|12-13-2008, 09:08 AM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Considering Linux? Look here!
***Follow this advice at your own risk. This is not a guide, and I take no responsibility for anything that may go wrong.***
This thread is intended to help people who are new to linux or new to certain linux distros have a much more enjoyable experience without having to learn things the hard way. I do not recommend you try linux if you do not have a Windows Disk on hand and enough knowledge to be able to back up your files and be able to re-install Windows if you need to. Please Rate This Thread if you think it's useful, so hopefully we can get it in the mega-sticky.
What Not To Expect
These are just some common misconceptions or myths and things you should not expect going into Linux.
Is Linux Right For Me?
You probably aren't going to want to use Linux if:
I recommend you dual boot Windows and Linux if at all possible. Since this thread is aimed at people who are new to Linux, and Ubuntu is generally the best choice for users like that, the guide I'll link to is for Ubuntu.
Can I run Games and Steam on Linux?
Naturally, games designed for Windows aren't going to work as well on Linux as they do on Windows. However, that doesn't mean you have to give up your hobby of gaming in order to use Linux. Many games are playable under Linux through the use of what's called a compatibility layer. Compatibility layers provide translations for system calls and libraries to allow Windows executables to run on Linux.
The two most popular Compatibility Layers are WINE, which is free, and Crossover, which costs money.
What to expect going into Linux gaming:
Another option for playing games on Linux is to use a virtual machine with Windows installed inside the virtual environment. Keep in mind though, that by using this method you will see very poor performance compared to running the games in a native environment.
There are also a few games that offer native Linux binaries, and can be run without the use of WINE, Crossover or a virtual machine. Some of these titles include:
Some Advantages to Linux
These are some distinct advantages to using Linux.
Choosing The Right Linux Distribution
There are many different Linux Distributions available, all designed for different needs and purposes.
User Friendly Distributions:
Ubuntu is probably the best distro for first time users. It is extremely user friendly and has plenty of scripts and built in features that help make doing things simple. It comes with most of the packages you'll need, as well as a great package manager and a GUI-based 'Add/Remove Programs' menu that simplifies installing programs.
Kubuntu is the same as Ubuntu, only with a different Desktop Environment. Kubuntu uses the KDE Desktop Environment instead of the GNOME Desktop Environment that Ubuntu uses.
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, but comes with a bit more software out-of-the-box.
Pardus is based on Gentoo, however it is much easier to install/use/maintain than Gentoo. Pardus uses the KDE Desktop Environment, and like Ubuntu, it has an easy to use package manager and a graphical menu through which users can install programs.
PCLinuxOS is another popular and easy to use distro that uses the same Synaptic package manager as Ubuntu.
Fedora is a fast, stable, general purpose linux distro that is easy to use and maintain. It provides a great, reliable environment that experienced users will appreciate. It also doesn't have all of the super user-friendly features like many of the User-Friendly distros have, so it's a good choice for people who don't feel they need them.
OpenSuSE is a good, reliable distro that you can easily get working. Like Fedora, it doesn't have all of the features for inexperienced users, so it's good for people who don't want those.
Debian GNU/Linux is extremely stable and reliable. It's been around for quite a while, and supports a ton of CPU architectures. Debian's website claims it comes with "over 18733 packages". It's a powerful distribution without being as difficult to install as Arch or Slackware.
Mandriva Linux is another distro that's not too easy or too hard to use. Mandriva Linux uses the RPM package manager like Fedora, however it has a slightly longer release cycle than Fedora.
Puppy Linux is an extremely light weight distro that features a very user friendly GUI. Puppy Linux is designed to be small enough to fit on CDs and USB Flash Drives, so you don't even need to install it to your hard drive to use it.
Damn Small Linux:
Damn Small Linux is a minimalist distribution designed to fit on USB drives and CDs. It can also be installed to hard drives.
Extreme Performance Distros (Not Recommended For Inexperienced Users):
Gentoo is a highly modular, source-based Linux distro designed to optimize itself for the computer it is installed on. Ever single package is compiled from source code. The Gentoo LiveCD comes with the Xfce Desktop Environment, though you do not need to install Xfce or X11 if you do not feel you need them.
Slackware is binary-based, like most other distros. Dispite being built from pre-compiled binaries, it is still an extremely fast distro, and is also well known for being extremely stable.
Arch is extremely light weight, and is partially source-based, so its packages can be compiled from source codes. Arch does not come with X11 nor a Window Manager/Desktop Environment, so if you want a GUI with arch, you have to download and install one yourself.
Special Purpose Distributions:
BackTrack is a great distro for network security and testing how secure your network is. BackTrack comes with tons of network tools.
Smoothwall is a Firewall/Router/NAT Distribution that makes it easy to turn an old PC with a couple of Network Interface Cards into a highly functional Router/Firewall.
Coyote Linux is a linux based Firewall distribution that can be installed on an old PC to turn it into a Firewall/Router. Coyote Linux can be run from a floppy disk, or installed on a hard drive.
Knoppmyth is a Knoppix based distro that uses MythTV to allow users to create a Linux-based DVR/PVR machine. It's aimed at HTPCs.
Like Knoppmyth, Mythbuntu is an HTPC distro centered around MythTV, however Mythbuntu is based off of Ubuntu.
Linux From Scratch:
The Linux From Scratch project distro is designed specifically as an environment for building your own distribution by hand. The CD comes with all of the source codes you'd need to put together a usable, functioning Linux operating system and the complete Linux From Scratch book to guide you through building a linux system 'from scratch'. Linux From Scratch LiveCD is great because the LiveCD has all the packages you need to compile your distro.
Popular/Recommended Linux Software/Packages:
WINE is a 'compatibility layer' that allows you to run many of your favorite Windows programs and games on Linux (WINE also is available for BSD-based distros and OS X). Keep in mind that not all programs work in WINE, and there are some programs that do not work correctly under WINE, so do not count on WINE to work with all your favorite applications and ditch Windows completely.
Compiz-Fusion is a 3D-Composite Window Manager that visually enhances your Desktop Environment. Compiz-Fusion has many great visual effects such as Wobbly Windows and Desktop Cube, and allows you to create your own custom visual configuration.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program is a powerful, free image manipulation program, similar to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP isn't as nice as Photoshop, but considering the price tag, it's a great substitute. GIMP is also available on Windows, OS X, Solaris and FreeBSD.
Open Office is an office productivity suite, similar to Microsoft Office. It is capable of opening most of the common Microsoft Office file formats, like .doc or .ppt and is free.
MythTV is an open source media application that allows users to turn their PC into an entertainment center. MythTV allows users to record, manage and view entertainment media.
iptables (For experienced users):
Iptables is a powerful firewall/NAT program for Linux. Since it isn't geared towards inexperienced users, such users shouldn't bother with it.
Don't want to format you hard drive to try Linux?
You have a few options. You can use a LiveCD, a USB drive, Wubi (Below) or as Travis Bickle describes, a virtual machine.
To be expanded later on....
Last edited by AlecJ32: 06-13-2011 at 09:53 AM. Reason: updating
|12-13-2008, 09:17 AM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Useful Websites and Guides
Upgrading Ubuntu to a Newer Release (Link provided by Cryptodan)
Running linux as a virtual machine
(Thanks to Travis Bickle for writing this. Could somebody please rep his original post, since I can't give rep?)
Here is a quick guide to install linux as a virtual machine using Sun Microsystems free virtual machine program VirtualBox.
Some of you may not even know what a virtual machine is so here is a brief definition: A virtual machine was originally defined by Popek and Goldberg as "an efficient, isolated duplicate of a real machine". Current use includes virtual machines which have no direct correspondence to any real hardware. Source = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_machine
Term: Host= Physical computer, with default operating system running.
System Requirements: You will need at least 10 GB of free hard drive space and at least 1GB of memory to run 1 virtual machine. The more of both, the better your virtual machine will perform.
First you will need to download the latest version of VirtualBox, found here.Be sure to choose the correct binary reflecting your OS. Windows comes in both x86(32bit) and x64 so be careful to download the right binary.
Next step is to download the user manual, this is very important. There are many features that can be taken advantage of and you will need to read the manual to learn how to implement them. The manual is found on the same download page and you will need Adobe reader to view it.
Next step is to choose and download a Linux distro, in this quick guide we will be using Ubuntu's latest flavor, 8.10 which can be found here. Once again, be sure to choose the correct version reflecting if you have the ability to run x64 or x86(32bit). The cool thing here is that regardless if your host machine (physical) is running x86 or x64, the virtual machine will be running independently so choosing the right version only reflects on if your processor has the capability to run x64 or not. Download the .iso file which is an image file and can be burned directly to a cd or mounted. In my experience, the best way is to burn the iso image to a disk, then use the disk to install the virtual machine but this choice is up to you, I have found there are more features available when installing the virtual machine as opposed to mounting the image file. Mounting the image file is comparable to running the OS as a "live cd" so in this guide, we will be installing the virtual machine from a cd.
After you have finished downloading the .iso image file, you will need to burn this image to disk. There is a great free .iso image burning tool by Alex Feinman called "ISO Recorder" and can be found here. Download and install this nifty little program, after you install ISO Recorder you will have the option to "right-click" Ubuntu's .iso file then choose "Copy image to cd". Select this option, the source destination is already selected, just insert a blank writable disk into your cd/dvd burner and let the program do the rest. After completed, you will be prompted that the burn process is successful, eject and label your disk "Ubuntu 8.10".
Next step, install VirtualBox. Select the default settings while installing, using the host network adapter for network support, etc. Using a virtual adapter is for experienced users who plan on setting up a "virtual network" of multiple virtual machines and can be explained in VirtualBox's manual so for now, just select all the default settings upon installation and you may be prompted to restart your computer once installation is complete. This has changed several times through new versions.
Now, for the fun part, creating your virtual machine. Start VirtualBox, select "new" and select "machine". It's self explanatory setting up your new machine, select the drop down box to select OS type and flavor, ubuntu CAN be selected. Make sure to name your virtual machine appropriately. The part you need to be concerned with is creating a new virtual disk drive for your virtual machine. This wizard will guide you through this process, creating a file where your virtual hard disk will be stored. Select the amount of space, I usually go with 8GB or so but the option to be concerned about is whether you select dynamic or fixed. I would select "dynamic" allowing the disk to grow as you use the virtual machine. If you find you need more disk space in the future, you can always create another "virtual disk" by using the "add" button and mounting the disk within Ubuntu. After you have created your hard disk, on to installing Ubuntu!
Open up your dvd/cd rom drive and insert your newly burned Ubuntu cd. Let it load up then cancel out of the autoplay/run setup. Go to VirtualBox, and start your newly created Ubuntu virtual machine and by default (boot order), it will load from your cd/dvd drive. Select the option to "install" ubuntu within your virtual machine, by default it will select your newly created virtual disk, formatting it in the ext3 filesystem and creating a "swap file" partition for linux to use. Just accept all the defaults and let Ubuntu install. Piece of cake, right?
After you have finished installing Ubuntu, you may eject the cd and your virtual machine is now setup. Anytime you want to boot up your linux machine, just start up VirtualBox, start your virtualmachine and you will have an independent OS running on top of your existing running Windows. Virtual machines is the way of the future in computing, allowing you to install multiple powerful operating systems on one powerful machine, creating your own local domains, setting up and implementing RAID for fault tolerance and performance, reducing hardware overhead, etc.
Just make sure to read VirtualBox's manual, it is very useful and informative in learning how to implement some of it's advanced features and in installing multiple virtual machines.
This guide is only the beginning, soon you can learn how to allocate resources, such as memory to balance performance between your "host" (physical) and your virtual machines. You can even enable certain hardware or disable, the choice is all up to you.
I'm not running an x86 CPU. What distros are there for my CPU architecture?
Well, that depends on what CPU architecture you are running, however for most platforms there are plenty of options. This section is devoted to providing users with some popular options for more obscure CPU architectures.
PowerPC and/or Cell:
SPARC and/or SPARC64:
Display Drivers(Coming Soon)
This glossary explains terms used in this thread.
Binary-based: Binary-based distros are built from pre-compiled binaries.
Desktop Environment: Desktop Environments are graphical interfaces that control what the distro/operating system looks like.
Examples: GNOME, KDE, Xfce
Modular: A distro that is considered modular just means you only have to install the packages you want installed.
Package: Software that usually comes compressed in some form of archive.
Package Manager: The Package Manager well, manages packages. It's what you use to install, remove or update packages.
Source-based: Source-based distros are built and compiled from source codes.
These resources can help you learn about different aspects of Linux or Linux in general.
Slackbook - A detailed manual that's Slackware specific, however, a lot of the info is relevant to all Linux Systems, not just Slackware.
Last edited by AlecJ32: 07-29-2009 at 06:55 AM.
|12-13-2008, 10:32 AM||#5|
Join Date: Dec 2006
|12-13-2008, 10:37 AM||#6|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Wallabing: Ubuntu is Live distro - you don't have to install it when you want to try it. BTW: what went wrong?
AlecJ32: I'm missing Fedora and Debian in Extreme Performance Distros and PCLinuxOS in User Friendly.
Last edited by kfccaleb: 12-13-2008 at 10:40 AM.
|12-13-2008, 11:12 AM||#9|
Join Date: Dec 2006
I purposely omitted certain distros I haven't used before, because I don't know much about them. As for the "Extreme Performance Distros", I'm trying to limit that section to bleeding edge distros that are on the absolute far end of the spectrum. Two of the distros currently there are source-based distros, and they're all extremely modular. I'm not sure where Debian would fall, but I know Fedora would be better off in the "User Friendly Distros" section.
|12-13-2008, 02:39 PM||#10|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Top 10 on DistroWatch.
Soo many versions of Linux... ("Select Distribution" drop down menu at the top)
And people snarl at Windows for having 6
PS: I see a lot of "What it isn't" or "Don't expect X...". Maybe consider making a list of good things people can gain from trying Linux. I think this thread is trying to describe what's in the spotlight, not what's in the dark right beside it. Let Linux shine
Last edited by Arctic Ice: 12-13-2008 at 02:43 PM.
|12-13-2008, 05:24 PM||#11|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Last edited by AlecJ32: 12-13-2008 at 05:27 PM.
|12-13-2008, 06:06 PM||#12|
Join Date: Jun 2004
Quick note: Arch's main package manager pacman isn't source-based. However, it has an automatic build system (abs) that can create binary packages. There's also a front-end to abs that allows you to treat it like pacman.
But for the most part, Arch is a binary i686 and x86_64 bit distro.
Edit: Also, it's overlord can lift cars over his head!
Last edited by atriqus: 12-13-2008 at 06:10 PM.
|12-13-2008, 06:12 PM||#13|
Join Date: Jun 2004
|12-14-2008, 08:13 AM||#14|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Okay, I've added some Advantages to Linux. I'm also going to add some more distros.
Edit: I added "Popular/Recommended Linux Software/Packages" too, if anybody has anything they'd like to contribute to that.
Last edited by AlecJ32: 12-14-2008 at 08:35 AM.
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