Hey guys, it's me Justin.... I'm looking forward to downloading and installing Linux on my HP dv7. I have two questions...
Should I really try out Linux? I am pretty experienced with other OS's including Mac OSX x86, Windows, and iPhone OS (I can recreate the geohot hack and also you should look at my thread on everythingicafe about the iPhone "No WiFi" issues...)
Still I'm only 13.... so pretty much I still have a long way to go...
But um, is Linux really that good? I mean I heard you have to do all that command line stuff...and I kind of don't have the time.
Second question, will it work with my computer? I have a HP dv7-1245dx with these specs:
-AMD Turion X2 2.1GHz Dual Core
-4GB DDR2 RAM (2x 2GB)
-ATI Radeon HD 3200 256MB dedicated VRAM and 768MB Dynamic Shared Memory (256MB allocated and 512MB can also be allocated anytime when needed)
-320GB SATA II Hard Drive (Factory Install of Windows 7 and Recovery Partition)
-160GB SATA II Hard Drive (for Linux)
-Atheros AR5007 WiFi
-HP QuickPlay Media Controls
-Full QWERTY keyboard with Numpad
-Realtek NIC LAN
-4x USB 2.0 ports
-1x eSATA port
-Media Card Reader
-PC Card Slot
-DVD Burner with Lightscribe
So just wondering does it have the drivers for all this? Well at least the graphics card, audio card, WiFi, and a few other important stuff...
Cause I installed Mac OSX on it today and found out there are no video drivers yet available for it (HD 3200)...
Yep, Live CDs are available for most major distributions. Ones you might want to try out are:
Linux Mint - Probably the best for beginners as it comes with many proprietary media things pre-installed which other distros don't due to philosophical and licensing issues.
Ubuntu - Mint is built off this. Most things function the same but with a different user interface. Requires installing proprietary codecs etc due to the reasons mentioned above.
Fedora - might require some command line work to get some things like proprietary video drivers working. These aren't necessary if you can live without fancy desktop effects though.
The command line is not really something to try and avoid. It takes time to learn everything but it can make tasks much more efficient than a GUI can especially if you want to perform multiple tasks at once. Doing so in a GUI would require opening many windows and clicking a thousand buttons. In a CLI you can string a whole lot of tasks together. It has a learning curve though, so until you find time to learn it you will have to resort to copying/pasting commands from online or hoping the GUI can do what you want. Luckily, unlike Windows, the Linux CLI is self-documenting. Windows might tell you the possible command-line switches that you can use for a command but typically in Linux you can read a paragraph to several pages about one command via the Man pages. Of course, online documentation can go into even further depth. Most common tasks don't require the command line these days anyway.
One other very important thing you should consider is what you plan to do with the system. If it is primarily for running Windows software then use Windows, because software that tries to mimic Windows such as Wine is not guaranteed to work. If you don't mind using open source alternatives then Linux is the way to go on an old (and indeed new) system.
The command line is not really something to try and avoid.
I'd go further and say that it is positively to be embraced. Learn the basic commands and learn the rudiments of "vi" (text editor). With that you'll be able to administer (and fix when broken) any Linux system - indeed, any UNIX-like system - even if the only way that you can access it is via telnet or ssh. At the very least you'll be able to reboot it should the GUI ever decide to go crazy (it happens).
I switched over to Ubuntu 9.04 from Windows and I have to say I do love it. It is very customizeable.. Also there is something called Wine, a windows emulator.. I can play most of my games through it, and not having to load into windows..
Ubuntu is *the best* user friendly linux distrubtion in my opinion... And many others.. The forums there are AMAZING.. Ask a question and ye shall recieve some super knowledgeable answers. Linux is a lifestyle it seems to alot of people.. They love it, so they help you with what you are doing, and help you love it to.
The command line issues... The command line isn't too intimidating, but you need to learn how to use it. There are just some things you can't do without it. Namely, if you ever bone your system.. or something else bones it.. You need to learn some command line basics to avoid a reinstall and losing all your data.
The live CD options..
There is 9.10 ubuntu out right now.. I have 2 PCs, and it doesn't like either.. Many MANY mixed feelings about 9.10 are going on right now because it is so new. In my opinion, google 9.04 ubuntu ISO.. and try that version.. Burn it to a CD< and boot into its liveCD feature...
Be warned, loading a live CD can take like 2-5 minutes from the time you turn on your computer, but once you are in you will see if your system is compatible.. If you can.. hear sound, see graphics, get on the internet, and use anything else you need to use, you will have the same compatibility when you do a full install..
You can TRY 9.10 if you want, but like I said, it might leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Now there is KDE, and there is Gnome.. I would tell you to try out the Gnome versions first.. KDE is prettier but it has a different set of software then the gnome version, and in my opinion is a little harder to navigate..
KDE/and Gnome are basically like Different versions of Windows if you will.. I would say that Gnome looks like Windows 98, with the start bar and menus etc.. You can change most of it to make it prettier with things like Docky.. Docky looks like the MacOs thing on the bottom.. KDE looks like Windows Vista/7 etc.. very pretty but like I said, its harder to navigate through it..
To what Ijack said about Linux mint... I don't know how good.bad mint is, but the propietary stuff he is talking about isn't really hard to overcome.. It takes about 5 minutes to install what you are missing.. I can install the newest nvidia drivers for my computer in about 34 seconds after I download it.. And getting the DVD player to play video DVD's is about as easy.. If you go with Ubuntu *you really should try this distro* look up Medibuntu.. its the packages that help "non-free codecs".. it explains what that means on the site.
Your age isn't an issue at all, in fact, when I was your age I was deep into computers and a hardcore nerd :-)
If you know the difference between DirectX and OpenGL games etc, that is where there is some problems with Linux. Wine--the windows emulator, Doesn't always like some games.. Some games, like Doom 3 for instance, work for me beautifully..
Also, make sure you read a little bit about securing your Linux box.. One thing is "remote desktop control".. it comes enabled on Ubuntu, and most newbies don't know that.. Its stupid, but its the truth. Turn it off.. download a firewall gui (gufw is the name) and turn it on.. and then you are set.. If you decide you want to try ubuntu, PM me and I'll help you with whatever I can, or point you in the direction!