09-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
chrism01
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney
Distribution: Centos 6.8, Centos 5.10
Posts: 17,240

Rep: Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324
Actually, there are 3 RHEL options; server, workstn, desktop : http://www.redhat.com/rhel/compare/
Fedora is essentially the R & D distro for stuff that will later be seen in RHEL; a bit bleeding edge.
RHEL you haver to pay for updates/support; Centos is a free version of RHEL; includes updates but not support.
Fedora is free.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-09-2010, 06:42 PM   #9
DavidMcCann
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: London
Distribution: CentOS, Salix
Posts: 4,165

Rep: Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223Reputation: 1223
Linux for Dummies is one of the better books in the series. It's an introduction to installing, configuring, and using Linux and the common applications — nothing too technical — and you get an Ubuntu disk. I'd recommend it.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-10-2010, 05:31 AM   #10
JD99
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2010
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Thumbs up Which Linux to Use

Thanks to all for your replies. All so helpful.

I'll use the download sites to burn a CD and see how the different varieties run.

I should be OK with drivers as I have some experience (although quite old) of managing drivers and memory management from the old DOS days!!

Linux for Dummies looks like good reading so I'll get a copy asap.

Question: Eventually I'll run Linux on a 4yr old mini-tower. What are the hardware requirements for Linux and does it have problems with multi-core (quad) or multiple processors? Also can anyone tell me how much RAM linux can usefully address in a desktop - thanks.

Cheers.

PS I'd thank you individually but I can't see the thanks buttons. Still too new I guess!
 
Old 02-10-2010, 05:59 AM   #11
dixiedancer
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2010
Location: Florida, Occupied CSA
Distribution: Xubuntu
Posts: 98
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 37
Each Linux distro has different system requirements. Most are kind enough to include system requirements on their home pages (linked from Distrowatch). Linux comes in all sizes! Puppy Linux can run in as little as 64 megs of RAM! Ubuntu/Kubuntu run adequately in 512 RAM. Xubuntu (one of my favorites because it's simple and graphical, yet really fast) runs a lot faster in my 512 machine than the other 'buntus. Follow links from Distrowatch to the homepages of the distros you're interested in to learn system requirements and other cool stuff!

-Robin
 
Old 02-10-2010, 09:27 AM   #12
johnsfine
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2007
Distribution: Centos
Posts: 5,286

Rep: Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD99 View Post
I'll use the download sites to burn a CD and see how the different varieties run.
A lot of beginners get confused by their CD burning software and write the .iso to the CD as a file rather than as an image (specific terminology varies depending on your CD burning software). It must be written as an image, not a file, in order to work.

Quote:
does it have problems with multi-core (quad) or multiple processors?
Almost any Linux distribution now includes SMP (multi core and multi processor) in every pre built kernel. Kernel package choices with "SMP" in their name are typically named that way for historical reasons, so the lack of "SMP" in the name of some other kernel choice almost never means it actually lacks SMP support.

Quote:
how much RAM linux can usefully address in a desktop
Are you asking minimum or maximum?

Some 32 bit Linux distributions provide a non PAE kernel by default so the maximum ram is something less than 4GB (typically around 3.5GB, exact value depends on the BIOS and motherboard). Most of those distributions also have a 32 PAE kernel available as a package you can install easily to get support for up to 16GB of ram. If the package description says "up to 64GB" it probably isn't useful over 16GB. Normally you want a 64 bit distribution for 16GB or more.

If your CPU supports 64 bit, for 1GB to 16GB of ram it probably won't make much difference whether you select a 32 bit or 64 bit Linux distribution. Probably 64 bit would be just a tiny amount faster.

I know less about the minimums. That will vary by distribution and by your choice of desktop software. I think KDE is the most beginner friendly desktop software, but it will have a higher minimum ram for effective use than some other desktop software, maybe around 0.5GB for 32 bit and a little higher for 64 bit.

Last edited by johnsfine; 02-10-2010 at 09:29 AM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-10-2010, 10:13 AM   #13
jschiwal
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2001
Location: Fargo, ND
Distribution: SuSE AMD64
Posts: 15,733

Rep: Reputation: 670Reputation: 670Reputation: 670Reputation: 670Reputation: 670Reputation: 670
Some distros, such as openSuSE and Fedora have DVD images where you can install a number of desktop environments. KDE, Gnome, XFCE4, and others. If you install a KDE program, you can still use it in Gnome and the menu items are maintained for all the desktop environments you use.

Other distro's such as Ubuntu, Kubunu, Linux Mint provide a single Desktop environment. Installing a program for KDE on Gnome would be a lot more work.

If you have a 64 bit processor, with more than 4 GB of ram, then download a disc for X86_64. Linux doesn't have the 64 bit driver problems that seems to plague windows users. Many 64 bit X86_64 distro's are biarch. Installing a 32 bit program is as simple as selecting it in your Package Manager.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-10-2010, 11:43 AM   #14
johnsfine
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2007
Distribution: Centos
Posts: 5,286

Rep: Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181Reputation: 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jschiwal View Post
Other distro's such as Ubuntu, Kubunu, Linux Mint provide a single Desktop environment. Installing a program for KDE on Gnome would be a lot more work.
I don't think any of that is a lot more work. Mepis installs just KDE by default. But if you wanted Gnome, it is very easy to install.

If you want a program based on Gnome but don't want Gnome itself, that is also easy and works well. When you install a program, the package manager automatically installs whatever Gnome libraries that program needs. If you have 1GB or less of ram, you should be more careful to use programs that go with your desktop environment. Programs from another desktop environment will work, but they will use more ram because they don't use the same shared object libraries used by the desktop environment. I have 8GB of ram on my main Mepis system, so practices that "waste" memory don't bother me at all.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-10-2010, 06:35 PM   #15
chrism01
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney
Distribution: Centos 6.8, Centos 5.10
Posts: 17,240

Rep: Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324Reputation: 2324
Here's some good links

http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz
http://tldp.org/LDP/Bash-Beginners-G...tml/index.html
http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/
http://www.redhat.com/rhel/compare/
 
1 members found this post helpful.
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Linux Training Tips - Boot Linux from a Linux Installation CD or a Linux Live CD to L beibei Linux - General 1 10-29-2009 05:25 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:42 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration