Linux newbie requesting help!



  • I am fairly new to the Linux/Unix operating system.  I took one
    bad class (bad as in didn't learn much from the idiotic prof) that was
    required for my university, and I know I need more experiance.  I
    happened to have an extra box sitting around, and decided to reformat
    to Linux.

    My first problem is that I don't know if I downloaded a good
    distribution.  I have 'Debian', sitting both on my hard drive and
    a CD.  It's an .iso file, which I don't have much experiance with
    either.

    The second problem is that I can't install it on the computer.  It recognizes the fact the file is there, but it won't run.

    Some specs of the computer:

    Win 98 Second Edition

    AMD Anthlon 850 MHz processor

    128 MB RAM

    I appreciate any help, and if any more infomation is needed I'll be happy to provide it.



  • Hmm did you burn it as a file instead of as an image?
    So if you were to open the cd up in Windows explorer do you see one file named 'xxxxxx.iso' or a bunch of files and folders ( well more than one ) ?

    If you have burnt the iso as a file you will need to burn it onto a new CD but make sure you use the 'burn image' option ( if you tell us what program you are using that would help ).


    You may wish to look into using Ubuntu or Mandriva instead as these two are normally more newbie friendly.



  • @bonfyre said:

    You'll have to burn the iso image (onto a CD) as a bootable CD.
    And then reboot with the CD in the drive.

    But, Debian is generally a bad distribution to start with. I would suggest that you use Ubuntu or Mandriva first.

    I'm not sure, depends how you want to start. If you want to start by considering that Linux is Windows and then try to work your way in the Unixisms of the OS later then Debian or the Slack do indeed suck.

    Now if you only want to learn Linux, don't want any comfort or side wheels, and are ready to take the punition for that, Debian is a good tool (the slack is even better -- or worse, from your viewpoint -- btw). As long as you have another computer nearby to access the required resources or at least one or two good books.

    I'm very serious about that, if he truely wants to learn i'd suggest an extremely raw distribution and building his install from ground up.



  • I would recommend using a LiveCD first. For anyone that does not know what a CD image is, Linux is not ready for them. PERIOD.



  • That first post of mine wasn't to constructive... I apologize. Here's the url for a list of LiveCD distros/distros that have LiveCDs:

    http://www.frozentech.com/content/livecd.php


    I would suggest downloading one of those CDs, then burning it like the above posts mentioned. Do not just put the single file on the disc and then hit burn... You have no idea how many times I've had people do this... You have to use the "burn image" option or "burn from backup"  or "create cd from iso" or whatever your cd mastering software calls it. After playing around with a LiveCD for a couple weeks, you may then install a Linux distribution onto your machine, but be warned that it most likely will kill you windows installation. Also, try an easy to use distribution first like Mandriva, Ubuntu, or Fedora.



  • Thank you for the help!

    I did switch to Ubuntu.  That one class was all in command line on
    servers which didn't agree with each other .... while I would like to
    learn the pure Unix of it, I'll ease into it.  One day I will get
    a raw distribution.  That day is not today.  The terminal in
    Ubuntu shall surfice for now.  The other part of the problem was
    my burner utility (Drag 'n Drop CD/DVD) wouldn't let me make the
    bootable CD.  By the grace of God, Google, and hi-speed internet
    connections, such a utility was found and that problem fixed itself. :) The install was straightforward after that.

    And, for the record, I do know WHAT a CD image is, I just haven't
    worked with them a lot.  I am still in second-year
    university.  And I do have Knoppix around somewhere that I have
    used before, and I've used it enough to want an install.  And it
    was an extra system I had using Win98.  I really didn't care if it
    killed the Windows system because I have another with XP and I rarely
    used the 98.  I'll get more out of the Linux system, mostly
    because I do really want to learn.



    And masklinn?  I'm female.  :D



    Again, thanks for the help!



  • Part of me dislikes it when women call themselves "female", as though they were the objects of biological study, denying their humanity.



  • @HAK said:

    And masklinn?  I'm female.  :D

    You obviously lie, everyone knows that there is no female on teh intarweb!!!

    @dhromed said:
    Part of me dislikes it when women call themselves "female", as though they were the objects of biological study, denying their humanity.

    Do you also dislike men qualifying themselves as "males"?

    And I quite fail to see how stating one's sex is denying one's humanity, "man" as a subset of "humanity" is also a subset of "male", and "woman" as a subset of "humanity" is a subset of "female". That's all there is to it...



  • @masklinn said:

    And I quite fail to see how stating one's sex is denying one's humanity, "man" as a subset of "humanity" is also a subset of "male", and "woman" as a subset of "humanity" is a subset of "female". That's all there is to it...



    No, male animals are males too. To be fully precise, I should say: male non-human animals are males too.



  • @wiebehordijk said:

    No, male animals are males too.

    May I ask which syllable of "subset" you failed to understand?



  • Oh, for the love of ....

    I asked for, and recieved, help on installing a new OS.

    An arguement about what classifies as 'human', 'male', and 'female' I did not bargain for.



    And humans are animals too.  We just happen to be the dominate
    species on the planet.  I happen to be a human female, though
    apparently the human part is still up for debate.  I think several
    people that don't know me very well are dead convinced I'm not entirely
    human.



  • Everyone knows that alien races have intermingled in the populus. There are probably only ~ 15% pure humans left. Most of those that are still pure are classified as "rednecks", Which makes sense as to why they are the only ones getting probed ;-). Humans that are classified as having Asperger Syndrome for example, are actually a 25/75 mix of gazubian race of the NGC5194 galaxy, and humans.



  • @dhromed said:

    Part of me dislikes it when women call themselves "female", as though they were the objects of biological study, denying their humanity.

    I agree.  "Bitches" is a much better word.  Such a spectrum of meaning.  You can't miss.



  • @HAK said:

    ... 
    And, for the record, I do know WHAT a CD image is, ...


    Again, thanks for the help!
    Opps well my apologies for thinking you didnt but that first post was a tad vague.



  • It's okay ... I can be vague anyway, and I just had finals.  Brain
    is not exactly firing on all thrusters right now, thanks to physics.

    And no, that did not stop me for wanting to attempt this ... I'm illogical at times too. ;-)

    But you are right -- not knowing some basic universals could get you in real trouble trying something new.



  • @HAK said:

    I'm illogical at times too. ;-)


    Those darned female Homo Sapiens! Not a rational strand in 'em.

    But while we're on the subject of human/non-human, I naturally agree that "female" and "male" are technically the same as "man/woman", "girl/boy", and even though I'm an animal, damnit, I'm not just any animal, I'm a human animal! Grant me my emotions!




    <font size="2">
    ) disclaimer: sarcastic non-hurtful intent, or, ";-)"</font>





  • As for the distro you use, I recommend Slackware -- it's a nice blend of Unixism and Linux. It is a pretty big step. If you'd like to ease yourself into Linux life, I'd recommend a livecd at first (like <a href="http://www.slax.org>SLAX. You can then install that to HD, mess around, etc.



  • Ubuntu is a good option. It's essentially just Debian with fewer quirks and a predictable release cycle.

    Depending on how you plan to use the machine, you might want more RAM. Ubuntu with the default Gnome desktop gets a bit slow with 128M if you're running typical desktop applications. If you're just doing command-line and server stuff without real-world load on it, you should be fine. Doubling your memory shouldn't cost more than $10 or so.

    Ubuntu's installer isn't as polished as the big commercial distros, but the defaults are reasonable. It shouldn't give you any trouble if you don't mind deleting your Windows installation. I think it defaults to using the ext3 filesystem; I'd recommend using ReiserFS instead for improved performance.



  • This thread is old, but since it's already revived:
    XFCE4 is a pretty good choice for lighter machine.  It's not as windows-like or full-featured as gnome, but still pretty good.  Lighter than that, I use sawfish, but can't really recommend it for someone new.  If you're going to dual-boot, I suggest Ext3 instead of Reiser: while I prefer Reiser myself, the windows drivers for Ext3 are in better shape.
    I like Ubuntu: I've got it on my laptop.  Mandrake once made a decent noob distro, too, but it's been years since I've tried them.

    My big piece of advice is to simply not expect linux to be like windows.  It's different, better in some ways, worse in others.



  • @GoatCheez said:

    After playing around with a LiveCD for a
    couple weeks, you may then install a Linux distribution onto your
    machine, but be warned that it most likely will kill you windows
    installation.




    Eh? Where did you get that idea? I never managed to damage a Windows
    installation from Linux, no matter what I did (then again, I never
    messed with the Windows partition on purpose).



    Anyway, two good LiveCD distros with install option are Knoppix (recent
    versions only!) and Puppy Linux. The former is "everything and the
    kitchen sink on a CD", while the latter bundles a well-chosen set of
    apps in a 60Mb or 90Mb image that loads into RAM at boot time. Both
    have good graphical desktops and wizards (get on the Internet in no
    time) and both can be installed on other media - Knoppix on HDD only,
    Puppy on HDD or USB drive, or even another CD.



    For a HDD-only distro, Fedora Core is very easy to install but lacks
    some features by default, such as MP3 support or USB Flash drive
    autodetection (at least up to version 3). On the other hand, the
    installation CDs contain a considerable amount of well-tested, very
    stable software for many purposes, from office work to software
    development and Web hosting.



    And no, I'm not advertising, just sharing my experiences :D



    Cheers,

    Felix




  • @felix said:

    @GoatCheez said:
    After playing around with a LiveCD for a
    couple weeks, you may then install a Linux distribution onto your
    machine, but be warned that it most likely will kill you windows
    installation.




    Eh? Where did you get that idea? I never managed to damage a Windows
    installation from Linux, no matter what I did (then again, I never
    messed with the Windows partition on purpose).




    I don't know how many times I've seen people hose their partition table when trying to install. Even the automatic partitioning methods can be risky on some distributions. I always manually partition mine, but that's just personal preference. You may have never damaged your windows installation, but that's probably because you know what a partition is, and why it's there. I don't remeber which distro, or which version of it, but I do remember that one installer had listed under the automatic method: "Warning, this will remove any other operating systems on your hard drive." or something very close to that. You cannot assume that every computer user knows about partitioning hard drives...



  • @GoatCheez said:

    @felix said:
    @GoatCheez said:
    After playing around with a LiveCD for a
    couple weeks, you may then install a Linux distribution onto your
    machine, but be warned that it most likely will kill you windows
    installation.




    Eh? Where did you get that idea? I never managed to damage a Windows
    installation from Linux, no matter what I did (then again, I never
    messed with the Windows partition on purpose).




    I don't know how many times I've seen people hose their partition table when trying to install. Even the automatic partitioning methods can be risky on some distributions. I always manually partition mine, but that's just personal preference. You may have never damaged your windows installation, but that's probably because you know what a partition is, and why it's there. I don't remeber which distro, or which version of it, but I do remember that one installer had listed under the automatic method: "Warning, this will remove any other operating systems on your hard drive." or something very close to that. You cannot assume that every computer user knows about partitioning hard drives...

    Agreed, but it's usually a lack of knowledge problem, not one with the tools.  At least for fat32.  NTFS is a bit of a different story.

    I remember seeing that same message.  Chilled me a bit, as it was a work computer...



  • @TheDauthi said:

    @GoatCheez said:
    [quote
    user="felix"]@GoatCheez said:
    After playing around with a
    LiveCD for a
    couple weeks, you may then install a Linux distribution onto your
    machine, but be warned that it most likely will kill you windows
    installation.




    Eh? Where did you get that idea? I never managed to damage a Windows
    installation from Linux, no matter what I did (then again, I never
    messed with the Windows partition on purpose).




    I don't know how many times I've seen people hose
    their partition table when trying to install. Even the automatic
    partitioning methods can be risky on some distributions. I always
    manually partition mine, but that's just personal preference. You may
    have never damaged your windows installation, but that's probably
    because you know what a partition is, and why it's there. I don't
    remeber which distro, or which version of it, but I do remember that
    one installer had listed under the automatic method: "Warning, this
    will remove any other operating systems on your hard drive." or
    something very close to that. You cannot assume that every computer
    user knows about partitioning hard drives...

    Agreed,
    but it's usually a lack of knowledge problem, not one with the
    tools.  At least for fat32.  NTFS is a bit of a different
    story.

    I remember seeing that same message.  Chilled me a bit, as it was a work computer...
    [/quote]



    I think NTFS resizing works pretty well with current distros. I've done
    that several times, no damages whatsoever to the Windows partition.
    IIRC Mandrake 9.1 was the first distro to include that in the install
    process, and that was some years ago.

    Some distros (mostly "server-focused") assume that the computer is theirs and remove every other partition, Linux or Windows.



  • @ammoQ said:



    I think NTFS resizing works pretty well with current distros. I've done
    that several times, no damages whatsoever to the Windows partition.
    IIRC Mandrake 9.1 was the first distro to include that in the install
    process, and that was some years ago.

    Some distros (mostly "server-focused") assume that the computer is theirs and remove every other partition, Linux or Windows.


    Don't know too much about NTFS, but I would still assume that NTFS
    resizing is iffy, and i doubt "dynamic" drives are supported at all
    even... but other than that... NTFS RESIZING!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! OMFG!!!!! Wow... seriously... WOW... awsome ;-). I tend to stick with gentoo pretty much exclusively, so I haven't had the pleasure of trying other distros in the recent years... Good news though... now the only thing left is a good collection of applications to configure the system regardless of distro (which I am working on...).



  • I can report that SuSE 10, for one, handles NTFS resizing very nicely. But o' course, you can always use partition magic or similar in windows, before you install linux.


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