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Old 03-24-2004, 01:24 PM   #1
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Distribution: None as of yet, still using XP
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Question Complete newbie looking for answers...

Hello all,

I'm sure topics like this probably get under your skin but I need a few pointers. I am a computing novice with a Toshiba Satellite Laptop (2.4 P4, 256 DDR) running windows XP and wanted to start getting more involved with computing.

I want to get into the open source movement and can't stand the monopoly of microsoft (university student ethos) so I think the Linux OS would be a good way to build my computing profeciency.

I just don't where to start and everyone involved with Linux/Open Source sounds so technically profecient it's a little daunting.

I would also like to start programming as well so what I am asking is..

Where can i get a complete beginners resource to Linux? From why/how to partition a hard disk right down to "how to deal with your fear of a computer without windows"

Many computer enthusiasts and professionals started years ago (pre spectrum zx lol) whereas this is my first comp and i'm a product of the console age: turn on psx, pop in disk, play game etc

It appears there is this ladder of knowldge and opportunity but I can't find the first rung...


P.S. Is Linus Torvalds the same guy portrayed in the film Swordfish?
Old 03-24-2004, 01:36 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2004
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the answer is your nearest bookstore. go there and look for a few books on basic linux and linux use. I KNOW books are old fashioned and such but that's what I'd advise you to do FIRST. Get a general "how to" book the O'Reilly series are good, STAY away from "For dummies" series. Do not pick a book on any specific distro yet, what you need is general info. Read the book. See if you can understand what they are talking about. Depending on your computer knowledge, the next step is to either: get more books and do more reading. When you feel you are ready to try Linux, d/l KNOPPIX from, burn the sucker and run it off the CD rom.
Dont install anything, and play with KNOPPIX for a while. An easy for newbies distry is Mandrake, again, it all depends on your computer knowledge. In the immortal words of Shekspeare:
Now go and get thy butt down to the bookstore!
Old 03-24-2004, 01:39 PM   #3
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Thankyou, v. much appreciated. Although knoppix? Is an O.S? What happens to my XP O.S?
Old 03-24-2004, 01:39 PM   #4
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great site... check it out... i visited after some guy posted it in a thread... it pretty good
Old 03-24-2004, 01:44 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Virginia
Distribution: Ubuntu Hoary (5.04)
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Well, you've certainly got the desire. First thing first, check out DistroWatch; they list almost every Linux distribution available as well as reviews and comments about each one. You'll probably want to check out Fedora, Mandrake, or SUSE for your first romp with Linux. All are good distros for beginners (especially Mandrake) that will hold your hand enough to ease your move from Windows to Linux. Don't be afraid to explore or get down and dirty; you can only learn from making mistakes and it's better to make them, found out why, and figure out how to fix them than to sit back and want Linux to be just like Windows. Things are different here, but that's not a bad thing. So after running with one of the three distros above, many new Linux users check out other distros, such as Slackware (my favorite), Gentoo, or Debian. These offer a little more in complexity but can be extremely satisfying.

For software to replace what you've been using in Windows:
Microsoft Office ->
Winamp -> XMMS
Nero (CD burning) -> K3b
Photoshop -> The GIMP
Windows Media Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer -> MPlayer
There are a host of other apps out there as well. Check out Freashmeat.

Any questions you might have or that might come up, LinuxQuestions is the right place. Another good site for beginners is LinuxBeginners.

Finally, welcome to Linux. You've taken the first step by showing your curiousity and asking questions. Now anything will be possible.
Old 03-24-2004, 01:45 PM   #6
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Although knoppix? Is an O.S? What happens to my XP O.S?
Knoppix is Linux on a cd. It doesn't need to be installed and doesn't interfere w/ Windows. You'll find it amazing.
Old 03-24-2004, 01:49 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone and Nis I feel I may turning to you again. Great advice.
Old 03-24-2004, 02:42 PM   #8
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This is going great, I can't wait to get my teeth into some Linux. Slackware sounds like the deep end of things and hell I have to learn the command prompt sooner or later.

I have even found a complete tutorial on how to operate, modify and completely design your OWN Linux operating system so I have loads to look forward to. If that sounds of interest to anyone else I have posted the link
Old 03-24-2004, 07:08 PM   #9
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I agree with zaharia and sentinela -- the O'Reilly books are excellent, and Rute is just awesome. You can't go wrong with either of those, although I'd encourage you to pick up both.

You can also visit It's a free, centralized location for downloading all of the most popular distros. Have fun -- J.W.
Old 03-24-2004, 07:58 PM   #10
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: US
Distribution: Intel Clear Linux
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Don't be put off from Slack with "rumour" that it is hard to use. Perhaps it is my particular hardware, but for me as a reasonable newbie, Slack is the easiest to configure and set-up to work perfectly. With your KDE window manager installed, it is easy to use for a newbie.

Slack will just not look as cool during the installation and boot-up stages.

Apart from that, it is essentially much the same - and in my opinion, better and faster and more stable.

Fedora is a nuisance because you dont get a movie player.

SUSE is a nuisance because you have to buy or install from the net.

Mandrake is a nuisance because it is Mandrake.


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