i'm new to linux - which linux to install?

This is a discussion on i'm new to linux - which linux to install? within the Linux Programming forums, part of the Platform Specific Boards category; I've used many distros over the past 11 years. My first was slackware, and it's always been solid -- my ...

  1. #16
    old man
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    I've used many distros over the past 11 years. My first was slackware, and it's always been solid -- my current favorite is debian. I'm also fond of freebsd.

    I agree with Salem's advice to get another drive ... yes, 80G is a nice size. In fact, that's the setup I have on my main box: 2 80G drives. Then what you need to do is experiment with any distro that sounds interesting to you. Since the choice of a distro is such a subjective thing, only you can decide which is best, and you can only do that through experience. You can easily fit four distros on a 80G drive, and that's a good way to get that experience :-)

    Good luck and have fun.

  2. #17
    Registered User Bajanine's Avatar
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    Fedora Core 3 and 4 are both really easy, I currently use Slackware 10.2.

    Have you tried any live CD's like: Puppy(really fast), Kanotix, or Knoppix these distro's are great, run them from the cd and if you find one you really like you can always install it to the h.d.

    There is certainly nothing wrong with using another hard drive, but it is not needed you can use: fips or cfdisk, if you decide to a non-destructive partitioning software make sure you back-up anything you can't live without!

    As far as Partition Magic 8 goes I have used it many times. Sometimes it works sometimes it hoses everything! I prefer using fdisk, cfdisk, or fips. I believe you will learn a lot more this way.
    Favorite Quote:

    >For that reason someone invented C++.
    BLASPHEMY! Begone from my C board, you foul lover of objects, before the gods of C cast you into the void as punishment for your weakness! There is no penance for saying such things in my presence. You are henceforth excommunicated. Never return to this house, filthy heretic!



  3. #18
    ~Team work is the best!~ wakish's Avatar
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    Yeah!
    Thanks a lot eerok!
    Thank you Bajanine!

    All your advices are really precious..thank you all!
    If you have any other comments, remarks or advices, keep them coming

    Regards!
    # If you want to be happy, think of others.
    # If you want to be miserable, think of yourself

    ~~~Team work is the best!~~~

  4. #19
    Sr. Software Engineer filker0's Avatar
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    I'm not going to suggest a particular flavor of Linux; other people are covering that quite well at the moment, and I've said my piece and made my peace in my earlier reply to the original posting.

    I have several systems running various flavors of Linux; Gentoo, RedHat Fedora Core 4, CentOS, and SuSE 10.0. Every one of them is set up to multi-boot. On one machine, I'm using GRUB as the multi-booter between two different distros and Windows XP, and if you're going to be installing from scratch, I see this as the way to go (using GRUB, not running two different distros). Partition the drive using whatever tool you choose, then install XP first -- the Windows installer does not honor non-MS multi-booters and will wipe out whatever boot loader you've installed previously.

    The way I do it is to create two "primary" partitions; one for XP, the other for GRUB/Linux; and one large "extended" partition. Within the extended partition, I make as many logical partitions as I am going to want for my Linux installation(s), including the root partition and swap.

    Since I'm running multiple distibutions, I use the following arrangement:
    hda1: Windows XP (NTFS)
    hda2: /boot (ext2)
    hda5: / (for SuSE) (ext3)
    hda6: swap (shared between SuSE and CentOS)
    hda7: /home (shared between SuSE and CentOS) (rfs)
    hda8: / (for CentOS) (ext3)
    hda9: a small FAT32 partition for file exchange between Windows and Linux (vfat)

    (Actually, I have a few more partitions, but why complicate things; this is a reasonable starting point.)

    I've had no luck getting GRUB to boot Linux on a secondary drive, but additional hard drives are partition and used for non-boot partitions for both Windows and Linux, and that has worked fine for me.

    One of my machines has Windows2000 and Windows98 along with RedHat 7 (for historical reasons), and SuSE 9.2. On this machine, drive 0, controller 0 (the first IDE drive) has Win2000 and Win98 using the MS multi-boot, SuSE 9.2 on drive 1, controller 0 (the second IDE drive), and RedHat 7 on SCSI drive 0. I use a LiLo floppy to boot to any of these OSs, but usually eject it to boot one of the MS OSs. I've not tried other multibooters on this machine, as this configuration works, and I'm afraid of breaking a rather delicate database installation (that I don't need anymore).

    The machine running Fedora Core 4 is a mac-mini, and it uses a different multi-booter between FC4 and OSX.
    Insert obnoxious but pithy remark here

  5. #20
    Registered User Jaqui's Avatar
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    filker0,
    lilo is also a multibooter, you only have to put the root/boot for each os into it.


    I personally prefer to use lilo as my bootloader. grub has always been problematical in getting the boot to work the way I want...text mode, not graphically, with a simple alteration of the conf to run another os..with grub it's much more of a hastle every time I add a new distro.
    [ currently running 8 distros, madriva, debian, slack, gentoo, lfs*, xandros, vector, ubuntu. ]


    * default
    Last edited by Jaqui; 01-24-2006 at 08:36 AM. Reason: typos
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Henager
    If the average user can put a CD in and boot the system and follow the prompts, he can install and use Linux. If he can't do that simple task, he doesn't need to be around technology.

  6. #21
    xhi
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    good info on GRUB..
    I have always used lilo, because that was what was there when I started and have not found anything it cant do.. it can be touchy sometimes, you just have to treat er right.. I have anywhere between 10 and 15 partitions on 2-3 disks at a given time, partitions ranging from fat32 ntfs reiserfs ext2/3 .. no (serious) problems so far.. so dont fear if the distro you choose wants to install LILO..

    I too agree with the posts suggesting you get a new hard drive.. thats the best way.. but also costs $$.. which sometimes just isnt there.. in that case just get a copy of partition magic *7*, backup that windows drive and make some new parititions..

    Note: of my 4 or so installs I only boot to one anymore.. you gotta love VMware! i have win98, winXP, freebsd, unstable linux, and solaris 10.. all from the comfort of my primary slackware install!!
    Last edited by xhi; 01-24-2006 at 08:32 AM. Reason: didnt see your post Jaqui.. hmm great minds.. well nevermind :)

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaqui
    I personally prefer to use lilo as my bootloader. grub has always been problematical in getting the boot to work the way I want...text mode, not graphically, with a simple alteration of the conf to run another os..with grub it's much more of a hastle every time I add a new distro.
    I've used both lilo and grub, but I've found grub to suit my needs most flexibly for the following reason: grub requires no executable to change your boot configuration. Long ago I installed a 32M /boot partition, and I've kept it intact through many, many distro trials. I don't even have grub installed on any system I currently use. I just edit the config in /boot/grub (and clean out obsolete kernels) for each new install, and it always works.

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but you can't do this kind of thing with lilo ...

    In any case, since needs vary, the "fit" of software options vary as well

  8. #23
    Registered User Jaqui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eerok
    In any case, since needs vary, the "fit" of software options vary as well
    Yup
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Henager
    If the average user can put a CD in and boot the system and follow the prompts, he can install and use Linux. If he can't do that simple task, he doesn't need to be around technology.

  9. #24
    xhi
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    >> Perhaps I'm wrong, but you can't do this kind of thing with lilo ...

    no that sound like it is convienent.. though with lilo though its just a matter of copying a new kernel to where you want it, updating lilo.conf and running lilo.. and you could even keep a symlink to a 'current' kernel and save yourself an edit of lilo.conf.. not much of a process at all.. actually now that i think about it the 2.6 kernel allows for a
    'make install'
    and the kernel is copied, and lilo is updated for you.. automagically! though i dont know if that works with grub? that does take some fun out of it though..

    >> In any case, since needs vary, the "fit" of software options vary as well

    thats why the opensource world is so nice, rarely do we "have to" do somthing the same way someone else did..

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by xhi
    the 2.6 kernel allows for a
    'make install'
    and the kernel is copied, and lilo is updated for you.. automagically! though i dont know if that works with grub? that does take some fun out of it though..
    I've been using 2.6 kernels for quite a while, but I don't know if that works with grub ... it sounds convenient if it's trustworthy, though there always seems to be kernel options I want to add to my config manually anyway ...

    Booting into a new system is fun no matter how you manage it, though, I think

  11. #26
    ~Team work is the best!~ wakish's Avatar
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    With Linux:
    1) do we need to install drivers for hardwares like with windows?
    2) do we have to use a personal firewall, anti-virus..ect..like with windows?
    # If you want to be happy, think of others.
    # If you want to be miserable, think of yourself

    ~~~Team work is the best!~~~

  12. #27
    xhi
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    you do not need an antivirus in the normal sense of the word.. the file permissions in linux take care of a normal viri threat.. securing your computer from intrusion and verifying the source/binaries that you install is far more important.. look up iptables for the firewall info.. and research how to secure ports that you do not need..

    drivers are compiled and can be installed as modules into the kernel, or you can compile them directly into the kernel.. search on kernel, modules, install, drivers, etc.. you should find a ton of info..

    hth

  13. #28
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    ubuntu if you're new, debian if you can handle *slightly* more complicated things, and gentoo if you're got nothing better to do with your life.

  14. #29
    ~Team work is the best!~ wakish's Avatar
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    Thanks xhi!
    ok w00tw00tkab00t, thanks!

    I have some questions:

    1) Is the partition which will be the "common partition seen by every OSes", called or partitioned as the "extended partiton" ?

    2) Can anyone help me in understanding "linux nativ" partition & "linux swap" partition and their purposes? Some analogies with windows/dos partitions will be helpful too.


    Thanks!
    # If you want to be happy, think of others.
    # If you want to be miserable, think of yourself

    ~~~Team work is the best!~~~

  15. #30
    Registered User Jaqui's Avatar
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    here are several differences between windows and linux filesystem structure. these differences are the way linux ( and other unix os ) protect against both data loss and filesystem corruption.

    t begin with a basic terminology definition ( most likely not needed, but included for completeness )

    root is both the system admin, and the foundation of the file system. the differentiation is:
    root = system admin
    / = foundation of file system

    Directory: a folder on a partition. the biggest difference is a directory can be a partition name as well, when this happens accessing the directory is changing drives in windows.

    filesystem type: this is the underlying structure of the filesystem, e2fs, reiserfs.... a windows version is fat, fat32 or ntfs.

    partition: the same as windows, a section of physical hard drive set up to act as a hard drive in and of itself.

    where a directory or partition has an * after it will be where the term is applying to more than one definition.

    now that this is clarified, the linux names and the windows equivalents.

    / this is the same as the c drive with windows.

    /bin this directory is used to store the command line executables that any use can access. comparable to c:\windows\command

    /boot this directory can be, and usually is, a separate partition. this contains the kernel, and those parts of the bootloader that are not able to fit in the mbr ( master boot record )

    /dev this directory is used to store the definitions of all known devices. it is not recommended to make this it's own partition.
    this is most closely matched to device manager in windows, though this is not a good match, as it also resembles the c:\windows\system folder

    /etc this directory is used to store system configuration data, such as what drivers, default fonts, default interface, default runlevel... are setup for the system. it contains the configuration defaults for every distribution included application. the closest windows has to this is the windows directory itself.

    /home* this is comparable to the c:\documents and settings in windows nt family of products. it is recommended that this be a separate partition

    /lib this is the core shared libraries and kernel modules. again this is the windows\system folder

    /media a directory detailed to be used for removable media, such as floppys and cdroms, this is often not included. my computer in windows

    /mnt this directory is always used, it is intended to hold mount points for filesystems, it is also used for the media mout points mentioned above. my computer in windows.

    /opt* : Add-on application software packages.
    by making this a partition, not just a directory in the / filesystem, you can control the space available for after market applications. unfortunately, this usage has not happened as much as it should have. c:\program files ( need I say more? )

    /proc this is a depreciated structure, it was used to store active processes. newer systems will no longer have this.

    /root this is the system admin users home directory, locked to root access only. optionally, but not recommended, a separate partition it is comparable to c:\windows

    /sbin this is the root user only executable tools.
    comparable to c:\windows\command

    /srv : Data for services provided by this system
    no real windows equivalent, other than c:\windows

    /tmp : Temporary files, optionally a separate partition. comparable to c:\windows\temp
    I personally do make this a separate partition, as some cd burning software creates temporary disc images in this, and I can ensure enough space for this activity this way.

    /usr this is the area that the actual programs, libraries sources for the kernel... are installed.
    most 3rd party software also installs itself here, despite the existance of the /opt directory / partition. this is c:\program files there is an entire heirarchy under this, that breaks the contents into even smaller areas, the url supplied at the bottom has these details. I always set this as it's own partition and ensure it is twice the size required for the system ( those 3rd party apps you know. )

    /var optionally it's own partion, recommended to be so. this is used to store logs, default for webserver root. public ftp mailcap ( email server ) in short to store anything that is changed regularly, and that a record is needed. most closely matched by c:\windows

    and there you have a brief outline of what each of those cryptic directories are for on your linux workstation. this should help you to find your way around, if / when you are troubleshooting a system. ( like finding default font setting for xfs ( x font srever ) )
    all of this, in technical detail, including options can be found here:

    http://www.pathname.com/fhs/pub/fhs-2.3.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Henager
    If the average user can put a CD in and boot the system and follow the prompts, he can install and use Linux. If he can't do that simple task, he doesn't need to be around technology.

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