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What Linux to try for a Linux noob?

By vnf4ultra ยท 37 replies
Jun 30, 2005
  1. I've been cosidering giving linux a shot, but am unsure which to try, there are so many, and all have there following.
    I want it to be fairly simple to install, and I want it to ideally recognize all my hardware the 1st time.

    It'll be on a 1.8ghz p4, 512mb ram, 60gb(or more) hd., intel integrated 845gl graphics, and integrated stereo sound.

    I've been looking at Ubuntu, and it looks ok, but I know nothing about linux, so I may be way off track.

    Any help?
  2. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    I've yet to get to grips with Linux but as far as installing. If you wish to pay (this will give you some hand holding, but Tech sopt can supply this) SUSE went on withotu problems. For a free one (2.6GB download) Fedora core was also trouble free for me.
    Spike has installed Fedora Core 4 I believe and I think this went well for him.

    In your own words Spike.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    You should get ahold of a Knoppix cd, or any other 'live' disto. Espically if you've NEVER used linux before. Those run directly off the cd with no modifications to your existing system. They should run on your system just fine, a little slow (because of reading from a cd).
    There are many resources on the web to tell you how to put that 'live' on your hd so it will run better.

    I'm very green to linux myself, but I've found knoppix to be pretty good for just seeing how things act. I will be building a linux box for mythtv soon and imagine I'll learn quite a bit in the process.
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    I've heard of live cd's but I've heard they're not very good, limited in functionality. I don't really want to pay, but I've heard xandros is a good pay linux. I've never used or even seen linux so this'll all be new. Man, 2.5gb would take years to dl, no chance of that.

    I don't mind learning a new "environment", but I don't want any issues with hardware detection/setup/settings/partitioning/formatting. I just want it to install right the first time.

    Has anyone heard of "puppy linux" it seems interesting. I've also considered fedora, mandrake, etc.

    Side note, will any program that says it's for linux work on any distro? Like if I dl firefox for linux will it work with them all?

    Also, how do you install programs in linux, is it like windows, where it has an installer, and is simple, or is it more complex?
  5. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    Took about 4 hours @1MB/s. Mandrake used to be a bit heavier on the machine than most, but yours is well good enough.
    I'd say Linux progs should run on any distro. Most installations can be handled by a package amnager to take a lot of the heat out.
  6. Mikael

    Mikael TS Rookie Posts: 277

    I would recommend trying out Mandrake or Redhat. The install on these two distros is usually quick and painless (which is usually important ;)). You shouldn't have any problems with formatting and partitioning with Mandrake or RH.

    One of my current systems is currently running Xandros, which didn't give me any problems during the install.

    FYI, Ubuntu has a live CD that you can try out. :)
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    RedHat Linux is a tad old. Their new ree brand Fedora is way too buggy for a newbie IMHO. I would have recommended SuSE 9.3 (you can get it for free) but ater spending two days trying to install it..

    You should try Mandriva (that's what Mandrake is called now) or Ubntu.
  8. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Ok, I tried "puppy linux", a small live linux distro, for my first linux adventure.
    It worked, and I got to the desktop, but only after figuring out that burning iso's are different than burning data :).

    I couldn't do much though, a combination of my not knowing my way around linux, my modem not being compatible, and my dvd drive not playing sound in movies under linux, so it was basically pointless, all I could do was edit images(of which I had none), and use word processing(I had nothing to type).

    I guess I need a hardware modem, not one of the cheap winmodems?
    I think my one old p2 has a us robotics hardware v.90 56k modem, maybe I can try it.
    A few questions for you linux buffs:

    Why wouldn't the sound work in the dvd player software?

    What's this it says about "mounting drives"? All I know about mounting drives involves a screwdriver :).

    I also couldn't figure out what all the "/xyz" stuff is. Everything is "/xyzwhatever", is that like windows's C:\\windows\?

    I found the desktop almost identical to windows 9x, how can they get away with looking so much like windows without being sued? It had the same start button(just no windows symbol), color of start bar, clock, and icon look as 9x.

    I'm hoping that it's just that the live cd is more limited, which I'm sure it is. I'm thinking of trying mandrake/mandriva or ubuntu now. The problem is the dl. It took a long time to dl puppy(60mb), about 3hrs on dialup.
  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    God knows. Maybe your soundcard was not detected? Or maybe a sound server was not installed? Or maybe the DVD player didn't support your sound server. Or maybe you just forgot to unmute the soundcard (it is muted by default in many Linux distros)?
    Mounting drives means attaching them to the filesystem. Unlike Windows there are no drive letters in unix. Everything just starts from / and you attach drives anywhere you like e.g. /media/floppy and /media/cdrom or /mnt/windowsdrive.
    See above :)
    Thinking that MS invented the taskbar/menu is just silly and shows you know nothing about how the company operates :p . Also, ideas are not copyrightable, only their implementatios. You cannot gain exclusive rights to the idea of a start menu (well, considering the current state of software patents and the retardedness of US patent office, you could if you had the nerve).
    It would be easier for you to just ask someone with better network access to burn you the Linux CDs. It would be very frustrating to spend days to get an ISO image only to find out it is corrupt :)
  10. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    Now we've all been there. ;)

    Here is a link to masses of Linux info.

    Download on a dial-up is a no no. Most distros are available on CD cheaply. I think in the $10-$15 bracket.
  11. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Ok, sorry for the vague dvd sound issue, I should have given more info. I don't know if it recognized my sound(realtek 7.1), and I don't know how to check. How do I "unmute" it, where would that option be?

    I have one windows dvd player software that won't play sound as well, but it says you have to buy the sound capabilty.

    How do you find anything in linux if there are no drives. Like in windows, I know that d: is my dvd drive, and c: is my hd, but what would my hd or dvd be called then in linux, or does it vary?

    "It would be easier for you to just ask someone with better network access to burn you the Linux CDs. It would be very frustrating to spend days to get an ISO image only to find out it is corrupt"
    Agreed, but no one want's the bother of doing it. I'd be nice having broadband, it takes forever for a single page to load, let alone downloading.

    I found a better solution, ubuntu has free cds, so I ordered a few. Each cd set comes with a full cd and a live cd, so I can try it out without installing. I got a cd set for amd64, since that's what I have, does that mean the os is 64bit? Should I have got i386(what does that mean anyway)?

    Basically all I want to do with my linux box, is play dvds, play cds, internet, word processing, im, etc. Should Ubuntu be able to do this?
  12. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    This is the secret & why I've had so many tries at it. :)
  13. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    But how do you know that your DVD drive is drive D:? You just have previous knowledge of how Windows deals with devices. All you need is knowledge about how Linux deals with devices :p In any new Linux with pretty desktop (GNOME or KDE) removable media is mounted automatically under /media or /mnt and you are presented with a pretty icon on the desktop too.
  14. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Linux does have a standard way of labelling drives, in order. It's actually more consistent than Windows, as you never have to fear of NTFS configuration issues in which C: becomes D: and now your system no longer boots.

    You have device nodes for all devices, which are accessed underneath /dev

    You have specific nodes for specific devices.

    hdX refers to non-scsi hard drives or other block devices

    sdX refers to SCSI hard drives or other SCSI block devices

    fdX refers to floppy drives

    hdX includes optical drives

    where X is the location of the drive. The first drive on the first controller is always A, the drive drive on the second controller is always C.

    i.e., Secondary Master would be /dev/hdc, Secondary Slave would be /dev/hdd. If you have third and fourth or more IDE controllers, the letters continue to increment.
  15. Harold the sage

    Harold the sage TS Rookie Posts: 26

    I reccomend Fedora and pertaining to SUSE i know of 6 cases where it has killed the computers hard drive I seriously recommend not using it, also isn't ubuntu intended for people with high speed internet, just in case you don't have it.
  16. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    SUSE 10.1 works fine for me
  17. confused001

    confused001 TS Rookie Posts: 135

    If a new person wants to try a linux. then ubuntu would be a good choice, becasue it's easy to set up.
    Ubuntu also has live cds, that are also good to try.
    If you can't download it all, then you might be able to get it, by asking them for one.
  18. YosefM

    YosefM TS Rookie Posts: 41

    sound - wait until you've installed Ubuntu. Puppy Linux was meant to be small, and so has some compatibility quirks from those compromises.

    Where's it all kept? Linux has a unified file system based on a tree. Everything begins with / (pronounced root). Each user has a home directory, kept under /home so you might have a directory called /home/vnf4ultra - this would be your home directory. Configuration files are kept in /etc (pronounced et-see or slash-et-see). Removable media is mounted (made available) by default under /mnt (pronounced slash-mount) - so the contents of a floppy would be found in /mnt/floppy. You do have to umount (not a typo, it's like the eject command) before you remove the floppy, CD or DVD. Your CD set will come with documentation to get you started & will expand on this. The desktop (GUI or Window Manager) will be pretty self-explanatory.

    Target Machine Type - Yes, the AMD64 will be 64-bit, and that will be fine. i386 is more generic, but your choice will give you better performance.

    Suitability - Yes, Ubuntu should be able to do all of these tasks very well.

    Ubuntu was created to give a more familiar (read windows-like) experience to novice users, and to be easy to install. Go through the install & setup docs (Yes, Read Those Fine Manuals :slurp: ), and you'll be fine.
  19. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    hehe.. you guys just bumped a realy old thread :D

    Don't worry, it happens to the best of us :)

    Good info for some of us curious people..
  20. YosefM

    YosefM TS Rookie Posts: 41

    OIC - Harold went trolling for SuSE-philes. LOL
  21. poriggity

    poriggity TS Rookie

    I am thinking of trying Ubuntu myself... Not really sure if it is user friendly, but I've heard its alright.
  22. It's pretty good but as with any Linux it doesn't have the windows "fire and forget" installations of drivers and programs. Yes many programs can be installed very easily using Ubuntu's built in package management, but when it comes to things like the ATI graphics driver it gets much more complex.
  23. poriggity

    poriggity TS Rookie

    My thought is, I can see what I can do with it, and go from there.. If I don't end up liking it, I can just revert back to windows. I am gonna try it on my desktop first...
  24. Po`Girl

    Po`Girl TS Rookie Posts: 595

    You can find Ubuntu + a great dual boot step by step HERE
  25. poriggity

    poriggity TS Rookie

    Thats awesome! Thanks! I plan on using Ubuntu in dual boot with XP. I am downloading it now on my laptop, will burn it to disc, and install it on my desktop.
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