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Old 05-27-2006, 09:26 AM   #1
Registered: May 2006
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
Posts: 132

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Lots of questions

I'm most likely leaning towards converting my system to Linux, but I have quite a few questions. I have a basic understanding of prehistoric BASIC programming commands and an intermediate understanding of Windows connectivity and switching, basically familiar with anything that is user-friendly and doesn't require a piece of code to accomplish something.

I have a little 7 gig harddrive with 1 gig free, though I can cull it down to 2.5 gigs free. Is this enough space to run a dual boot? With the level of understanding that I currently have, would it be remotely thinkable to just somehow jump into Linux without even messing with the dual boot, even if that is doable?

I do not have a CD burner, so it is preferable to be able to run the startup package from the hard drive. Is this possible, without uninstalling Windows? Would I be sacrificing the opportunity to install a more popular version of Linux in order to accomodate this? If so, I could just go to Kinko's and burn a CD.

Most of the applications that I have are just things like Antivirus and Firewall, as I use my computer primarily for the internet, though I also have questions about compatibility with IPOD and others. What types of issues do I run into with recognition, compatibility, and interaction with these existing applications?

Whenever I will add new devices and so forth, most likely there is not a library of drivers already installed in order to facilitate functionality, right?

My internet is provided by a Comcast cable connection. Are there any issues associated with this when making this change?

Is it possible to somehow download the Linux startup package, then uninstall Windows, and then install Linux, and then configure all of my connections and so forth, without having to delete so many files? This sounds like a bit much to ask for, but I was wondering.

I am sure there are probably lots of issues that I have not even broached, so please feel free to interject any helpful information. Thank you in advance.

Last edited by agentchange; 05-27-2006 at 09:30 AM.
Old 05-27-2006, 09:42 AM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Seymour, Indiana
Distribution: Distribution: RHEL 5 with Pieces of this and that. Kernel, KDE 3.5.8 and KDE 4.0 beta, Plu
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I would recommend using a Live CD like Knoppix or Ubuntu or Kubuntu. These run off the CD and will not need harddrive space unless you want to save settings or something. This will let you play with linux till you see what it is. You can also use it to see if your existing hardware will work.

So for your Comcast you have the comptuer connected directly to the modem?
If so then you will need to run firewall for protection. Many distros setup firewall on the install. Suse, Mandriva, Ubuntu, Fedora.

If wishing to install then you just need to try one out. If you don't like it try another. Each distros has their good and bad but that is based on person to person. One person may not like the way it is and the other loves it that way.

Many distros can be run on 1 gig or less but all that it does is install the basics. You will not get a full feel because many extra apps are not installed. 2.5 gig is a big improvement. But to get the full advantage some require as much as 8 gig to install everything from the CD or DVD images. I would get a new drive and run it as a slave and install your linux to it. If you get one large enough you can install many distros and play till you find the one you like.

By the way. How is the modem connected USB or Ethernet. USB may not be supported depending on the modem. Ehternet should be no problem unless the ehternet card is not supported. As long you use the same Ethernet card since that is the way most of Comcast authenicates. It uses the MAC address of the nic.

Only way to know is to dive right in. Do lots of searches here and at google to learn more. If you can't anything or is greek to you then ask here or at one of the many other forums out there. Depending on the distro the developers can help. Depending on the app the developers can help.

Old 05-27-2006, 10:08 AM   #3
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Registered: Jun 2004
Distribution: Arch, Debian, Slack
Posts: 1,016

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do you have a floppy drive? if your CPU is i686 (PII or higher) you can install arch linux from floppies: you might be able to install something like Damn Small Linux (DSL) from floppy too, not sure, or maybe that requires a USB flash drive, etc. you could look around the net for other distros that boot from alternative media than CD.

another option would be to find a distro you think you might like and order the CDs from somewhere. that would obviously take a little longer, but who knows, with using a floppy drive it might come out about equal. with your space limitations, try to focus on smaller distros (DSL, puppy linux, etc.) and don't go get SUSE pro or anything. debian base install might also be a good option. (edit: just noted you can burn a CD at kinkos -- that would be your best option, imo, but again, try to focus on smaller distros. and definitely get a knoppix, slax, or other live CD in addition to whatever else you get.)

as far as the cable goes, you might want to do a quick google to see if there are problems specific to comcast that i'm not aware of, but in general cable is cable. aside from firewall issues, usb ethernet considerations, etc. noted by Brian1, it shouldn't be an issue.

you don't have to uninstall windows to install linux, unless you don't have a dedicated partition or free unpartitioned space you can use to install linux. it's actually better to have windows installed first. so if you need partitions, you should reinstall windows first, setting aside the space you want to dedicate to linux. gl

Last edited by slackhack; 05-27-2006 at 10:09 AM.
Old 05-27-2006, 10:21 AM   #4
Registered: May 2006
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
Posts: 132

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So basically, I just burn a disk of one of these Live versions, then start my computer from the disk or can it be installed from inside the shell of Windows? Are these Live CD's like demos that I can run separate of my current system or actual installations?

How can I tell how much space I need to run a distro? I can easily tell how big a distro is, but then when it is unzipped or installed, that is another story.

Computer is hooked up directly to the modem via generic Compusa Ethernet card.

Do I need to partition diskspace to accomplish this?

How easy is it to change from one distro to another after installation is completed?

Last edited by agentchange; 05-27-2006 at 10:33 AM.
Old 05-27-2006, 10:31 AM   #5
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Registered: Jun 2004
Distribution: Arch, Debian, Slack
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yes, a live CD just runs from the CD, no installation necessary. most do give you the option to install them, or at least knoppix does. i can't vouch for how much disk space it takes or if you can select what packages to install -- i installed it once a long time ago but i don't know if the process has changed since then. there's plenty of documentation around, though, and even a knoppix forum for installing to HD. you don't do anything from the windows shell, it's all done from the CD, ramdisk, etc.


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