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Topic Title: Newbies Guide to Choosing GNU/Linux
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Created On: 04/25/2004 10:13 PM
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 04/25/2004 10:13 PM
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Posts: 187
Joined: 10/06/2003


I will keep updating...but here is what i started with.

Myths :

Naming : Linux is just the kernel part. All the supporting software (compilers, debugers, editors...) are GNU software. Correct name IMHO is GNU/Linux.

Licenses : Linux(kernel) and most of the supporting softwares are under GNU GPL' "> In short - the source code must be available, can be modified and redistributed, can be free or paid. While there are some other licenses that are similar to GNU GPL that allow proprietory code to be used - so be sure to read the licensing terms.

Free : Its a myth that GNU/Linux is free of cost. The "FREE" that is most commonly used with GNU/Linux is in context of "FREEDOM" i.e you are free to change the code and redistribute it for free or money, but at the same time you have to give the rights you have got to those who recive the software. Free software is a matter of freedom, not price.

Website/Boomarks : - Everything you want to know about GNU - Lots of stuff about GNU/Linux - books, guides, distros, news - The defacto site for every GNU/Linux distributions - List of mirrors for major GNU/Linux distributions - The Linux Documentation Project - Latest Linux kernel

Need help ?

1. Read the documentation
2. Read them again
4. IRC channels, GNU/Linux forums, Local LUG (Linux User Group, mostly every city has them), mailing lists.

If you are asking for help its always better to post the exact error message (from the log files or screenshots) - so that others will be able to guide you correctly, rather than just posting "hey, i am getting some error while doing xyz.."

Questions such as "How to partition harddisk" or "How to change the default display manager" - are already answered in GNU/Linux documentation. Help yourself.

A brief guide to popular GNU/Linux distributions (unfinished) :

There are many GNU/Linux distributions available today. Every geek on internet is trying to build his own home based GNU/Linux distribution Well, to cover them all is impossible - but i will give a little insight into most popular ones.

WARNING : This is for newbies only ! Every person has his own favourite distro so others many differ on my conclusions. These are just my views and do not in anyway reflect the views of the community as a whole.

Live CDs :

These work directly from the CD. There is no need to install anything on to harddisk. They come with a full blown GUI system (Gnome, KDE...) and a good collection of applications (OpenOffice, Mozilla, Mp3 Players, Movie Players..). If you are trying Linux for the first time - Live CDs are the best option to start with. Not only you get a feeling of how GNU/Linux looks without messing with your windows system - it also gives a rough idea how your hardware is supported under Linux.

Many Live CDs have a option to install to harddisk - better avoid doing that

1. Knoppix' ">

The most widely used Live CD. Based on debian, it has excellent hardware support and a great collection of applications - everything you will ever need.

2. PCLinuxOS' ">

Based on mandrake linux, has both Gnome & KDE desktop and a good collection of applications. The feature that sets this apart from Knoppix is - Gnome & it has nvidia accelerated 3d graphics drivers. So if you have a nvidia graphics card this is recommended.

Other Live CDs' ">

Major GNU/Linux distributions :

I will cover only the most popular ones. One thing to note here is how the ISO files are named. They usually name it after the minimum architecture supported - i386 (intel 386), i586 (intel 586/Pentium).

eg : mandrake9.2-cd1-inst.i586.iso, yarrow-i386-disc1.iso

1. Redhat/Fedora' ">

2. Mandrake' ">

3. SuSE' ">

4. Slackware' ">

5. Debian' ">

Other Distributions' ">

Source based GNU/Linux Distributions :

These are NOT recommended for newbies. They are built from source - and take a lot of patience and time to install. Gentoo' "> installation can take 24 - 48 hours. But benifits are - a highly optimized setup.

Source based distros' ">

BSD Unixes

FreeBSD deserve a place among the desktop segment. It have a very long history of development and testing. It is very stable and has a huge collection of applications (ports). Applications are very easy to maintain and upgrade compared to GNU/Linux (where you can easily run into dependency problems). Only problem is very limited hardware support. Nvidia has FreeBSD drivers available on their website. If you feel brave enough to venture into FreeBSD world - you wont be dissappointed.' ">

others :' ">' ">
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