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Linux General Info

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
July 23, 2010 6:23:28 PM

Hi all...

I just wanted some general info on linux. I have done some searches but the info there was more on solving problems than explaining linux.

There are multiple things I want to know, but to start off with: How do you get linux? As far as I know it is a free software you download off from the internet, so, if I were to install it, I would have to dual-boot it with windows, or is it possible to download onto a disk, then install it onto a new computer?

There are very few things that support linux, so, I would have to have windows too, to use these programs (Photoshop, Opera, Games, Etc.) or are there ways to make them work with linux?

Do you recommend using linux as my primary and only OS?

The reason I ask, is that personally I hate microsoft. I have my own reasons for this and do not care if you feel differently, but I would like to be able to avoid using Windows as much as I am able to, but since most things only support windows, I do not know if this is possible.

Anyway, this is all for now. Thanks in advance for any answers. :) 

More about : linux general info

a b 5 Linux
July 23, 2010 8:14:21 PM

Hey, welcome to the linux section :) 

You can get linux from the distro's web site like or or you can order CDs or DVDs online.

Fedora and ubuntu are some of the most user friendly distros out there.

You can dual boot or try it on another computer it's up to you. Linux can multiboot with almost any other operating system.

There's a lot of software that runs on Linux natively, if there's native software that's always your best bet. WINE and crossover can let you run some windoze software under Linux but your mileage will vary. Some apps run great, some have problems and others don't run at all.

Be sure to check the WINE appDB to see how well your apps run.

There's open source substitutes for a lot of proprietary software, and GIMP come to mind and there's lots of games for Linux, some actually quite good, but they're not always complete.

Some proprietary games have Linux ports and those native ports usually run really well.

There's also a lot of free and open source games.

Lots of people start with multiboot and gradually eliminate windoze, it's up to you if you want to take the plunge or not.

Good luck :) 
July 23, 2010 9:14:25 PM

the biggest problem out of the list you like to do is games if you like new games that typically are windows only as the performance in WINE sometimes really isn't good, and to top it off if you have an ATI card the linux drivers a pretty poor IMO (NV aren't that bad)

though the linux games are good
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July 24, 2010 1:24:57 AM

linux_0 said:
Hey, welcome to the linux section :) 


Good luck :) 

Thank You for the info. :) 
Is it possible to download it from the distro's website onto a cd, or do I have to buy it if it is a cd?

Thanks again for the response and any future ones.


Gaming is not the primary use of my computer, there is only a few I play, but thanks for the info.
Also thanks for the info about the gpu... it is not biased is it?

Thank you for your response and any future ones.
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2010 6:42:39 AM

You can download CDs/DVDs of any of the distributions for free from their respective websites (Google for them). If I were you I would download a few "Live" CDs which will let you have a play without installing anything onto your hard disk. This will give you a chance to try the various distros and see which one works best on your hardware. The only drawback is that the Live CDs tend to run a little slower than a full install.

I would have a look at Ubuntu, Mandriva, Fedora, and SuSE (and any others that take your fancy). These ones are particulary easy to install and have good hardware support.
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2010 6:54:13 AM

Opera has a native Linux version, however the UI integration is not as good as the Windows version. I'm sure there are workarounds for it that are simple but as I've used Opera on Linux for all of 3 hours I can't tell you what they are :)  Photoshop is Windows software... if you really need it you should run it on Windows, although it might run ok with Wine compatibility libraries. You should also check out the GIMP which will serve most purposes you use Photoshop for unless you require some of the advanced features. It's also free (gratis and libre) software. Old games can work pretty good with Wine but forget anything newer that isn't extremely popular.

The most important thing to remember when using any Linux distro is that it will not behave like Windows. If you expect it to, you will get frustrated.

On a side note, if you have a poor internet connection and downloading CDs is going to be slow and/or expensive, you can get official pressed Ubuntu and Kubuntu CDs from ShipIt: and

Shipping is very slow (could take a month) but it's completely free. You can only place one order though, so future versions will require you to buy CDs from elsewhere or download the ISOs. This version is good until 2013 for security updates though so it should keep you going.
July 24, 2010 2:37:48 PM

Killer Carebear said:

Gaming is not the primary use of my computer, there is only a few I play, but thanks for the info.
Also thanks for the info about the gpu... it is not biased is it?

Thank you for your response and any future ones.

i personally am a bit of an ATI guy (slight bias), but the drivers really aren't the best for linux, but they have gotten better over the last few years

as for randomizer's comment, yeah those CD through shipit are free but take a while (pretty much minimum 1 month), i usually grab a set for each release (32bit and 64bit)
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2010 2:39:38 PM

I got 9.04 and 9.10 from ShipIt but now they tell me that it's costing them too much so they won't ship me any more. Only first timers get them now :cry: 
July 24, 2010 2:44:48 PM

yep, just checked, i am denied as well, i guess i will have to donate a bit to get them
a b 5 Linux
July 24, 2010 2:49:58 PM

Let me know if they'll ship you more if you donate. I like pressed official discs even if I never use them :D 
July 24, 2010 2:55:19 PM

i think when they mean donate, is time and code as i get redirected here
July 24, 2010 3:43:58 PM

Thanks for the info, I will check it out.
July 25, 2010 12:30:27 AM

I will learn best when I install and try linux, but I am not ready to do that yet, so I have a few more questions:

What exactly is a distro? I know of a few different distros, but do not exactly know what a distro is... (forgive me for my ignorance, I am a complete linux noob)

What is the difference between ubuntu, kubuntu, and xubuntu? (On an unrelated note, the ubuntu logo and google chrome logo are extremely similar, are they related in some way?)

What is Gnome?

There are a bunch of different customize-ability options correct? I watched a few quick videos on youtube. A few with fedora, and a few with ubuntu. They were all using the same version but yet their desktops all looked different. Some had docks such as a mac have while others had not status-bar like things whatsoever.

Once again I apologize. I know I could probably find the answers to these using a google search, but I think they will get answered better here. Also, sorry if their are other similar posts to this one already in existence.

Thanks. :) 

Best solution

a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2010 2:58:34 AM

Linux has almost limitless customisation potential because it is extremely modular, you just need to know how to do it. With Windows almost everything comes in a single package, whereas in Linux you can tear apart the operating system and build it with exactly the components you want. This is true from the application level right down to the Linux kernel; the core of the operating system.

Anyway, to answer your other questions: A distro is simply a selection of software components packaged together and distributed for free or for a price in a few special cases. In many cases the differences are minor but they can be quite large. Most distributions take other distributions and modify them to suit the needs of the distro owner. The majority are direct or indirect derivatives of the big four: Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or Fedora from a certain point of view) and Mandriva. Ubuntu is a direct derivative of Debian and many then derive from Ubuntu. Fedora is a special case in that it acts as the development distro for Red Hat which slowly adds stable features in Fedora to RHEL. It is not owned by Red Hat though; development is done by the community.

GNOME is a desktop environment. It controls the GUI (by means of a Window Manager which can be swapped out for other ones), graphical file management, themes, libraries for applications to use during runtime, etc. It's a very large and complex package of software. Other DEs are Xfce, LXDE and KDE. They all aim to achieve certain goals. LXDE for example aims to be extremely lightweight while still being functional and exceptionally customisable (but largely through config files) while KDE and GNOME provide more complete and GUI-based experiences, but at the cost of higher resource consumption. It is possible to run without a DE and just a Window Manager such as Fluxbox as well. There's even lower level stuff like the X Window System but you're probably not going to play with that much so I won't both talking about it.

Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu are largely the same. The differences lie mainly in the DE used and the default set of applications. Ubuntu uses GNOME, Kubuntu uses KDE and Xubuntu uses Xfce. Lubuntu is currently an unofficial LXDE version that will probably be merged into the main distribution in the next few releases once the development team has stabilised and shown that they can produce a good product.

The biggest thing you'll notice while checking out Linux is choice. Windows users gloat about how much choice they have compared to Mac users but in reality they are highly restricted. Sure they can change themes, install random programs and mess around with the registry, but due to the lack of modularity in Windows the customisation potential isn't even in the same league as in Linux.

EDIT: Whoa... wall of text!
July 25, 2010 12:37:41 PM

So, KDE and GNOME have the same aims, what are the differences between them?
And by the sounds of things... Fedora is just a distro to test features on before putting them into Red Hat?

And, how does wine work? I know it allows you to use some windows programs on linux, but how?

Thank you for the help. :) 

a b 5 Linux
July 25, 2010 12:50:08 PM

KDE and Gnome have different aims. I don't know what they are though as I don't get into alot of the Linux software philosophy, I just use the software :D  I'm sure Wikipedia and the projects' websites would give you more info. The best thing to do is just try them both and see what you prefer.

Fedora is one of the more "bleeding edge" distros, which means it has a higher probability of breaking. This doesn't mean it's unstable, just potentially less stable than a distro that goes through a longer quality testing process like RHEL and Debian (specifically the "stable" branch of Debian currently known as Debian Lenny). Those distros often have rather old packages though, and don't support newer hardware and fancy features. However, if you have hardware that they do support they are rock stable. As a side note: RHEL is a commercial distribution and you can't get it free (the source is available but not a prebuilt distribution). Centos is essentially RHEL with the non-free trademarked stuff removed, which is little more than branding and Red Hat's special enterprise service (Centos replaces this the package manager found in Fedora).

Wine has community-built libraries which mimic the functionality found in Windows libraries. That's basically it.
July 25, 2010 1:02:58 PM

Okay. Thank you for all the info... I guess that is all I have for questions for now, I will be back if I have troubles when I am ready to try it. ;) 
August 11, 2010 9:18:29 PM

Best answer selected by Killer Carebear.