Re: new here.
Redhat fedora is free, it's just redhat AS that costs.
(and I think that technically that is free, you just pay for updates).
if you really want an enterprise level linux, that is completely free and works like redhat then CentOS is the baby for you!
Personally I favour Debian, (which is what Ubuntu is based on). I've currently got the latest release running on an old Cirix 333 box with 128MB Ram, it's fully up to date, running the latest versions of udhcp, bind, apache, mysql and samba, (all I need for basic web development).
I don't actually have a desktop installed (runs from the command line only).
personally i think that is one of the best things about Linux, you can choose what to install.
you don't have to have a desktop, you don't have to have a DHCP client (I removed this as my box has a static address). you are more or less in complete control of what happens on the box.
for setting up virtual machines at home.
you can use microsoft virtual PC.
or you can use VMware player, (or VM ware workstation or VMWare server).
for experimenting, VMware player is going to be a good place to start as it's very user friendly, and a good place to get started to understand the basics of virtualisation/creating virtual machines, (there is also I think more tools to turn physical machines to virtual machines etc).
Vmware player is free, you can dowload it from the VMWare website.
after you've downloaded it then you can create new virtual machines or use existing virtual machines.
I assume that the SQL server you're using at school is already virtual? so you just want to bring the image home?
if it's already running as a virtual machine then you may find that the "disk" of the virtual machine (which is just a file) is already split into lots of files.
this would mean that you don't have to take it home all in one go, you can do it over a couple of days with a USB memory stick, or in one day copying the vmdk file over several disks. (or several CD's or DVD's if you've got a burner for the media available).
whilst your server may believe it has a 1tb drive, that doesn't mean that you'll need a 1TB drive to take it home, a lot of virtual machines are allocated non-existent hardware. (so for example I've only got 4GB of free space on the D drive where my images live, but as far as the virtualised server is concerned it's got a couple of hundred GBs, and continues to run happily -of course if I run out of disk space the virtual server will die, but when you thin provision/over commit (tell a virtual device it has more resources than it actually has) you have to keep a close watch on what is actually available and how any virtual machines you have are actually using it.
are you using Microsoft SQL server at school? or are you using MySQL?
database server distributions pretty much breaks down like this
are all paid for, if you've been using these at school then you'll have to get the image from school (and I assume that your school is extending an academic license for using them to you).
MS SQL has a desktop edition (MSDE), or at least it had, not sure if it still does. it's ok for simple apps, but otherwise it's a pain in the bum.
MySQL (normal edition) is free and can be downloaded from the mySQL website.
some of the syntax is slightly different from MS SQL though
an example that springs to mind if that in MS SQL to select the top ten rows of a table you're write
select top '10' * from table
in MySQL you write
select * from table limit '0,10'
postgre SQL is also free, but I've not used it, so can't really comment.
I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian…
Im sick of people saying 'dont waste paper'. If trees wanted to live, they'd all carry guns.
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."