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I have finally decided to make the plunge into Linux...Well I'm still playing in the shallow end of the pool but I'm getting there.
Several weeks ago My middle sister gave my youngest sister her old HP Notebook running Windows XP. Being the family tech-geek, I volunteered to help optimize the computer. I increased the RAM from 256 to 768, Got her a new wLAN PCMCIA card, Cleaned the HD, added a freeware firewall and anti-virus, switched the browser to FF, yada, yada.
I noticed that she was still running XP (initial release) and went to upgrade to Service Pack 2. 2/3 of the way through the automated install the computer hung, BSOD and I was unable to continue. I had to hard restart, BIOS loaded, POST passed, Windows splash screen...3 beeps and the cycle repeats. I exausted all of my recovery resources (albeit limited) attempting to identify and repair the corrupted file. With no other options, I decided I needed to clean install the OS.
I asked youngest sister for all of the disk she had, and you guessed it - no recovery CD or Install disks. I placed a phone call to middle sister who told me "I've moved 3 times, I've no idea where the disks would be."
The HP website was not very user friendly. My next Phone call was to India. The tech monkey I spoke to was well spoken and seemed to grasp the situation very quickly. She informed me that the Recovery CD's for that model were no longer available through HP but she could provide me with links to a 3rd party vendor.
I anxiously clicked the tinyurl link to find myself staring at an Ebay auction. OK I'll admit it, I paid $9US for what may have been pirated software...it was at the hardware manufactures reccomendation, and I did keep a transcript of the phone call incase the brownshirted WGA enforcers come knocking on the door.
The frusteration of that entire process made me relook Linux/open source options. In college I did a work study in a UNIX computer Lab. Through my future employeers I had limited exposure to Unix. I had played with early releases of Red Hat and Knoppix(Live), but previously saw no benifit of switching to Linux.
The Laptop fiasco finally pushed me over the edge. I researched on the internet (including eavesdropping in this forum), and bought a copy of LinuxBible 2006. I've played with several live distros and must say that automatic hardware configuration has taken a giant leap forward.
I am currently bringing an old Pentium 1-era box back to life to use as a Linux test bed. I intend to HD install the latest stable of Ubuntu, Knoppix, and FC5. Through random experimentation, I'll decide whick works best for me, before commiting my primary desktop and Laptop to a Linux OS.
So far most questions that I have had yeilded answers with the search tool---Funny, a new forum member who searches instead of re-asking previously answered questions...I migh be smarter than I give myself credit for.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the filestructure / directory tree structure in a Linux environment...dang that should be simple.
Also I can't make secure (WPA-PSK) wireless lan with my laptop (***I am using a Knoppix 5.0Live CD)
Slowly but surely, I'll become a full fledge linux user---and that means command line not just GUI.
Welcome aboard. You certainly are more polite than many people insofar as you use the web site search function to find answers. That's always a sign of good character.
I suggest that you include PCLinuxOS in your initial trial. I've used many distributions over the last eleven years or so. I've never been so happy with a distribution out-of-the-box as I am with PCLinuxOS.
IMO, Unix file structure is completely idiotic. It's not hard to grasp. It is just poorly designed.
Above all else try to have fun with Linux. If you love computers then you will almost certainly come to love Linux.