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a b 5 Linux
July 20, 2007 12:09:36 AM

As some of you may or may not know, I am building my first system at the end of the month from scratch. I was just going to use Windows XP, as that is what I have now, and i was pretty satisfied with that. I have recently been considering Linux though. I don't know anything about Linux really, so I'm asking a few questions here. First of all, will all Apple and Microsoft programs and Applications work with Linux? Do all games work with it? What version should I get? Should I get Linux over XP? These are the kind of questions I have. I have never seen Linux before, so is there any ways I would be able to see what it's like and it's features? I appreciate all help in advance, and if I have any more quesitons I will ask. Feel free to ask any questions too.

-Pyro

More about : linux questions

July 20, 2007 5:23:21 AM

OK, well I will try to adress as many questions as I can for you.

First of all, if you have never used linux ever before, you should go ahead and download one of the versions that has a LiveCD environment that you can check out on an existing computer first. Distributions that have this ability would be ones like Knoppix or Ubuntu (where ubuntu is a little bit easier to use for newbs). As for ms/apple programs working on linux, I can only answer the MS half of that question.

There is a program that you can install called WINE which is a windows compatability layer that allows you to run programs like MS Office under a linux environment. I don't know if there is something similar for OSX programs to run under linux. As for the games, this is kind of a hit or miss situation at this point as there are not many native linux games. You can get some to run with wine, and for others you can always try "cedega" (but you have to pay a $5/month to use that program).

As for linux over XP, if you already own a copy of XP, you could put it to good use by setting up a dual boot system (which is pretty easy to do, provided you install windows first). Personally, I am trying to make a complete switch over to linux and I find myself using XP less and less these days, but in the beginning, it may be useful to have XP dual boot in case you hose your linux OS.

I highly recommend that you try SEVERAL different linux distributions and see which one fits you the best. Ubuntu is pretty good (and everyone and their mom seems to like it), but it is by no means the only solution for you. You should also try others like Knoppix, OpenSUSE, Freespire, Fedora, &c. and see which one will work best for you.

Depending on which distribution that you pick, you may have to use the command line more or less but I haven't seen any distro that completely nixes it (and I hope i never will because it is so useful!). Don't feel intimidated, just dive in, and if you make mistakes its ok because you can ask questions at forums like this one to figure out how to un-hose your system :D 

Also, if you want to see nice linux features in action (i.e. eye-candy) go to Youtube and look up both "Beryl" and "CompizFusion" and you will see things that will put vista/OSX in their place (i.e. in the trash can!) ;D

Good luck to you.

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 20, 2007 5:45:27 AM

Welcome to the Linux and BSD section :) 

Linux and BSD are great, not perfect but still great :) 

Both are based on freedom of choice and are not encumbered by evil things such as DRM.

In other words you run the OS, the OS doesn't run you.

Quote:

First of all, will all Apple and Microsoft programs and Applications work with Linux?


Some do, some do not. There are legally free and open source alternatives for many major commercial software packages so if there is no Linux version of the program you want to run you can usually find something functionally equivalent.

There are ways for Linux to run windows and Mac programs using various methods including WINE, Cedega ( commercial version of WINE ), Crossover ( commercial version of WINE ), QEMU ( emulator ), VMWare ( virtual machine ), Xen ( virtualization software ), KVM ( virtualization software ) and others.

With WINE you can run some DOS and windows programs under Linux natively. Some programs work great, some work with a few issues and some not at all.

Cedega and Crossover offer good support for many games and apps but not everything will work.

VMWare, QEMU, Xen, KVM and similar software allows you to run DOS, windows and several other operating systems under Linux. The key advantage is you are running a fully functional version of DOS, windows or another "guest OS" on top of Linux when using VMWare, QEMU, Xen or KVM so virtually everything works exactly the way you would expect it to work if you had the "guest OS" installed on the physical computer. VMWare and QEMU are not ideal for the latest games however because their virtual graphics and audio adapters are not as good or as fast and the hardware devices themselves.

There are also emulators for some game consoles which allow you to run some console games under Linux.

Quote:

Do all games work with it?


Some work as well as or better than they run on windows, some work ok, some work with annoyances and some do not run at all.

For games and apps check out the following links:

http://appdb.winehq.org/appbrowse.php?iCatId=2

http://games.cedega. com/gamesdb/

http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxoffice/

Quote:

What version should I get?


I would suggest Ubuntu 7.04 and Fedora 7

http://www.ubuntu.com/

http://fedoraproject.org/

You can install and use both :) 

Also there are Linux live CDs like Knoppix, DSL which run entirely from CD or DVD and allow you to run Linux without having to install it.

Ubuntu is a hybrid Live CD and installable. Knoppix is a hybrid too but is a far, far better Live CD than it is an installable distro.

Quote:

Should I get Linux over XP?


I would say yes, but I must admit I'm prejudiced -- but hang on there is another option :D 

If you are a heavy gamer and you cannot live without windows-only games I would suggest you Dual or more precisely Triple Boot Ubuntu 7.04, Fedora 7 and XP ( for those very stubborn games and apps that will not run on anything but XP ).

That way you can take advantage of the best Linux and XP have to offer :) 

I will post more on all this later.

PM me if you have any questions :D 
Related resources
a b 5 Linux
July 20, 2007 5:48:56 AM

@Zorak :trophy:

You beat me to it while I was typing that small book :D 


Zorak said:
OK, well I will try to adress as many questions as I can for you.

First of all, if you have never used linux ever before, you should go ahead and download one of the versions that has a LiveCD environment that you can check out on an existing computer first. Distributions that have this ability would be ones like Knoppix or Ubuntu (where ubuntu is a little bit easier to use for newbs). As for ms/apple programs working on linux, I can only answer the MS half of that question.

There is a program that you can install called WINE which is a windows compatability layer that allows you to run programs like MS Office under a linux environment. I don't know if there is something similar for OSX programs to run under linux. As for the games, this is kind of a hit or miss situation at this point as there are not many native linux games. You can get some to run with wine, and for others you can always try "cedega" (but you have to pay a $5/month to use that program).

As for linux over XP, if you already own a copy of XP, you could put it to good use by setting up a dual boot system (which is pretty easy to do, provided you install windows first). Personally, I am trying to make a complete switch over to linux and I find myself using XP less and less these days, but in the beginning, it may be useful to have XP dual boot in case you hose your linux OS.

I highly recommend that you try SEVERAL different linux distributions and see which one fits you the best. Ubuntu is pretty good (and everyone and their mom seems to like it), but it is by no means the only solution for you. You should also try others like Knoppix, OpenSUSE, Freespire, Fedora, &c. and see which one will work best for you.

Depending on which distribution that you pick, you may have to use the command line more or less but I haven't seen any distro that completely nixes it (and I hope i never will because it is so useful!). Don't feel intimidated, just dive in, and if you make mistakes its ok because you can ask questions at forums like this one to figure out how to un-hose your system :D 

Also, if you want to see nice linux features in action (i.e. eye-candy) go to Youtube and look up both "Beryl" and "CompizFusion" and you will see things that will put vista/OSX in their place (i.e. in the trash can!) ;D

Good luck to you.

-Zorak
July 20, 2007 1:29:16 PM

Thanks for the trophy, Linux_0 :D 

You always give really complete answers to forums like this, so I thought I would try and help you out for once since you helped me so much in the past :D 

Also, did you notice how they FINALLY have a Linux related article on THG after like a 1.5 year dry spell?

I just wish they would do a comprehensive review of multiple distros, not just Ubuntu. Ubuntu is pretty good, but it isn't THE Linux distro for everyone, and lately it seems like all the attention Ubuntu is getting is drilling it into the public's mind that Ubuntu is the ONLY viable Linux OS

On a side note, I will be building my monster machine soon and then I will wander into the wonderful world of Gentoo...

Wish me luck!

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 20, 2007 1:52:04 PM

Wow, thanks a lot guys, that helps A LOT. I gotta go to work, but if I think of any more questions I will ask when I get home.

-Pyro

EDIT: Okay, so for the double or triple boot (whichever i decide on) how do I do that? I heard of something called Grub or something? Explanation?

-Pyro
July 20, 2007 11:41:54 PM

Grub is the name of the boot loader that you will use to do your dual or multiboot system. When the time comes, what you do is you make a partition and use it as your /boot partition and in the Case of Ubuntu, it will install Grub to that partition and add entries to the bootloader for each OS present on your system. I am not sure whether or not Fedora will add itself gracefully or not, so you might want to consult Linux_0 (I never did get a proper setup of grub when I was running FC6).

Good luck.

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 21, 2007 12:16:12 AM

Zorak nailed it :) 

If you decide to triple boot you would have to partition your drive something like this:

/dev/sda1 /boot ext3

/dev/sda2 no mountpoint LVM

/dev/sda3 /xp NTFS


ext3 = Linux filesystem

LVM = Logical Volume Manager

NTFS = NT filesystem, XP, NT, etc use NTFS by default

GRUB and your kernels would install under /dev/sda1 /boot

/dev/sda2 would use LVM and you could split it into pieces for virtually any number of Linux distributions you might want to try or any other OS that can use LVM for that matter. For example you could create an LV for Ubuntu, another one for Fedora 7, one for Debian, one for slackware, etc. With LVM you can create, delete, grow and shrink LVs ( Logical Volumes -- think of them as virtual partitions ) so if you did try 7 or 8 distributions you could give them each an LV and if you decided to remove some of them later you could easily delete the LVs and then make the disk space available to the distro ( s ) you decide to keep.

the 3rd partition /dev/sda3 would mount under /xp under Linux, would be NTFS and you would install XP on it ( XP will blow away GRUB during the install if GRUB is installed so you either have to install XP first the Linux or install Linux first then XP then boot from a rescue CD and re-install GRUB after XP removes it ).

:D 
a b 5 Linux
July 21, 2007 5:36:23 AM

Alright, sounds simple enough, even to an idiot like me :D  haha. Another questions, will programs like Photoshop, iTunes, MSN, etc run fine on Linux?

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 21, 2007 5:24:43 PM

You never cease to amaze me :)  Another question (surprise!) I was planning on just getting a Seagate Barracude 320gb Hardrive, but would it be better to have 2 or 3 seperate smaller drives, one for each OS?
July 21, 2007 8:26:26 PM

Don't forget to mention aMSN, although I do prefer gaim myself (which was renamed to pidgin). Also, if you are using KDE instead of GNOME, you can try out kopete (another multiprotocol chat client)

Also, do you have to use iTunes? If you are just using it to play music, then there are WAY better programs than that like XMMS and Audacious or zinf, all of which aren't bloated like iTunes. If you really need an iTunes like program to import stuff on to your ipod (if you have one), I understand that it can be done through a program called Amarok, which is also a media player and can burn CDs for you. I guess as far as windows is concerned, i've always been a winamp guy to play my music and I use a different program to play my videos (like media player classic or mplayer).

Finally, getting more small drives might not be a horrible idea so that if your windows drive fails, at least you have your linux drive functional. Or what you could do is get like 2 or more disks and set them up in RAID (level 1 i believe) which will do an exact mirror copy of everything that is on one drive to the other on-the-fly so if one drive fails, you keep EVERYTHING intact.

Good luck.

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 21, 2007 8:43:46 PM

Alright, i've also heard of having a HD for the OS (or OSs in my case) and one for storage. What would be the best option? 1 large drive, multiple smaller drives, or OS and storgae drive?

-Pyro
July 22, 2007 5:00:19 AM

well, just realize that you don't necessarily need multiple drives to accomplish that. You can get the same thing accomplished just by partitioning a large hard drive. Again this is something to consider.

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 5:03:52 AM

Ya, we'll see. I still got a week or two to think about it. Speaking of which, does it really matter what harware I have? I heard no ATI, but I was going nVidia anyways. Anything else I should know?

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 5:19:38 AM

FakeRAID ( onboard RAID ) is more trouble than it's worth in most cases.

Real hardware RAID is very expensive so unless you're building a server or very high end gaming machine it's not worth it.

Having 2 or more individual drives is probably a good idea and can improve performance, the major considerations will be cost and complexity. If your budget allows for 2 or more large drives then go for it.

Keep in mind small drives and very large drives are disproportionately expensive so anything smaller than a 250GB drive or bigger than a 500GB drive will have a much higher cost per GB. If I remember correctly 400-500GB drives currently have the lowest cost per GB. Unfortunately while the cost per GB is always improving hard drive reliability has not improved significantly so you also need something to backup your important data onto ( external HDD ( s ) and DVD-Rs maybe? RAID is not a backup solution ).

Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 5:26:07 AM

Alright, sounds good to me. I think I'll just go with my originally planned system for now. I can always change it later.

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 5:48:59 AM

What's your config like?

It's a good idea to check to see if the parts you plan to use are Linux and open source friendly :) 
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 5:57:55 AM

Haha, I'm away from home at the moment, which is where my list is. I still remember the majority of it though:

CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo e6600
MoBo : ASUS P5B Deluxe Wi-Fi
VGA : eVga Geforce 8800 GTS 320mb
RAM : 2 gb Crucial Ballistix (I think?)
PSU : Can't remember
HDD : Seagate Barracuda 320gb

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 6:02:06 AM

nVidia is very Linux friendly, ATI is improving ( after it was purchased by AMD ) but is not there yet.

Since you said you were going with nVidia you're covered :) 

It is important to check the rest parts for compatibility.
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 6:04:15 AM

CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo e6600 :/ 
MoBo : ASUS P5B Deluxe Wi-Fi :/ 
VGA : eVga Geforce 8800 GTS 320mb :D 
RAM : 2 gb Crucial Ballistix (I think?) :D 
PSU : Can't remember
HDD : Seagate Barracuda 320gb :D 
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 6:06:33 AM

linux_0 said:
CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo e6600 :/ 
MoBo : ASUS P5B Deluxe Wi-Fi :/ 
VGA : eVga Geforce 8800 GTS 320mb :D 
RAM : 2 gb Crucial Ballistix (I think?) :D 
PSU : Can't remember
HDD : Seagate Barracuda 320gb :D 


Something everybody can understand!!! :D  Is there any problem with the CPU and MoBo?

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 6:17:35 AM

ASUS is usually pretty good but not everything they make is good :)  :( 

The CPU has some major bugs some of which can be patched with software -- some cannot and the motherboard is very expensive and loaded with parts which may cause trouble.

The onboard JMicron JMB363 controller and the wireless controller are likely to cause problems and the Marvell ethernet controller is sometimes a major pain. The onboard audio is not very good either, I would probably suggest an SB Live or Audigy ( EMu 10k based not the X-Fi ).

:) 
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 6:43:31 AM

Well, I need Wi-Fi, because wireless is my only option. The sound card is a good tip though, so thanks for that. Do you think it would manage with these componants? Or would I need something else?

-Pyro
July 22, 2007 4:01:38 PM

Well, linux_0, thanks for setting me straight hehe.

Also Pyroflea, just consider this, I currently have an ASUS board and for my next setup, I plan on avoiding them like the plague! The board I currently have is sometimes good and sometimes HORRIBLY EVIL. I have had so many ACPI-related woes from this board that I don't know if I can trust a company that would allow itself to mess up that badly.

Just out of curiousity, have the new price cuts come into play on the intel camp? Today I checked the price of the q6600 over at newegg and it is cheaper than before, but not as cheap as I had read in different places that it should be.

-Zorak
July 22, 2007 4:07:08 PM

Sorry for the double post, but what would you recommend so far as the CPU is concerned, Linux_0? If prices don't drop further for the quad, then I will have to reconsider the whole AMD/intel debate hehe.


-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 22, 2007 6:31:25 PM

Hmmm... Well, I'm kinda lost here now, so would you have any recommendations for a new motherboard? If possible, a little cheaper, because I still have to buy the wireless card on top of that, and I'm running damn close to my budget as it is.

-Pyro

EDIT: Also, does anybody know if there is going to be a price drop on the quad cores anytime soon? And is this all really worth it? I know that the setup I'm going with right now is good stuff, and I don't even know if I'm gonna stick with Linux, as I've never tried it. So is it all really going to give me that many troubles?
a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2007 12:54:03 AM

Zorak said:
Sorry for the double post, but what would you recommend so far as the CPU is concerned, Linux_0? If prices don't drop further for the quad, then I will have to reconsider the whole AMD/intel debate hehe.


-Zorak



I would wait for the AMD Quad cores ( August ) to be released and then I would buy a Dual Core CPU.
a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2007 1:25:02 AM

Pyroflea said:
Hmmm... Well, I'm kinda lost here now, so would you have any recommendations for a new motherboard? If possible, a little cheaper, because I still have to buy the wireless card on top of that, and I'm running damn close to my budget as it is.

-Pyro

EDIT: Also, does anybody know if there is going to be a price drop on the quad cores anytime soon? And is this all really worth it? I know that the setup I'm going with right now is good stuff, and I don't even know if I'm gonna stick with Linux, as I've never tried it. So is it all really going to give me that many troubles?




If you are going to go Intel, the ASUS P5N-E SLI is kinda interesting

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=727&... m=1

If you decide on AMD the ASUS ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe is nice although rather expensive

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=766&...



If you are not crazy about those two check out the phoronix motherboard reviews:

http://www.phoronix.com/?page=category&sort=id&item=Mot... ards&selection=1


They apparently did like the P5B Deluxe and said the WiFi works if you use NDISwrapper.
a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2007 1:40:10 AM

Alright, thanks a lot! :D 

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2007 3:52:37 AM

Sorry about the double post, but... Yet another question ;) 

So after I get Xp installed and clear, I install Ubuntu, correct? Or do I need to install Grub first? What do I need to do in order to get my triple boot setup? Thanks

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2007 4:13:55 AM

Pyroflea said:
Sorry about the double post, but... Yet another question ;) 

So after I get Xp installed and clear, I install Ubuntu, correct? Or do I need to install Grub first? What do I need to do in order to get my triple boot setup? Thanks

-Pyro




Install XP - during partitioning allocate say 30% to NTFS for XP and leave the rest of the disk unpartitioned

Install Fedora 7 x86_64 - during partitioning make a 512-1024MB ext3 /boot partition and allocate about 60% to LVM and make a logical volume for Fedora 7 and Ubuntu

Install Ubuntu 7.04 x86_64


Fedora should automatically detect XP and add it to the GRUB config, similarly Ubuntu should also detect that GRUB is installed and do the same. If anything goes wrong you can boot into rescue mode using one of the linux install disks or from a live CD and fix the problem.
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2007 12:55:22 AM

Would you beleive me if I said I had another question? :D 

When I install Linux, will Grub automatically install with it, or will I have to go to the website and download it afterwards?

-Pyro
July 24, 2007 1:42:33 AM

Grub is part of the install with Fedora... not sure about Ubuntu, but I would think it would install Grub as well.
July 24, 2007 2:11:13 AM

Grub comes with Ubuntu as well. Actually, that makes me wonder if you can even really find a distro that doesn't come with some kind of bootloader.

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2007 2:52:20 AM

As Zoron and Zorak already stated you do not have to download anything extra to get GRUB or to partition your disks for that matter :) 

Most modern Linux distributions use GRUB.

Some can also use LILO ( another boot loader ), although GRUB is better.

Certain people will tell you to use alternative programs to partition your disks, this really isn't necessary. You can partition using the tools that come with Fedora and Ubuntu during the install process.

Good Luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2007 3:08:22 AM

Alright. What's this "GNOME" thing I keep hearing about?

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2007 3:30:03 AM

Sorry for the triple post there are no spaces in this URL, I can't seem to fix it in my post above ( user error or possible forum bug??? )

http://www.xfce.org/about/screenshots
July 24, 2007 5:45:13 AM

You might also want to check out ICEwm, fluxbox and fvwm.

The last one, as i understand it, is the ULTIMATE in customization as it pretty much has you program your own custom interface :p 

You don't have to be that hardcore if you don't want, but the moral of the story is to try out many different window managers and see which desktop environment you like best. Unlike Apple and Microsoft, Linux OSes are all about choice. There may be some defaults for convenience, but no one is forcing you to only use one desktop environment or filesystem type or whatever. It is all about choices, and much like Burger King, you are encouraged to "have it your way".

just for a quick rundown for you here: KDE is more feature rich than GNOME is, so it is highly configureable. That is not to say GNOME is not configureable, it is just a more simplified/less complex interface.

Most people say KDE is more windows like and GNOME is more Mac-like, but personally I say this is all just a big line of bullshit. They are whatever you would like them to be, and it really doesn't take much configuration on your part to make them mimic either interface.

If you want to use eye candy on your system (i.e. CompizFusion/Beryl) you will have to use either KDE or GNOME as other desktop environments don't play nicely with these new abilities.

Good luck.

-Zorak

P.S. From what I have seen, XFCE is like a stripped down GNOME that is made to be lightweight and fast, which enables it to run well even on older machines.
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2007 1:47:40 PM

You might as well install GNOME, KDE and XFCE and try them all :) 

How you might ask?

Fedora has all three.

On Ubuntu you should be able to apt-get all of them as well :D 
a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2007 1:23:39 AM

apt-get? lol. New to Linux, so I really have no clue what I'm talking about :p  Also, what is involved with using those programs? What type of skill level is required?

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2007 2:21:50 AM

If you can click a mouse you can use them :) 
a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2007 2:25:59 AM

linux_0 said:
If you can click a mouse you can use them :) 


I don't know, that sounds rather difficult.....



:p 

-Pyro
a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2007 3:32:20 AM

lol
July 25, 2007 3:42:07 AM

All joking aside, apt-get is a package installer used in debian and ubuntu from the command line. Yum would be the fedora equivalent of apt-get.

You don't have to use either one of those tools if you don't want to. Ubuntu gives you two graphical options that do the same thing. Synaptic is the more comprehensive/advanced option, and "add/remove software" is the more watered down interface. As for fedora, you can use either yum-ex or pup to accomplish installing packages graphically.

-Zorak
a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2007 3:58:23 AM

Speaking of all this command line stuff, is there any write-ups that you know of that help explain them all? I know what command lines are, I know some of the basics in cmd, but learning a whole new OS takes a lot of work, as I'm sure you know.

-Pyro
!