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Old 08-13-2004, 09:04 PM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Total newbie interested in linux

Hi everyone!
I'm a good ol' Windows user and have been for several years, but lately the sluggishness of XP on my modest 700Mhz Celeron has been annoying me too much, so I'm getting more and more tempted to switch to Linux, at least partially.
But I have little knowledge about the OS and it's many distributions, and that's where you guys will hopefully come in.
Basically, a few helpfull hints and tutorial links would be nice, the things I need to know most are:

- Installing Linux in such a way that it wont affect my current windows instillation (I have 3 Hard drives, windows is currently on F:\ if that helps much)

- What Distro would be best for a newbie linux user that's quite advanced with Windows (I actually have Knoppix around here....somewhere...)

-Some helpfull hints on what software to download (you know, like the Linux equivelant to winamp and such).

And anything else you guys would like to say, all information is welcome

Oh and thanks in advance
Old 08-13-2004, 09:26 PM   #2
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Registered: May 2004
Location: california
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kushan; 1st; no comparing W - linux it will confuse, from expierence as ex-W user take my word. for help in understanding linux,s os, suggest reading
Complete Linux by sybex pub., and other texts relating to any distro. now since you have internet communication look at this site, peruse table of contents for further
information with detail information. there is about 10 or more sections with
information on howto most everything. best to expand each and every section that would be of interest. but to give you a good start start at section 4.1 through 4.1.12 especially 4.1.4 installation,4.1.6 boot loaders and booting the os,4.1.8 partitions and filesystem (crucial in understanding)
follow through with section 4.2 system administration and configuration including section 4.2.1 configuration / installation (also very crucial) please
expand fully acquired knowledge priceless!
Old 08-13-2004, 09:32 PM   #3
Registered: Jul 2004
Distribution: Mepis, Ubuntu, Slackity slack
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I can help you with a few of those lol. Well, first of all I would say Fedora core is great for a first time user. You can go here and check it out. When you try to install it, it has a partitioner which allows you to choose which hard drive to install it on.
Fedora 2 comes with almost all of the windows alternatives already installed when you first install linux. It comes with all of the Microsoft Word,Exell,Powerpoint, Outlook, equivilants. It also comes with a few internet browzers, Mozilla, Konquerer, and Epiphany.
If you need any extra programs here are a few sites where you can find them, go to the linux section go to apps section
there are many more but those have hundreds of programs.

If you want tutorials on how to install Fedora core step by step go here it is an excellent tutorial and will walk you through every part. It even has screenshots to guide you allong.

Well I hope you enjoy my post, lol it took me like 20 minutes but its worth it if another user converts to linux. If you have anymore questions just post and me or another one of the members will gladly help you.


Last edited by Jmcatch742; 08-13-2004 at 09:33 PM.
Old 08-13-2004, 09:43 PM   #4
Registered: Feb 2004
Distribution: Debian UnStaBle
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I wasn't even aware that it was possible to run Windows from the F: drive. Linux shouldn't require much space to fool around with: a full install of most distributions is usually less than 5 gB with all your programs installed. You could either wipe one of your hard drives and use it solely for Linux or repartition one with some existing free space. Something like PartitionMagic can take care of this and some Linux installers can even resize the Windows NTFS partitions.

I would probably recommend Mandrake for a Linux newbie already familiar with Windows. It's one that can resize partitions when you install it. Mandake's hardware detection is quite good (unless you're using a winmodem). It's got a nice GUI and its configuration tools make a lot of things easier, but it doesn't really try to pretend to be Windows (because what would be the point of using Linux?). It's also easily available with free ISO cd-rom images from their website, and they're not some crippled version either.

The Linux equivalent to winamp is xmms. I doubt you'll have to download it, since it comes installed by default on every recent distribution I've tried. I should also mention right now that 'downloading software' is a much different process in Linux than in Windows. Although you can usually download the source code for a program off the programmer's website and compile it this is not the best way to install software. It's better to use the particular distribution's tools to get software 'packages.' If you download and compile the software you want by hand, you'll quickly find that program A first requires you to install program B which requires library C, etc. etc. If you use something like Mandrake's drakinstall (I think that's what its called) it'll install everything necessary for the program automatically. It also makes uninstalling much easier (even easier and more reliable than Windows). So install all the software you feel like: it won't cause the system to get slower and slower like Windows.

One more tip for a Windows expert: rebooting almost never solves anything in Linux short of a total system freeze. Good Luck!
Old 08-13-2004, 10:30 PM   #5
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Why not give Knoppix a spin?
Old 08-13-2004, 10:59 PM   #6
Registered: May 2004
Location: South Carolina
Distribution: Slackware 11.0
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i'll help you out

recommended distro=Mandrake linux(not the best, but great for beginners) (
when you are going through the installer, choose manual when asked to set up partitions, and make the windows one smaller and then put linuxon the free space. o yea, make sure you use reiserfs(recommended) or ext3 filesystems.

when prompted to install packages, you should install pretty much everything except the server stuff.
then wait through the easiest install ever.
as for appsall free)


photoshop=the gimp
internet explorer=Mozilla or mozilla firefox
Windows media player=Xine or Mplayer
Microsoft office=open office
instant messaging program=gaim

one more thing. Just browse by these forums whenever you have a linux question, and you will get an answer, so it's not going to be that hard.

Last edited by liquidtenmilion; 08-13-2004 at 11:03 PM.
Old 08-13-2004, 11:54 PM   #7
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LiveCD is the way to go, IMO....very little chance of messing up what you currently have, and you can usually get a fully-operational system up in just a few minutes or less.
Some decent options are DamnSmall, Knoppix, and Slax
Old 08-14-2004, 12:50 AM   #8
Registered: Apr 2004
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I recommend using Libranet 2.8.1. go to for the download It's easy to use and powerful IMO... also the install was so easy and the hardware detection worked perfect for me... The hardest part of the install would be partitioning your hard drives, but you can let the installer handle it for you and it's not that hard to learn anyway if you decide to do it manually..

Only downside is that it's a bit outdated, but you can do an upgrade easily...
Old 08-14-2004, 08:29 AM   #9
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to posters #3 -#8, thank you linux goodguys we noob,s appreciate u r support!
Old 08-14-2004, 10:04 AM   #10
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Cool guys, thanks for all your help with this.
I think I'll go for either fedora/red hat or Mandrake, going by the system requirements of both, most likely Mandrake, mainly because I'd rather install this on my paltry 1.2Gb partition and that would be pushing Fedora just a little bit.
I'm curious, does linux absolutely HAVE to have it's own file system or can it be installed on a FAT32/NTFS partition?
And do those distros read NTFS drives? (So I can access my files that or on the windows Hard disk). I know Knoppix does, but I'd rather have an OS that was properly installed to the hard disk.

Oh and as for Windows being on the F:\ drive, you can install the corporate edition of XP to any drive and folder. Schools do come in handy.... :P

That first link that penguin4 posted, although very helpfull I'm sure, is a little too much reading, but thanks all the same, I'll keep it bookmarked and take a browse through it when looking for something specific quickly, I looked at a couple of things but they seemed to get very technical, so for now I'll stick to searching the forum and asking you guys some questions, if you don't mind :P
Old 08-14-2004, 10:46 AM   #11
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kushan; that is ok with me your choice.
Old 08-14-2004, 10:52 AM   #12
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I recommend mandrake for a first time user. You have to install linux on it's own partition. Mandrake will do this for you. When you get to the partitioning step just either install it on a different drive, or make your windows partition smaller and put linux on the free space. You should really use a linux filesystem, and not fat32 as reiserfs is far far faster tha ntfs and fat32.

They can all read ntfs partitions, in mandrake all you have to do is type in a console:

modprobe ntfs(as root), then you can mount the drive.

Also, linux isn't like windows at all, so pretty much anything you've learned in windows won't help you in linux. Linux doesn't distinguish drives by letters, it uses them as directories. I have 2 drives, i have a /, and a /home, but you can have as many as you want.(/, /home, /usr, /var, /home/anthony/Destop/Music could even be a seperate drive.
Old 08-14-2004, 10:56 AM   #13
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hi there
it does not depend on the Linux OS to support ur NTFS drive
if u compile ur kernel or get the kernel-ntfs module from then it does not matter what linux ur using ur system will support NTFS

Old 08-14-2004, 11:01 AM   #14
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: USA
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Just my 2 cents

I didn't read the entire thread so I may duplicate some of the opinions here.

I to made the jump from Windows to linux a little less than a year ago. My advice is to take it slow. If possible, gave a 2nd computer around that you can experiment on in setting things up such that you don't even touch your regular PC. This gives you the freedom to screw things up in the learning process without fear. For me, I actually setup the things that I wanted on linux on my testbed before I even installed it on my main system.

Before that though, I suggest you go into linux trying to forget everything you know about windows. Start from the basics, get yourself either A Practical Guide to Linux by Mark Sobell or Running Linux from O'Reilly Press (I read both).

The apps I use and their Windows equivalents are:

MS Office = Open Office
XMMS = Winamp
XINE = PowerDVD or Windows Media Player
Mozilla or Firefox = Internet Explorer
Thuderbird = E-mail / News Reader (also, a full install of Mozilla has an E-mail client/news reader)
xcdroast = CD/DVD Burning Software
grip = CDRipping / Encoding

I couldn't find a financial package that made me happy under linux so I use CrossOverOffice to run Quicken ( It runs many other windows apps to, so if you have a killer windows app you may be able to run it this way. Check out their site for officially supported software. Even if it isn't on the list, it may work. This is commercial software so you'll have to buy it, but it's pretty darn cheap for a single user.

Now, I personally prefer mutt as an E-mail reader but it can be a pain to setup. If you are feeling brave look into qmail,mutt,procmail,spamassassin, Razor for your E-mail. Good resources are and

I experimented with pretty much all of this on my sandbox system, then installed linux dual boot with Windows. Then one by one I starting bringing things over to linux until I was pretty much done.

As far as what distro to choose that is totally up to personal taste really. I've only tried Mandrake, RedHat, and Slackware. Personally, I really like Slackware. May people seem to start with Mandrake and then may move to slackware but that isn't a rule, I went right with slack. You may want to check out for info on other distros.

You may also want to search around for a local Linux User Group (LUG) to attend. I found one in my area and they have been incredibly helpful. may be a place to look for a local LUG.

Whew, that's a load of info there, hopefully I didn't over do it. :P

Hope that all helps,

Old 08-14-2004, 11:22 AM   #15
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Yeah thanks guys, that's all really helpfull info
I think I'll definately start with Mandrake now, then when I'm feeling adventurous or bored I'll experiment with a few others.
This is a long shot, but is there a DVD version of Mandrake available or do I absolutely HAVE to use the 3xCDs?
I know I'm just being picky, but I have a DVD-+RW so I may as well use it if I can:P


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