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Old 04-17-2009, 07:48 PM   #1
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Registered: Apr 2009
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Lots of questions

hello i have been researching a little bit about linux and i want to switch to Linux. i am currently using windows xp pro.
computer specs:
amd athlon 64 x2 5200 2.7ghz
4 gb ram
160 gb hd

i have lots of questions about Linux
1. are all of the files compatible with windows programs. My school uses windows xp and i am wondering if i will be able to open word documents created on Linux at school.
If i have a printer will the installation cd work fine with linux.
2.i do not want to dual boot with windows xp, so will i have to use another tool to erase my hard drive?
3. which distribution do you recommend for newbies? best overall not just for newbies?
4. i have seen really impressive looking desktops running linux. do i have to have a graphics card to use things like the cube or the sphere? what if my motherboard has integrated video and sound?
my motherboard:
5 i have seen lots of commands for the terminal. i do not know any commands right now. is it necessary to learn some before i switch.

please help
Old 04-17-2009, 08:02 PM   #2
Registered: May 2007
Location: CO
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 152
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1. There are linux programs that can open MOST files from other programs. For example MS Word can't run on Linux, but OpenOffice opens Word files and does everything Word does. You will only run into trouble with very high end programs like some 3D programs or Adobe products... and even these have some alternatives. People that need those programs can dual boot.

2. You just need the linux CD. It will take care of everything.

3. Ubuntu for newbies, Debian once you graduate. Of course, Fedora, SuSE and others are fine alternatives.

4. Generally you need a video card, but I think you'll be OK without one since you have integrated Radeon.

5. You will be fine not knowing any commands. Except in rare cases where you run into configuration problems. Usually you can google for the solution.
Old 04-17-2009, 09:55 PM   #3
Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Kolkata,India
Distribution: Fedora 8,Ubuntu 8.04, 8.10, 9.04, 9.10
Posts: 108

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1. Linux supports much wider raange of formats(extensions) than windows. you will have to save the files in formats supported by windows to make it run in windows. you will get such options in openoffice.
5.Its good to know some basic commands for terminal. even if you don't know start using linux. if problem arises post here or google the problem, you will definitely get solutions.
Old 04-18-2009, 12:02 AM   #4
Registered: May 2007
Location: California
Distribution: Slackware/Ubuntu
Posts: 609

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I think you are missing the first step before doing a hard drive install.I strongly suggest that you try a couple different live cds such as knoppix or ubuntu first. The knoppix uses the kde and ubuntu uses gnome desktops.

Having transferred from windows to linux. I have had problems using a ms word template in open office. There were some format issues. On the other hand, open office can open word docs and save as word docs.

The installation cd that came with a printer will most likely not work in linux. Linux has its own drivers for printers.

I use gparted live cd to format and partition my hard drive. It is easy to use.

You will need to learn some terminal commands.
Old 04-18-2009, 12:27 AM   #5
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Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Nagpur, India
Distribution: Cent OS 5/6, Ubuntu Server 10.04
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Yeah, the better option is to try out different distributions from Live cd/dvd before you choose one. This will definitely give you an idea how your hardware is supported and how comfortable you are with it. Try different distributions with different look and feel and desktop environments so that you will know what you feel comfortable with, KDE or Gnome.

Opening MS Word documents is not a problem with Open Office though some templates can have issues. But Open Office can save documents as MS Word, PDF, RTF and so on. So there should not be issues with it.
If you want to install printer then you should be able to check on net about its compatibility and drivers with linux. Windows drivers wont work with linux but if you have HP make printer then it should be easy to install with CUPS.

You will not usually need any tool to erase the drive. You should be fine using the options provided while installation. But you can use some like Gparted or PartedMagic. But make sure you have backup of the documents so that you do not lose the important data.

Any distribution should be fine if you are ready to learn linux. Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Dream Linux all should be fine though.

Build in graphics card should be fine to use the cubes and kind of effects. I use it all the time and I have built in Intel graphics.
Your motherboard should be fine and seems most of the chips are supported out of the box.

Commands are integral part of linux and you will need some familiarity with them as you graduate. But dont let them deter you. They make your life easy. But most of the distributions today have graphical tools for most of the actions so you can surely start without any commands in your mind. Just move on.


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