View Full Version : I'm a n00b

11-24-2002, 02:04 PM
ok heres the deal.........my friend gave me a drive that he had killed a few months ago from a bad-ass OC. The drive might be working and earlier today I installed it and wanna load linux on it. I've been a windows user my whole life.

What distribution do you recommend and what do I have to read? Do I have to read? Is this harder/easier then I thought? Right now I'm downloading RedHat 8.0. I don't even know if I'm download the right thing! I'm downloading the entire pub folder!!!

Also I've been hearing some things about bootloaders and stuff like that. What exactly am I missing?

I have some cd's in my house somewhere either its redhat or mandrake kernal 7.0 or 7.1. Will those work or should I download a newer version. I mean those are already on cd's somewhere. Or is getting a new kernal like running windows 2000 instead of XP. Or can it be as big as the difference between winME and winXP. Thanks

Mr. C
11-24-2002, 04:08 PM
Let's get 1 thing straight before we proceed.
I am not a Linux guru.

'nuff said about that.

Here's my 2 cents to go with that;
Being as the Linux kernel does get improved upon, it can only be to your benefit to get the latest version.

As to best flavor - there's a million of 'em, so pick 1 and go with it.
I'm sure you could discuss the matter infinitely and everybody has their own favorite. The world of technology is ever changing, and each distribution is changing as well.
But pick 1 and try it, this gives you a real point of reference for any you might try in the future. Then you can begin to get a feel for which flavor is "best" based upon your needs and usage.

Personally, I think that Red Hat has to be the most widely documented distro out there.
Now that is not saying it is better at 1 thing than another distro might be. In fact in some instances it most certainly is not the best.
However, when you need some quick help, it may be immediately available to you through a quick internet search. For someone just beginning that is immensely valuable in itself.

As to installation, some distributions are amazingly easy to install these days (not sure about Red Hat or Mandrake, but both have made great leaps forward since earlier times). There again, deciding where you would like to start will help you by allowing you to focus your effort on the distro of your choice, rather than wasting time with install instructions you may never use.

I will say this from my personal experience --- SuSE installation is an absolute breeze, Windows could only dream of being so easy.
While at the same time, SuSE documentation sux and it has pretty much kept it from becoming the full-time OS that I was hoping for when I installed it.

I won't reccomend a flavor to you, but I will point out the good and the bad of what I know. Not sure if that helps, but good to see you being adventurous -- I sincerely hope you are able to progress farther than I have to date.
I like Linux, but I have little luck with tweaking it at this point and hardware drivers are an absolute nightmare with me and SuSE.
I haven't developed the skills and I don't know where to turn to get some.

I haven't given up, let's just say me and Linux are on seperate vacations. I'm having a bit of difficulty reasoning why I would get a free OS if it means I have to spend $400 on hardware. :cackle:

Have you tested that drive??
Oh well, may not matter anyway, I have an old 8 gig WD that is useless for Windows, yet somehow it performs flawlessly with Linux ----- Go figure! :laugh:

Best of luck to you!!

at the current pace of technology we're all noobs -- it's just that some of us have more past experience than others

11-24-2002, 04:25 PM
no I haven't tested the drive yet. But windows did detect it and install drivers for it my bios was able to see it and I did repartition it. So that shows that its not 100% dead. I"M not expecting it to be good or bad I just wanna try out linux on it. After a few months of it working its almost definite that it'll work. So your saying some of my hardware may not work with linux?

Also I'm currently downloading the images for RedHat 8.0.

I read up on some tuts that I found on there website and I'm currently downloading the OS. Then I'll read up a little more about how to install it from there. THen that's when I'll learn linux.

Mr. C
11-24-2002, 07:30 PM
Sounds like your drive will be OK.
Mine was locking up in Windows (causing the OS to freeze and preventing a scandisk or defrag from completeing) like it had bad sector or something -- always froze at exactly the same data area or %'age.

But like I said, it works absolutely flawlessly in Linux __ can't give you a reason for that, but I'm happy to be getting more milage out of it.

No, I'm not at all implying that you will have hardware problems with Linux. I'm only saying that I am.
Actually Linux gave me the perfect reason to get off my duff and get a real modem finally, Score +1 for Linux:thumb:

But my printer, scanner, vidcam & soundboard absolutely do not support Linux.
OK, scratch the soundcard from that list, I actually had it working once for 20 minutes --- not bad for 6 weeks work on my part:laugh: That was an old AU8820, since I've gotten a Hercules GTXP and I knew going in there was no way that was going to work. I've got an old ESS 1868 that produces reliable low-quality sound in Linux with no trouble at all. Just had to set up a hardware profile in Windows so it ignores it and uses my good card.
Dang pain in the butt though when I'm in Linux and need help, once I track down info, I have to go to Windows to print it, or else scribble it all down.

Anyway, if you look around a bit you should find out about your hardware by going here;

Sorry If I misled you, hopefully your hardware will be much more cooperative than mine.

Good that you picked a distribution. that way you can concentrate on it specifically and get right to work.

I'll leave you with this food for thought:
If you are dual-booting, and are presented with the option during the install process. You might want to consider putting GRUB (I believe that's the loader Red Hat uses?) on a floppy.
That way if you want to boot Windows, just fire up the PC.
If you want to run Linux, insert the floppy, power on, and choose Red Hat from your boot options. Saves you the slight risk of Linux dinking up your boot sector. That doesn't happen often, but every once in a while........... Windows never does play well with others:laugh:
I just hang my Linux loader floppy from the case with a string so it's always handy.

Again, good luck to you!
Once you've played in Linux a bit, I'm certain you will be amazed at just how powerful an OS it can be. I certainly was.

11-24-2002, 09:02 PM
a bit off topic but.............today my stove got lit ablaze cuasing smoke to go throughout the house. THis happened hours ago and my house is still sorta foggy and smelly. Anyway I'm aware that smoke is bad for PC"s. Especially one like mine with all the fans sucking air in.

Tonight my computer has blue screened on me TWICE and locked up once. Could this be related to the possibly bad drive I just installed this morning? Or could it be smoke related? As of now I have that new broken drive unplugged but I don't know of any stability issues quite yet cuase I just booted up from a blue screen.

Bahamut Zer0
11-25-2002, 01:58 AM
Smoke can be pretty grimey, so you might wanna take your machine apart and give it a wipe down with a lint-free cloth. (being careful of static and the such. Small, moving parts such as fan motors might need a good clean.

As for linux, redhat will be good enough to cut your teeth on, but as you progress and you become more cluey, youll find yourself wishing you never heard of redhat.

Mr. C
11-25-2002, 02:22 AM
That may well prove true in the future. For the time being I was using the theory "go with what you've got".

A fellow has to start somewhere?

Anyway, by the time the great distro debate dies down, he could have been running one to see if it's going to meet his needs. Sort of a proper OS by elimination technique.

Bahamut Zer0
11-25-2002, 02:42 AM
'tis why I said 'as you progress'. :)

I started on Mandrake 7, moved to slack 7, back to mandrake 8.2, now back to slack 8.1. Doubt ill go back to MDK 9.

Ive used other distros, just none ive called my own. My mate runs redhat 8; loves it. Its a great intro operating system for him, as he is only using his computer to do simple things. Im not, so rh8 doesnt suit my needs. If your looking to learm, and i mean really learn how linux operates, then redhat isnt the wisest choice. Other distros will teach you more. I threw myself in the deep end with slack, and ive only just started to tread water.

11-25-2002, 02:54 AM
well truthfully. If I do stick with linux. Redhat seeing how you said its the easiest to learn. Will be the best option for me. COnsidering I learn alot of things slowly. Do you relize how long its taken me to learn the basics of C++? I started learning that langauge at the beginning of the summer. And I'm still just getting passed loops. Anyway I think redhat will be suitable. Lets just wait and see if this drive even works in the first place. Cuase ever since I pulled it out my computer has been fine. This afternoon when I come home from school I'll be on my PC as usual and if its stable then tomorrow I'm gonna put that suspicious drive back and see if it crashes my system. THen we know we have a bad drive and linux may not even happen unless I come up with another drive. :(

Bahamut Zer0
11-25-2002, 04:02 AM
you can pickup cheap drives at local computer swap meets/markets or even ebay. Ive run my entire linux expedition from a pissy 4-gig seagate drive with no problems. (apart from initial de-cleansing issues with stupid win98 mbr info)

i can run all my games still, i just symlink to the files that are on my windows partition. one of these days ill pickup a cheap 20gig ata100 drive and xfer data over to it. 4gig will be demoted to cache drive duties in my linux box project. :)

remember- lint free cloth. you can get em from an optometrist with your spare change. The same cloths ppl use to clean their glasses. give your devices a wipe down and see how you go.

G Smith
11-25-2002, 06:07 AM
My favorite Distro is Slackwear.

It took me a couple of months to get it working right but man did I learn.

You'll also find all the info you need on line as the internet community really helps out us newbies. :cantfocus

Mr. C
11-26-2002, 10:41 AM
Don't give up on the drive because Windows doesn't like it.
There is a possibility that Linux will play fine with it, as was my experience.
No guarantees now mind you, but nothing to lose by trying.

11-26-2002, 06:43 PM
that's definitly true too. Its jsut 3 blue screens in a period of 2 hours is a bit scary. Especially for a machine that never crahes (well not never) . But anyway I'll put the drive back in and as soon as my dad runs out to get us more blanks. I'll get started on my linux project.

11-27-2002, 02:15 AM
Well I've got Mandrake 9.0 and Lycoris ready to roll once I get the old and new servers swapped around. :)

Mr. C
11-27-2002, 12:56 PM
Don't worry about that drive messing with your Windows installation. Once you get Linux on it (if of course you should be so fortunate) Windows will not even know the drive exists.

Funny part is, from Linux you can do anything you want with, or to, the Windows drive.

Rather sorry how lame Windows is in comparison to Linux.

11-27-2002, 01:00 PM
Except limitations with NTFS partitions. ;)

Just make sure that ya share data on FAT32. :)

:beer: :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer:

Bahamut Zer0
11-27-2002, 07:07 PM
No need for one, you can read linux partitions from windows with this handy little tool (http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/)

Now you dont have to dedicate any of your hdd space to stupid fat32. Works well. I finally did my reformat today; full ntfs setup, no more fat32 shackles slowing me down. Win2k as well, back from XP. Its nice to have a decent networking environment again.

Anyway, win2k & slack, they get along like two peas in a pod.

11-28-2002, 06:19 AM
Have they been able to get Linux to write to a NTFS partition now? :?:

:beer: :beer: :beer:

Mr. C
11-28-2002, 08:56 AM
Have they been able to get Linux to write to a NTFS partition now? :?:

:beer: :beer: :beer:

I'm thinking the wise developers in the open source community have definitely come up with some methods of doing so, I can't think of the names of such utilities offhand -- but I'm sure there are such tools.

11-28-2002, 09:16 AM
It's just that all I've come across so far is that ya can get Linux to read NTFS but writin' to it was out and all the guides so far that I've read for the multiboot enviroment that I'm lookin' at (up to 5 oses) is that shared files must be on a FAT32 partition. Links please would be nice if this is not so. :confused:

Mr. C
11-28-2002, 09:32 AM
I apologize, I was big-time mistaken.
You are correct sir!

I have the utmost faith in the open source development community. There is so much demand for such a tool that given time they will do it -- provided of course that it is remotely possible.

But until then, I feel your dilemna.
Fortunately, I've got all FAT 32 systems here.
didn't realize what a stroke of luck that was!

11-28-2002, 09:47 AM
No I just thought that somethin' may have happened recently to change this that I may have missed was all but with the oses that I'll be dealin' with I'll have to use FAT32 anyway which I find no great hardship except for scandisk on restart when ya bungle somethin'. I'll be usin' System Commander to handle them all and that's better installed straight thru a Win9x os (SE in my case). :beer:

Bahamut Zer0
11-28-2002, 06:59 PM
Bear in mind my goals may differ than others, but now that you have the ability to read each partition from each os, ask yourself if you really do need that pos fat32 partition. I mean- really.

Im running linux on a 4gig seagate drive, and running windows on a 40gig ibm partitioned off, all NTFS partitions. Ive constantly got more than enough space free on my linux partition, even with a 256meg swap. (which ill shrink one of these days, it hardly ever gets used, so i may as well give linux some more elbow room)

I can read, and have no reason whatsoever to write to my ntfs partitions under linux. I can just grab the data from my linux partition next time im in windows. easy.

Now obviously, those stuck in the dark ages with a 9x kernel OS need not bother doing a full switch, but if your doing anything remotley normal, like storing large amounts of data, or video editing etc, youll have nothing to worry about. As it stands, only NT based OS's can write sucessfully to a NTFS partition. Its just the way it is, with the security of the ntfs partition type. Should MS release source code, one could get a program that would let you write. But I doubt MS will be doing that anytime soon, and as said- do you really need it?

I handle all my multi os booting thru NTs standard boot menu. With the assistance of bootpart (N/A under 9x) i can grab boot info from a variety of partition types holding whatever OS they have and add it to my NT boot menu. Hell, one could even just add their windows boot info to lilo...i just like the NT boot loader. Simple and no fuss.

Mr. C
11-28-2002, 11:53 PM
I can certainly appreciate what you're saying Bahamut Zer0 and it all makes perfect sense.

I'll have the POS 9x drives forever.
My dabbling in Linux is motivated purely by the heavy-handed methods used in the XP OS. Which I have taken a personal oath to never use on a system owned by myself. Linux seems my best bet for ever moving ahead as far as operating systems are concerned.

Not writing to NTFS is of absolutely no concern to me, but I certainly would like to see it become feasible for the huge number of folks who could make good use of such a utility.

It may well be that I am hurtling down the path to the OS stoneage -- but that will be my cross to bear. Fact is, to date I have accomplished a good deal with the 9x and have accumulated a nice toolbox of utilities that pretty much allows me to sail along fat, dumb, and happy.

Though I do understand my days are indeed numbered.
Like I said, that's why I'm playing in Linux at all (and truth is, I need to be devoting a lot more time to it than I am at the moment.).

But everyone's needs are different, like a pickup truck, you can mount a rifle rack, toolbox, or both -- outfit it to meet your personal requirements.

Ain't computers grand!