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Old 10-01-2009, 12:58 AM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2008
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Have rudimentary knowledge of Linux. Reverted to Windows. Would like to try again.

For about 9 months I experimented with Linux. Various distros. Gaining some basic command line knowledge. Learning how the filesystems of Linux operate, etc.

But I went back to Windows because it's just what I was used to.

Having installed a new harddrive in my Dell Inspiron 1720, I see this as a new opportunity to learn Linux.

On this system, is it possible to boot into a different OS from a separate drive? Which distro should I start out with? People have recommended Ubuntu as a starting point, but I've used it, and it seems too, I don' know, "worry-free". Worry-free in that out of the box, it seems to do everything for you.

I love the philosophy of open source operating systems; free and public information. But what I want is a kind of intimate knowledge of my operating system. I want to know how to manipulate it, customize it, make it my own, and in by doing so, gain the knowledge to help others realize the benefits of open source software.

So,, where to I go from here?
Old 10-01-2009, 01:08 AM   #2
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Registered: May 2009
Location: New Mexico
Distribution: Feora
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Well, first of all, it's fairly easy to set up a dual boot environment where you select at boot time between windows and one or more Linux kernels.

As for distributions, I happen to be partial to Fedora 8. Yes, it's getting a little old, but the later versions are trending toward the "worry free" model that you object to in Ubuntu. I really like the KDE user interface in Fedora 8. It's simple, clean, and easy to navigate.

Good luck.
Old 10-01-2009, 01:14 AM   #3
Registered: Jun 2009
Location: Texas
Distribution: Slackware
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I don't want to turn your thread into a holy flame war over distro choices, but you sound like a potential Slackware user to me. Slackware is the least like Ubuntu of all. The "worry-free, do everything for you" aspect that you didn't like in Ubuntu is gone. It's design philosophy is to add as little as possible. For that reason, while the system is cohesive and works out of the box, all of the internal workings of the applications which make it up are there for you to explore, mostly unaltered. It is an "under the hood" Linux guy's distribution.

Secondly, to boot from two drives is easy. For the easiest time starting out, get Windows onto the drive/partitions you want it on first, and then install Linux. Most distros (including Slackware) offer a simple, interactive way on install to get your boot loader (LILO or GRUB) working for dual boot.

Congratulations on your decision and good luck!
Old 10-01-2009, 01:34 AM   #4
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Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Nagpur, India
Distribution: Cent OS 5/6, Ubuntu Server 10.04
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There is nothing wrong with Ubuntu either. Though it tends to be Click here and there kind of "worry free" distribution, it is still under the hood very much Linux. You can learn on Ubuntu what you can on other distributions as well. You can customize Ubuntu to your liking as well. It would be a personal choice on this front more.
Old 10-01-2009, 02:11 AM   #5
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Have a look at the top 10 or so at and read up on them.
It's really your choice.
Old 10-01-2009, 09:19 AM   #6
Registered: May 2009
Location: Perth, AU
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the most easiest one yet is the Debian based
once it is installed, it can be easily zapped by another linux O/S ...
if needed.

It will get you going again in Linux, until you decide on another O/S.
Old 10-01-2009, 09:30 AM   #7
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 258

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As a debian and sometime-ubuntu user, I'm going to join the guy suggesting slackware.

Ubuntu wont stop you learning how to do stuff with your PC, but it kind of gets in the way a bit by already doing most of the fun bits of configuration. In removing the obligation to set up the PC from the user, it also removes the massive incentive to learn how to set it up.

Meaning absolutely no disservice to slackware, the best way to learn car maintenance is to run an older more knackered car that actually *needs* the maintenance you're looking to learn, rather than to get a nice, new shiny car that you don't want to take apart for fear of putting it back together wrong.


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