Do I need to install any software on Win XP computer to learn UNIX?

By yumer ·
I want to learn UNIX. What do I need toinstall on my Win XP computer. I am very familiar with DOS.

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Download a bootable live Linux or unix distro such as:

by robo_dev In reply to Do I need to install any ...

OpenSolaris Live
this is a link to an old version, but:

hub DOT opensolaris DOT org/bin/view/Project+indiana/getit (replace DOT with dot)

Any Linux live distro will teach you about 90% of what you need to know about UNIX. While there are some differences with Solaris, vs, AIX, vs other Unix variants,if you know Linux, you know UNIX.

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Try VMware player

by Charles Bundy In reply to Do I need to install any ...

That will allow you to run other x86 operating systems from the comfort of your Windows desktop.

Then check out the following for BSD and Linux images.

You mention development, but most should have GNU development packages.

Hope this helps!

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Try a Linux version (like Ubuntu) thatruns in a WIndows Directory

by bobc4012 In reply to Do I need to install any ...

Linux is essentially a Unix clone. You will find the way most things run under Linux is the same way the run under Unix. There a Linux distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint (an Ubntu/Debian derivative) and others. Burn the iso to a CD (or DVD). You will find an ".exe" file named "wubi.exe". Running this file will install the Linux distro into a Windows directory (like installing any other Windows application). It also provide the uninstall. Under XP, it will add to files to the C: root and append a line to the "boot.ini" file. The next time you boot your PC, you will see the option to boot into XP or Linux. This is similar to creating a Virtual Machine (VirtualBox is an easy way to run a Linux distro as a VM). It (and VM Ware) is an alternative if you choose a Linux distro that does not allow for a "Wubi" install. Ubuntu 12.04 still allows for a Wubi install, but the Desktop environment has changed since Ubuntu 10.10. The same holdds true for the latest versions of Linux Mint. If you can find on the intenet, Ubuntu 10.10 (or earlier), you can download, burn to a CD and either run it off the CD (Live CD) or do the Wubi install. You will find the Desktop Environment more closely resembles your XP Desktop. Ubuntu switched to a different D.E. in 11.04 and would be more like a "tablet" GUI rather than like an XP GUI. BTW, when you install Ubuntu 10.04, you will get a message that it is no longer supported. You can "close" the message and ignore. You will still get updates for any of the applications that run, just not updates for the Canonical support (the Ubuntu developer). You can replace the Desktop Environment in 11.04 and later, XFCE is one example that would be closer to XP. Gnome Classic is another. Prior to 11.04, Ubuntu used Gnome 2 for the Desktop Environment, but in 11.04, it switched to the Unity D.E. Again, if you download a different distro and don't have "wubi.exe" on the CD, then you can get VirtualBox (its free) and run the Linux distro as a VM.

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Cygwin is the easiest way to go

by setanta5 In reply to Do I need to install any ...

To quote its own site, Cygwin is:

- A collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows.
- A DLL (cygwin1.dll) which acts as a Linux API layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.

Go to and download the setup. The setup will prompt you to install from the Internet; select all the packages. It will probably take about two hours to download and install. What it gives you is a standard Unix shell (bash) and all the GNU commands, hundreds of them. You can also launch X Windows too, although that isn't quite as satisfactory.

Be warned, the Unix shell is a far more powerful and versatile beast than DOS; think luxury cruiser versus a rowboat. Try doing something like this in DOS:

# /opt/quest/bin/vastool -u host/ search -b DC=WINDMZ5,DC=net -q \(name=\*\) name samaccountname |awk 'BEGIN{Join=2;Count=0}{printf("%s ",$0) ; Count++ ; if(Count%Join==0) print "";}END{if(Count%Join!=0) print ""}' | awk '$NF~"^[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]$"'

There are lots of tutorials on the Internet for learning Unix shell.

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Damn Small Linux

by Imprecator In reply to Do I need to install any ...

The least painful way to get your feet wet is to use Damn Small Linux

It's small (50 Megs), light on resources, you can have a a copy in your hard drive (or USB thumb drive) that boots inside Windows (thanks to QEMU), And you don't have to install anything.

download, unzip it, run dsl-base.bat. And that's it.

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Also give VirtualBox a try

by Elteto In reply to Do I need to install any ...

Do an online search for Oracle VM VirtualBox as well. A quick 92 MB download later you can start setting up various Unix distributions to play with. You can also use multiple virtual disk formats in VirtualBox, so you can always re-use them in other VM applications.

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Almost forgot: FreeBSD

by Elteto In reply to Do I need to install any ...

FreeBSD is a good dsitribution to help you learn about Unix.

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Reponse To Answer

by maszsam In reply to Almost forgot: FreeBSD

If you just want to learn Unix FreeBSD is a great choice. Be prepared to have to up your game if you want to ask questions on the forum. These boys are serious about it but to the good they are also correct. There are some good books FreeBSD as well. Michael Lucas is a great author, try his books out.
A bigginer may want to and probably start with Ubuntu and read some books as well. Ubuntu is quick to get up and running and can be dual booted with an XP machine. An easy way to do it is just to add a second hard drive to the machine. Pull the XP drive and install linux a couple of times until you are comfortable with it and then go for a dual but using the Linux disk to do it using grub. Just make sure you specifiy the second disk for the Linux install and all is well.

DOS is much like the command line and important for Unix. Read LInux Command Line and Shell Scripting by RIchard Blum and Christine Bresnahan. There are a couple of errors in the book so don't die on one spot if you get stuck. Also there is a good Ubuntu forum, although you can grow old and die waiting for a valid response to a serious question

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UNIX is not Linux

by anil_g In reply to Do I need to install any ...

No, Linux is not a UNIX clone. Linux and UNIX have similarities but they are not the same.

Yes, Cygwin is a great start on Windows to get into the Linux / UNIX world, but Cygwin is a Linux toolset.

If you really want to start learning UNIX FreeBSD is the UNIX of choice, for a live distro that will boot from USB or CD, choose GhostBSD.

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VMware Workstation is the way to go.

by ghislain.levesque In reply to Do I need to install any ...

Install VMwarw Workstation on your pc and from there you will be able to create multiple server with different O/S like redhat, Oracle Enterprise Linux, Solaris. You could also create snapshot of your server, try things and rollback if it's not working without re-installing everything!!!

have fun.

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