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I switched to Linux two months ago. It had been years since I had tried it and years ago it was just not user friendly and I didn't have the time to make the transition.

Well that has changed, Linux is really nice. If you think 31 flavors of ice cream is nice wait until you see how many choices of linux await you.

There are small fast sporty models, luxury sedans, heavy equipment designed only to do certain tasks like recover windows. While they are all the same they are all different. There are branches or groups with different bases. For example, Debian is a form or distro of linux. However Mepis and Knoppix are also based on the Debian kernel. (Both of those are excellent by the way). The knoppix kernel is Debian with one small change where they added support for a file system. The Mepis distro has had quite a few changes to the kernel but it is still very much debian.

Virtually all of these systems use the internet to upgrade and support the OS. The HUGE problem is hardware support. So much of the hardware these days was designed to support or work with Windows. Particularly modems. So if you plan on testing Linux to see if it will work for your and you are still using a dialup internet provider (Like Me) do yourself a favor and buy an external, serial port modem (not usb) that is a FULL HARDWARE modem. Not a controllerless modem or winmodem or softmodem. Dont trust the advertising on the box. I tried 9 different modems (Internal pci) that all said they supported Linux). Some even had that cute Penguin on the front of the box. But you install it and they were really softmodems with drivers compiled for one or two operating systems. I literally tried 9 different ones with little or no success. I finally found an external as described above. It said nothing about supporting Linux. It even said the required OS was Windows. But it works like a charm. Yes all of the software they supplied is for Windows. But the software built into both Knoppix and Mepis worked without installing anything. I just plugged it in and it worked. Sort of like what Plug and Play was supposed to do. Truthfully, I still dual boot windows and linux. Mostly because these distros made it so easy to do... Funny that the modem that required windows required about 15 minutes of installation and configuration to get it working in windows, but required no installation to work with Linux.

Sorry for being long winded here...

I strongly would recommend either Mepis or Knoppix if you would like to explore Linux as an alternative to Windows. Knoppix is faster than Mepis and Knoppix includes a program called Wine for running some of your Windows programs. Knoppix is slightly harder to install on your hard drive. You need to go to a terminal (sort of like DOS) and type in sudo knoppix-installer if you want to install it on your hard drive while running the livecd version.

They both include Open Office to read and write MS Office files, IRC and Web browsers like Mozilla and Firefox, Instant messaging programs for Yahoo or AOL and others, Xchat or Kvirc, firewalls, games and more.

For my friends still doing windows, I am sorry for not being around more to help with your problems and answer your questions. I have been having so much fun playing and working in Linux that I just have not taken the time to stop in as often as I used to...

If you really need me to answer a Windows (or Linux ) question you can hunt me down on IRC, on freenode.net hanging out in the #Mepis, #MepisLovers or #LinuxTalk channels...

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Last Post by DMR
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Nice update, I am really glad to hear about your great success! When I read your first post on the linux forum I wasn't sure if you were going to make it over to this side of the pool!

The biggest tip to newbies is get rid of those old box sets of 6.x redhat or 5.x mandrake and get a good recent live CD to play with. Your recommendations for knoppix and mepis are excellent.

- want wine with mepis? "apt-get install wine" I will admit this is the first time I actually got wine running, mepis did all the work!

- you are right on with the modem comment, there is a ton of old, external, serial modems that will run 56k on anything: pc, router, pbx, ? I personally like the US Robotics sportster 56k. Just make sure you have a serial port on your box to use it (some boxes are "legacy free" = no serial port!)

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Yep, everything is working so well it is amazing...
That whole apt-get feature, or synaptic get or kpackage get just is soooo. cool
For those that dont know...
There is a master software list, you just pick whatever sounds good and it goes out gets it and installs it for you.
Ah, the joys of a Debian distro-bution...

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aww! I cant wait to get started with linux, thong-inspector your post has me watering at the mouth. Unfortunately I cant install it until I get my computer built because my mom is not very computer savvy even with windows. Well see ya on the other side soon, hopefully!

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ooooo, thanks, this should be very helpful!

You're wecome. :)

It is a bit of a *plug* on my part (acl6379 and I have worked there for years), but there really are a lot of knowledgeable folks over there who are always willing to help out. Linuxquestions.org is another good place to go for help.

While we're at it, this reference site is a "must-bookmark" for Linux users of all levels:

The Linux Documentation Project

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