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Which distro for linux noob?

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I want install linux on my pc so I can learn a bit more about it. I have 2 HDs on my PC and I'm running Windows 2000. Both HDs have stuff on them and I don't really want to partition anything incase it upsets anything I've currently installed. After a quick look at linux.org website I've found several distros that can be installed under Windows. coLinux and Xteam linux look like what I'm looking for but I guess I'm looking for opinions and recommendations. The sort of thing a what to do is explore bash commands, native text editors, run a couple of perl scripts and maybe look at how a linux desktop works... [Edited by - Kristafarii on August 31, 2005 6:45:00 AM]

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I have a friend that uses coLinux, and he seems to like it. Myself, when I need to use Linux stuff from my Windows box I usually either boot from a live CD or log in remotely to a linux machine my school provides for students. Sometimes I'll run one in a virtual machine as a last resort (i.e. when I need access to Windows programs at the same time and I don't currently have an internet connection available).

To explore bash commands and perl scripts (and console-mode editors), all you really need is a shell account and an ssh (or telnet, but ssh is reccommended) program. I use PuTTy for the latter and the above-mentioned school computer for the former, but there are a couple places on the net that can provide you with a free shell account.

If you want a full desktop (including GUI mode text editors), either find out if any of those providers of free shell accounts have GUI programs installed and allow you to use remote X or VNC access, or boot from a live CD. I like the latest Ubuntu live CD. You can download it and burn it, or you can have them ship some to you for free (though that might take a while).

Of course you can also run most Linux distributions in a virtual machine program, though that'll probably be slower than running it from a live CD (which again is slower than from HD). There are several such programs available for free, and some commercial ones. The main advantage over live CDs are that you can quickly switch to your Windows programs and you might not need to actually burn the installation CDs: at the very least, VMWare (see below) provides the option to replace an actual disk with a disk image.
The only free one I could find with a short Google that runs on Windows was bochs.
On the commercial side, both VMWare Workstation and Microsoft Virtual PC seem to have free trial editions, though VMWare requires you to register to get it.

Oh, and you can of course do multiple of the above: you can run a live CD in a VM if you want to [wink].

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Since you are looking for opinions and recommendations, I'll give mine too; it's pretty similar to Kristafarii's. Go with a live CD would be my first recommendation; Ubuntu's is a great one, and another popular one is Knoppix. Then, if you want to take the next step and actually install Linux, I'd again recommend Ubuntu (the non-live-cd version), or Mandriva Linux (formerly Mandrakelinux). The advantage of Mandriva is that it has a graphical installer interface which is quite easy to use, and resizing the partitions on your hard drive to make room for it is easy and painless (no data loss, in other words; it just uses the free space on whatever partition(s) you already have).

Just my two cents worth,
Twilight Dragon

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If you want a shell to test stuff out in, I recommend Cygwin (www.cygwin.com). Most Linux distros won't install directly under Windows, and while coLinux does, I don't think you'll see as good performance/stability/security as with normal Linux. I recommend you try a dual-boot before going this path.

As for the distro itself... I use SuSE, which is fairly useable for one who has minimal knowledge of Linux. It requires a bit of hardware though (as does Fedora and other distros).

Cheers!

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Quote:
Original post by TDragon
Since you are looking for opinions and recommendations, I'll give mine too; it's pretty similar to Kristafarii's.
(emphasis added)

I think you've got a case of mistaken identity there; Kristafarii was the original poster and didn't give any opinions and reccommendations that I can see [wink]. (though he mentioned coLinux and Xteam)

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Thanks everyone for your input.

I downloaded coLinux (with Debian) last night although I haven't had a play with it yet. I think I'll also download Ubuntu and then decide which one to actually use.

You'll probably get a lot more posts from me trying to install it get perl running....

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