View Full Version : Linux, whats it like?

09-15-2002, 08:02 AM
Ok i no many people hold linux high above windows yadda yadda. Now as i am new to c++ i have the option to opt into windows programming or linux. I see windows as having more opportunites but i want to try linux.

So what is linux like?
What version is best?
Any info i should know before i get it?

The Dog
09-15-2002, 08:29 AM
>>So what is linux like?

Linux is a good OS, but I have never came across a decent GUI for linux. I'm running Windows XP and Mandrake Linux 8.0 and I hardly use linux (That's probably 'cos i'm so used to Windows and don't have the time to learn linux).

>>What version is best?
I don't know which version of linux is best.

>>Any info i should know before i get it?
Well try and learn as much as you can, seriously, before messing around with linux.

09-15-2002, 08:57 AM
I would recommend using either RedHat 7.2 or the latest stable, that is, non-beta, Mandrake. Both provide an easy to use install interface that's GUI driven. Mandrake being the better of the two for implementing a multi boot format, that is, booting to more than one OS on the drive. RedHat and Mandrake both offer a huge selection of programming tools to work with as wel, KDevelop and Kate for KDE and Glade and gIDE for Gnome are a few of the many that come with both. EMACSMany many other tools are also available for many different needs, From C and C++ to HTMl and php/mysql. Debuggers and many other tools also come standard with nearly every distibution of Linux.

There are many other distibutions of Linux out there, like Slackware, Debian, RemondLinux, and many more. However, not all of them are meant for first time users. A complete undersanding of the cli is needed to install a few of these. A good familiarity with the lower aspects is also needed to setup the partitions correctly. Linux speaks in blocks, not bytes, and the partitions are setup quite a bit differently. This is the reason I recommend RedHat or Mandrake as they both will do all of this for you.

I would recommend installing either on a drive by itself and use that drive just to fart around with it. There are many sites out there that a person can go to for help with Linux too.

TInyminds.org (http://www.tinyminds.org)

Linux Junior (http://www.linuxjunior.org)

Linuxnewbie.org (http://www.linuxnewbie.org)

These are just a few of the places out there that offer help or guidence for those new to the Linux operating system.

Last but not least. Patience. If you don't know it, learn it. Linux is not an easy OS to pick up. The learning curve is steep. Don't expect to master it in a week or even a few months. Take you time and expect problems to arise. Most of all, have fun. It's a very powerful OS with many features and it only grows more powerful with each new kernel.

09-15-2002, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Ride -or- Die
So what is linux like?
a roasting hippopotamus.

it's not bad. i'm using it right now. with redhat or mandrake, you don't even have to admit you're using it. (it will look like windows). using linux is the easy part; doing anything in it is hard.

some vocabulary --
terminal or xterm or tty: your terminal. you'll probably be using the bash shell. research into basic commands, like ls, which shows the directory.
kernel: the piece of code which is linux. you can create your own and fine tune it, if you have the source and expertise. it's one of the better feelings when working with linux.
xfree86: linux's gui. GNOME or KDE can be used on top of this to create a nice interface.
daemon: a program which resides in the background, and does needed tasks every once in a while, like updatedb, which refreshes the current directory database.
super-user: the root user, who has absolute control. you normally log in as the regular user. the regular user cannot screw things up. (note that i'm saying there's a remote possibility, not an impossibility)

What version is best?

redhat or mandrake
(btw, redhat 7.3 is out now)

Any info i should know before i get it?
it's mainly a trial and error thing. when in doubt, take down notes and research it. if you decide to install individual packages, you will encounter many, many things you have never even heard about before. there are often many ways to do anything.

there is nothing you can do to prepare you for it. (aside from 6-month intensive courses...)

09-15-2002, 09:28 AM
Hmm, what's linux like...it's just like other operating systems, it's renoun for it's flexibility (open source) & people talk about it's security, though that arguement can go on for lots of pages, being able re-compile your kernel/edit whatever you want.

It's not very user friendly, the GUI on most distro sucks pretty bad but the linux community is getting there. It's a good programming environment. All the the compilers you could ever want to use come with linux, fresh out the box (no downloading software to do your programming) - e.g. your c/c++ compilers. The support for linux is very vast as well as good documentation. As stated above, it's a steep learning curve. It's very much different from windows, windows does everything for you, all you have to do is point and click where as linux, the steps would be left to you (e.g. compiling/installing software etc).

I'd have to say go for Redhat or Mandrake, Redhat & mandrake is a newbies linux (like mandrake). Though i haven't used mandrake i can only comment on my experiences with redhat. Red hat a very large hardware compatability list, it also has a good package management system (RPM). It also has a very easy to use up2date program that updates outdated/insecure programs. It also downloads the latest kernel and installs them all for you, all you have to do is wait for it to download and process and your up2date. Redhat is kinda becoming the linux version of windows, if your looking for a command line linux & do everything yourself linux go for Slackware (very nice, though it's the probably the hardest to learn as it's the most unix like OS), else go for Redhat or Mandrake.

Here's some links that i use -

www.linuxquestions.org speaks for itself but has a great bulletin for Linux questions
http://www.tldp.org/ - great Linux documentation project
www.linux.box.sk -nice site for Linux news & some software on there
www.linuxsecurity.com names talks for itself
www.freshmeat.net - great software site
www.sourceforge.net nice software site with lots of different projects on there
www.nsa.gov/selinux Security enhanced Linux, you gota check this out to judge for yourself.
http://www.lids.org/ - Linux intrusion detection system
http://www.linux.org/docs/howto.html a few tutorials
http://linuxiso.org - download linux (has every linux you could think of).

Good look with learning linux.

09-15-2002, 10:25 AM
imho the only distro worth your while is debian 3.0 and fluxbox or blackbox (note fluxbox and blackbox are not linux distros :p but window manadgers)

09-15-2002, 10:45 AM
wow what a response!

ok now i think i want Mandrake 8.0(?) because alot of my buds are die-hard *nix users and say that any dieharder will tell u redhat sux.

I am really undecided but i do know i will be dual booting with windows xp. Now i know when u dual boot windows 98/nt that the nt(i THINK been a while) has to be loaded first, do i need winodws or nix on first?

09-15-2002, 11:05 AM
I have a dual boot with windows ME, and Mandrake 8.1, although I have a problem with it right now.

My friend has Windows XP, and Mandrake 8.1.

I used Mandrake before, and then formated, and havent used it since, but I didnt really get into it. I use kde, and it makes things easy, but Linux makes you mount such devices as your floppy and cd drives, which I never really did.

However, I hope to have linux as the only operatins system on my computer one day, I just havent had the time to fool around with it yet.

09-15-2002, 02:07 PM
i am dloading mandrak 8.2 now...whats the RC??

09-15-2002, 03:16 PM
Mandrake 8.2 is awesome. I like the GUI better than MS Windows. It's also better for programming in C/C++ at an advanced level.

Download the 3 iso images and burn each to cd as iso cd images. The installation is not very difficult, just make sure to install it on hdb1 instead of hda1, also use GRUB and install it on the master boot record (MBR). That will allow you to duel boot. I duel booted with Win2k but I eventually erased Win2k completely because it sucks.

09-15-2002, 03:25 PM
I'll throw in my experience with SuSE 8.0.

I have a dual boot setup but I haven't been back to windows XP since I installed SuSE. SuSE is a german distro, and like most german engineering, is rocksolid. Throw Ximian Gnome on top of that and you have a high-quality workstation with great groupware and connectivity software, that is very easy for someone with little to no Linux knowledge to get used to and productive with, provided you have someone with a bit of experience around to get it installed and running.

SuSE with Ximian Gnome is absolutely the BEST setup if you are looking to convince your higher-ups to migrate from Windows workstations to Linux across an enterprise.

That said, it isn't the best choice for server implementations. I don't know exactly why but I've always found Debian to be better for making any type of server. But that only matters if you want to make a server...

If you want to learn linux GUI-first (not the best way in terms of the Big Picture, but often better for convincing people (yourself included) to migrate) then I would definitely recommend SuSE with straight up Gnome 1.4 or Ximian Gnome.

09-15-2002, 03:26 PM
well this one is only one iso.

I'll get grub soon, thnx.

09-15-2002, 03:27 PM
did i mention i'm dloading on 56k? :P

09-15-2002, 03:30 PM
Then another advantage of SuSE...

The ftp installation is very efficient.

You download a mini-iso containing just YAST and it's environment, then download only those packages you want upon installation, with the option to download more at a later time.

EDIT - In fact if memory serves there was an "install of a couple of floppy disks" option.

09-15-2002, 03:35 PM
If it's one huge file than you can't burn it to cd. I've never seen it as one huge file. I downloaded it as 3 iso image files, each about 630 MB in size. If you have a 56k connection, you might not be able to download it. The download can contain errors, and you have to use the MD5SUM utility. I didn't have any problems but I have a cable connection. BTW RH 7.3 is a beta, good thing you went with Mandrake 8.2 (if you can download it!).

I tried RH7.3 and it was good in most respects but I had problems with video, and konqueror, but those are not apparent in Mandrake 8.2. The even numbered versions are the most stable.

If a friend has a cable connection, get them to download it and burn the 3 cds for you!

Originally posted by Imperito
Then another advantage of SuSE...

The ftp installation is very efficient.

You download a mini-iso containing just YAST and it's environment, then download only those packages you want upon installation, with the option to download more at a later time.

EDIT - In fact if memory serves there was an "install of a couple of floppy disks" option.

I'll be trying out some new distro's in the future, maybe I'll try SUSE. I'm happy with Mandrake at the moment! Have you tried Mandrake? lol.

09-15-2002, 04:54 PM
I have used SuSE extensively, mandrake and debian quite a bit, and RedHat a little.

I find Mandrake is more likely to partially support something in a buggy fashion, whereas SuSE is mre likely to hold off on releasing something until it is at least reliable enough that a user need not be a linux guru to work with it.

I've used debian and redhat as servers, and I prefer debian as a server distro.

09-15-2002, 05:04 PM
hold up, u mean this 640mb file i'm dloading is ONE of THREE?!!!

i now have a new reson to cling to windowz

09-15-2002, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by Ride -or- Die
hold up, u mean this 640mb file i'm dloading is ONE of THREE?!!!

i now have a new reson to cling to windowz

Touting my fave again.. The SuSE install can be started using (usually) 3 floppy disks (boot, mod1 (for reiserfs), and mod3 (for your network card). You have to download the packages once you start installing of course, but you can download just a minimal install at first and get the rest later.

By the way I find the Georgia Tech mirror to be the best.

09-15-2002, 05:23 PM
btw in case that wasn't clear a CD image is 640 megs whereas a floppy image is 1.4 megs.

09-15-2002, 05:31 PM
i'm sold, got a link?

09-15-2002, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by Ride -or- Die
i'm sold, got a link?

why dont you try finding stuff on your own no offense but your going to have to get used to that if your going to be using linux... answers dont come from the heavens they come from google and in your case why dont you check out the distro's homepage and check their installation guide where you will find clear and conscise information on what to do if you want to web install

by the way since your on 56k you might want to avoid mandrake, suse or redhat due to the fact that they require at least a (0.7-1) gig install to be functionnal

09-15-2002, 11:48 PM
Yes, if you are faint of heart or wrist than don't use Linux, but use Microsoft. It was made for you.

09-16-2002, 04:11 AM
I'd still recommend you stay with either redhat or mandrake. despite the fact of broken packages, they are still the newbies linux. They are the easiest to install and come with all the packages that he could want. Since your new to linux, don't try the floppy disk install, your making things harder for yourself, plus you dont want to be saying, damn, i cant install this because i didn't download a package thats dependant on x. just download the iso's for your distro, burn them, boot them and follow on screen instructions.

There are manuals for everything you need to get started. to find a list of commands type



man <command>

for example:

man ls

Once you've learned one linux, generally you've learned the lot, you can switch quite easily. The location of things may change a little bit, but the commands are still generally the same.

09-16-2002, 04:22 AM
I usually do try my best to find it on my own, but he obviously already had a link.

I have decided on SUSE, i will probably try both mandrake and RH once i get my cable line (god knows when that is)

09-16-2002, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by Troll_King
Yes, if you are faint of heart or wrist than don't use Linux, but use Microsoft. It was made for you.

Now, now, thats really not a good mindset. If Linux is ever going to get high quality commercial applications (IE Will Linux binaries be on the Red Alert 3 discs?) then we are going to have to ditch this "Oh look at me I use Linux and you can't" attitiude. Microsoft is an evil empire, but they do manage to give their end users a nonthreatening experience (the fact that it comes preinstalled helps ofcourse)

If my dad could migrate then anyone CAN do it, it is just a matter of tweaking the image and providing decent (non-arrogant) support.

Some people would contend that Linux is a server/developer OS and has no place on an end-user's desktop, but those people are about three years ago. With recent applications like StarOffice and Ximian Gnome, Linux' ability to perform as a workstation for marketroids, administrati, and other non-geeks is shaping up quite nicely, and should be encouraged.

Join the revolution! Become a Linux Evangelist today!

09-16-2002, 06:37 AM
I don't know what to say about that, but I do know that I'll be using Linux for a long time, at least until I can build my own OS. I'm doing a comparative study of all the major OS's but I'll get into more depth with Linux. Personally I'm a newbie for the most part on Linux, and I can't believe what a great OS it is. It also worked with all of my hardware without any problems.

Microsoft has illegal contracts with OEM's. They also have pollinated the planet with advertising assisted by the US government. I don't blame the USA for feeling insecure, since everyone in the world seems to hate them. All of these corrupt multinationals are falling down. I don't know if I care either way because I want to use Linux for research into building my own OS. I'm just damn glad that it is such a good OS. At the same time I know that some of the vendor OS's are more powerful, take Solaris, and it's many to many multi-threading. Linux does not have that level of support...YET! Than again, Linux didn't have a journalizing file system too long ago, now it does. I think that there is no stopping open source. It's hilarious that I can have all of my servers on Linux for free! That just puts everyone to shame. I don't see how the word can't spread, however the last people to know about it will be the ordinary people who are not developers or computer scientists.

Did I mention stability? Mandrake 8.2 is the most stable OS I have ever used.