Re: OT: Linux

On 2005-09-08, John Cheever <redmire7@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Which is the best version and the easiest to install? I've decided
> Windows is too much of a rip-off.

I've found Mandriva (used to be called Mandrake) to be very friendly for a
Windows refugee :))

The newsgroups dedicated to Mandr[ake|iva] are pretty friendly to newbies.
alt.os.linux.mandrake is well established and very active;
alt.os.linux.mandriva is new and you may need to ask for it to be 'added'
by your news-server.

There are lots of 'live CD' distros; MandrivaMove is one. Ubuntu seems to
be popular; like several others, you can install it to your HD as well as
run it from the CD.

W H Smith are currently selling an exclusive 'Getting started with Mandriva
Linux' magazine/book, including the installation CDs for Mandriva 2005 and
with lots of useful guidance and advice. It's on the magazine shelves,
near the other computer magazines (the dedicated Linux magazines often have
installation CDs on the cover, too).

Most people start out by 'dual booting', with their familiar Windows system
and one or more Linux distros offered as choices when the machine boots up.
To do that, I recommend that you back-up your data first, then clean up and
defrag your Windows installation, and use whatever tools you are familiar
with to shrink the Windows partition so as to leave some empty space for
the Linux installation.

Mandriva 2005 Limited Edition [1] will fit comfortably into about 6 GB,
including all the applications you are ever likely to want (and most of
which are included in the installation CDs and get installed along with the
basic 'system'). The same is true of most distros.

Let the Linux installation routine take care of partitioning and formatting
the empty space. You will need a minimum of two partitions; one called /
and one called swap. The usual recommendation is that swap should be twice
the size of your available RAM, although some people like a big swap
partition - if there is room for it, 1 GB is probably enough for just about

The Linux installation routines will recognise your Windows stuff, and give
you the option of leaving it intact. When the 'boot loader' for Linux is
being configured, it will normally default to installing itself in the MBR
and including an option to launch Windows. Don't panic if that seems to
'break' your Windows system, you can get the original Windows booting back
by using your Windows 'repair' disc - then google the Linux newsgroups to
see if you can find the solution, before asking what is considered a 'FAQ'
in most Linux groups ;)) (Usually, there is no problem, and Linux and
Windows co-exist happily).

If you use a dial-up connection, I strongly recommend that you get a proper
external modem (the 'serial' type, with all the hardware included and its
own power supply and lots of LEDs); the internal modems in most computers
are 'winmodems', ie they rely on software to operate, and the makers provide
'drivers' only for Windows. Some of them can be made to work with Linux,
but don't bank on it. Your Windows system will also thank you for getting
a proper modem :)) The same is true of some of the USB 'modems' supplied
by some broadband ISPs; the broadband 'modems' or 'routers' that connect to
your computer using an 'ethernet' cable are preferable.

Laptops tend to have 'non standard' components, so you'll have to work a
bit to get any non-OEM operating system to work fully with all the special
features of the hardware.

[1] 'Limited' because it was intended as a short-term option pending the
release of Mandriva 2006 which is expected in a month or two now, combining
features from both Mandrake and Conectiva following their merger. It has
proved so popular that it may not be so 'limited' after all :))

-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~