Which distro for me?


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Xtreme $niper

Now I know this may seem like I didnt read any of the other threads. But I did. The thing is, I still dont think I have an answer since none of the situations I read felt like it applied to me as well.

I want to know which distro to go with. I'm new to Linux but I have used Knoppix so I have some "general" knowledge, so its not like im going into this whole thing completely blind, but not knowledgable either. Anyways, I just wanted to know what everyone's opinion is on which distro I should go with.

I'm used to the way Windows works, but I want a free distro to duel boot with. This means I dont want Lindows since it may be "easy" but its not free. I have a partition I am going to reformat and install the distro onto already set. I read up on the install procedure for Red Hat (which is the same as fedora according to the site) and it seems fairly simple enough, just gotta jot down some notes before going into the install. But Mandrake is looking very tempting. I hear its hard to install programs on Mandrake? Is this true?

I dont think I can go into any more details until a discussion starts flowing, so any opinion would be helpful. Thanks! :)

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Sophism

suse 9.1 or mandrake. if u are up for a challenge try debian or gentoo.

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CoolioVendetta

Ive tried quite a few distros (im stil a linux beginner) and i always end up coming back to mandrake. I dont know wether its because its the first distro i tried but i find it to be the easiest to use for my level.

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Xtreme $niper

Speaking of challenge, I would like to point out that my system is a IBM Thinkpad R31 with a P3 1.2ghz processor with just about 240mb of RAM. Its a school laptop, but I own it. Basically what I'm doing is reformating a 7gig partition that the school used to put a reimage backup on my HD, but it never worked because they screwed it up. So I'm getting rid of that data and just wiping it clean.

Would I be able to select the empty partition in the Linux setup and just install on it, or do I have to get rid of the partition and make a new one during installation?

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ootput
Now I know this may seem like I didnt read any of the other threads. But I did. The thing is, I still dont think I have an answer since none of the situations I read felt like it applied to me as well.

I want to know which distro to go with. I'm new to Linux but I have used Knoppix so I have some "general" knowledge, so its not like im going into this whole thing completely blind, but not knowledgable either. Anyways, I just wanted to know what everyone's opinion is on which distro I should go with.

I'm used to the way Windows works, but I want a free distro to duel boot with. This means I dont want Lindows since it may be "easy" but its not free. I have a partition I am going to reformat and install the distro onto already set. I read up on the install procedure for Red Hat (which is the same as fedora according to the site) and it seems fairly simple enough, just gotta jot down some notes before going into the install. But Mandrake is looking very tempting. I hear its hard to install programs on Mandrake? Is this true?

I dont think I can go into any more details until a discussion starts flowing, so any opinion would be helpful. Thanks! :)

The distros already recommended to you should fit the bill.

If you're game, get a hold of ArchLinux, and play around with Pacman.

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kjordan2001
Speaking of challenge, I would like to point out that my system is a IBM Thinkpad R31 with a P3 1.2ghz processor with just about 240mb of RAM. Its a school laptop, but I own it. Basically what I'm doing is reformating a 7gig partition that the school used to put a reimage backup on my HD, but it never worked because they screwed it up. So I'm getting rid of that data and just wiping it clean.

Would I be able to select the empty partition in the Linux setup and just install on it, or do I have to get rid of the partition and make a new one during installation?

You'll have to delete the current one and make a Linux partition (ext3 or reiserfs).

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ootput
Would I be able to select the empty partition in the Linux setup and just install on it, or do I have to get rid of the partition and make a new one during installation?

I'm guessing that it's an NTFS partition?

Most Installers should assist in partitioning the layout you desire.

If you're planning on Dual-booting with an existing Windows OS, try to create a /boot partition, and install GRUB to that partition (not to the MBR.)

You should be able to direct boot.ini to your /boot bootsector via a small .bin

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Xtreme $niper
You'll have to delete the current one and make a Linux partition (ext3 or reiserfs).

Yeah I was planning on reformating it using Partition Magic as a Linux Ext3 partition. That would work right?

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Xtreme $niper
I'm guessing that it's an NTFS partition?

Most Installers should assist in partitioning the layout you desire.

If you're planning on Dual-booting with an existing Windows OS, try to create a /boot partition, and install GRUB to that partition (not to the MBR.)

You should be able to direct boot.ini to your /boot bootsector via a small .bin

Nah actually they are both FAT32.

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ootput

Will your Linux install serve as a productivity workstation? If not, you could always get Cygwin or Virtual PC, and play around with that.

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Xtreme $niper

Meh I'd rather not emulate. If I wanted to not install a Linux partition I'd run Knoppix again.. But then again with all this boot partitions and stuff I think I might just do that. I wanted to just install linux onto an already formatted partition. (I'm not a big fan of creating partitions because I believe it reduces your hard drive's lifespan).

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ootput

Cygwin is still pretty nice.

Edit: Hardcore usage of Cygwin isn't recommended, though.

Edited by sentio
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Xtreme $niper

So whats it do then?

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kjordan2001
So whats it do then?

It's basically Linux programs compiled for Windows with a compatibility dll.

http://www.cygwin.com/

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows. It consists of two parts:

A DLL (cygwin1.dll) which acts as a Linux emulation layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.

A collection of tools, which provide Linux look and feel.

Not quite as good as having Linux installed since you only get the console (you get X too, but it's very slow).

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Xtreme $niper

Ah I seee..

Well.. I dont have any use for Linux apps on my Windows side sooo...

Does anyone know of a way to get a duel boot to work without making a boot partition? And if there is no way of doing that, does anyone know if after making the boot partition, is there anything else that needs to be done before installing Linux? (lets say fedora or mandrake)

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boomn

I have something similar on my laptop

The only repartitioning you'll need to do is add a small swap partition. When you run the installer, delete the backup partition, add a 512Mb swap partition, and use the rest for linux. No real need for a /boot partition, Grub works just fine in the MBR with windows. The only issue is if you reinstall windows and it overwrites the MBR, so keep a boot floppy around to boot back into linux and fix it.

Also IMO, there is no need to be afraid of creating partitions. It doesnt affect hard drive life at all.

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ootput

Dual booting can be tricky. Windows NT/XP bootloaders are very stubborn. Here's a related link.

This HOWTO applies if:

   

  • * Your machine already has Windows installed, and you are installing Linux as a second operating system, and
        * You want to leave the Windows boot loader (NTLDR) on the MBR (Master Boot Record). This allows you to continue to boot Windows with no issues. I've heard that Windows 2000/Windows XP or anti-virus software may complain if the MBR does not contain the Windows boot loader

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Xtreme $niper
I have something similar on my laptop

The only repartitioning you'll need to do is add a small swap partition. When you run the installer, delete the backup partition, add a 512Mb swap partition, and use the rest for linux. No real need for a /boot partition, Grub works just fine in the MBR with windows. The only issue is if you reinstall windows and it overwrites the MBR, so keep a boot floppy around to boot back into linux and fix it.

Also IMO, there is no need to be afraid of creating partitions. It doesnt affect hard drive life at all.

Well if I delete the backup partition (assuming you mean the one Im going to reformat) that leaves just one partition. Then I make a Swap partition, and install linux on the rest of it. That wont work because I have Windows on the remaining space... and I'm sort of new to the whole Grub and MBR concept... Enlighten me please? :wacko:

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boomn

Sorry. What i meant was install linux in the remaining space from the 7Gb partition you erased, not the rest of the hard drive :D

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Xtreme $niper
Sorry. What i meant was install linux in the remaining space from the 7Gb partition you erased, not the rest of the hard drive :D

Ah so what your saying is create a Swap partition, and then install linux on the 7gig partition i have already set, and it should work?

I have Partition Magic, would using that make things easier or just make things unstable... Has anyone ever used that? (the install another OS feature I mean) The only problem with that is, it assumes I want to create a new partition...

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boomn

Partition Magic is great for this, very reliable. My laptop didnt start off with the seperate partition, I just used Partition Magic to resize my Windows partition to give me room

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Xtreme $niper

So you just used it to resize ur windows partition, meaning you split it? orrr you resized it and left unused space so that when you ran the installer from the linux disk you used that space to create a partition?

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ootput
So you just used it to resize ur windows partition, meaning you split it? orrr you resized it and left unused space so that when you ran the installer from the linux disk you used that space to create a partition?

The latter.

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Xtreme $niper

Okay I understand that concept.

But now basically the only thing left for me to understand is the duel boot procedure, and I guess reading that grub how-to is the only way... Even though there are things in there that basically assume you know what you are doing, which in most cases, I dont.

I just want to use Linux as a backup source and as to use something different from Windows for a change. Plus its HD space just sitting there unused so I figured instead of merging the partitions and risking losing data, I'd just put another OS on there.

If I could, I would put the mac OS. lol its a shame it runs differently though.

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boomn

The fedora, mandrake, suse, etc installers will automatically setup dual-booting for you.

Good luck with linux, hope you like it :D

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