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Would like to try Linux

Discuss various technical topics not related to Mozilla.
ubrben
 
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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 7:18 am

I'm a reasonably technical person (Aerospace Engineer) but my computer skills are limited to being very literate in key software application for my work.

I would like to try the Linux operating system because I've heard good things about its stability and functionality. The whole ethos of the project also appeals to me.

Given that I have never fiddled with OSs before I would like to purchase one of the commerically available Linux builds and was wondering if people have got any suggestions as to the best choice? I would be running it on a PIII laptop with 128Mb RAM that's currently running Win98.

Ben

johann_p

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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 7:47 am

I would suggest you first fire up a live-eval CD and play around with that a bit. The two best suited for that purpose are probably Knoppix and Suse. You download an ISO image and burn it on a CD. Then you can boot from that CD and run Linux without installing anything on your hard drive (Linux will create a few files on your harddisk that "simulate" a harddisk under Linux and where data can be stored permanently if you want that).

After this you have the choice of either downloading a set of free installation CDs or purchasing a distro.

My personal recommendation would be to buy the Suse Professional distro - all you need is on a single bootable DVD, it comes with two manuals and about 4000 application programs, including OpenOffice and it is extremely user friendly yet flexible to install.
Of course you can install it alongside your Windows98 if there is enough space left on your harddisk. The installation can help with making your Windows partition smaller and creating the partitions needed for Linux.

One word of caution: Laptops usually are the kind of hardware that make the most problems with Linux since they often use very exotic devices. You can have a look at linuxonlaptops or Tuxmobil to find out what experiences others had when installing on the same laptop model.
If you go for the Suse distro, trying out the live eval will also help you to figure out if there any problems with your hardware.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe.”

tomdkat
 
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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 11:24 am

johann_p wrote:I would suggest you first fire up a live-eval CD and play around with that a bit. The two best suited for that purpose are probably Knoppix and Suse.
I concur. :)

Peace...

ubrben
 
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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 11:27 am

Thanks guys. I have had a look at Suse and the professional distribution looks fantastic. I wasn't really sure what the level of any GUI would be and I'm pleasently surprised.

I'm already an Open Office user on my current XP desktop so that won't be a difficult thing to live with.

Ben

Mitch Gant

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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 11:44 am

I highly recommend Libranet - it is based on Debian and is incredibly stable and very easy to install. Suse is good - a bit bloated and not as stable as Debian.

I recommend buring a Knoppix .iso (also based on debian) and trying that out for a week. Then read all the reviews of libranet. you wont be disappointed.

Radiowriter

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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 12:04 pm

Here's another recommendation for SuSE. It's nearly flawless.
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Khaine
 
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Post Posted September 9th, 2004, 6:36 pm

Fedora is also a nice distro to try :-)

zeek
 
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Post Posted September 10th, 2004, 2:04 pm

I agree with johann_p and other info. I use and like SuSE 9.1, bloated,complex, or nearly flawless. I have and use Xandros and it is more like windows. I have and use Koppix. You choose if you use. Burning some eval-distros is priceless. Mitch Gant is sold on Libranet and makes me want to try it ($29.95 at Linux Central). I have not used Fedora.

Radiowriter

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Post Posted September 10th, 2004, 3:34 pm

zeek wrote:I agree with johann_p and other info. Mitch Gant is sold on Libranet ...

I feel so left out.
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RAF
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Post Posted September 10th, 2004, 4:39 pm

I agree with Radiowriter. On anything.

MechR

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Post Posted September 10th, 2004, 7:54 pm

A MEPIS Linux milestone (SimplyMEPIS 2004.01) finally came out :) I'd heard good things about it and had wanted to try it out for a while, but was biding my time.

From my very limited experiences with Linux, I'm pretty impressed :) As far as hardware compatibility, it has rough parity with my Red Hat 9 installation; for both distros, sound, internet, and complete shutdown don't work. Internet's not too surprising though, since I'm using a USB ethernet adapter.

MEPIS has slick Mac-like icons running KDE, though, and the bundled software is, of course, newer than in RH9. It also readily demonstrates the ability to access my Windows FAT partitions, which is pretty cool :) If RH9 had that function, I never dug it up.

Mozilla 1.7.2 takes a couple eternities to load from a live CD :p

Speaking of which, I've tried Linspire's, Suse 9.1's, and (IIRC) Knoppix's live CD's, and none of them worked on this comp. I was starting to wonder if it had something to do with the 2.6 kernel and my relatively old hardware, but MEPIS succeeded at loading with it :)

I'd prefer if the taskbar could be thinner without shrinking its icons so much, but oh well. AFAICT you can't have it auto-hide downward either, but again, oh well :P

All in all, it might well work as a replacement for my RH9 install, and it has just one CD compared to 3 :) Though, I understand a regular MEPIS (vs a SimplyMEPIS) release would have 2...

zeek
 
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Post Posted September 11th, 2004, 7:16 pm

Radiowriter....SuSE 9.1 is my main OS, your opinion rules....still feel left out?
Not sarcastic this time.

MechR

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Post Posted September 12th, 2004, 10:35 am

Ah! Also, Mepis correctly detects my computer's clock settings :) RH9 always seemed to be several hours off when I loaded it up...

Anyhoo, I've gone and installed Mepis over RH9 :) Since it doesn't use RH9's leftover boot partition, however, I shall have to remember said partition's existence in the future...

VG
 
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Post Posted September 12th, 2004, 10:35 am

MechR wrote:Ah! Also, Mepis correctly detects my computer's clock settings :) RH9 always seemed to be several hours off when I loaded it up...


Gnome has an obscure setting worded something like "The BIOS clock is GMT" or something somewhere in the clock applet preferences, maybe KDE has it too. Mandrake had been switching time zone with every boot, which drove me nuts.

Radiowriter

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Post Posted September 12th, 2004, 10:35 am

zeek wrote:...your opinion rules....still feel left out?

I'm all better now. Props to RAF off the Bench with an assist. I haven't mentioned it before, but I purchased a new computer a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, it came with WinXP Home pre-installed. I installed SuSE alongside with no troubles and it's even more awesome than ever. Of course there's a big difference between a 500mhz processor and 2GB+. So, mine is a dual-boot system now (I had rid my old machine of that "other" OS), but I haven't booted into XP past the initial boot. I thought about it once, but the feeling passed quickly.
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