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Old 09-02-2013, 06:34 PM   #1
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Seeking information prior to installing Linux

before installing linux in a PC Computer, should I create a new Partition? also, which version of Linux can I install in a Dell Dimension 2400 computer?

Thank you for allowing me to post my questions!
Old 09-02-2013, 07:06 PM   #2
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welcome to LQ.
Originally Posted by trs150 View Post
before installing linux in a PC Computer, should I create a new Partition?
AFAIK, all the mainstream distro installers* provide a full featured partitioner as part of the install process. So, unless you are trying to do something unusual you should not need to create partitions prior to installation.

also, which version of Linux can I install in a Dell Dimension 2400 computer?
Presumably, pretty much any. However I don't know exactly what hardware a "Dell Dimension 2400" contains and I'm not about to look it up. Potential problems usually come from wireless and video chips for which the manufacturers refuse to provide specs.

Which distro will suit your needs best depends on what you want to do with it.

Old 09-02-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Windows file systems do not understand the Linux permissions scheme.

If you are installing Linux as the only OS, you should delete existing partitions and repartition the drive, then format the partitions to a file system that understands the Linux permissions system. If you are installing it along side of another OS, you will need to resize at least one of the existing Windows partitions, then repartition and reformat the newly-created free space to receive the Linux install. Many--not all--distros' installation routines will offer to do these tasks automatically or almost automatically.

Back up any crucial data to external media before mucking about with partitions.

I just checked the specs of the Dell Dimension 2400. Most Linux distros should work with it, but I notice the base RAM was just 512 MB. If you can, it would be good to max out the RAM to 2 GB. Otherwise, you would do well to avoid using heavier desktop environments such as Gnome, Ubuntu's Unity, or KDE. I have a Dimension 4400 with 4 GB RAM and I'm running Debian Wheezy (v. 7) with the Fluxbox window manager, and it performs quite nicely. I'm running Fluxbox because I like it, not because I had any difficulties with the default, which is Gnome.

You can install a distribution that defaults to a heavier desktop--that's no problem. Just plan to install and use a lighter one, such as LXDE, unless you up the RAM significantly.

As for recommending a specific distro, it's like asking about cars. A Ford guy will recommend Fords, a Chevy guy with recommend Chevies, a Chrysler guy will recommend Chevies, etc. I'm a Slackware guy. I'll recommend Slackware.

I would suggest you burn some Live CDs of distros you are considering, boot to them and play with them for a while, then pick the distro that seems to be a good fit. I would also suggest sticking with it for at least three months until you have gotten some of the hang of how Linux works before deciding to try something else. The LQ Download Linux page contains links to the most distros.

I would recommend against Fedora--it's kind of bleeding edge. Mint, Mageia, SalixOS, Debian would all be good candidates, just to pick some from thin air.

Good luck.
Old 09-02-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
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Like frankbell said.

I'm a harley guy so I like lean and mean.
Old 09-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #5
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Concerning Linux distributions, one advantage of Slackware is that the default install comprises a few window
managers (twm, fvwm, windowmaker) and the graphical desktop XFCE. Neither of these consumes a lot of memory,
so with 512 MB you should have a usable system. Concerning the partitions, the most practical partitioning
scheme is to have 3 partitions for Linux:
A / partition to hold the operating system, a small swap partition (no more than twice the RAM) and
a /home partition to hold the users's files. If you need to reinstall, you will only have to reformat the / partition
before reinstalling, without risk to the user files.

Another distribution you can consider is Scientific Linux. The installer is more automatized than the one
of Slackware (good if you are a beginner) and by default it installs the icewm window manager for systems
with small memory.


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