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Jeff
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Save me.

Postby Jeff » 2004.07.28 2:08 am

Converting to Linux is probably the tech equivalent of becoming a born-again Christian. So I'm asking for help to be "saved".

Nate, I pride myself on my general IT knowledge and capability. I'm certainly not as skilled as many people in the field, yourself includied, but my abilities have helped me make friends, save money, and make money. The problem is, I've skipped Linux.

I think I tried getting a slackware distro running a while back. No dice. I think it was attempting to load the boot animation and just started spitting binary at me. I probably could have fixed it, but I know nothing about anything when it comes to this. I have a Phlak disc which boots just fine. This is great, but seeing as it's on a CD there isn't much I can do with it.

There's got to be a starting point, but I don't know where it is. I've never really dealt with a non-MS OS. I can understand Macs, but that shouldn't count. I don't even know where to begin. I would easily switch from XP Pro to a Linux kernel if only I knew what I was doing.

A: General Knowledge
- What's a good, free distribution for a first-timer?
- How the fuck do I add a GUI when I can't even understand the command line directory structure?
- Is it easy to set up a dual boot that I could later remove if I wanted to without destroying my ability to boot XP? (Red had some serious issues with lilo)

B: Compatibility
- I love some of the new features in Office 2k3, especially in FrontPage and Outlook. Can you point me in the right direction as far as emulating a Windows environment?
- Can most distributions read NTFS from the get-go, or will I need to find some drivers?
- I need to run Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects. Do you know anything about DV device support, or would this be another situation for a Windows emulator?
- Fuck Photoshop, I like PSP. Again with the emulator?
- IM. Gaim supports Yahoo, Aim, ICQ, and MSN? Good. What about webcam support? My girlfriend lives in Kenosha, and being able to see her every day is nice.
- Zip file support, FTP client, DVD player, P2P, audio editing, media player... Have any good examples?

I've wanted to switch or at least test the waters for a long time now. But I sure as hell wasn't going to ask at TE with Drew on patrol. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I'd just like to get a basic understanding of this.
I do what I can.

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nrunge
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Postby nrunge » 2004.07.28 3:08 am

Now we begin our little adventure.

- What's a good, free distribution for a first-timer?

First lets not get confused by what people call "easy to use" ditro's. Redhat and Mandrake are fine but they end up suffering from the same problems that Windows does because they enable too much shit by default. Debian is nice because you install only what you need, its not the easiest to install but any person who is tech savvy should be able to understand the basics, Redman for example was able to begin the basic install (if only his network card was recognized). This net install image will install a very base system. Then you install packages from Debian servers (there are people who dedicate their time to pre-compile packages and all their dependencies that will work with Debian). These packages are very new and have security holes/bugs patched and whatnot. Grab the Woody i386 ISO from:
http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/debian-cd/
if you have any problems with Woody (stable Debian branch) then try to find Sarge, its technically "unstable" but that doesnt mean like Windows beta unstable, it means that it will work on 90% of systems but is not fully tested, this goes as well for the stable/unstable Linux kernel branches, I ran 2.5.x for a while and had no probs. In Linux Kernel development even numbers 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 are stable and odd numbers 2.3, 2.5 are unstable. 2.3 eventually became fully merged into 2.4 and 2.5 to 2.6, Torvalds has currently stopped on 2.6 so there is not yet a 2.7 branch.

Then begin your install. We will do this in a series of steps as not to overwhelm you. If I am not quick to answer the google around, there is tons of help. It will go like this.

1. install base system
2. partition your drives (for business uses some people use seperate paritions for "/tmp" "/var" and "/usr" but I just make it all one big partition as you wont have to worry about large log files getting too big and having to set quotas. However you will need to make a swap partition, follow windows rules...1.5 x ammount of RAM" I also suggest to use the EXT3 journaling filesystem. (another bonus I forgot about Linux doesnt need to be defragmented! It does it itself as it writes files)
2. update your sources.list file
3. install xfree86 (Xwindows)
4. install KDE (your window manager...my desktop for example is running KDE, however in the future you will be able to run any windows manager you want, like Fluxbox, Gnome...etc)
5. download, configure, and compile your new kernel. (Woody installs with 2.2.x, you will want to make the jump to 2.6.7 which is the current stable version of the Linux kernel, this is also where Linux is really fucking cool. No PCMCIA devices? NO SCSI devices? Well dont compile them in! This streamlines the Kernel and makes your OS more efficient)
6. get you the apps you want ( in reality this is as simple as opening up a terminal and typing "apt-get install k3b" which would install cd burning software).


How the fuck do I add a GUI when I can't even understand the command line directory structure?


Adding a GUI is simple, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Command line is really nice, its alot like dos only more robust. A few examples:
ls=list directory
cd=change directory
mkdir=make directory
remdir=remove directory
ps -ax=list all processes for user
whoami=tells what user you are
pwd=print working directory
I used to use GUI for everything but as you learn you will become more efficient at CLI. Its a lot to take in though, when I used to get frustrated I just sat down and said
Me: "Hey man when you first started using Windows did you know what the fuck was going on?"
Me: "Hell no, I just played around and had a fun time learning new things"
Me: "Well lets have fun with this, I cant break anything I wont learn how to fix"
Once you learn one OS its hard because you think you will be able to sit down anywhere and do the same thing, which just isnt true.

Is it easy to set up a dual boot that I could later remove if I wanted to without destroying my ability to boot XP? (Red had some serious issues with lilo)


The last time I installed Debian it recognized my NTFS partition and asked me if I wanted to add it to Lilo. Redman can claim the same thing.

I love some of the new features in Office 2k3, especially in FrontPage and Outlook. Can you point me in the right direction as far as emulating a Windows environment?


Download a pirate copy of Codeweavers: Crossover Office, there is almost always a new version for download at alt.binaries.warez.linux (newsgroup)


Can most distributions read NTFS from the get-go, or will I need to find some drivers?


If you are talking local drive, yes, you will have to compile support for Read-Only NTFS into your Kernel. Write support has just been added with 2.6.x and is technically experimental and slightly more complicated however I used it at work yesterday and it was fine. If you are referring to a network drive then you can always mount shares using Samba which uses the same SMB filesystem that Windows uses.

I need to run Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects. Do you know anything about DV device support, or would this be another situation for a Windows emulator?

I dont know about DV support. I'm sure its there but I have never used it before. But if you are going to input video for use in Adobe Products then that is something that I would suggest doing in Windows as Video editing in Linux is just starting to make its breakthrough.

Fuck Photoshop, I like PSP. Again with the emulator?

Yes an emulator (Crossover Office) should work fine, although I only ever ran PS with it.

IM. Gaim supports Yahoo, Aim, ICQ, and MSN? Good. What about webcam support? My girlfriend lives in Kenosha, and being able to see her every day is nice.


Gaim does not currently support video or voice however there is a mod called Gaim -vv that is in the works, I dont know how sophisticated it is, but its worth a try.

Zip file support, FTP client, DVD player, P2P, audio editing, media player... Have any good examples?

You wont use many Zip files as Linux users tend to use Gzipped or Bzipped tarballs. However there is full support for rar, ace, zip, tar, tar.gz and tar.bz for linux, there is even a GUI called ARK that comes with KDE that supports them all.
FTP Client: I use Kbear, its alot like BulletProof FTP.
DVD/Media Player: mPlayer, Kplayer, Xine, and Kaffeine will cover any video or music.
Music Specific: XMMS, Zinf and NoAttun are nice programs as well. I have all of these installed...I cant pick a favorite yet.
Audio Editing I dont know much about, SoundForge I guess...other than that it is always best to post at LinuxQuestions.org or google around. Google even has a special search just for linux users.

Whoah...that was alot to spit out. Just remember most companies dont make drivers for some of this shit and hackers have to reverse engineer/create ways to make it work. Most devices work fine and some companies like Nvidia are producing Linux drivers.

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Postby Jeff » 2004.07.28 8:26 am

It's worth a shot. Any way to read the ext3 partitions in XP? And how does it feel about large volumes? I have a 200gb partition (mistake?) and I couldn't read more than 132 until I installed SP1.
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Postby Jeff » 2004.07.28 9:36 pm

How deliciously overwhelming.

Well, I got through install and eventually got a command line, but I was never able to download packages because it couldn't find my network card either. I'm either going to search for some workaround for this, be it finding a way to load drivers or installing a generic network card, or try dumping my phlak CD onto a hard drive somehow. If I remember correctly, there was documentation on how to do that.

Either way, it's too much to think about tonight.
I do what I can.

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nrunge
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Postby nrunge » 2004.07.29 1:28 am

Any way to read the ext3 partitions in XP?

I am not sure. I havn't dual booted in over 2 years and even then I what I had on my EXT2 parition never was applicable in Linux.

And how does it feel about large volumes?

Hehe :] Big.

it couldn't find my network card either

First, what network card do you have? Second, you can always try Sarge, the driver base is a little more up to date. As far as Linux is concerned I have always had luck using cheap shitty NIC's.

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Postby Jeff » 2004.07.29 7:12 am

It's the gigabit ethernet controller for the intel 875p chipset. The odd thing is it works fine in phlak.
I do what I can.

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Postby nrunge » 2004.07.30 12:19 am

The odd thing is it works fine in phlak.


Thats not odd becuase I'm sure phlak uses an updated kernel with the proper drivers. Drivers dont work the same way they do in Windows, for the most part they are either compiled into the kernel or are a module that is loaded into the kernel. Phlak I'm sure uses an updated version of the kernel which has support for newer devices. Debian Woody uses 2.2.4 or something rediculous like that, only becuase it is tried and true on any system. 2.2.4 is like 5-6 years old. Try Sarge, it will have a newer version of the Kernel. I will try to find you an answer for your problem though.

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Postby Jeff » 2004.07.30 12:25 am

thanks. I did opt to install the 2.4 kernel, but I'm assuming it wouldn't affect the system on the disc.

Maybe I should just leave my XP machine be and go dig out my old athalon 333 machine.
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Postby nrunge » 2004.07.31 12:27 am

The more recent Kernel you have the better. Eventually we will want you at 2.6.7. Did your network card get recognized?


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