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cat_of_jade 07-22-2003 01:48 AM

To Linux or not to Linux...
I am getting a new computer, and I am extremely interested in using UNIX/LINUX as the operating system. However, I know next-to-nothing about programming, despite efforts to educate myself online. I would like to know an experienced LINUX user's recommendation to me, as I do not want to end up with a computer I can't use, natch!! Is it possible to "learn as you go" with LINUX? Anything I can do to prepare?

Also, can WINDOWS and LINUX co-exist peacefully? I also am thinking of possible starting a graphic arts business, and I have heard that WINDOWS is better at graphics. Any help, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated! ty--

bludra84 07-22-2003 02:00 AM

Yes is is possible to have a dual boot system, thats what I do. I dont know how to program, yet I have been running linux fine for 5 years now, so its not a necessity.

synaptical 07-22-2003 02:07 AM

Re: To Linux or not to Linux...
you don't need to know programming to use linux, just as you don't need it to run windoze.

you can learn as you go (you really have no choice, actually :D ), and you can also prepare by reading introductory tutorials. i don't have all my links avail here, but at a minimum check out "Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition." Linux Cookbook is another that comes to mind, and there are a host of others that are excellent, just search around. is useful.

you can dual-boot windows and linux, either on separate partitions or separate hard drives.

with gimp rivaling photoshop, i'm not so sure windows is now better at graphics for anyone but the biggest graphic gurus out there. (and those gurus probably use a mac, so that takes care of that. :p )

HTH toward answering most of your questions. the short answer is just dive in and start testing a few distros. you can read all you want in advance, and that's helpful, but the best way to learn linux is really to just start using it.

m9dhatter 07-22-2003 02:18 AM

i suggest getting mandrake 9.1 for beginners. hehe. it was helpful when i first started linux. i made separate partitions, installed windoze in the first partition, installed mandrake linux in the next. and viola! i have linux and windoze. i rarely use my windoze box for anything but games now. mandrake has just about everything i need from office suites ( openoffice ) to graphics design ( gimp ) to networking ( mozilla and mozilla mail ) and games too ( tux racer ). complete desktop package. configuring is also a breeze. :D

slakmagik 07-22-2003 02:39 AM

Re: To Linux or not to Linux...
Mostly repeating and adding some:

Programming would help of course, but is unnecessary. And, definitely, it helps to learn what you can ahead of time but learning to use Linux is always going to be a work in progress. Yes, Windows and Linux can co-exist perfectly, though if you have XP and/or an NTFS file system, it can require some extra effort. I wouldn't know first hand but I do understand that Mac (now BSD-based, a flavor of Unix, as is Linux) is considered the graphics platform. But I think you could probably do most anything on Linux in that regard.

If you haven't yet gotten this new computer, that's perfect. What I'd do to prepare is learn about the various distros, pick which one meets your needs and personality, find out what hardware it supports, and get a machine built of that hardware. That would be ideal. If you've already gotten it, do the same, but just find out about your hardware and whether your distro supports it. That may help you pick a distro. And pick up a good in-depth but not too in-depth book like Running Linux or do some online research with Rute and so on, as others have said. And scour your distros website - they will have some of the best and most pertinent information.

And have fun!

bigjohn 07-22-2003 04:44 AM

To your questions -




If the "graphic arts" thing is likely to be a "biggie", then look here and check into ppc distributions (ppc=power pc aka Mac).

Mandrake do a ppc version of their distro (and mandrake have an excellent "newbie" reputation) and Yellowdog linux is a ppc distro

I say Mac compatible distro's because I understand that "serious" graphic professionals use Mac's, as the graphics facilities are much(?) better than window$/pc - don't know it's just what I have heard/read.

Window$ and linux will happily cohabit on a single hard drive (that's what I do), but you can always follow the "multi hard drive" route, then I believe it's only the "how's and where" of bootloaders to get it running as you would like it.

The "ruteuser" link posted earlier (and in my sig) is both extensive and helpful. For general linux related searching try Or here at LQ, at least most of us would agree, you have come to the right place for linux help.



Skyline 07-22-2003 11:00 AM

A good newbie distribution would be MAndrake 9.1.

Yes - Windows and Linux can comfortably be made to dual boot.

Remember to install Windows first and Linux second.

Install the bootloader to the MBR.

Windows has applications like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and ULead - Linux has the GIMP amongst others.

The GIMP is good - but rather a strange way of working - a sort of "Windowmaker" feel to it.

Certainly worth a try though.

cat_of_jade 07-24-2003 06:03 AM

Hey thanks to all of you who responded to me!!! Alrighty, having had my courage much more bolstered up, I shall attempt LINUX woo hoo! Just one more thing, my fine compu-tekkie the heck is a DISTRO??? (the jade cat once again shows her bemewsment!!)) and if I procure le computer with le Windows already installed, can I still add LINUX alongside? and does one..uh.."partite"? lol!!..ok, ok, I'll check out da linx!!

MasterC 07-24-2003 06:14 AM


A distro is a specific set of tools wrapped up in a neat little package and released with (sometimes) some support or at least a fancy name attached to it. A distro is things like and Which are companies that create tools and wrap up other tools that the community has created around the linux kernel to form a full functioning OS. Each distro manufacterer releases their own flavor, different tools here and there to give a different experience. Some geared more towards the power user, others geared toward the newbie. All of them will contain at least 1 single common ground: The kernel.

As far as Out of the Box installing Linux on your windoze setup, a possibly is as best as you'll get. That's probably gonna be the best time really since windoze will be as frag free as it ever will be. You run a chance of losing it all, but with the recovery discs that the PC companies send with their products now, it's not really a big loss should you lose it all.

Plop in your linux disc ( I suggest as a newbie you look towards mandrake as your first distro of choice and move from there ) and begin the install. It will do it's best to install Linux into free space on a windoze partition and this will (likely) work, but occasionally doesn't and you are left with only a linux system and a dead windoze partition. At which time you may have to plop back in your windoze recovery and do the dance with that again, a chance I have taken quite frequently and have been lucky enough to say I have pulled off.



james.farrow 07-24-2003 07:32 AM

Try Evesham , They've got a purpose built Linux Box running Mandrake 9.1 for £645 all in!!!

fancypiper 07-24-2003 08:12 AM

# Linux Distribution links:
A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Linux Distribution
Reasons to Choose or Not Choose Linux
LWN distro list
elinux Linux Distributions

Skyline 07-24-2003 09:29 AM

Hi Cat_Of_Jade

If your computer has Windows already installed on it and the Windows partition(s) take up the whole hard drive - then your're going to have to re-size your Windows partition - probably the best way for you would be to use Partition magic.

The idea would be to re-size the windows partition adn leave some completely free space at the ned of your drive for Linux to go on,

Once you have got this scenario - then simply set your computer to boot from the cd-rom drive then put in disk 1 of your Linux distribution - going through the install you will eventually come to a partitioning screen - it will give you a series of options - you want to choose "partition the existing free space" - the Linux installer will then partition this free space for you - and install itself there.

Just a bit of info:

This is how Linux sees IDE Drives and Partitions on them:

/dev/hda - - - - - drive on the Primary Master channel
/dev/hdb - - - - - drive on the Primary Slave channel
/dev/hdc - - - - - drive on the Secondary Master channel
/dev/hdd - - - - - drive on the Secondary Slave channel

Linux sees Partitions on IDE drives like this:

/dev/hda1 - - - - - - 1st partition on the Primary Master drive
/dev/hdb3 - - - - - - 3rd partition on the Primary Slave drive
/dev/hdc6 - - - - - - 6th partition on the Secondary Master drive

etc etc……..

Good luck and re-post of there are any problems

slakmagik 07-24-2003 10:54 AM


Originally posted by Skyline
Hi Cat_Of_Jade

If your computer has Windows already installed on it and the Windows partition(s) take up the whole hard drive - then your're going to have to re-size your Windows partition - probably the best way for you would be to use Partition magic.

Nah - you even suggested Mandrake, Skyline - I put on Mandrake and took it off the same night but in the meantime it resized my NTFS partition with no problem - more room for Slack! Or Gentoo or Debian or something. Anyway - I didn't much like Mandrake, but it'd probably be a decent slide into Linux from Windows if you don't like the 'dive in - the water's fine after the shock wears off' approach. :D

Just defrag thoroughly first and be generous with how much room you leave the NTFS partition. (I need it because I haven't converted some files out of the proprietary format I stupidly created them in starting a few years back.) :rolleyes:

Skyline 07-24-2003 12:38 PM

Hi Digiot

I was merely suggesting that given :

1) - - Many newbies coming to Linux from an XP, Win background seem to have used Partition Magic or often mention it in their posts and seem to be comfortable with it.

It might be appropriate in this scenario to mention Partition Magic to deal with the re-sizing of any Windows partition(s) - maybe Cat of Jade is not used to manually dealing with partitions even in the context of a Linux install.

That's not to suggest that Cat of Jade should do it this way.

It was only a suggestion.

slakmagik 07-24-2003 01:33 PM

No, I know. I was just adding that Mandrake already has the tool. I was taking a different assumption that Cat didn't have PM and was saying s/he didn't need to go buy it in that case. Also just a suggestion. :)

But I wouldn't call Mandrake's thing manually dealing with partitions. I just told it to use /dev/hda (or did it tell me? ;)) and used my mouse to move a graphical slider how far down I wanted the NTFS partition to remain. *Bing* Done. It ain't fdisk. :)

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