-   Linux - Newbie (
-   -   Getting started (

k06878 11-14-2004 12:16 PM

Getting started

I have a Compaq Presario laptop on which I want to run Linux. I have some Linux experience, but for all practical purposes, I'm a complete n00b.

I'm ready to make the move to Mandrake Linux (and maybe later switch to Debian), and although people have suggested that I run both Windows and Linux on my computer, I really want to run only Linux.

There are some problems, though. (1) I have a couple hundred dollars of music on my system that I really don't want to lose, and I don't have access to other computers or an external hard drive. (2) I'm really slow and need step-by-step instructions for everything. I'm scared that if I install Linux, then I'm going to not know how to install the stuff required for getting online, and without being able to go online, I won't be able to get help. I'm also worried that I'm not going to be able to figure out how to install all the stuff that Windows installs automatically (like the scroll on my mouse, ect). And, my internet right now is through my USB port. (3) I'm a student and really need to run Windows programs (not all the time, but every now and then). That's possible, right? (4) I used Knoppix and loved Gaim. Is that available for every Linux distribution? What about music? Can I get an iTunes-like program for Linux?

I know that there are alot of really newbish questions asked, so thanks for your patience and help.

detpenguin 11-14-2004 12:40 PM

it sounds like for now, you really really just need to dual boot. that would be the easiest suggestion for you. that way, your music is safe, you have access to the web if you run into a problem configuring something in linux and you have the windows programs you need for school. there are things like wine that will allow you to run some windows programs in linux, but being as that would be just that much more to learn, i'd stick with dual booting.
i'm pretty sure gaim is now part of almost every linux distro.

linmix 11-14-2004 01:29 PM

1) you do have the possibility of burning everything on cds? Make backups of all your valuable data. Nothing is going to happen to it, but just it case... better safe than sorry

DeadPenguin 11-14-2004 02:02 PM

I am a nOOb also.

This is just my opinion.

A dual boot will work for you, but If you are like me windows will be your crutch not letting you explore the possiblities of linux.

The first second something doesn't work pefectly you will run back to WIN cuz it's familar, and avoid Linux.

I would back up all of my music and important files to cdr or dvd r.
Then load Mandrake as the only OS. (ie. format drive--repartition.)

What's the worst thing that can happen. It doesn't work.
You can either try another distro. Or reinstall WIN.

If you only need win programs once in a while. Try wine.

I have :

an Amd 2600+ dual booted XP and Suse 9.0 (have to wife won't learn Linux.)

Two Pentium 2 desktops running Slackware 10 and Fedora Core2.

A laptop P3 with Arch linux going on it.

Again I am a nOOb there are a vast number of people more qualified than me here. But being a noob the only way to learn is to try. If you break it mess it up you will LEARN to fix it, and that's the most fun of Linux learning how your computer works.

kevinatkins 11-14-2004 02:29 PM


i'll second detpenguin and suggest you dual-boot for the time being. that way, your music collection stays safe and you'll continue to be able to access the web via windows if you run into problems...

i think your choice of distro is sound - mandrake now has very good support for laptops; you might still run into a few problems with your usb modem (what is it?). go for at least mandrake 10 (10.1 has just come out - i'm testing it at the moment and it looks good..)

you can run certain windows programs using wine - do check winehq for a list of what's supported at the moment. success will very much depend on what programs you're hoping top use - and wine can sometimes be tricky to set up.

knoppix is a live cd-based distro in its own right; gaim is available with mandrake, as are other instant messenger type clients - the choice is yours...

as for an iTunes type program - look no further than amarok! it comes bundled with mandrake 10.1 (not 10), but the version included isn't quite the latest - i've installed the very latest version and it's absolutely *fantastic*!!!!

have fun with linux - i dual-booted to begin with; now i've ditched windows completely and haven't looked back!

DeadPenguin 11-14-2004 03:15 PM

I don't know if I made myself clear enough.

Make sure you back up your important windows files.

Back up your .mp3 xvid divx .avi .mpg .jpg .gif. Just in case something goes wrong with you installation. I've messed up plenty of installs.:newbie:
I have overwritten my windows partition(SUSE), I have messed up the Master boot record to the point I couldn't fix it.(FC2) There are more,but i am getting embarassed. So be smart back up.

Dual boot is fine you will find yourself using Win less and less each month.

detpenguin 11-14-2004 03:26 PM

yeah...what deadpenguin said...back up back up BACK UP!!! that way you still have your stuff.
plus, if you decide to dual boot, once you've backed up everything, remember to defrag your windows os, so everything is neatly in it's place when you create the new partitions...personally, i have 3 os's on my box right now...win98se (quit giggling, people...) suse and slack 10....i rarely ever use windows, except to update the antivirus for it, should i ever decide to use it for something...i'm ALMOST to the point of leaving it off, but not just yet. i'm still a yeah....

zajelo3 11-14-2004 04:13 PM

I've been using linux for about 3 years and have found that I don't need windows for anything now, but as a newbie it was good that I had windows to boot back into when I got frustrated with linux. You probably wont have the problems that I had when I first started using linux though, as the 2.6 kernel is more user friendly than the 2.4 kernel I started learning linux with. I use FC2 now but from everything I've read Suse is the most feature rich and user friendly distro. The best advice I can give is to just jump in and get your feet wet. There might be some problems but nothing you wont be able to overcome. If you have a SATA drive on your computer it might be best to go with Suse as it sets up SATA drives better during install better than other distros.

k06878 11-14-2004 04:45 PM

I am absolutely blown away by how many people responded. Thanks so much.

Okay, so (this might be a little on the stupid side), but is there a place where I can learn how to install Madrake? I've looked at alot of library books (to learn the basics of Linux) but they aren't super up-to-date. If there was an online source that was up-to-date, I'd feel better using it. I'm not familiar enough with Linux to know what's particular to one distribution or another, especially when installing.

Also, I'm a little confused about running two operating systems. Is it similar to running Knoppix and then going back to Windows?

Great idea about burning all my music / documents. Thanks.

Thanks again for being so patient. I'm reading alot and trying to answer as many questions as possible before asking anything. Thanks so much.

linmix 11-15-2004 04:18 AM

Mandrake has a step by step tutorial for version 9.0. there may be some minor differences, but they're too small to matter. Check out the DrakX installer tutorial at

k06878 11-15-2004 12:14 PM


mhearn 11-19-2004 09:01 AM

You can now run iTunes using CrossOver.

reflection666 11-19-2004 09:42 AM

dual boot is the safe way for sure...

burning all your valuable stuff is something you should have already done, since you dont have access to an external safe backup device...

If you dont want to loose your existing windows installation use PartitionMagic or a Freeware alternative (though PM is safer).

Dual booting with windows and mandrake 10.1 should fit you just right... 10.1 has the easiest installation process (<1h) and needs minimal to no setup

If you enjoyed Knoppix you can try out the HDinstall version (not the boot from cd) - it has lilo and everything else you need for dual boot - but its not recomended for network safety...

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:23 PM.