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Help Understanding Linux

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April 13, 2011 2:57:07 AM

Hello fellow internetz! I have a question that I'm hoping might have a reply that has enough information to answer all of my questions...

Essentially I recently built a gaming rig, but I may be taking it off to MIT or Stanford for a week or two for a game dev team. I hear Linux is a good OS for programming and I figured why not boot up with either Win7 or Linux... Basically just wondering what version of Linux should I get (L1NUX N00B), mostly for making games and testing.

I asked what version since I don't know if there is a better version of Linux out there, as I said I am a complete noob to this OS.

More about : understanding linux

April 13, 2011 3:20:14 AM

I like Ubuntu for a generally easy to use Linux, but you can add developer tools to any Linux distribution and program in just about any language you want.
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a b 5 Linux
April 13, 2011 3:21:35 AM

One distro is not necessarily better than any other! The linux kernel is mostly the same throughout distrobutions. The main differences you will encounter are:
1.) Default desktop. Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE... etc..
2.) Package Management.
3.) drivers already compiled into kernel.

Distros you may want to start with: Ubuntu, Mint, or Fedora. These (and their derivatives) are probably the easiest to get start with.
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April 13, 2011 3:23:54 AM

Okay I sorta am at a loss... I know these names but what do they mean to me. Like which ones are easy to start with and which will be the most compatible for a secondary boot going against win7, or is that not compatible with Linux?
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a b 5 Linux
April 13, 2011 6:12:04 AM

All those distros (any distro) will dual boot with Windows 7). And they are all easy to install and use. If you have enough bandwidth, download some live CDs (try Fedora, Mandriva, SuSE, and Ubuntu) and try them. If you just want a "use this" recommendation, then go for Ubuntu. It will do everything you want it to.
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April 13, 2011 10:18:47 AM

Okay, and I can still edit the files, correct?
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a b 5 Linux
April 13, 2011 12:01:29 PM

Which files do you mean? Are you thinking of sharing files between Windows and Linux?
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April 13, 2011 9:52:20 PM

Hopefully, if that is too complicated I may vote it out.
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April 13, 2011 11:12:50 PM

You can access your Windows files from Linux but not the other way around. If you install Ubuntu it will map your Windows documents folders so you can easily access them from Linux applications.
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April 14, 2011 3:15:22 AM

There are ways to get windows to be able to access your linux partitions, but those drivers aren't the most stable ones out there, and not for the faint of heart (no noobs apply).

Most any linux distribution that gets classified as a desktop system has the ability to access the windows partition, browse it and either has programs already to access those files, or has the programs available to install using the package manager.

http://distrowatch.com has a list of too many linux distributions, descriptions and links to each. Things I look for are how long its been since a release, or other activity. The big names, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, etc are all well polished and maintained, that's why they're big names. People use them.
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a b 5 Linux
April 14, 2011 6:18:42 AM

One way to easily share files between systems is to create a FAT32 data partition that both can access. I'm not really in favour of making the OS partition visible to the other OS; there is too much potential for my liking to damage important system files. External (or networked) drives and/or FTP are other ways of sharing files.
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April 14, 2011 8:13:39 AM

openSUSE is good. I really like its management software (SUSE's, not the other stuff). Works well, too.
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April 14, 2011 10:18:10 AM

Just installed Ubuntu, I'd like to see where it goes and what exactly I can do with it.
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April 14, 2011 12:04:49 PM

Have fun with it. Its a very stable featured distribution. Part of the alure of linux however is you can customize it to your liking in many more ways than windows. Throw convention out of the box and start making subtle changes and see what you like and don't like.
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April 14, 2011 6:28:56 PM

I was reading at distrowatch that there is a version for games only. Maybe you want to try that.
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April 14, 2011 11:03:40 PM

Well, Ubuntu is installed and I like it, BUT I have internet complications and also none of my files transfered over... Any insight to this?
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April 14, 2011 11:25:33 PM

What sort of "internet complications" and how did you try to transfer your files?
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April 14, 2011 11:27:44 PM

Internet complications such as not being able to connect to my home network which is an easy connection over Windows. I believe it may be an issue with the drivers. Not sure though seeing as I ALSO cannot view my drivers CD under Linux.

As to file transferring I didn't know where the start...
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April 15, 2011 12:17:13 PM

The files won't transfer automatically, you will need to access them through the filesystem. Your drivers CD is useless in linux - it only contains drivers for windows. Thankfully most all hardware is supported by linux directly, sometimes it does require setup however. What network card are we talking about? (make/model)
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April 15, 2011 12:26:27 PM

With Ubuntu 10.10 there is an option under System-->Administration-->Additional Drivers where you can automatically download drivers (if any) for your equipment. If you are connected of course.
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a b 5 Linux
April 15, 2011 1:45:02 PM

albinoshadow said:
Internet complications such as not being able to connect to my home network which is an easy connection over Windows. I believe it may be an issue with the drivers. Not sure though seeing as I ALSO cannot view my drivers CD under Linux.

As to file transferring I didn't know where the start...


The network connection problem could be many things. Do you have the ability to select wireless networks when you right-click (or left click?) the networking icon in the notification area (system tray) in the top-right?

As for the file issue, it really depends how you installed Ubuntu. If you selected the option for using the whole disk.... well, let's just hope there was nothing important there. On the other hand, if you correctly installed it as a dual boot then you should be able to find your files. Open up the file manager Nautilus and look for the drives on the left hand side.
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April 15, 2011 3:52:17 PM

albinoshadow said:
Internet complications such as not being able to connect to my home network which is an easy connection over Windows. I believe it may be an issue with the drivers. Not sure though seeing as I ALSO cannot view my drivers CD under Linux.

As to file transferring I didn't know where the start...


By home network do you mean your web connection or do you mean a share?

As for moving the files, assuming you didn't use the whole disk and the files are still there when you boot into Windows, you just need to find the Windows drive and mount it, and you should have access to the files.

Since Windows can't read the files on your Linux machine (without some gymnastics) you will have to think about how you'll get any Linux files to your Window machine if you want to access them while booted into Windows. If you edit a file on the Linux side its' Windows counterpart won't be updated. There are a lot of ways around this. Probably one of the easiest is to go with something like DropBox or SpiderOak.
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a b 5 Linux
April 16, 2011 12:04:06 AM

wombat_tg said:
There are a lot of ways around this. Probably one of the easiest is to go with something like DropBox or SpiderOak.

Or just saving everything to an NTFS data partition ;) 
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April 16, 2011 12:28:27 AM

randomizer said:
Or just saving everything to an NTFS data partition ;) 


But... but... cloud syncing... :lol: 

I also move back and forth between multiple VMs and computers, so I find something like DB/Box/SO very easy. I'm getting lazy in my old age. :p 
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April 16, 2011 3:28:02 AM

Okay wait so I need a program to transfer files?
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a b 5 Linux
April 16, 2011 4:24:31 AM

No, you either need a FAT32 or NTFS partition. Windows cannot read unix filesystems, though in linux you can mount NTFS and FAT32 partitions without any hassle.
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April 16, 2011 5:54:29 AM

albinoshadow said:
Okay wait so I need a program to transfer files?


No. But seeing the files from Windows won't "just happen". Let's say you have documents in your Windows "My Documents" folder, and different documents in your Linux "Home" folder. When you're booted into Linux you can see both the My Documents and Home contents. When you're booted into Windows you can only see My Documents- if you try to access the Linux drive Windows will say it can't read it and offer to reformat it.

So you've got a couple of options:

1) Go through the hassle of coaxing Windows to see ext3/ext4 (not for the faint of heart)

2) Use a cross-platform filesync program like DropBox/SpiderOak

3) Create a FAT32 or NTFS partition to use as a common bucket for documents.

4) Email/flash drive/something along these lines to shuffle files back and forth, possibly using an rsync.

It's pretty much which option you prefer.
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a b 5 Linux
April 16, 2011 6:04:30 AM

wombat_tg said:
1) Go through the hassle of coaxing Windows to see ext3/ext4 (not for the faint of heart)

I think this will only work in read only mode, so he probably wouldn't want to try even if he was adventurous.
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April 16, 2011 6:08:42 AM

randomizer said:
I think this will only work in read only mode, so he probably wouldn't want to try even if he was adventurous.


I have no idea- I spent about 5 minutes reading up on it before I said "yeah, no, skip this" :lol: 
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April 17, 2011 12:53:26 AM

Mmkay so I plan on downloading DropBox or something. Next issue I seem to be having is internet, this is by far my greatest issue. I can search and find my internet but while trying to connect it just keeps trying and trying with no luck.
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April 18, 2011 9:56:16 PM

No help on that? Google ideas? Anything?
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April 18, 2011 10:04:12 PM

"internet" is a rather vague description of a setup/problem... you'll have to give us a few more details I think :) 

Do you connect your "home network" to some kind of a router? And your windows machines connect fine through that? Say "ipconfig /all" on windows and have some of that stuff written down... then compare to what you have on Linux side, maybe you can set up some of that. Do you use static ip or does your network have dhcp from the router?
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April 18, 2011 10:58:27 PM

Well my issue with Linux is I can't connect at all, just simply I try and it fails. It keeps trying then after 30 seconds or so it asks me for the passcode again.
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April 19, 2011 2:29:26 AM

Passcode to what? :heink: 
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April 19, 2011 2:58:16 AM

Are you on dial-up by any chance?
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April 20, 2011 1:00:48 AM

@wombat
WEP code

@preferlinux
No, it's all wireless.
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April 20, 2011 7:41:12 AM

Ahh...Wireless. About the most problematic hardware to get working properly on Linux! Why use WEP anyway? It's almost as insecure as no security to anyone who knows what they're doing. Try turning off encryption temporarily, or using WPA. Or try both. The problem would actually seem to be WEP support, rather than anything else.
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April 25, 2011 10:32:29 PM

Specifically about Ubuntu 10.10.

On my desktop, a linksys wireless worked straight on. An external usb ethernet card worked straight on.
A pci ethernet card was not detected at all (it is not a driver problem, it is a hardware problem).

On my netbook, a linksys wireless card needed drivers. The ethernet worked straight on.
To fix the problem on my netbook, i connected a wire and downloaded the drivers needed for the wireless card.

My point is, if you can connect somehow, you can fix your driver problem. Borrowing a friends card is one solution.
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April 26, 2011 2:26:15 AM

Hmm I'll figure it out thanks guys! I would pick a best answer but you all had solved my problems and given me the opportunity to think of some of my own answers. Thank you!!
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April 26, 2011 2:26:49 AM

Best answer selected by albinoshadow.
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!