Wanna try Linux? Read this First! (FAQ)

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Wanna try Linux? Read this First! (FAQ)

Post by WaZ » Mon Dec 01, 2003 8:05 am

Linux 101 (by WaZ)

1. What is Linux? How much does it cost?

Linux is an operating system, like Windows and MacOS. Linux is free, and so are most of the Linux distributions. All distributions cited below are free.

2. What is a Linux Distribution?

A linux Distribution is an ensemble of packets, tools and utilities to make the linux kernel useable.

3. What distributions are there, and where can i get them?

There are hundreds of linux distributions, some maintained, some discontinued. You get gt many of them at http://linuxiso.org (recommended) and even more of them at http://www.linux.org (click on 'Distibutions' on the left).

4. Q&A 3 didn't really help, could you give more explaination?

Sure, first ill devide the distributions in 2 groups: Live and HD.

A live distribution is meant to run directly from a removeable media (Floppy, mini-CD, Business Card CD, CD-Rom, USB key, ...)

Live Distributions are usually meant to either serve a particular purpose (Repair Distros, Media Distros like Movix) or offer a full portable Operating System with many tools and Apllications.

In this last Category the most popular Distros are:

Knoppix (my personnal favourite): http://www.knoppix.org
SuSe Live CD: http://www.suse.com
Gentoo Live CD: http://www.gentoo.org

there are many more (Gnoppix, Fionix, etc...).

Live CDs are a nice way to get a first grasp of linux, as no HD installation is necessary...

However, there are many restrictions on live cds, and after a testing stage, you often find yourself wanting to HD install linux.

For this there are also many Distributions, ill classify the most popular one giving a personnal note on

EoI: Ease of Install (1 Very Easy, 2 O.K., 3 Prepare the Aspirin) - This includes fine tuning (getting all your hardware to work)
EoU: Ease of Use (1 Very Easy, 2 O.K., 3 Prepare the Aspirin)
PaS: Package System (1 Great, 2 Not that great, 69 From Source Only) - This is for install binaries.
S: Stability (1 Incredible, 2 Great, 3 Was this made by Microsoft?)
P: Performance (1 Incredible, 2 Great, 3 Was this made by Microsoft?)

Finally ill give it a Skill label: Medium (linux n00b) or Advanced

HD Distribution:

Mandrake Linux:

Homepage: http://www.madrake.com
Skill: Medium
EoI: 1
EoU: 1
PaS: 2 - Uses RPM (Redhat Package Manager)
S: 2
P: 2
Note: Considered the n00b Distribution. Great for first timers.

SuSe Linux:

Homepage: http://www.suse.com
Skill: Medium
EoI: 1
EoU: 1
PaS: 2 - Uses RPM
S: 1-2
P: 2
Note: Considered an intermediary Distribution. Great for Newish users.

Fedora Linux:

Homepage: http://www.redhat.com
Skill: Medium
EoI: 1
EoU: 1
PaS: 2 - Uses RPM
S: untested (Redhat 9 --> 2)
P: untested (Redhat 9 --> 2)
Note: Fedora is the new name of Redhat's free project.


Homepage: http://www.slackware.org
Skill: Advanced
EoI: 2 - Text only but pretty straight forward.
EoU: 2 - Can be tricky.
PaS: 69 - Prepare for some heavy compiling ;-)
S: 1
P: 1
Note: Good slackware based Distribuion is Vector Linux (http://www.vectorlinux.com)... easier to use for newish users.

Debian GNU/Linux

Homepage: http://www.debian.org
Skill: Advanced
EoI: 3 - Aspirin it is until they get the GUI install out of beta range.
EoU: 2 - Would be 3 if they didn't have that wonderfull apt (advanced package tool) system
PaS: 1 - Uses Deb combined wih apt... Great!
S: 1 (Values for Stable version)
P: 1
Note: Personnal favourite. Great for Linux Servers.

Gentoo Linux (Never used, notes are on what users told me on official Gentoo IRC)

Homepage: http://www.gentoo.org
Skill: Advanced
EoI: 2-3 (Depending on Install Stage used but very nice documentation)
EoU: 2
PaS: 1 - Great!
S: 1
P: 1 ( Stage 1-2 get maximum score, stage 3 gets a little less)
Note: This distribution has many fans. Plz note that a Stage 1 install can take a couple of days just compiling, but the performance after is just ibcredible.

5. OK, well that was nice, but can you recommend anything? Oh and i downloaded an ISO file, what should i do with it?

Get Knoppix, test linux. When u feel like HD installing...
Get Mandrake Linux. (Warning: if u have an LG cdrom drive, there have been problem with the install of 9.2 that damaged the drive... plz read about it on mandrake's website or even contact mandrake support.)

An ISO file is an image file... therefore u need to burn it on a CD 'as an image' (don't just burn the file onto a cd)
Most cd burner programs come with that option (in Nero: File> Burn Image).

6. OK, ive run a live CD, and i love it, im considering hd installing it, is it possible to have Windows and Linux on the Same computer?

Yes it is.

7. Great, but how?

You need to install Linux and Windows on 2 different partitions or Drives. I recommend u use 2 different drives, to avoid having to reinstall Linux everytime u reinstall Windows XP. (Win 98 won't affect your partitions, but will overwrite MBR see below).

If, however, u don't have 2 hard drives, u can use tools like Partition Magic 2003 on Windows or The partition tool included in the Linux installation. Make sure u backup important information prior to this, an error in handling could lead to permanent loss of files. You will be asked during install if u wish to use a SWAP partition, this is mandatory but recommended on older computers. My Advice would be, just use one. Twice the Ram is usually used. (eg 512 MB SWAP for 256 MB RAM)

After partitionning your hard drive, u will be asked to install a boot loader (LiLo or Grub). Best is to use the MBR (Master boot record) which will allow you to choose between Linux and Windows on every startup. I also recommend creating a boot floppy, this would come in handy if you have to reinstall Windows, which overwrites the MBR. (You can also use the installation cdrom to repâir the Boot loader.)

8. Great, i have a problem during install, can you help me?

Ill help you the best i can, and so will others, just post your problem on the forum with as much detail as possible.

9. Anything else?

Yes. Welcome to the Open Source Community!

That's All Folks,

"To be a nemesis, you have to actively try to destroy something, don't you? Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect." -Linus Torvalds

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Post by rockacola » Mon Dec 01, 2003 9:40 pm

what else can i say.. BEAUTIFUL! *thumb up*

but may i add a few comment:

- use some color.. ^^" after all.. it's gotta be hard for newbie to read those in black and white.. ^^"

- Q&A5, you mentioned about LG product.. it has been announce that problem CDROM... ect has been fixed in mandrake9.2 released on nov.

- Q&A7,
"I recommend u use 2 different drives"
just to make that clear for beginner.. you meant 2 different hard drives.. you HAVE to use 2 diff drives.. but Waz recommanded 2 diff. hard drives...

- i wonder if there's ppl still think linux is a program in window.. and why should beginner toss windows away and try a new but advance OS that almost everyone think it's extreme hard...
Knowing is not enough... We must apply.
Willing is not enough... We must act. -_-