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Old 11-02-2004, 09:56 PM   #1
NintendoFan
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Linux???


Hi,
I am very new to Linux. I have always heard of it, but I never really knew people had it as their personal computers OS.
I have 2 Linux questions.

First, I understand that Linux is a free open source OS, but then what are these distributions?
I see ones like Red Hat, and Suse, and Mandrake and many, many more.
Can they all run Linux programs, what are the differences between them, Why isn't there a clear best distribution. What are they?

My second question:
Why use Linux? Why would someone use Linux over Windows.
Does it offer some great advantage? Or is it just for certain people who are programmers, or always get virus's on windows, and don't on Linux.
 
Old 11-02-2004, 10:01 PM   #2
khtse
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Welcome to the wide world of choice that is Linux. First off, to answer your first question, all the different distributions are based on the same linux kernel (the core, if you will). However, they bundle together different applications and add various parts and extensions to the base system and package it all up as a distro. Essentially, they are the same, and programs can usually be ported without any trouble. In my opinion, Slackware is the best, but ask around and 10 people will name 10 different distros!

Secondly, Linux offers MANY advantages to MS Windows. Some of the more publicized ones include: it's free, you have access to the source, wide variety of choice for competition, security. But I must add, there's also geek appeal... =]

If I may entice you to try out a linux distro, you will wonder how you ever lived with windows before.....
 
Old 11-02-2004, 10:06 PM   #3
secesh
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well, this thread is sure to set off some responses... guess i'll put in my two bits --

i like to tell people who don't understand what an OS is, that they can think of RedHat/Debian/Slackware as win98/winME/winXX -- while the underlying system might be the same (or similar), the interface, and some other things can vary...

yes, programs written for linux are generically applicable, but commonly require 'dependencies' -- one program/library leads to another... the big thing to watch here is packages -- those are system specific.

I still think Linux is primarily a 'geek' desktop system... i see it as close-but-no-cigar desktop alternative to windows -- MS is just too easy for users to make things run without caring how... but for those willing/able, it is a great environment, my favorite aspect is development capabilites without the cost.
 
Old 11-02-2004, 10:50 PM   #4
Netizen
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Re: Linux???

Quote:
Originally posted by NintendoFan
Hi,
I am very new to Linux. I have always heard of it, but I never really knew people had it as their personal computers OS.
I have 2 Linux questions.

First, I understand that Linux is a free open source OS, but then what are these distributions?
I see ones like Red Hat, and Suse, and Mandrake and many, many more.
Can they all run Linux programs, what are the differences between them, Why isn't there a clear best distribution. What are they?

My second question:
Why use Linux? Why would someone use Linux over Windows.
Does it offer some great advantage? Or is it just for certain people who are programmers, or always get virus's on windows, and don't on Linux.
1. The definition of Open Source will be the easiest way to explain the distributions.

2. Use Linux because you want something different. Because you like excercising your right to choose. Because you want to be able to hack your OS without the shadow of a EULA. Because no one should tell you how to use your computer. But mostly because YOU want to use Linux.
 
Old 11-02-2004, 10:53 PM   #5
Poetics
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Check out our Distrobutions forum for quite a few opinions on what distro is "best," and which one you think will work for you and will satisfy what you want.

As for why to use linux ... I like the fact that I control every aspect of the OS. With some typing I can do just about anything to any part of the software. Customizability galore!
 
Old 11-02-2004, 11:11 PM   #6
xgreen
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www.distrowatch.com might help you...
 
Old 11-02-2004, 11:34 PM   #7
justin_p
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my suggestion (and what I have done in my 2 yaers MS free) is read up on everything and get one of those Linux for Dummies books. They'll take you through everything. Get one with a recent distro Like Fedora Core 2 (RedHat's community distro). As mentioned above, distrowatch.com is a great place to start.
 
Old 11-03-2004, 05:46 AM   #8
judge_neo
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I have read a few threads from people who have asked why they should change from Windoze to Linux, which is distro is the best etc, and I have read some great responses on the multitude of benefits of Linux (of which there are many).

There are not too many people however explaining the steep learning curve of Linux compared to Windoze. For someone moving from Windoze the first time they see Linux in action it can be quite intimidating(i know it was for me) and I think we should explain this more to those who ask for our opinions.
 
Old 11-03-2004, 07:13 AM   #9
scorpiosnake
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I am new to Linux myself. I have been using it for a few months now and I love it. I use it almost solely now. As someone else suggested, reading Linux for dumbies books will help you a lot and get you started, plus you get a distro with them. I personally think that Linux for Non-Geeks is the best book for the average user wanting to switch from Windows to Linux. It comes with Fedora Core 1, explains things plainly and in a way that a nontechincal person can get (in other words the typical Windows user), and sets up your computer so you can use the things most people want like internet, email, playing music, etc. Once someone has gone through and seen that they can do in Linux what they can do in Windows they feel better. And when they see how to do and that they can do it, they feel better and start exploring Linux more.
 
Old 11-03-2004, 07:36 AM   #10
justin_p
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good point judge_neo, i never thought of that. Also, to un-initiated, be ready to try several, if not all the major distros, before settling.
 
Old 11-03-2004, 08:34 AM   #11
David the H.
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Linux does have a steep learning curve, especially for non-geeks, but you must put it into perspective. I remember when I got my first PC--it was Windows95--and while it wasn't that difficult to figure out, it still took me a long time. I had early troubles with configurations, learned what the registry and dll's were through hard experience, and just generally discovered what could and couldn't be done. I'd say it was over a year before I could say I was past the beginner stage. No doubt most newcomers go through the same processes I did, even with Windows.

Now Linux is not much different. It is a little more complicated and geek oriented, but for most people the main trouble comes from having to unlearn the preconceptions you have from using Windows. You have to train your mind to think in different ways. I've heard that people who've had no previous experience with Windows or other computer systems often pick Linux up quite easily.

Also, the main reason Windows is "easier" is because it limits you. M$ has hidden all the hard stuff behind pretty graphics and only provides you with a few configuration panels and check boxes to work with. In other words, they don't let you really do anything to the OS. Windows is easy mainly because M$ treats you like a child (metaphorically).

Linux, on the other hand, doesn't hand-hold you. You have to learn command lines and configuration files. Much of that comes from it's origins in Unix, but another part of it is the basic idea of freedom that comes with open source. You are free to do whatever you want, and as a result, it doesn't assume to know more than you. Now, it is also true that the various distros are working hard to make Linux more friendly to the non-technical user. But unlike Windows, they don't take away the ability to be an expert at the same time.

And if you're at all like me, after you get past the steep learning curve, you'll really start to appreciate that freedom and power. I learned more about computing in 6 months on Linux than I did in 6 years of Windows, and now, when I boot into Windows I can see the limits that were always there, but that my lack of experience kept me from seeing.

So, I say, don't let Linux intimidate you. Embrace it. face it's challenges and learn what freedom really is. You'll be glad you did.
 
Old 11-03-2004, 10:29 AM   #12
bigjohn
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Quote:
Originally posted by David the H.
Linux does have a steep learning curve, especially for non-geeks, but you must put it into perspective. I remember when I got my first PC--it was Windows95--and while it wasn't that difficult to figure out, it still took me a long time. I had early troubles with configurations, learned what the registry and dll's were through hard experience, and just generally discovered what could and couldn't be done. I'd say it was over a year before I could say I was past the beginner stage. No doubt most newcomers go through the same processes I did, even with Windows.

Now Linux is not much different. It is a little more complicated and geek oriented, but for most people the main trouble comes from having to unlearn the preconceptions you have from using Windows. You have to train your mind to think in different ways. I've heard that people who've had no previous experience with Windows or other computer systems often pick Linux up quite easily.

Also, the main reason Windows is "easier" is because it limits you. M$ has hidden all the hard stuff behind pretty graphics and only provides you with a few configuration panels and check boxes to work with. In other words, they don't let you really do anything to the OS. Windows is easy mainly because M$ treats you like a child (metaphorically).

Linux, on the other hand, doesn't hand-hold you. You have to learn command lines and configuration files. Much of that comes from it's origins in Unix, but another part of it is the basic idea of freedom that comes with open source. You are free to do whatever you want, and as a result, it doesn't assume to know more than you. Now, it is also true that the various distros are working hard to make Linux more friendly to the non-technical user. But unlike Windows, they don't take away the ability to be an expert at the same time.

And if you're at all like me, after you get past the steep learning curve, you'll really start to appreciate that freedom and power. I learned more about computing in 6 months on Linux than I did in 6 years of Windows, and now, when I boot into Windows I can see the limits that were always there, but that my lack of experience kept me from seeing.

So, I say, don't let Linux intimidate you. Embrace it. face it's challenges and learn what freedom really is. You'll be glad you did.
David the H's comments are pretty much my experiences, except that even after 2 years or so, I'm still not over the learning curve (or learning mountain, as I like to think of it).

One thing that I'd like to suggest, is either try a live distro, like knoppix, or a very desktop friendly distro like mandrake. Until recently, although I'd change distro's to try, I usually ended up back at mandrake. And yes, I usually went for genuine "boxed set" discs (well disc singular, as for the last 3 occassions, I've opted for the powerpack workstation DVD), as you get some stuff on there that is proprietary like the nvidia driver already configured, speedtouch driver, real player, plus some other stuff. Check out the mandrake store (that links to the version I always go for) and you'll see that it's not expensive, plus the bonus of the full system on the DVD, even 2 different office suites (Open office and K office). You'd have to do a currency convert if you don't use euros, but it's "cheap at half the price" when you compare it to MS products. Once you're up to speed, then try other distros by downloading them (and yes you will probably need a broadband/cable connection for that - 3 CD's @ about 700megs a piece on average, isn't a small thing to download).

With mandrake, I found that as long as you can get along with the default options and everything works on your system, you don't really need to worry to much in the beginning, as most stuff just works, pretty much in a windows sort of way. Which leaves you free to get used to the extra stuff like eye candy etc etc (and if you accepted mandrakes default settings, there's shit loads available for KDE, from the mandrake sources/the PLF/Jpackage mirrors - just look at easy urpmi and follow the instructions. Then as long as you stick to mandrakised RPM packages (like what you get from the mirrors set by using easy urpmi), you won't go far wrong.

Obviously, it's very much up to you as to which distro you opt for, though its fair to say that mandrake has a good reputation as being an excellent newbie all round distro. that will still do everything that other distros do, but they've broken it up into easily digested, bite sized chunks.

Just remember, given your screen name, you are considerably more limited with games under linux. Some of the "biggies" are being made available with linux ports (native versions in a few cases), but if games are your thing, then just think about dual booting. then you do everything else in linux except the gaming thing, which you keep windows available for.

regards

John

p.s. Linux and open source software are pretty much "community" based. The word communism, comes from community, so maybe we are actually, software communists ?

p.p.s. Often the only difficulties that may arise are modems, if you're still on dialup, and graphics cards (but they are becoming less so). I've never tried dial up on linux, but lots of people do, and I've never had much in the way of problems with graphics, even when I've been using a distro that needs to have the nvidia driver compiled (as I do now).

Hope that helps some?

Last edited by bigjohn; 11-03-2004 at 10:40 AM.
 
Old 11-03-2004, 12:35 PM   #13
Mara
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I'm closing this thread. You have asked two popular questions which lead to long discusions (even flamewars). Both have been discussed many times. 'Which distro is best' questions are asked in the Linux-DIstribution forum. 'Why Linux?' belong to General (as they become Linux vs Windows ones). There's currently one going: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...hreadid=174252 (warning: very very long).

Of course, if you have questions (maybe not such controversial ones), please post them.
 
  


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