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Yeah I know, I'm sure your sick of these topics, but I'm sure at one point you were as clueless as I am now. All I want is some suggestions ...
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  1. #1
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    A few basic questions from a Linux n00b...


    Yeah I know, I'm sure your sick of these topics, but I'm sure at one point you were as clueless as I am now.


    All I want is some suggestions for things I need, good sites, and what I will need. All I will be using it for is a little word processing, surfing the internet, and instant messanging. I just want to get a feel for it before I use it as my main OS.

    I'm trying to choose between Mandrake and RH... what one do you recommend?

    Also, could someone explain how dual-booting works? Is it just like, there is a screen at startup that asks you what OS you want to run? Is it hard to do that?

    Once I download one, how do I go about getting programs to use?

    Will I be able to play .MP3s stored on the Windows part of my HD through Linux?

    Last question: I was just talking to my mom on the phone and she was at work. She was asking the computer tech guy there if they had any extra optical mouses laying around there. The tech guy knew I was trying to start using Linux somehow, and he told my mom that optical mouses won't work with Linux.

    I'm thinking this guy doesn't know what he's talking about, but is that true?


    Sorry for the long post, I just want to know as much as possible about this before I get into it.

  2. #2
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    A lot of people will say Red Hat. Mandrake is probably the easiest for a new user to use, but it does have it's faults. If you don't want to do a lot of the stuff yourself right away, Mandrake can be installed with no hastle and comes with everything you're looking to do. I've never done the Red Hat install myself, so I can't tell you how easy/difficult it is or what comes with it. From what I've heard it's fairly easy to install and will probably have everything you need as well. Basically it's up to you.

    You have it pretty bang on with the dual boot, you get a nice fancy bootloader that lets you choose what to boot. It's not hard to do at all; the Mandrake install does it for you whereas I'm not sure about Red Hat.

    Most of the stuff you're looking for, ie: web browser, instant messaging, mp3 players, office stuff ect will be on the Mandrake and Red Hat cds. Red Hat's big thing is precompiled packages called RPM's that do all the installing for you, but you can use them in Mandrake as well. The other way is compiling from source which is just plain better, but can be a little tricky sometimes.

    Yes, you can mount a windows partition and play your mp3's directly from that.

    I'm not too sure about the optical mouse thing, but I don't see why they would give you a problem. I see lots of posts where people use Logitec Optical mice and they don't have any problems.

  3. #3
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    RedHat and Mandrake both have their advantages and disadvantages.
    Mandrake has more eyecandy (if you like that), it seems to be able to detect more hardware automatically, and comes with some more programs than RedHat.
    RedHat, on the other hand, seems to be a lot more stable than Mandrake, and it isn't as adapted to being only an end-user distro in the way the Mandrake is.
    Personally, I prefer RedHat.

    I've used RedHat much more than Mandrake, so except when explicitly stated otherwise, I will answer the rest of the question from a RedHat perspective. It comes with OpenOffice, which is Sun's open source replacement for the MS Office suite. It comes with basically everything that you get from MS Office, and the developers have spent a lot of time reverse-engineering MS's proprietary file formats, so it can handle most of them.
    For surfing the internet, you get Mozilla, which is basically Netscape. In fact, Netscape releases nowadays are basically snapshots of the Mozilla code, only customized to look "Netscape".
    As for IM, there is gaim, which is quite excellent. Unfortunately, both RH and Mdk ship pre-0.60 versions of gaim, which, frankly, suck. You might therefore want to download the latest version later.
    Except gaim, there isn't much software that you have to get after the installation is complete; almost everything you will ever need comes with the distro.

    As for dual-booting, you get a boot loader, which shows a boot menu where you can choose which O/S to start up, just like you stated. Just like SiezedPropaganda said, it isn't hard at all; the installer sets it up for you. And, yes, the RH installer does that too. You usually get to choose between LILO and GRUB. LILO is the LInux LOader, which was the original boot loader for Linux. GRUB, the GRand Unified Bootloader, started out as a boot loader for the GNU project's Hurd kernel, which uses the GNU Multiboot format, but has since been extended, just like any other GNU software, to be able to boot virtually any O/S in existance. GRUB is heavily superior to LILO in almost all aspects. There are a few cases where LILO is better, but they are so seldomly occuring that you are extremely unlikely to ever encounter one except if you're (only) using some SCSI or hardware RAID controller card that doesn't have a BIOS extension ROM. Therefore, choose GRUB.
    The thing is that if your hard drive doesn't have any unpartitioned space, you will either have to reinstall Windows from scratch along with Linux, or resize your Windows partition. Here is the biggest advantage with Mandrake: it comes with built-in resizing programs in the installer. It is possible that RedHat 9 has that, but I'm not sure. If you insert a new hard drive to install Linux on, then there are no problems at all.

    Oh, about MP3s. RedHat now ships without MP3 support, because of some legal problems of which I'm not quite sure. It's easy to add after the installation is complete, though, so don't worry about it.
    You can easily mount your Windows partition, but you won't be able to write to NTFS partitions. NTFS write support is a huge programming project, but I think that the guys at the linux-ntfs project is working on it. You can read perfectly well from NTFS partitions, though, and FAT works perfectly.

    And about the optical mouse thingie... I've heard that one once before, and I can't for the life of me understand where it comes from. In terms of computer interface, optical mice don't differ from ordinary mice, so it simply isn't possible that they would be unsupported under Linux.

  4. #4
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    Wow, thanks a lot for all the info and for taking the time to type that up.

    I'll probably end up using Mandrake.

    About the optical mouse, thats the same exact thing I was thinking.

    One last question... Since I am putting Linux on my old computer, it only has a 20 GB HDD. Is that enough space to run Windows and Linux?

  5. #5
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    I dont really know about windows, but linux you can strip down a bunch, 2-4gb used to be enough if you wan to play around a little also. But 10gb for win and 10gb for linux workes...
    Regards

    Andutt

  6. #6
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    Awesome, thanks a lot.

  7. #7
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    optical mice certainly DO work with linux, my bro has one it works fine.. tell that super leet tech dude he's an ******* ;)

  8. #8
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    optical mouse

    That tech guy is full of it. I actually use a cordless optical mouse (logitech) with red hat 9. it installed automatically & required no additional setup or extra installation steps.

  9. #9
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    Good.
    I figured he was just an idiot, but wanted to make sure.

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