Setting up a Unix box

This is a discussion on Setting up a Unix box within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; So I went ahead and purchased the computer I mentioned in this topic as my new unix/sand/test box. Everything works ...

  1. #1
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    Setting up a Unix box

    So I went ahead and purchased the computer I mentioned in this topic as my new unix/sand/test box. Everything works great, but the only thing I need now is some direction as to how to go about a proper Unix install:

    1) How do I reformat and partition for ext3?
    - I am only accustomed to Window's versions of format and fdisk, how would I perform these tasks for setting up a Unix system?

    2) There are so many Unix distros, which should I choose?
    - I checked the list of Unix-like distrobutions on wiki and it is virtually endless, I have no idea which is best to use and/or good for testing/experimenting/developing. So far, the big names I've heard recommended are Fedora Core, (K)Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Slackware, Gentoo, and Debian (as I understand is the basis of the formers) and Red Hat (as I understand is replaced by Fedora). Which is the recommended/preferred one to use for you guys? From hear-say, I understand that Fedora is more all-around, whereas Ubuntu is more geared towards usibility. I do not want a "noob-friendly" or "light" distro, should I go with Fedora then?

    3) Is there anything I should be aware of before installing Unix if I plan to dual-boot later?
    - After installing Unix, I plan to install windows later and create a dual-boot, is there anything I should know about partitioning/setup that will make this future task more seamless (i.e. should I install Windows before Unix? also how well do NTFS and ext3 mix?)

    4) Is there anything else I should know to make things go more smoothly?
    - Its been a while since I installed a Windows' OS (win98SE was the last time) and never since a Unix one; is there any "common knowledge" I should know ahead of time?

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    aoeuhtns
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    > 1) How do I reformat and partition for ext3?

    You tell the installer to do it (it tells you to tell it to do so). It's obvious and easy.

    > 2) There are so many Unix distros, which should I choose?

    Funny how all the ones you've listed are specifically Linux distros. I'd say go with Ubuntu (I mean Kubuntu) and you'll be fine, unless there's some particular reason you can't. If not that, then Debian would be fine. I personally use Debian, but that's only because Ubuntu's repos were lagging in some specific ways. Or you could use some other distro... if you want. I don't know what 'noob-friendly' means anymore. All the distros seem noob-friendly: some just do it with bland pastel colors. The term 'light' doesn't make any sense to me, unless you're talking about floppy-sized linux distributions.

    Are you a masochist?

    > 3) Is there anything I should be aware of before installing Unix if I plan to dual-boot later?

    I'll let somebody else answer that question.

    > 4) Is there anything else I should know to make things go more smoothly?

    Knowing the dvorak layout makes typing go a bit smoother. And after the OS is installed, knowing where the Synaptic Package Manager is in the menu will be useful (I went many months without that), if you're using Ubuntu or Debian.

    > - Its been a while since I installed a Windows' OS (win98SE was the last time) and never since a Unix one; is there any "common knowledge" I should know ahead of time?

    The location of your keyboard's Enter key -- you'll be hitting that several times.
    Last edited by Rashakil Fol; 07-22-2007 at 12:12 AM.
    There are 10 types of people in this world, those who cringed when reading the beginning of this sentence and those who salivated to how superior they are for understanding something as simple as binary.

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    Thanks for your help. Sorry for the general "Unix" usage, its just that these are all "Linux-like" OSs and Linux itself is a "Unix-like" OS, so I usually just end up calling them all Unix.

    1) For the installation, I'm not installing it onto a clean harddrive, so I need to be able to remove any partitions/data that is there presently. Will the installation process present me with this option? Or must I use the utilities provided on Kubuntu's/Fedora's boot disk?

    2) lol, in a way yes, but not the way you were thinking of . What I mean by "noob-friendly" is the tendancy to "dumb things down" in the interest of making things "easier", usually at the cost of customizability (i.e. "wizards" are infamous for this). For example, if I want to pass a command to the shell, I would want an OS that allows me to open a shell window and type directly to it rather than some system where it tries to present me with a graphical listing of all shell commands available, in which I must place a check mark next to the one I want to use and then hit a "next" button. Of course that was a contrived example, just to illustrate the point. What I mean by "light" is the tendancy to disclude certain standard elements in order to try to reduce installation size or to keep things "simple". I.E. like how Ubuntu does not come with a full set of GCC libraries (or so I've heard).
    Is there any other case aside from the anecdotal lagging problem in which using plain Debian over one of its branch-offs is better? (i.e. Debian vs Ubuntu?)

    Also, with some of these OSs adhereing so strictly to the Free Software principle, are there any situations in which the OS will not allow me to install propietary software?
    Last edited by @nthony; 07-22-2007 at 12:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Registered User kroiz's Avatar
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    I use Ubuntu and love it.
    The Ubuntu forums are very useful place to get help.
    I really can not compare it to any other distro cause this is the only one I tried.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Red Hat (as I understand is replaced by Fedora)
    More like Fedora is replaced by Red Hat Enterprise Linux, at least in Red Hat's development model. The idea is that they let people use Fedora for free, utilise the community to fix bugs, and then incorporate Fedora into RHEL and get commercial gain for that. If you are looking for a zero price RHEL distribution, then CentOS is a possibility. On the other hand, it probably makes more sense to use the more cutting edge Fedora if you are not running a server.

    I.E. like how Ubuntu does not come with a full set of GCC libraries (or so I've heard).
    That is true (it does not even come with g++), probably due to size constraints, but easily fixed with Internet access to the package repositories.

    Also, with some of these OSs adhereing so strictly to the Free Software principle, are there any situations in which the OS will not allow me to install propietary software?
    Generally, such distributions simply will not come with proprietary software, and their main package respositories will not have proprietary software either. On the other hand, nothing stops you from downloading software from elsewhere.
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  6. #6
    aoeuhtns
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    > 1) For the installation, I'm not installing it onto a clean harddrive, so I need to be able to remove any partitions/data that is there presently. Will the installation process present me with this option? Or must I use the utilities provided on Kubuntu's/Fedora's boot disk?

    I don't know about every installation process, but Debian's (and I guess Ubuntu's) does. Others surely do, too.

    > 2) lalala

    There's no such restrictions.

    > Is there any other case aside from the anecdotal lagging problem in which using plain Debian over one of its branch-offs is better? (i.e. Debian vs Ubuntu?)

    Just go with Ubuntu.

    > Also, with some of these OSs adhereing so strictly to the Free Software principle, are there any situations in which the OS will not allow me to install propietary software?

    Such a restriction would violate the free software principle. And no.
    There are 10 types of people in this world, those who cringed when reading the beginning of this sentence and those who salivated to how superior they are for understanding something as simple as binary.

  7. #7
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    Okay, thanks for the info guys, Ubuntu it is.

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