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  • #2176681

    Where do I begin?


    by just_chilin ·

    I have an extra pc and I want to install linux on it. Where can I possibly begin?

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    • #3329932

      Novell Linux Desktop 9 demo

      by hockeyist ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      Go to
      and download the Linux demo version.

      • #3329920

        While you are there…

        by liame ·

        In reply to Novell Linux Desktop 9 demo

        Look for the links to the ‘FREE Novell Linux Desktop 9 self-study guide’ – its has pretty much everything you need to know.

        Hats off to Novell for that one.

    • #3328852


      by apotheon ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      The SuSE/Novell distribution of Linux, as mentioned here by others, is indeed a good starting point. You also might consider looking into Ubuntu Linux and MEPIS Linux as “beginner” Linux distributions. Xandros and Linspire are both very easy for making the switch from Windows, though there’s some dispute over how good an OS either one is in comparison with other Linux distributions. Links for all four of these other options follow.

      Ubuntu Linux:

      MEPIS Linux:

      Xandros Linux:


      • #3352250

        Aotheon, How much PC do I need

        by gunnar klevedal ·

        In reply to choices

        I have a Compaq Deskpro EN that’s left over.
        Right now it has Win2k Professional on a 18 GB partition. Nothintg much left on the HDD, cept for maybe the BIOS in a 7MB partition. NTFS.

        I can delete, repartiton, reinstall Win2k.

        This PC will not be connected to the internet, but it has a CD-ROM reader

        • #3331012

          If it ran Win2k

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Aotheon, How much PC do I need

          It will run Linux.

          As for will it do it well, you need to ask the same questions you would for setting up any computer.

          What are you going to use it for?
          What software will you be running?

          You have plenty of Drive space.

          How much memory do you have? Always best to put any memory upgrades in BEFORE the install. Installs faster AND configures your swap partition according to how much memory you have. (usually it does double your ram, so change this default to double what you WILL have if your going to upgrade memory).

          CPU? Anything over a 500Mhz should rock for basic linux usage, and business applications.

          Why not connected to the internet?

        • #3325695

          correct . . . mostly

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to If it ran Win2k

          As far as the minimum capabilities of the system, you’re correct. In fact, my Pentium 233MHz laptop runs Debian with the same kind of performance I get out of my Athlon XP 1600+ running Windows XP. A Pentium 2 400MHz system I was using, with (again) Debian on it, performed as well as the 3.xGHz system on which my (consultancy) boss runs Windows XP.

          Installing a “desktop” distribution of Linux, running Gnome or KDE (such as Ubuntu, RedHat, SuSE, Mandrake, et cetera), will cut down on the performance-to-resources ratio considerably, but even so you’ll probably get the performance of twice the machine running Windows XP. Even when I was running Windows 200 on my Athlon XP 1600+ workstation, it didn’t outperform Debian on the P2 400MHz workstation.

          Linux can comfortably run a skin-and-bones GUI (about as primitive as Windows 3.11, but more functional) on a 486 and a fully featured GUI on a Pentium 100MHz. It’ll run a fully featured GUI [b]comfortably[/b] on a Pentium 233MHz (that’s my laptop) with 64MHz of RAM (and perform credibly), and it’ll do the same with a [b]bloated[/b] GUI like Gnome on a Pentium 2. It’ll leave a trail of fire on that same Pentium 2 with a fully functional but not bloated GUI, and do the same with a bloated GUI on a Pentium 3.

          386s are perfect for a CLI-only Linux install, and will run a good, solid firewall/router on that hardware. While the full functionality of Linux won’t run on a 286, you can get a pared-down version to run there. Of course, you don’t want to try running Sendmail on a 286, anyway.

          What jdclyde says is true. If you have 500MHz and, say, 128MB of SDRAM or better, with 10GB or more of hard drive, you’ll be sittin’ pretty with Linux, even running Gnome or KDE. Give it a whirl.

          Note: For GUIs, lots of RAM is more important than processor speed, generally speaking. If you want a really bloated GUI like Gnome or KDE, make sure you stock up on RAM. You could run it on 64MB of RAM, but you won’t want to.

          By the way, the “mostly” part of the title of this comes in with hardware compatibility. Some Windows-compatible hardware isn’t very unix-compatible. Winmodems are the canonical example, though that’s becoming less and less of an issue as more and more people are going to broadband anyway.

        • #3322260

          No internet Connection

          by gunnar klevedal ·

          In reply to If it ran Win2k

          It is ok to play around with a leftover standalone for educating purposes.
          Internet is a no-no

          I’m not planning any special or useful applications, just to study the OS.

          Maybe Turbopascal or QuickBASIC, DOS versions

        • #3329176


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to No internet Connection

          1. I’m curious . . . is this a computer that your employer (still) owns?

          2. Have we answered your question(s) sufficiently, or is there something we haven’t answered well enough to suit?

        • #3251542

          Taken out of service, decommissioned

          by gunnar klevedal ·

          In reply to questions

          1. My employer still owns it, but it has been decommisioned. At work, on my spare time, I can use it any way I like. It is a standalone PIII 733 MHZ. I might buy it and take it home, but I do not have enough space at home.
          2.Questions answered all right, next time I will post under Q&A, so I can give points

        • #3235517

          re: Q&A

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Taken out of service, decommissioned

          I’m afraid I don’t go there much these days. The format is a little too regimented for my tastes, and there’s very little reward in it, while I tend to at least learn something in discussions.

    • #3342177

      notM$ or linux?

      by ahar ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      The question is – in my opinion – do you want to have someting else than windows or do you want to get into Linux. If second I whould recommend you a “lowlevel” OS like gentoo, slackware, etc. As You said it will be installed on an extra pc you can use your normal pc for internet-queries. I know this is the hard way and you’ll have to fight a lot but in the end you will gain knowledge about linux a lot faster.

      • #3331925

        actually . . .

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to notM$ or linux?

        If you want something that will help ease the transition, go with one of the more “user friendly” distros. If you want something that is really smoothly designed, clean, lean, secure, and stable by default, and runs what is easily the best software management system on the planet (in my opinion, at least), go with Debian. If you want to jump in head-first and learn things by running into apparently insurmountable problems and getting frustrated and accidentally breaking sh*t so that you have to learn how to fix it and thus become a major Linux guru very quickly or die trying, skip right past Slackware and Gentoo, and go straight for Linux From Scratch.

        There’s also a Debian From Scratch, actually, and that might be a really good option as well. Hmm, maybe I should take a shot at that next.

        • #3332128

          I forgot!

          by ahar ·

          In reply to actually . . .

          Even better – sorry I forgot Linux from scratch!
          It’s all a matter of having fun with working on computers. And you also have a benefit for work. In my opinion Slackware or gentoo isn’t that hard if you do not expect to get a windows-lookalike and if you want to just “try what no one has done before” 😉

    • #3331912

      It really depends on what you want

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      If it is just to get the feel of Linux I would recommend Lycoris Desktop LX which is more like Windows XP and is an easy transisition.

      If you want to get into Linux in a big way I’d still start with one of the easy Distros and work my way up to the more configurable ones like my favorite Debian. But It really is not for the faint hearted as most people who start off with Debian as a first time Linux user run kicking and screaming back to Windblows as fast as their legs will carry them.

      I would recommend working your way up start with Lycoris and them some of the Live Distros like Knoppix, Morphis and the like. You could actually run your second computer off the CD and leave the existing OS in place until you are happier working on the Linux environment and then install one of those Distros or go onto one of the others.

      But whatever you do do join a LINUX USER GROUP you will get far better information and help that way instead of just trying it out and seeing where you go wrong and what will not work no matter what you try.

      I would keep your other computer for Windows and use it to contact any LUG that you may join in your area and then you can be on line and asking questions and fixing or altering as you go along. It will work out far easier that way.


    • #3352467

      Try This

      by karldearnley ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      Have you looked at Linspire?

    • #3350271

      There are many places to begin.

      by goseecal ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      Last November I had the same question. Too many choices. You can see my blog on the experience at I chose two different distros, Linspire and Xandros. Easy as pie installs. They get you up and running and doing your day to day tasks (internet, photos, games, etc.) quickly. You can always dig into the operating system later as you learn. The installs detect your hardware and will create a dual-boot system for you if you like. So you don’t always need an extra PC. I had an extra in one case but not the other. Anyway, check my blog to see how I jumped into the home Linux experience.

    • #3350245

      What about Knoppix Linux?

      by hockeyist ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      It fits, boots and runs totally from a CD and is free.
      Check out

      • #3350893


        by mtrox ·

        In reply to What about Knoppix Linux?

        Funny you bring up Knoppix. I downloaded Knoppix, made a CD and it boots up fine. The reason I had downloaded it was that I had read that I could boot off the Knoppix CD (no problem), read NTFS files on the hard drive (also no problem), then burn anything I need to rescue to a CD with the built in Knoppix CD burner (big problem). I see how you burn on Knoppix but my laptop won’t let me eject the Knoppix CD so that I can burn to a blank CD.

        Is there somewhere I can go to learn more? Or does this only work if I have two cd drives?

        • #3350816

          Knoppix CD availability

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Knoppix?

          As I recall, there’s some way in the GUI tools of Knoppix to eject the Knoppix CD to free up the drive, but I don’t recall the specifics of how to do it. You might want to hunt around in the interface and/or look it up on Google.

          It has been a few months or so since I’ve used Knoppix, and I never end up using it for more than a few minutes at a time anyway, so don’t take my words on this subject as gospel.

        • #3350815

          It’s a mounted fs…

          by hockeyist ·

          In reply to Knoppix?

          …so you’ll have to unmount it first. Before unmounting it you may have to start the apps on the cd or move them to the hard disk.

        • #3350809

          That is right but in this case

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to It’s a mounted fs…

          I get the impression that he is rescuing DATA off an NTFS drive and coping apps to the drive might not be a good idea.

          If you really need to I would use an external CD Drive mounted in a USB-IDE caddy. These are cheap and easy to install Knoppix should recognize them without a problem but they should be plugged in when you boot Knoppix.


        • #3331010


          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to That is right but in this case

          Will an external USB cd rom boot?

        • #3330892

          Depends on the M’Board

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Booting?

          But even if it will not you can always use the external CD to burn with. These burners are so cheap now that I wouldn’t even consider buying a reader only CD.

          Col ]:)

        • #3325701

          CDs and motherboards

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Depends on the M’Board

          1. Actually, it depends on the BIOS, but that’s mostly a function of the motherboard, so close enough. Heh. Watch me nit-pick.

          2. I don’t remember the last time I even saw a CDROM drive for sale, new. Do they still make ’em?

        • #3325647

          Yes at least I can still buy CD ROM’s

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Depends on the M’Board

          It just isn’t worth the money not to buy a CDRW instead. They are only a few $ more and if I have to buy a CD ROM I buy the Recorders rather than a plain CD ROM.

          On todays price list a Sony CD ROM is $28.00 AU whole sale as apposed to a Sony CDRW at $32.00 AU for the $4.00 Au difference it just isn’t worth the effort not to have a burner.

          And while you are part way right about the BIOS being the main culprit with booting from a USB device it is still what the M’Board can support in the way of the BIOS that is the limiting factor.

          How is that for a bit of nit picking? 🙂

          Col ]:)

        • #3325566


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Depends on the M’Board

          Good job!

        • #3350808

          Bootable Jump Drives

          by hockeyist ·

          In reply to Knoppix?

          How about a bootable USB flash drives?
          Google bootable jump drives
          and you’ll find heaps of info.

        • #3350805

          Here’s a link – Boot KNOPPIX from an USB Memory Stick

          by hockeyist ·

          In reply to Knoppix?

          Here is a link to what I was talking of
          Boot KNOPPIX from an USB Memory Stick

          Also check this out

        • #3350792

          Thanks I’ve tried most of that.

          by mtrox ·

          In reply to Here’s a link – Boot KNOPPIX from an USB Memory Stick

          Only got a sec so forgive me if this is answered in some of those links but…….I’ve never done a bootable flash drive for the simple reason I’m on computers all over town. As I understand it, only the newest BIOS’s will let you boot from a USB flash drive.

          I did find in the Knoppis GUI where you right click and eject…..but my disk wouldn’t eject. It also did nothing when I hit the eject button on the drive itself. As soon as I rebooted into windows I could eject.

          Also tried the other idea, I sent the data to the Knoppix CD burner deal (K3c or something like that) but it did me no good as I still couldn’t get the drive to eject the Knoppix CD so I could burn a new one.

          My other thought was an external CD, but don’t want to lug that around either. I was told the Knoppix would do this, then I’d only have to carry one more CD.

          No offence guys, you all know more than I. But I keep hearing how Linux runs rings around Windows. But so far it feels like Windows 95 sort of buggy stuff. I can’t get it to see my wireless card, can’t get it to eject the CD, and the help files are worse than Gates’!!

        • #3350786


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Thanks I’ve tried most of that.

          It’s odd that you’re having this problem. I know that at least most LiveCD distributions of Linux allow for ejecting the CD to insert a different one if needed, and I’ve never heard of anyone having problems doing that. Your problem is outside my experience, I’m afraid.

        • #3350780

          Try this

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Thanks I’ve tried most of that.

          On the Knoppix Desktop right click on the CD drive Icon and chose the unmount or dismount whatever it is called in that Distro. The drive should then open.

          When you insert a blank CD you will have to mount the CD again and it should burn or at least that is the way it is supposed to work. I do not use Knoppix myself so I can not say for certain that is how you should be doing things but with most Linux Distros you do need to unmount any removable media before the CD Drawer will open.

          As for the wireless connection this could be a unsupported wireless card for that Distro {most like scenario} or you may need to install the drivers latter but that would be for a installed version of Knoppix and not the Run from CD version. Just which version of Knoppix do you have?


        • #3331275

          Still no good

          by mtrox ·

          In reply to Try this

          Thanks for the effort Hal, but I tried it on two computers and got the same result in both. I right clicked on the CD drive icon, there is nothing on that menu about mounting/unmounting/remounting whatever. And what is a Distro?

          Then on both computers I went to something called “partition info-center” or something like that. It showed the CD drive and one of the collumns was “mount point”. But when I right or left clicked on the row with the CD partition, nothing. I clicked on all the menus at the top of the “partition info-center” and nothing that would change any setting on any of the partitions. There was nothing on the “Settings” menu that led to anything to do with drives or partitions.

          Maybe I just have to get a big honk’n USB flash drive if I want to rescue data. If it takes this much work to get one computer to work, there’s no way I’m going to do this in the field when someone’s paying me by the hour.

        • #3331254

          What version of Knoppix

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Still no good

          Are you using?

          There should be a release number on the boot-up screen something like Knoppix 3.2.XXXX or the like.

          This is a Debian Based product and has a lot of the Debian code in its guts so it should be rock solid but depending on what version you have there will be differences in how you use it. A bit like Windows 98SE and XP.

          It really depends on the core code that is being used as to how it works. I’ve used a couple of the Live versions of Linux and never had a problem in removing the boot CD and burning a DATA CD before so it has to be either the hardware or the more likely the version of the product.

          A Distro is a Product of Linux put simply generally these are used as different companies who distribute Linux like SUSE, Debian or Knoppix but each Distro has numerous versions as well sought of like Windows XP with or with out SP1 & 2. The core code has been upgraded within the last 12 months so you could have an old version which isn’t the easiest to use.

          To be quite honest to recover data from a HDD in any computer I carry 2 USB Caddies with me one for 3.5 inch and the other for 2.5 inch IDE Drives. I just rip the drive out and plug it into one of these caddies and then transfer the data across to my LT’s external drive the people are even welcome to actually buy the drive if they are at all concerned about data security but so far this hasn’t happened. I actually use Debian to do things like that but if you know Windows well you could use that I suppose but just make sure that you have everything up to date so your LT doesn’t get infected. With Linux this isn’t an issue because Windows issues are not transfered to Linux.


        • #3331149

          It’s Knoppix 3.4

          by mtrox ·

          In reply to Try this

          Thanks Hal. Couldn?t reply directly to your last post. This site seems a bit balky at times.

          I have Knoppix 3.4. I see that?s not the latest. I?m downloading 3.7 right now.

          I doubt my problem is hardware related. I first saw this problem on my laptop but I never trust anything on those. It does the same thing on my desktop too though so it seems doubtful that it?s hardware.

          Your caddy idea works but I think those are just good for LT drives aren?t they? I could also just carry a USB external drive around too but the truth of the matter is, once a computer won?t boot up and people think all their data is lost, they will let you do anything?take the computer anywhere?.to get their data back. But I was trying to learn a little Linux here while solving a problem.

          I could always network the sick computer, but my first impression is that it?s hard to carry around a live Linux disk that will P & Play configure with every random computer?s network adapter.

          According to this guy, you have to have two CD drives to burn from a Live Knoppix OS. If that?s true, then I?d just have to bring home a sick computer and hook up a USB hard drive. Does Knoppix detect those pretty easily or do I need special Linux drivers?

        • #3347163

          Well I’m probably not the right person to ask but

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to It’s Knoppix 3.4

          Firstly you can get USB to IDE caddies for both 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives so you can theoretically plug in as many drives as there are letters in the alphabet to your LT. The 3.5 inch ones do have their own Power Supply and don’t draw power from the USB port so it shouldn’t be a problem. The 2.5 inch caddies do draw their power from the USB port so I tend to use a powered USB Hub when I’m using more than one of them. I currently pull a sick HDD out of non working computers plug it into the USB caddy {I use the metal ones as they don’t allow the drive to get as hot as the cheaper plastic ones} and then just dump the data across to another 2.5 inch drive in another USB caddy to store the data on.

          I do try to carry as many 2.5 inch caddies as possible and tend to only carry one 3.5 inch caddy but that is because of space nothing else. The light sticks on the 3.5 inch caddies make the people really think I’m gathering quite a lot of data off their drives as well but some are easily amused.

          Now I’m not sure about Knoppix and what how it works as I’ve only ever used it once and even then it was only for a play. But it just might be correct that you need 2 CD/DVD drives to record to one I really do not know with that distribution but even if you do need a usb drive to record Knoppix should recognize it without a problem it would only be the strange interfaces where there might be a problem and Wireless of course.

          Actually the 2 CD idea makes a lot of sense particularly as all of the OS is on the CD. With the live Distros that I’ve played with some create a RAM Drive for the critical files and work off that so the CD can be free ed up to record some files but one every occasion I have had to create the record job with the Linux CD in place and then remove it to perform the record process. I really do not use these too often as I find them far to limited but you have a good idea in what you are trying to achieve. With every Live Linux Distro that I have ever used they have all worked perfectly in detecting the great bulk of the hardware including LAN adapters but wireless is a different thing but really this should not be an issue with these as wireless should not be of any real concern for these versions of Linux. I tend not to use them too often as I find them all far too limited in their working applications and the slow speed drives me nuts but I’ve run them on everything from an old 200 MMX Intel with 16 MEG of RAM up to the Dual Xeon’s with 16 GIG of RAM {it was a server} without a single problem in any critical hardware configuration with of course the exception of wireless connections. I have yet to run across any of the major SCSI interfaces, video cards/chip-sets, M’Boards which are not supported.

          I even threw in a copy of Knoppix into one of my LT’s today with the intention of having a play to see what you where experiencing but got called away and have not as yet had a chance to get back to it, {well that was only at 9.00 am yesterday and it’s now 1.32 AM the next morning I hate end users who stop me doing what I’ve intended to do!} Incidentally what you have coming down as Knoppix 3.7 is an ISO image so you will have to convert it to a working CD when you record it to the CD. Depending on your CD Recording software this might be a bit more complicated than it looks. Easy CD Creator will just convert an ISO image to a working CD but Nero requires you to dig around a bit I’m not sure about any of the other CD Recording packages as I’ve never used them and even then Nero only on a few occasions.

          Actually that article looks pretty good and covers just about everything that you would need I would tend to believe that 2 CD drives are required but if you have an IDE one on a USB – IDE interface it shouldn’t be a problem at all. These Distros are designed to cover as much hardware as possible and still work and they do a pretty good job of it to.

          I hope that is of some help.


        • #3335803

          Response to “Well I’m probably not the right…”

          by mtrox ·

          In reply to It’s Knoppix 3.4

          I?m going to look at your USB caddies idea. Seems it might be a slick way once you get a few of them and get a routine down. I?ll look for some with lights. I?m afraid my clients in the States are impressed with blinking lights too. Maybe even more so. There?s a reason we?ve got Las Vegas here ya know.

          I did download the 3.7 Knoppix. Yea I?ve burnt an .iso image before. I?ve got Record Now and Nero and they both can do it. It worked fine, but for what I?m doing I didn?t notice any difference. Still doesn?t even see, much less configure, my wireless card, and can?t burn a CD with the Live Knoppix in the drive. I?ve given up on that. I?ll just use USB stuff to get data off a sick drive when I need to. You?re right though. So far I?ve run Knoppix on 3 or 4 machines and it has had no problem with the basic PCI, IDE kinda stuff.

          Some day when I have a reason I might try to dig into and set up a Linux machine. Right now it?s not where the money is for me though. I feel the need to use and be conversant in Bill Gate?s stuff as that?s what I?m talking to clients about on the phone.

        • #3335736

          And for really sick drives…

          by hockeyist ·

          In reply to It’s Knoppix 3.4

          …I recommend rstudio ( ). I have used it to recover data via USB drives and also recovered data from raid arrays across the network with the remote install option. It’s relatively cheap.

    • #3340698

      Live CD

      by jmgarvin ·

      In reply to Where do I begin?

      If you grab the “Live CD” of whatever distro you don’t have to install it, but you can see what distro fits your needs.

      I would suggest Ubuntu or Gnoppix.

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