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Old 01-27-2005, 11:48 AM   #1
tranceybowler
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Advice needed for linux newbie!


Hi,

After talking with a friend today and doing a little research I've decided that I'd like to try linux. However my research has been relatively fruitless as there is simply so much linux info on the web I wasn't sure where to start!

Firstly, I need some advice on which distros I should be considering. I'm only really interested in free ones. Mandrake (is this free?) and Ubuntu are ones which I have come across, can you provide any other recommendations?

I'm currently running Windows XP and I want to keep this installed along with all data, how easy is this with the various distros? My system is AMD Athlon 64 2ghz, 1gb ram. Graphics: Nvidia GeForce FX 5200. The system is connected wirelessly to a ADSL modem elsewhere in the house, and it's essential that this I can set up this connection (I need the internet!).

As I said I'm fairly new to all this so if you want me to give you any more questions feel free to ask. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Matt
 
Old 01-27-2005, 11:55 AM   #2
hw-tph
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LinuxISO is probably a good place to start.

There are lots and lots of Linux distributions out there, but I can really recommend Ubuntu. It's based on rock solid Debian and is very well documented and the community is very helpful (and keeps on cranking out howto's and tutorials specific for Ubuntu). Check out their forums if you need any pointers.


Håkan
 
Old 01-27-2005, 11:57 AM   #3
10xOXR
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Hi Matt,

Being a relative newbie myself I can only speak from my experience. I've tried quite a few distros inc, Mandrake, Fedora, SuSE, Lindows, etc. The one that I have got most out of thus far is Gentoo - the documentation couldn't be better for installing from any stage at any level of Linux experience, and you learn so much about how Linux operates while you install it that carry with you in solving your own problems too!

Your system hardware is well supported by most distros and Nvidia do great Linux drivers. Your wireless net connection will work too (see my posts for the fun I had! LOL) I have the same net setup as yourself.

Don't be put off by the few problems that you'll encounter along the way, the reward when everything is working far outweighs the hassle you may experience.

Good luck,

Chris
 
Old 01-27-2005, 11:57 AM   #4
Cron
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You should try Ubuntu, it is easy to use, nvidia driver install is very easy, uses gnome ( more lightweigh than mandrake's kde ), and mandrake is not *totaly* free ( as in terms of price ).
But there could be problems with your wireless install, give us some more info:
What wireless device are you using?
 
Old 01-27-2005, 12:02 PM   #5
jollyjoice
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Yeh that sounds a perfectly capable sys, i have that chip! Ubuntu is very nice distro, when you get confident with that i'd say try Fedora as that is very good for learning text file config as the GUIs will work with any changes you make with the files. Its also free and easy to install, its a "redhat" i.e. rpm based system whereas ubuntu uses debians apy-get system, which is VERY good. If your very adventurous try Gentoo, follow the docs and it should be fine ;-) It has the best system for install progs I have ever used, "emerge program" and it will do everything - compiled from source so matched for your system and best performance.
Have a look at the review section on LQ, some very good points raised there. Also look for your network card in the HCL it should tell you whether it will work or not.
 
Old 01-27-2005, 12:04 PM   #6
Padma
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Nealy all distros have free versions. I personally use Mandrake 10.1 Official Edition, free to download, free to update. Fedora Core 3 is also a good beginner's distro, as is Suse. Ubuntu has already been mentioned. There are many other easy-to-install/easy-to-use distros out there. One of their benefits is that, generally, you install them, and the "just work".

If you are willing to go to a little more work, there are distros like Gentoo and Slackware (and others) which require you to learn more of the nuts-and-bolts inner workings of Linux just to successfully install. But when you are done, you know exactly what you have, and they are lean, tailored just for your system.

It's a world of choice!

Edit: And I'm getting tired of the *FUD* that Mandrake isn't free. It is as free as any other distro of Linux. Yes, there are "pay-for" versions, but the only difference is the proprietary software included. You download the *free* 3-CD set, go to the *free* easy Urpmi site, and set up your repositories, and download the *free* updates from those repositories, and you have what is essentially a Powerpack Edition of Mandrake. All that is missing is the proprietary software, which you can get either by downloading free versions from the owner (e.g., nvidea drivers) or by *buying* the commercial software (e.g., StarOffice). Yeah, it's nice to have the drivers pre-compiled for your kernel, but that's a service you are paying for. It's not that hard to D/L the drivers and install them yourself.
[/RANT]

Last edited by Padma; 01-27-2005 at 12:34 PM.
 
Old 01-27-2005, 12:43 PM   #7
tranceybowler
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Wow, thanks for all the quick replies, I've never been to such a helpful! First impressions of Linux users are good

Cron: The wireless device I'm using is a Belkin ADSL Modem with built in 802.11g wireless router F5D7630-4A (catchy name eh?)

I think considering the replies I'm going to try Ubuntu first. It seems like a good project. Out of interest, if I decide I want to move on or change distro, how easy is it to remove a full install? Not that I'm expecting to, just for future reference.

I'm currently downloading the AMD64 ISO, this is the correct one for my processor as far as I could tell?
 
Old 01-27-2005, 01:11 PM   #8
jollyjoice
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yup, i use 32bit still but am going to upgrade to 64 soon.
and yes, just install over the partition - tho make sure to backup /home to save your settings and docs. etc.
 
Old 01-27-2005, 01:40 PM   #9
tranceybowler
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hmm, after doing further reading I'm becoming a little concerned about this partition issue. Can anyone direct me to some detailed instructions on how to set up the partitions correctly during the installation process (bearing in mind that I want to keep Windows XP running for now!)
 
Old 01-27-2005, 01:57 PM   #10
jollyjoice
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Right, have you got partition magic, presume not...
Ok, most distros will have a partition part of the install. One thing to remember is to defrag your drive first or windows will have a fit. Do you have a spare drive you can bung in? that will make it much easier as you can install onto that and keep win on a diff drive totally.
Oh, and install grub onto your MBR - trust me it will cause many more probs otherwise - i know, guarding a floppy with your life as its the only way to boot is not fun ;-)
 
Old 01-27-2005, 02:01 PM   #11
harken
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Hi, tranceybowler! I'll share you my opinion as a n00b myself.
The exact same thing happened to me when I first decided to get a Linux distro: I spent almost 3 weeks trying to figure out (asking and reading and browsing, etc.) which one is the best. I'm saying now what anyone who got through this experience would say: there's no such thing as "the best Linux". This would be an extremely subjectively statement.
I first hanged out with Knoppix 3.7 LiveCD (which I strongly advice you to do either), then I installed it onto HD, used it for about 2 more weeks and now...I'm typing this using Debian sarge rc2.
Once again, get a LiveCD (no matter which one) and see if you like it. It won't touch the HD in any way and you'll get an idea about Linux. Meanwhile, gather some more info on Linux (whatever you can and like), look at some reviews, even snapshots and you'll eventually choose your first distro.
Regarding the price, most of the Linux distros are free so you don't have why to bother. Also you have lots and lots of docs and HOWTOs on the Internet. BTW, for tips on installing you can start from here, at LQ. Perform a search for "install" or "installation" and you'll see enough Q&As which also contain many useful links.Also, there are stickies in each section of the Distributions forum...check the ones you want.
And indeed,
what jollyjoice said is right. Prefferably you should install Linux on a 2nd HD but there's no problem if you install it on another paritition(s) of your current HD. Just write the bootloader to MBR.

Good luck!

Last edited by harken; 01-27-2005 at 02:05 PM.
 
Old 01-27-2005, 03:31 PM   #12
tranceybowler
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Thanks again for your replies! Although I'm a little confused...

I've just defragged my hard drive, and I have the ubuntu ISO sat here ready to go. But I'm still very confused about the partition issue. Can someone tell me exactly how I should set up Partitions in Partition Magic and after doing that which options do I select during the ubuntu install partition section. Hope this is clear, any help is truly appreciated, thanks!

By the way, I've done quite a bit of searching on these forums and although there's a lot about partitioning, I couldn't find detailed instructions for someone who has never partitioned before (me)

Last edited by tranceybowler; 01-27-2005 at 03:40 PM.
 
Old 01-27-2005, 04:16 PM   #13
jollyjoice
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ok, so u have partition magic?
open it up and on your drive make a new partition, ~2 gb should do to start with. format it in fat or something but not ntfs. logical partition will prob be best, and will - if i remember correctly - be /dev/hda2 in linux - /dev being devices, hda being primary master and 2 being the second partition.
then plonk in your ubuntu disk and reboot, tell it to install to /dev/hda2 (or whatever the partition turns out as, hda1 will most likely be win). You will need to format the partition so i'd recommend ext3.

reboot, select ubuntu - enjoy!

ps any typos please excuse as i have to dash now!
 
Old 01-28-2005, 03:27 PM   #14
tranceybowler
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Thanks for everybody's help. I finally managed to install Ubuntu late last night, however it was rather problematic and I don't think I sorted out the partitions correctly.

I now have Ubuntu working as a dual boot with Windows XP, however for peace of mind I'd like to completely uninstall Ubuntu and start again from scratch. Ubuntu was installed on its own partition. How do I remove Ubuntu, do I simply format the partition? Do I have to do something regarding booting as the computer currently boots to Ubuntu by default and I don't want to be faced with a black screen when I next turn the PC on!

The next thing I'd like to know is exactly how to organise partitions for a clean install of Ubuntu. As I said I'm a complete beginner at this so I could do with simple, but useful instructions. Should I sort out Partitions before the install using Partition Magic? Or can I sort it all out during the Ubuntu Install. Also, I read somewhere that it is recommended to have a swap partition, can someone help me out with regards to this?

Sorry for the long post, I'm very keen to get into Linux, I'm just a little confused about these issues. In short, I need to know:

1. How to completely uninstall Ubuntu, including anything I need to do regarding Windows XP.

2. Exactly how to sort out partitions, both before the install using Partition Magic, and during the install.

I'll be eternally grateful to anyone who can help me with these issues!

Many thanks in advance,
Matt

PS - Finally how do I check my downloaded ISO against the checksum file? I want to ensure that my file isn't corrupted!
 
Old 01-29-2005, 05:40 AM   #15
jollyjoice
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Ok, boot - boot into ubuntu and open xterm or whatever it is on ubuntu and type the following:
Code:
sudo nano /boot/grub/grub.conf
This is mine:
Code:
# grub.conf generated by anaconda
#
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You do not have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /, eg.
#          root (hd0,4)
#          kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda5
#          initrd /boot/initrd-version.img
#boot=/dev/hda
default=2
timeout=5
splashimage=(hd0,8)/boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz
hiddenmenu
title Fedora Core (2.6.9-1.681_FC3)
 root (hd0,4)
 kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.681_FC3 ro root=LABEL=/1 rhgb quiet
 initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.9-1.681_FC3.img
title Fedora Core (2.6.9-1.667)
 root (hd0,4)
 kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.667 ro root=LABEL=/1 rhgb quiet
 initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.9-1.667.img
title Gentoo Linux 2.6.9-gentoo-r13
 root (hd0,8)
 kernel /boot/kernel-2.6.9-gentoo-r13 root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc ramdisk=8192 real_root=/dev/hda9
 initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.9-gentoo-r13
As you can see I have fedora 3, with two kernels and gentoo - the first line after the comments is what you need, mine is set to 2, the gentoo listing so it boots gentoo by default - you will have a windows and a ubuntu listed, win will most likely be the first listed so in grub language this is number 0, set
Code:
default=0
then hit "ctrl+x" then "y" to save changes. This should now boot windows as default.

As for uninstalling ubuntu don't bother, when you run the install again just choose to format the partition its on. Swap is a very useful thing for low mem systems as it acts as pretend ram. I use it and I have 512mb so its worth using. Its recommended to have about 2 times your real ram here, this can be done during install as well (most distros have an auto partition tool if you tell them where to put them selfs, have a look for that) and u can share swap between installs/versions of linux which you may install.

If I'v missed anything - sorry!
 
  


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