Hey All,

I am a linux newbie and I come from a windows background.

I want to install linux on my pc and start learning it. Can you tell me which version of linux could suite me the most, keeping in mind that I m just a starter.

I heard a lot about CentOS, is it good for me or do you have any other versions to be suggested.


Go with redhat, it is stable.

Most of the distros people will throw out will be pretty similar for a beginner; they'll have slightly different installers, slightly different administrative software, and very little difference in available packages. Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, and SuSE will all probably do about as well for you.

If you like to start by jumping in the deep end and trying to swim out, I'd recommend Gentoo or Slackware (Gentoo was my first distro). These are not so easy but you will learn a lot more just from the install process. I would note, however, that Gentoo makes you compile all of your software from source code, so if you want to try it be aware that it will take the longest time by far...

Good luck with whichever distro you choose! :)

CentOS is very stable but its a bit hard to set it up for dvd playback and certain other media files like flash and java

I recommend ubuntu . its:

  • 1 cd (you can order it if you dont want to download, its cheap - you want version 7.04 feisty fawn)
  • you can boot from the cd and try it out first without installing anything (runs in memory)
  • easy to install media codecs etc....
  • easy to keep updated
  • designed for newbies - the forums are good

256+ mb ram and a pentium 3+ or equivilent is about the recommended spec

It all depends on your goals with Linux. If you simply want a stable operating system replacement for Windows and don't want to learn much about the insides of Linux, choose something simple like Ubuntu or SuSE.

If you actually want to learn the insides of Linux, go with what Infarction suggested. He's right -- the installation process of Slackware or Gentoo will teach you far more about Linux than Ubuntu or some other "easy distro" usually does in months.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is the distro's minimum requirements. No point in installing something if your computer's hardware can't handle it.

Yes, you need a minimum of 256 mb for most modern distributions (debian and slackware may allow you to get away with 128) and somewhere in the region of 384 for a flash distro like SuSE or Mandriva. You will need a 1ghz+ CPU

Double these requirements for a livecd e.g to get a usable system using the ubuntu livecd you will need about 512, or 256 when installed

My PC's are currently running different version of Windows. I'm thinking of getting one beefy machine and switching to one XandrOS box. Anyone have any experience or issues with XandrOS?


never tried it, IMHO they are better, free, distros available.

take a look at PCLinux OS - it runs good on beefy machines

My PC's are currently running different version of Windows. I'm thinking of getting one beefy machine and switching to one XandrOS box. Anyone have any experience or issues with XandrOS?


never tried it, IMHO they are better, free, distros available.

take a look at PCLinux OS - it runs good on beefy machines

umm what is xandrOS

a linux version, there is no single "linux" there are may different "distributions" to meet different needs.


well i would advise ubuntu, though am also a newbie, but its so friendly to newbies, and requires spec, of atleast 256 mb of RAM, at least5GB free space

yeah, if your machine came with XP SP2 then the chances are that it will run

runs fine on my 677mhz PIII with 384mb ram and 20gb HDD.

Which one is the easiest to install?

there both fairly easy

Ubuntu is a "livecd" which means you install it while running it from the cd whereas CentOS uses a more standard installer (like the one for vista)

if youve managed to install XP before you should manage it just fine.

>umm what is xandrOS
It's actually a continuation of Corel Linux. Although I've never used Xandros, I did try out Corel Linux a number of years ago, and it installed and ran quite smoothly on my machine. It had a professional appearance to it (eg. a graphical LILO instead of text-only), so I would imagine Xandros would have these same qualities.

If you don't have any experience with Linux, I would not recommend buying Xandros, however. Try something free first, and once you know enough about Linux to decide if you really need Xandros, then go ahead and buy it.

  • 1 cd (you can order it if you dont want to download, its cheap - you want version 7.04 feisty fawn)

Why not 6.06 LTS??? See I downloaded this because I thot it would be better (older so more stable, more support for it, plus the 'LTS' thing) and it was just kinda weird. I was getting random shapes on the screen, and for most of the time (about 40 minutes) a black screen with thin purple vertical stripes. In the end I got tired of waiting and exited (I was using a virtual machine). D'u reckon this happened just because it was a 6.06? My friend used 7.04 and didn't have any problems. Also for a 7.04 do I NEED to have about 5 GB free space? I'll have enough ram for it (about 512 MB).

If you have a high-speed network connection, you should try Debian. I've been using it for years with no trouble. As long as you have relatively new hardware (not much more than five years old) and don't have hardware bits that are specially made for manufacturers like Dell, Gateway, etc., Debian should install real easily.

Download the network install ISO (netinst.iso) for the stable release. Burn the image to a CD, then boot from the CD. Once you get through most of the install, you'll get to select the 'type' of software you want. Initially, stick with Desktop and Standard.

After a single reboot, the install will complete and start the GUI. You should then be ready to explore GNU/Linux.

Personally, I don't care for the default window manager; I prefer KDE. For software, I use:
- konqueror and iceweasel for web browsing,
- kmail for email,
- acrobat for PDFs,
- GnuCash for personal finance,
- GIMP for image manipulation,
- ImageMagick for batch image processing,
- SANE (xsane, etc.) for my scanner,
- scanbuttond (with my own script mods) to enable the scanner's buttons,
- OpenOffice for word processing and typesetting, and, of course,
- xterm for command line work (which is most of what I do).

Most of this software should be installed with the Desktop selection. You may have to search the net for a couple things.

I recently added an EXT3 filesystem to share data with Windows. Yes, there is a Windows EXT3 driver, and it works well. There is also a R/W NTFS driver that's part of the latest 2.6 kernel; I've had no trouble with it. There are a few esoteric Windows functions that the driver doesn't handle and, of course, it does not deal with Windows' access rights system: once you mount the filesystem, you can access the whole thing.

Debian ably handles USB hard drives, most 'standard class' USB devices (like serial and parallel ports, flash drives and n-in-1 devices), 'generic' syncing with PDAs and PDA phones, IDE, SCSI and SATA drive, RAID using the md driver, and many other things.

I've had few issues with Debian. One, it wouldn't recognize my ancient joystickman joystick (can't find Win drivers for it any more either, and the unit should be tossed in the dust bin, so it doesn't matter), and xfig (a nice technical drawing program) gave me a SIGSEGV error and crashed the other day.

If I need to install some software, I run aptitude, find it, select it, and go. I rarely have to go outside Debian to find programs for specific tasks.

If you are new to GNU/Linux, be prepared to install Debian several times: on general principle, to learn, and perhaps because you royally screwed the system.

If you have the newest CPU with hardware virtualization support, you should be able to load up Xen and create virtual systems for GNU/Linux, Windows and other OSen.

As to 64-bit, it's nice, works well, but certain everyday things don't exist yet, like acrobat and flash. Yes, there are FOSS versions, but they are still too young yet for general use. I ran 64-bit Debian for a few months on my dual dual-core AMD system, but switched back to 32-bit for these reasons.

About the only things I use XP for are Adobe Illustrator (GNU/FOSS versions are not yet mature enough), Diablo (about the only game I own), and doing some development for a custom Palm-III application I dreamed up. I do darn near everything else with GNU/Linux. And have done so for around seven years now. (Before that, I used BeOS for a few years, but that's another story. I still have my original Be Boxes.)

Once you're reasonably familiar with GNU/Linux, get a copy of DD-WRT (www.dd-wrt.com) for your gateway/router, if it's supported. It's Linux, and has much the same functionality, although it's reduced to fit those embedded systems.

Go for it. Wipe out Windows and start using GNU/Linux. You won't be sorry.

SUSE and Ubuntu is recommended for newbie users.

Actually for noobs I would recommend a traditional/hardcore unixish distro. This allows you to start learning immediately. Also with a tradition unixish distro, the skills learned will carry over to almost any *nix.

yes, i began with Fedora then moved to slackware before eventually settling with debian

slackware isnt hard. People are often scared by the installer but if you grasp the basic idea of partitions and know how to install windows then you can do it. Text based / ncurses menu driven doesnt = hard it = efficient

slackware is a very unixish distro and you will learn a lot about linux as it has not many(if any in some cases) geraphical tools for configuring things.

Another point to bear in mind if you are new to Gnu/Linux is to experiment on an empty system. Don't be trying to repartition Windows to dual-boot. Pick a computer and, in essence, wipe it clean. Why? Because it will take you a while to learn the basic intricacies of installing Linux. Because you won't be worried about accidentally deleting your Windows installation.

Download Debian's netinst, burn it to a CD and boot your 'Linux-only' PC with it. Run through the basic install once to see what's there. Take notes so you'll remember what you thought was sane the next time you run the install. Let it choose the partitioning scheme and filesystems for you the first time. When it asks you to select the 'system purpose', uncheck everything, including 'Standard System'; don't waste time installing anything more than the most basic system, because you are going to immediately reinstall it anyway: practice makes perfect, they say.

Once the PC boots into the most basic system, reboot from the CD again. Go through the install again, this time setting up the partitions yourself. Stick with just two partitions: / (root) and swap. Swap can be as large or as small as you want, but twice your RAM is good, up to one to two GB. Use the rest of the disk for the filesystem.

Check out the different filesystems available: EXT3, ReiserFS, and others. Don't even think about trying to use software RAID yet. While it's not terribly complex, the install will let you choose settings that won't work. I know; I recently spent hours trying to figure out why RAID wouldn't work. :)

EXT3 is a nice, adequate filesystem, but I prefer ReiserFS because it seems to be smoother and faster, and has never been corrupted. (Well, OK, version 3.6 has never been corrupted. I did have problems with a v3.5 filesystem getting corrupted, but that FS was, I think, 5 years old at the time and should've been upgraded to 3.6 long before. At some point, the 3.6 driver lost complete compatibility with 3.5. But as bad as it seemed, I never lost any data from the filesystem.)

Install a few times using just the most basic installation, that is, don't install anything from the network. At some point, create a /home filesystem if your hard drive is large enough. Once you have that down, install the 'Standard' system; it downloads perhaps 70 packages from Debian's site/mirror. Then finish the install after a reboot. Now play with the system some. Learn the absolute basics of system administration. Once you figure out how to properly shut the system down and have learned a few other things about the 'unix' shell, boot from the CD again.

This time, install the basic system and choose both Workstation and Standard. Then reboot when ready, finish the install, and you will find yourself at a graphical login screen in due time. Now you're ready to greatly steepen the learning curve.

I say use Debian because it is the 'parent' distribution of several others. Ubuntu is, essentially, Debian, but with a number of more up-to-date packages. Ubuntu's install just has a little more eye candy.

I've used Slackware 1, TurboLinux, Redhat 3-5, SuSE 7.0 for PowerPC, SuSE 7.3 for x86, Fedora Core 5 (recently, for x86-64 before Debian's version was ready) and Debian's potato, woody, sarge and etch. I've used BeOS (my desktop system for 3 years), SCO Unix, BSD and Solaris. Shoot, the first PC I ever bought was an AT&T UNIX PC (System V, 68010, the first UNIX with demand-paged virtual memory, loadable device drivers), brandy-new in 1986. Since Debian matured enough (woody, 3.0) I've found it to be really simple to install. Except for a brief fling with Fedora's 64-bit system, I've been using Debian for at least 5 years now, probably closer to 7. I installed Gnu/Linux on my BeBox. And I had to patch Linux and compile it on my BeBox to install it on my MCP750 Compact PCI system.

Compared to the distributions from 10-15 years ago, Debian and its offshoots positively take you by the hand and gently lead you through the installation. They will choose sane defaults for you, and will allow you to choose other things. Debian will even allow you to shoot yourself in the foot. (Gnu/Linux is all about choice, and shooting yourself in the foot *is* a valid choice. Perhaps not wise, but valid nonetheless.)

Is installing Gnu/Linux a no-brainer? No. Would you buy a table saw, take it home, plug it in, turn it on and start cutting wood? Of course not. You would put some thought into where and how you want it installed in your shop. Gnu/Linux is a tool as well, and it will take time to learn how and where to install it and how to use it to your best advantage. I don't think any distribution has any great advantage over any other when it comes to installation. Today, they're all fairly easy to install. I just like Debian because I rarely have problems with it, and more packages are just an aptitude session away.

So download a distribution and install it. If it seems difficult, DL another distribution and try it. What can you lose? The data on your Linux PC? Oh, wait, you don't have any just yet, and you keep wiping it out each time you try a different distribution.

including 'Standard System'

Its a good idea to include that actually. You need that to (on some setups) be assigned an IP by DHCP.

And yeah, if you can install windows, you should be able to install debian. Dont use the netinstall unless you have uncapped broadband as a decent install will use many gigabytes

Its a good idea to include that actually. You need that to (on some setups) be assigned an IP by DHCP.

And yeah, if you can install windows, you should be able to install debian. Dont use the netinstall unless you have uncapped broadband as a decent install will use many gigabytes

Whoops! I forgot to mention that! Standard + Workstation will download around 600MB of packages. About 90 minutes at 1Mb/s, around 20 minutes at 5Mb/s.

I suggest leaving out Standard for the first few test installs to avoid wasting the time required to DL the Standard packages.

If you don't have reasonably high speed internet access, it'd be worth it to DL the 650MB ISO image of the Standard + Workstation install.


i just downloaded suse and i never had experience and i like it, sort of boring but i like it , it is pretty fast

SuSE is slow compared to most other linux distributions but it has a very nice conrtrol panel and installer