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Old 02-16-2004, 03:52 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Miami
Distribution: dunno?
Posts: 7

Rep: Reputation: 0
which distro...?

i am as a new as a newbie can get when it comes to linux, barely know how to spell it, but i know i gotta learn it some day. I've heard from a couple of freinds to get Red hat or Mandrake. I'm still in the process of getting ahold of these pieces of software. My major Q is how much of a pain will i go through to install this. I'm planning on running it on my Virtual PC to not screw up my XP machine. Since I don't have them yet, i still don't have a clue on how to install them. Are they bootable like windows? any special commands or files or instructions that I should become aware of?

Old 02-16-2004, 04:52 PM   #2
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2004
Distribution: anything Debian ;)
Posts: 28

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I'm new here, very new to Linux too... but I've been dancing with several distros for the past year.

If you're looking at playing with Linux, but aren't sure about it yet, try a bootable distro (AKA "Live Distro") that boots from a CD... like Knoppix or Mepis.

Burn the ISO to a CD and it will boot into Linux without installing anything on the HDD. Mepis has a handy installer built in - right from the desktop.

I've played with these so far:
Mandrake (9.1, 9.2)
Fedora Core 1
SuSE Linux 8.1
Debian (Woody)
Libranet 2.8
Vector 4

So far my favorite is Mepis, hands down.

Once you download the ISO for whichever distro you decide to try, it should boot from the CD-R to start the install. It's very similar to Windows, but I'd recommend partitioning your hard drive before you install.

I like QTParted from Knoppix or Mepis Live CD's it's quick and easy.

Other than that, cross your fingers and hope all your hardware is recognized and configured from the start... that's the most frustrating part of any Linux distro, IMO.

Good luck!
Old 02-16-2004, 07:45 PM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: hopefully not here
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 2,038

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i hear mandrake and fedora core are good for newbs, but in reality you can take whatever one you want, only thing is, the smaller it is odds are the more you will need to learn how it works (like the minimal distros offer soo less most dont even have a GUI, so you need to install that yourself and virtualy everything else to amke sure evrything is up to date and stable, mandrake and thsoe other big sidtros offer you pretty much everyhting you need, (but the downloading can be a big pain), i also hear good things about arch linux, but if you get a choice pick GNOME for you GUI as its suposed to be more freindly and not in the MS-crash-every-2-seconds kinda way
Old 02-17-2004, 01:06 AM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Washington
Distribution: Fedora Core 1
Posts: 3

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do fedora. ive tried a good 5 or 6 distros and this one works the best... but whatever you do don't try gentoo inless you wana spend a year figureing how into install it :-)
Old 02-17-2004, 04:17 AM   #5
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Arizona
Distribution: Kubuntu 8.04
Posts: 202

Rep: Reputation: 30
I use Red Hat 9 and like it but unfortunately they are discontinuing support for Red Hat 9 which is their free version. If I understand correctly, new security patches and updates will still available from them until sometime in March. So far, I have been able to click on an icon on the taskbar whenever I want to check for security patches and updates.

Fedora Core 1 is more or less the replacement for Red Hat 9. Red Hat does not run the project but does support it. I recently watched someone install Fedora Core 1 and the installation program looks just like Red Hat 9. Security patches and updates are available for it. The installation programs for either Red Hat 9, Fedora Core 1, Mandrake, and SuSE are all easy to use. They do a good job of recognizing most hardware. If you are unlucky, your scanner, Winmodem or some other device might either not be supported or might not automatically be recognized. Some distros such as Slackware use a less user friendly installation program.

Fedora Core 2 should be out soon. A beta version is already out. It uses the new 2.6 Linux kernel. I might wait for that and eventually switch to it. I have a slow dial-up Intenet connection and it would take me several days to download and burn the installation CDs. Fortunately, there are several places that sell Fedora Core 1 installation CDs for under $10. I will wait until the Fedora Core 2 CDs eventually become available.

If you are nervous about installing Linux you might want to start with a distro that runs from a bootable CD and does not need to be installed. Knoppix 3.3 is a bootable CD that many people have mentioned using. It can be downloaded for free or purchased online from one of several sources for about $3 plus shipping. I have never tried Knoppix myself. If there is a local Linux Users Group (LUG) where you live you might want to attend one of their meetings. The local LUG group here plans have an install fest next month. Of course everyone will need to sign a waiver that says we are not responsible for anything. I am one of the less experienced people in the club. Before you install anything, at least back up your most important data although you probably will not have any problems.

You can either install Linux on your existing hard disk or you can add a 2nd hard disk an install it there. When installing Red Hat or Fedora Core I prefer the Disk Druid option over the fdisk option. That choice occurs part way through the installation. Disk Druid is more user friendly for a newbie that fdisk. There is also an automatic partitioning choice on the same page that I have never tried. It is the default choice.
Old 02-17-2004, 04:57 AM   #6
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Arizona
Distribution: Kubuntu 8.04
Posts: 202

Rep: Reputation: 30
I just noticed that you said you were planning on running it on your Virtual PC so that you would not screw up XP. Which virtual machine do you use? Do you mean VMWare or something different? I use the Linux version of VMWare. I run VMWare on my Red Hat 9 Linux host. That way I am able to run Windows 2000 in a window under Linux. On most days I just use Linux by itself. But, whenever I really want to I can run both at the same time. I can casually jump back and forth between either OS in just a few seconds.

I actually have several different operating systems that I have installed inside my VWWare virtual machine. Inside it I sometimes run Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, Red Hat 8.0 and PC-DOS 2000. With a 2 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM I can run several at once under Linux. I also have a complete virtual network where each OS has its own IP address. I first discovered WMWare when I took a computer networking class. They used the Windows version of VMWare. In that class each of us used Windows XP as the host and the guests were Windows 2000 and Red Hat 7.3. VMWware only works with some distros and versions. VMWare is also somewhat expense. Both the Linux version and the Windows version are very stable. But, with the Linux version it is harder to figure out how to share USB and parallel port devices such as printers between Windows and Linux.

I am not sure which virtual machine you use but with VMWare there is little risk of messing up the host OS. It creates virtual disks on my real hard disks. When I install a guest OS such as Linux it thinks it is formating a real hard disk and creating real partions. It really isn't. It never gets to see most of my real hardware. It can install a Master Boot Record (MBR), a boot loader and whatever it wants without affecting the operation of the host OS. I do not know if Bachs or whatever it is called does it the way VMWare does or not. Most people have never even heard of a virtual machine, is that more or less what you mean?


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