Join Date: May 2004
Because several people have been asking about Linux, and how to use it, and even a certain PM directed towards me, I have decided it is time to start a Linux thread for noobs.
I just have one rule:
If you do not like Linux, and don't plan on helping, PLEASE STAY AWAY
Mods, I would appreciate it if you would enforce this rule. Speaking of which, please don't move this thread.. I specifically want all our members to be able to add to the pool of knowledge, so it would be better off in this location.
And while at it, I might be able to learn a few things myself, because there are a lot of Linux users here.
*note*, I will use the word 'distro' throughout the post. This refers to Ditribution. There are many many different "types" of linux, and that's what that refers to.
Okay, so I will get right to the point. To install Linux for the first time, you probably won't want to say good bye to Windows that fast, because Linux might take some time to get used to. So the first thing that you need to learn is how to partition. Partitioning basically divides your hard drive into sectors, which allows you to install multiple Operating Systems. For example, say you had a 120 Gig. hard drive. You had WinXP on it, but you wanted to try Linux. What you would do is partition it so that.. for example, 60 gigs stays with Windows, and the other 60 are given to Linux. Now, usually, partitioning can be done very easily, because every ditro of Linux includes some sort of partitioning tool. They are usually pretty self explanatory, so you shouldn't have too much trouble with it. Another thing I should point out, Linux distros come with Boot Loaders, with popular ones being Lilo and GRUB. They basic purpose it to be able to launch one or more operating systems in an easy to use GUI.
Now, the big question is, what distro should one use? I should start by saying that listing and explaining them all would be completely useless, because new distro's are released ALL the time. However, I will name a few popular ones right here:
Knoppix (plus variants) - The main advantage of this distro is the fact that it's a LiveCD. The cool thing about these is that you do NOT have to partition at all. The LiveCD uses your CD drive and your RAM for storage. This means that it's a very easy way to get used to linux for the first time, without doing anything to your computer. As you can imagine however, the big downside is that none of the data is permenant, and the distro itself is meant for quick and to the point tasks, not servers or anything of the sort. All you need to do is get the CD, and pop it into your cd-drive, and reboot.
Fedora Core (3 as of now) - This is the Distro made by the very popular company: Red Hat. The company normally makes money-costing, but extremely stable and reliable server software, but Fedora is their sponsored project to make a user friendly distro. This is a good choice for first timers, because it has powerful GUI features, as well as user friendliness.
Note: the Kernel is the Core of any Linux computer. The Kernel is the one thing all distros share. It basically powers the system, and anyone can always see it, and make modifications if needed. What the distro's do is put GUI's and specific extentions and modifications onto the kernel. The Kernel is constantly updated. You can learn more about it at kernel.org
Slackware 10.1 (as of now) - This is the choice for a lot of upper-level computer gurus. This distro is very powerful and very stable, and of course, like all of these, free. Go with this distro if you plan to do serving, or would like a network security computer. This distro can accomplish that very well. Be warned: before you can switch to this, you have to know how to use a console (or terminal).
Gentoo - For noob Linux users, you shouldn't even think about this. Gentoo is arguably the most flexible and powerful system out there, but it is very hard to install and configure. Definately not a reccomened choice for new-comers.
Unfortunately, my knowledge of linux distro's is limited, but here are other distros that other members of the forum can help me on:
BeOS (I know this has the most amazing GUI system..)
Okay, so all of these basically will fulfill the purpose of Linux. To get any of these, you simply google for it, and you will get some type of file to download. You basically want a .iso file, then you need some kind of burner (I use Nero 6), and you have to do a Burn Image. When you're dealing with linux, always have a couple of blanks around, they come in very handy.
There are many GUI's in Linux. In case you don't know what GUI is, and have been confused this whole time, it's Graphical User Interface. Basically, it acts like an interface where you can click and drag and type and move stuff in. It communicates that with the source itself, which is really neat if you think about it. Some of the popular ones include: KDE, Gnome, Fluxbox, Blackbox, Windowmaker, and so on. All have their ups and downs. If you are using linux for the first time, KDE and Gnome are probably the most friendly. They usually come standard with all major Linux disto's so you shouldn't have too much trouble there.
When you enter Linux, with or without a GUI, you will be faced with a command prompt. If you are really used to Windows, you will find this prompt to be frightining and hard. However, once you get a basic grip of commands, and discover Manuals for Linux commands (known as man's), you will realize how much easier it is to do certain tasks with just a few key strokes and an enter. Trust me, it will become VERY handy to you down the road, so just do yourself a favor, and learn it.
My plan for this thread is for Linux Users to add knowledge here and there. Help people who are trying it out for the first time, or just help people in general. That's the reason it's in this section, so that people can get help quickly. I am certain that I will learn some things myself.
So.. Start posting!!!
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