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Hi everyone,

I am currently using using windows and would like to switch to linux. The thing is that i don't know which distro to choose. You see i would like to have something that is similar to function(don't care about L&F) to windows.

For example when you buy windows you get internet explorer. Is there a distro that i can get a web browser bundled together with it. Another example is like when you get windows you also get windows explorer where you can double click on the programs to run them. Is there a linux distro with such a function?? Is there a linux distro that also supports SUN java sdk and runtimes.

One thing i find disturbing is that most the drivers i find for the hardware support windows and even if i find one that supports linux they don't seem to work(especially for modems)

Here is a stupid question(please bear with me). Is there a linux distro that can enable windows programs to run on it as well??

I hope someone can help me

Thank You

Yours Sincerely

Richard West

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Last Post by winddancer
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i would like to have something that is similar to function(don't care about L&F) to windows.

Unlike Windows, almost all Linux distros come with two graphical environments (KDE and Gnome), both of which can be configured to give you an enviroment that is functionaly very similar to Windows. There are other choices available as well, but KDE and Gnome are the most prevalent.
Additionally, you can install more than one environment and switch between them until you decide which one you prefer.

Obviously though, the under-the-hood workings of Linux and Windows are quite different, so you would have to be more specific about your needs/concerns in order for us to more exactly answer your question.

For example when you buy windows you get internet explorer. Is there a distro that i can get a web browser bundled together with it. Another example is like when you get windows you also get windows explorer where you can double click on the programs to run them. Is there a linux distro with such a function??

Again- unlike Windows, Linux don't just give you one web browser and one file manager; you have choices.

Netscape, Mozilla, FireFox, Galeon, and Konqueror are the most commonly-used web browsers in "Linux Land". There are others which you can freely download as well, but distros most often come with some combination of the above five browsers. In terms of file managers, both KDE and Gnome have their own built-in managers, which operate almost exactly like Windows Explorer. There again though, a variety of similar programs exist.

Is there a linux distro that also supports SUN java sdk and runtimes.

Linux does support Java (including development). In terms of capabilities, compatibilities, and possible "gotchas", you need to look not so much at the different distros, but at the different kernel and related library versions.

One thing i find disturbing is that most the drivers i find for the hardware support windows and even if i find one that supports linux they don't seem to work(especially for modems)

If hardware manufacturers would open-source their drivers, we wouldn't have that problem. :mad:

Linux hardware support overall is actually very good these days, but modems do continue to be a problem area. The reason is not one easily overcome: to cut costs, most modem manufacturers make "software modems", which means that many of the tasks involving modem communication are not actually handled by the modem itself, but are passed off to the operating system instead.

Unfortunately, guess how modem manufactureres interpret the term "operating system"? Right- "Microsoft Windows". This is why software modems are often called "WinModems". If you do need to use a modem under Linux, you'll find that support for true "hardware" modems is much better than it is for WinModems.


Here is a stupid question(please bear with me). Is there a linux distro that can enable windows programs to run on it as well??

Not a stupid question at all, although it isn't a question of distro. Windows programs are run under Linux by using third-party programs such as WINE or VMware. VMware is a commercial product, but WINE is open-source, and may even be included with distros now(although I'm not sure about that).


In terms of distros in general, the ones that Windows users will probably find the most easy to adapt to are Red Hat/Fedora, SuSE, and Mandrake. Users new to Linux often find that distros such as Slackware or Debian require a bit too much hands-on "tinkering" when compared to Windows.

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Good post by DMR...

Modems are a problem and here is a solution... Get an external hardware modem...

I personally perfer the debian based distros like Mepis and Knoppix.

They are easy to add programs and upgrade...

They come with Web Browsers, Chat.. IRC, Instant messaging Open office to work with with your MS Docs and Spreadsheets,

#Mepis on freenode is a great place for info even if you are not using their distro..

Try it ... you wont be disappointed

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Hi everyone,

Sorry to get off topic for a while but there seems something i notice about linux forums in that the poster always says that he is windows user kinda like a AA meeting where people first say they are alcoholics. Now back to the original topic.

Let's say if i were to choose between
Red Hat/Fedora, SuSE, Mandrake, Mepis and knoppix which is the best and easiest for a windows user to adapt to?

Another thing how do i install linux?? I don't know how to do it.
For example let me use use windows 2000 as an example to compare with. I sure all you guys know how to partition and install windows 2000 onto a harddisk using the cd provided by microsoft but is installing linux similar?? Is installing linux hardware drivers similar to that windows 2000 or am i in the ride of my life??

Is there a site or webpage that someone can link me to so that i can get detailed information on how to be able to partition the hard disk and install the linux distro that you guys have recommended to me in my first question in this post. It would be great if you guys could also post links to installing programs and drivers for the linux distro that you guys have recommended to me in my first question in this post.

I so sorry for rambling so much but i am trying to make the switch and sincerely apologize if any of my questions sound silly or seem irritating to you guys

Hope to hear soon from you guys

Thank You

Yours Sincerely

Richard West

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"Which distro should I start with?" questions are what start long and bloody Distro Wars. :D

Every Linux user will have an opinion as to which distro is "best", but in the end the choice is really yours. Since you specifically asked about distros that a Windows user could most easily adapt to though, I'd recommend SuSE, Fedora, or Mandrake (probably in that order, too). Those distros don't require as much user interaction to install and configure as a distro like Slackware does, and once installed their environment should feel pretty familiar to a Windows user. As a matter of fact, those distros often take hits from serious Linux users for making things too easy and being too "Windows-like", but if you're just statring out with Linux that's probably exactly what you want. Regardless of distro, once you've learned more about how Linux works, there's nothing stopping you from bypassing the automated setup wizards, graphical configuration utilities, etc. and getting your hands dirty by learing how to compile your own drivers or "hand-hack" your system files.

Thong_Inspector mentioned Knoppix and Mepis, which brings up a point that might be of interest to you: both of those distros are what are known as "Live CD" versions. That is, while they certainly can be installed to your hard drive just like any other operating system, they can also be run entirely from the installation disk, without touching your hard drive at all. This is a great feature for people who are just getting a feel for Linux, because they can just boot from a CD and have a fully-functioning Linux operating system running while leaving their current Windows installation totally intact. I've used a live Knoppix CD on numerous systems, and have been quite impressed with it's ability to detect and configure quite a wide range of hardware devices.


Partitioning and installation:

While you can install Linux on one single partition, it's better to have at least two partitions; one for the bulk of the operating system, and one for "swap" space. The swap file or swap partition is the same as Windows' "virtual memory" or "page file", and you get slightly better performance if swap is its own partition instead of just a file on the main partition.

For security and stability reasons, many people (including myself) make multiple partitions to create separate spaces for some of the core Linux filesystems. There are pros and cons to both partitioning schemes, and the following links discuss these as well as other partition/installation issues:

http://twiki.iwethey.org/Main/NixPartitioning
http://www.justlinux.com/nhf/Installation/How_to_Create_a_Multiple_Partition_System.html
http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Partition/index.html
http://www.pathname.com/fhs/2.2/
http://www.justlinux.com/nhf/Filesystems/Filesystems_Directories_and_Devices.html


In general, the installation programs/processes will differ somewhat between distros, so it's best to read the installation guides, user manuals, and other documentation on the distributors' support sites.

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Hi everyone,

Thanks DMR, great post. You have helped answer all my questions

Thank You

Yours Sincerely

Richard West

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Glad to help :)


One important thing that I forgot to mention:

You said that hardware compatibilty and the availability of drivers can be issues with Linux, and you're right to a degree. To avoid any of those sorts of roadblocks, before you even choose a distro you should make a list of the exact makes/models/versions of your hardware components and verify that they have support under Linux.
Most, if not all, distros have some version of a Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) on their support sites, and it's highly advised that you consult those
before going ahead with your installation.

If you do have specific questions or problems as you start actually installing and using Linux (and I'm sure you will), the following two Linux support sites have knowledgeable members who are more than willing to help you out:

www.justlinux.com (both alc6379 and I work at this site)

www.linuxquestions.org

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Another side note:
There is no need to go cold turkey...

This is not a situation of one or the other.

It is quite simple to dual boot and most distros will set that up for you.

You can have your existing Windows system exactly like it has always been and add an option at boot time to let you choose Windows or Linux... (Any Linux or multiple Linux)

I run 98se for games, XP for some work related issues, and two different linux versions...

They all are quite happy in their own little worlds.

If you have 12 gigs to spare on your existing system you have plenty of room to install and explore linux.

Get a copy of Partition Magic... for windows... make a 2 gig swap partition and a 10 gig ext3 partition... (Specific distros will see the ext3 and format it to something different if they need it.)
I didnt want to get into a discussion over which file system format to use...

Boot up whatever distro you choose and off you go...

If you have broadband internet I would strongly suggest you try out several of the live distros to get a feel for the different possibilities without ever having to install anything to your hard drive.

Have Fun,
We are here to help...

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I run 98se for games, XP for some work related issues, and two different linux versions...

Sure, it's definitely "do-able". One of my systems is very happily running 98SE, XP, 2K, and three different flavors of Linux. And that box is just a lowly Pentium III 500...

If you have 12 gigs to spare on your existing system you have plenty of room to install and explore linux. Get a copy of Partition Magic...

Given that hard drives are pretty cheap, you might even want to add a second drive to dedicate to Linux. Putting Linux on a second drive will not only let you avoid the possible risks involved in repartitioning your current drive, but will make it less likely that a serious crash/error/corruption in one of the operating systems will hose both installations.


By the way: however you decide to configure the system for dual-booting, it's a good idea to create a separate FAT32-formatted partition to use as shared data storage. Windows cannot natively understand the Linux filesystem formats (ext2, ext3, reiserfs, etc.), but Linux can understand Windows formats. Linux fully supports reading from and writing to FAT/FAT32-formatted partitions; it also fully supports reading from NTFS partitions and has "experimental" support for NTFS writes (full and official NTFS support should not be far away).

By creating a FAT32 data partition, you give yourself a place to store any data that you might want access to regardless of which operating system you are currently booted in to.

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FAT32 is newer version of the original FAT (FAT16, technically) filesystem format. It's basic advantages over FAT16 are more efficient use of disk space and support for larger drives, partitions, directories, and files.

FAT16 is basically dead; use FAT32 for the shared partition.

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As for repartitioning, there's this one DOS app called Partition Resizer. It resizes partitions without erasing data, hence the name :) I don't have the URL right off hand, do a google search...

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:D I would suggest getting a Knoppix live cd you can download it from www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html also use an md5 checksum to verify the down load was not corrupted. you can find this program free at www.md5summer.org this is an important step in downloading iso programs . next burn a cd as an exact data iso copy. and do another run with the md5 checksummer. you can also find both of these on winddancers dominion The live knoppix cd will be somewhat like running debian with out actually installing it . This will give you a small sample of linux . If you like it you can install it easily, the hard part is over. :cheesy: You only need to run the knoppix live cd and then click on the console icon at the bottom of the screen and then type "sudo knoppix-installer " then press enter the auto installer will walk you through it all , you will need 1 floppy disk for a lilo start disk . and when asked where to install lilo, check the mbr file. once it is installed remove cd as prompted and go online , you can update and install new and updated versions of debian using the KPackage Manager found in the system section .This is the easiest install i have found with the most options to download. you will have a multitude of multimedia , graphics, games, servers, office, education , development, science , 3d , cad it goes on and on . also Konquerer , monzilla and firefox browsers . have fun exploring. :)

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