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I'm sure this question gets asked often here, and I tried searching the board & google before I posted. Although I found some pretty good info out there, I still do not feel confident enough to complete this task.
I have Win2k Pro currently running on my computer. I need to keep MS products around for work & comptatibility issues. I want Linux. I'm looking at Slackware or Mandrake. Here's what I want to accomplish :
1.) I have no idea what exactly to download (I think I missed something @ ftp.slackware.com because I didn't see any files there when I went ).
2.) I need to install a dual-boot.
If anyone can help me out from the very beginning, such as what exactly I need to download, or how to partition my disk for linux, that would be great.
I think Mandrake is just counter productive. Using Mandrake is pointless because
A.) Linux can compete, but never beat Windows on the desktop (IMO, for god's sake).
B.) You wont learn anything.
Download something that will let you at least learn something in the process! Now, Slackware is hard, but, I have never used anything but Slackware, and I consider myself pretty proficient at using Linux. I just lived off websites!
If you wanna go for the gold, go for Slack. Don't start weak with Mandrake, because you wont gain any experience that will help you move on to better things.
I use mandrake. I know more about linux than my friends who run debian and BSD. Why? because I started simple, and kept going. If i were you, i'd get the mandrake ISO's off of a mirror, there are many listed at www.linux-mandrake.com. Use a CD burner program to turn the ISO's into disks, and go at it. Mandrake 8.2 will resize FAT partitions for you, and I'm not sure about NTFS but I think it handles that as well. NTFS is the disk format for win2K by default I think.
It's pretty much self-explanatory. Mandrake holds your hand through a lot of installation, which is just fine. You can't learn everything at once, at least it's hard to. Take it slow. learn what you can. be curious. Read stuff from the linux documentation project: www.linuxdoc.org.
Eventually you may want to switch to a "harder" distribution. I don't know why you would, as Mandrake will let you do all of the "hard" stuff, like editing files by hand and configuration that isn't done with a pretty graphical interface. But you are free to do so. if i were you, though, i'd start easy and move up. And ask all the questions you need.
I have to disagree with JoeLinux about Mandrake. Yes, Mandrake is an easy install -- even in the "expert" mode. But it is Linux from top to bottom, left to right, front to back, inside and out . You will learn as much from MDK as you will from any other Linux distro THAT YOU APPLY YOURSELF TO. The key is applying yourself to it.
Study the documentation that comes with your distro (hard copy or on CD), lurk the Linux forum sites, ask questions at the sites, experiment, get a good book or two, but most of all enjoy your Linux experience. I tried some different distros, landed on MDK 8.0, and have stayed there (although I have MDK 8.2 on the way!). I learn something new about Linux every day.
Choose Mandrake. I'll let you feel more confident. You'll know there's always nice graphical configuration utility if you need it. But you can always edit configuration files manually (that's what I do).
I started my Linux adventure from Slack (oh, yes, it was quite long time ago) and it was a "shock therapy". It gave me much, but was really hard. You'll learn the same with MDK but in an easier way
I do hope this doesn't turn into yet another distro bashing/praising thread - there are already too many on this forum. Since they are all Linux, they will all have similar capabilities. The only difference between the different distros is what you get with it.
Mandrake: Currently 8.2. Very good for Newbs as you are given the option to have every thing nice and cutesy GUI-like. Also good for experienced Linux users, because you can edit your files, but if you're feeling lazy, you don't have to.
RedHat: Currently 7.2. Quite good for newbs. Isn't quite as idiot-proof as Mandrake, but then, it is also the most used distro. Many large companies will have RH on their servers.
SuSE: Currently 8.0. Again, good for newbs. Very goot auto-detection and auto-configuration of hardware, but I've heard that when things go wrong, it can be a pain to get it sorted.
(note: these are the 3 main contenders that use something called RPM for installing/uninstalling programs).
Debian: Currently I haven't a clue. Not really a newbs distro, but if you're feeling confident, it's a good one to go for. I believe it's the only one not backed by someone...i.e. it's written entirely by hackers in their spare time. Uses DEB files which are similar to RPM, but different. Many people give the ol' apt-get argument for it being better than any other distro, but with Mandrake introducing URPMI, the benefits of apt-get are not quite so obvious.
Slackware: Currently 8.0. Very good for experienced Linux people, and very good for learning. IMO, not as complicated as Debian, but equally as powerful. Uses some .tgz package format (as opposed to deb or rpm), but mostly everything you install to it will be from source.
There are many, many other distros around, but they are often based on one of the above. There is one called Lycoris, but we won't mention that...too many fights seem to start over this one.
As with all things Linux, it's all about choice. If you're not happy with one distro, try another. You can download them from ftp sites (www.linuxiso.org is a good place to look), get them from the cover mounted CD/DVDs of computer magazines, or buy them.
Oh, I forgot to mention one of the things that I like so much about Slackware 8.0.
The package system, I think, is amazing. I have always disliked RPMs..I don't know why. All the RPMs I ever downloaded were chunky. They had dependency problems, they didnt install correctly, they wouldnt uninstall correctly, etc.
With Slack, its a joke to install new stuff.
It does these things:
A.) Records every file in that package into a file with the same name as the package, in /var/log/packages. So, if you do
installpkg bob.tar.gz it will record every file and their locations in bob.tar.gz into /var/log/packages/bob
B.) It puts all the files where they belong.
C.) Runs an install script, which requires no intervention by you, deletes the script, and you're done.
Then, it's just a simple
It then looks at the file in /var/log/packages, removed every single file in that list, and then removes the list-file. It's completely gone, no fus, no mess. It's a breeze.
Also, it's really easy to update the core components of Slackware with packages too.
Only backfire? Slack packs arent as common as RPMs, not by a long shot. But, like one of the previous posters said, you will be doing most of your installations with source, which is the best way for things that arent too complex, like KDE/GNOME.
That's another reason I think you should use Slackware
*These opinions are obviously not help by the rest of you all, but, hey, it's a forum.*
Thanks for the info everyone. I ended up getting Mandrake 8.0 and Slackware 8.0 on to CDs. This is the first time I got two OS's on my computer without losing data . I chose Slackware to start out with (in case it got too hard I was going to install MD) and it ended up permantly on my computer. I've now got Slack & Win2k running on the computer which is exactly what I wanted. I'm not really finding Slackware all that hard, in fact it's very friendly and well-documented. Thanks for the replies.