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Thinking about trying Linux


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13 replies to this topic

#1 coffeemetalcode

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 04:35 PM

Hi.

I would like to know some of the issues associated with using Linux on a PC. I'm not a programmer, and I have no experience with the Linux OS. I've only ever used Windows, but after doing some reading on Linux and other open source programs, I'm thinking about tinkering around with it on a spare machine. I have a Compaq laptop that needs a new hard drive and I'm thinking this would be the perfect opportunity to try Linux.

I would be using this computer for some office/internet applications but eventually I'd like to use it primarily for audio applications (digital audio recording and broadcast quality music production). These are the questions I'd like to get some guidence on before I start with Linux.

  • Is it difficult to get started with Linux?
  • Is there any additional hardware associated with running Linux that is not found on an ordinary PC originally shipped with Windows?
  • Do I need to install Windows on the new hard drive before I install Linux?
  • What kinds of problems can I anticipate while using Linux?
If there are any online articles tailored to beginner Linux users or those contemplating using Linux, feel free to point me in that direction. Also, if anyone knows of a place where there are forums dedicated to different types of Linux users (such as someone who uses it to run pro audio apps), let me know.

Many thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to impart some wisdom and guidance here. If there are important questions that I forgot to ask, feel free to share.

Peace,

Dave

PS-the Compaq PC has the following specs:

Intel Celeron 2.0 Ghz
PC 2100 266 MHz DDR SDRAM
256 MB RAM (upgradable to 1 GB)
DVD/CD-RW combo drive
2 USB 1.1 compliant ports
Standard everything else (printer/monitor ports, soundcard etc.)
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#2 Blair

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 08:56 PM

1. Is it difficult to get started with Linux?
No. It's easy to get and free. However, if you grew up with Windows you have a but of a learning curve ahead of you. If you ever used DOS, or the command line, you're in better shape.

2. Is there any additional hardware associated with running Linux that is not found on an ordinary PC originally shipped with Windows?
Nope, should install just fine on your system. No, you don't need a new hard drive.

3. Do I need to install Windows on the new hard drive before I install Linux?
No. You don't need Windows at all. Unless you want the option to dual boot.

4. What kinds of problems can I anticipate while using Linux?
Most likely with driver support and peripherals. You may have some issues getting your printer, wireless networking, etc to work.

There are many different versions, or distros (distributions) of Linux. Ununtu is very popular, and a good starter. You even have the option of running Linux from a CD. The system boots from the CD, so it's only for temporary, or testing application, but it will give you an idea of what you're getting into without having to perform an install.
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#3 coffeemetalcode

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 11:44 AM

Thanks for the input, Blair. I'll try Ubuntu from the CD to familiarize myself with the interface. Do you know if it will boot from a computer with a non-functioning hard disk? That way I could see if the soundcard/wireless card etc. work under Ubuntu or if I need to look for specific drivers before I install. Thanks. Dave

#4 Blair

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 11:47 AM

I'm pretty sure it will, but having never tried the Ubuntu LiveDistro I can't say for sure.
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#5 paws

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 05:12 PM

Hi notesetter, Yes, Just to confirm to you that a lot of folks think Ubuntu is a good choice, and the Live distro does not need or access the hard drive in any way, running purely from memory. This is quite a safeguard in the early days of using it, as until you become familiar with sudo & commands you will not be able to "see" the hard drive anyway, and thus can do no damage to your W indows operating system or data, (if the hard drive was actually working.) The interface is one that is somewhat similar to Windows and makes the transition fairly painless. If you have your router plugged in when you boot, Ubuntu should find it immediately, load anything required, and you can begin using the net immediately! The same goes for USB flash drives, your speakers, sound system and the like. Good luck paws

Edited by paws, 13 December 2007 - 05:16 PM.

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#6 shelf life

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 05:51 PM

as far as distro's go: this should add to the confusion:
http://distrowatch.com/
most if not all can run off cd's . anyone new to linux you should stick with the more popular/supported distros.
once you decide on a flavor to use, visit the distro's forums for more information before installing it to your HD. you will get lots of useful information and tips there.
once you come over to "the other side" here are some links;

http://linuxappfinder.com/all
http://web.mit.edu/i...quivalents.html
http://www.linuxrsp..../table-eng.html
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#7 coffeemetalcode

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 08:00 AM

Thank you all. I tried Ubuntu off the LiveCD on my desktop yesterday and I can already feel the pull. BTW, the LiveCD won't work in the laptop (the one with the defunct hard drive). After reboot, I get a message that says something like "media test failed...check cable" and then a line that says "press any key to reboot." Is this indicative of some hardware failure other than the hard disk, or simply that the system won't work without some kind of feedback from a hard drive? I'd really like to test Ubuntu's ability to use the wireless card before I begin repairing the laptop. Any thoughts?...when you get the chance,Dave

#8 paws

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:21 PM

Hi, No it should all work OK from your optical drive....Have you set the BIOS to boot from CD and NOT from the Hard drive?Some distros come on DVD rathere than CD so you will need to have a DVD reader in your machine if this is the case.Regardspaws

Edited by paws, 14 December 2007 - 03:22 PM.

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#9 coffeemetalcode

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:40 AM

OK, I made sure to change the boot order so that it boots from the CD/DVD drive first and I get the message: "media test failed. press any key to reboot" The CD drive should be good (it was fine when tech folks were trying to recover data from the current, defunct hard drive). Could it be a memory issue? It's only running 256 MB of RAM Thoughts? Thanks. Dave

#10 paws

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 04:32 PM

Hi Laptops can sometimes be uncooperative this way! Your 256 Mb of RAM should be OK Why not stick a new hard drive in and see how you go? A neat solution if you don't want to bother with dual boot but want a proper install of Linux is to have 2 hard drives each in its own caddy (ebay) with an OS of choice on each. Its only a moment or two to switch them over but make sure your machine is off and all wires and battery out before doing so. This is how I operate on one of my laptops and it works well Regards paws
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#11 coffeemetalcode

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 10:46 PM

Okay, I'm set. I'm going to put a new hard drive in and see how it goes. I've thought of going the route you suggest, with more than one drive, but for now, I think I'm going to use this as a dedicated Linux machine so that I may learn the ropes so to speak. I'll probably want to set up a Windows partition, at least initially however. I'm sure I'll have questions when it comes to that. Thanks for your help thus far...all of you. Dave

#12 paws

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:47 AM

Good luck :thumbup: Regards paws
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#13 LDDI

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 07:06 PM

Just to add my two bits, I've tried a few (fifteen) different Linux distros and the ones at the top of my list would have to be Mandriva, Ubuntu, and Sabayon. All in all, I'd probably recommend Mandriva over Linux if you're used to using Windows. While the transition is easy no matter what you use, Mandriva comes with an automatic tool for the migration process. I'm not sure if Ubuntu also has this as I've only recently started to try it out. And as everyone has said, good luck! :thumbup:
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#14 VigienLen

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 12:26 AM

I have been used Windows and I have read your post just now. I think i can have a try Linux.


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