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Old 02-15-2008, 03:27 PM   #1
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Installing a new linux, what are my options?

right now I'm dual booting with Windows XP and OpenSUSE10.2.

I'm alittle bored of openSUSE and I'd like to start using a more advanced linux distro, something that will force me to learn. I've chosen Slackware 12.0 since I have a few friends that use it.

anyways, I'm lookin' into my options. I wouldn't mind replacing openSUSE with Slackware if it is possible. The problem is, I ordered the PC with OpenSUSE and XP preinstalled so i'm not quite sure where to go or what to do.

I'm using GRUB v0.97. Can anybody point me to some info on what needs to be done? I really don't know much about defragging and partitioning and stuff.

Last edited by nolsen034; 02-15-2008 at 03:29 PM.
Old 02-15-2008, 03:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by nolsen034 View Post
I'd like to start using a more advanced linux distro, something that will force me to learn.
You really think it will force you to learn? I think it will cause you to stop using Linux and just use Windows.

If you want to learn to do Linux system administration tasks in command line mode (I don't know what else Slackware is supposed to force you to learn) I'm sure you can do the same things in the Linux you already have. Any Linux lets you do things the (my point of view) hard way. If you want to learn it, you shouldn't need to be forced. If you have the personality that needs to be forced, look back at the beginning of my response.

I'm using GRUB v0.97. Can anybody point me to some info on what needs to be done? I really don't know much about defragging and partitioning and stuff.
The defragging is best done in Windows and is pretty obvious there. As for GRUB and partitioning etc., if you want to be forced to learn things the hard way, you should hope no one answers. You have the man pages, read them.

But what I'm really saying is the Linux you already have will probably do everything you want. You could switch distributions, but I don't think it will change whatever it is your unhappy with.

Last edited by johnsfine; 02-15-2008 at 03:48 PM.
Old 02-15-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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If you already have suse installed, your disk is probably partitioned in tree or four. (XP, Suse, swap and perhaps /home). Hopefully /home is on a separate partition so you don't have to backup your home folder. All this is speculations since I haven't seen the actual partition table and /etc/fstab file.

The slackware installation are pretty self explaining if you have some knowledge of GNU/linux. Slackware as default comes with lilo (And grub in extra). I can't remember if you can skip overwriting MBR. I have always installed it. Anyway, I'm guessing you might have problems with automatically detecting XP. (That's just a guess, since I don't have XP/windows on my computer). If you're planning to install grub again, I would backup the old /boot/grub/menu.1st from suse, and modify it to suite slackware. It might not work, but it's worth a try.

Other then that, there isn't much to it. After you start your slackware CD, you might want to verify your partitions so you don't install slackware on the wrong partition. Check with fdisk/cfdisk and mount them to a temporary folder to check it's content. If you don't have a separate /home partition, I would split the partition used for suse. (Remember to backup).

Before the actual installation, it will ask you what to install, I suggest a full installation, then you wont be missing anything. You can remove packages afterwards, and learn how to do a custom installation later.

Another file you could backup is /etc/X11/xorg.conf, since it most likely is already configured for your videocard. There are probably more things thats handy to copy from suse, but it doesn't really matter. Slackware comes with a great standard installation

If you have any other questions, the slackware forum in here is really great
Old 02-15-2008, 03:54 PM   #4
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The most important thing to consider is this: if you do anything to OpenSuse, you will break grub, and you won't be able to boot XP.

So, you should do one of the following before trying to replace OpenSuse:
a) make a grub boot disk that contains all of grub (not just the first stage that goes into the MBR.
b) make a windows boot disk so that you can boot XP without grub.
c) replace grub in the MBR with windows ntldr so that you can boot windows until you get your Linux OS up an running.

Then, if you have a liveCD of some distro, you can re-format the OpenSuse partition, or simply use the installation cd of the distro you want to install and select the OpenSuse partition as the place to install. It will re-format the partition as part of the installation process. Now let me qualify that last sentence. Some distros (you have to watch carefully) will have a dialogue screen in which you must elect to format the installation partition (those that I've seen were a check box I had to check in order to have the partition re-formated prior to installation).

Since your objective it to learn (and you've chosen the steepest learning curve), Slackware and its derivatives, Linux From Scratch and other source based distros (such as SourceMage). You can get a more complete list from Use the search feature to search for distro category 'source based' or some such category.

Probably the most difficult learning situation you can try is DVL (Damn Vulnerable Linux) which is purposely crippled in many ways. It's used to teach IT professionals problem solving in Linux. Your task is to find and fix the problems.

Last edited by bigrigdriver; 02-15-2008 at 04:00 PM.
Old 02-15-2008, 05:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
You really think it will force you to learn? I think it will cause you to stop using Linux and just use Windows.
That's just silly. Why would you say such an absurd thing?

Easy enough. Download and burn the Slack install disks, either the first two install images or the DVD image. Boot it up and follow the installation. Make sure you know which partition your Linux is on and install it there.

Slack is NOT as hard as some silly people make it out to be. It does require some hands on manual configuration but it's not the demon some make it out to be. Try it, you may well like it. And you will learn some things about how Linux works.

Slack uses Lilo by default and it WILL detect your Windows install.

Last edited by masonm; 02-15-2008 at 05:13 PM.


booting, dual, grub, opensuse, slackware, windows, xp

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