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Old 01-10-2006, 12:21 PM   #1
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Linux

Anyone here use linux? *I might be getting a free PC with no operating system, and I'm considering putting linux on it. *Any recommendations on which flavor and where to get it cheap? *My idea is get a book at the library with instal CD's in it. *On my (now dead) computer I used NetZero for a free connection to the internet, play a little poker on pokerstars, and edit photos using Microsoft Digital Image. *I see that pokerstars works on "wine," am I likely to get the other software to work, or find similar software that works on linux (and for cheap)? *Will my camera and other USB connections work the same / as easily under linux as windows?
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 12:45 PM   #2
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Re: Linux

I use it. I wouldn't recommend it unless you don't mind doing some tinkering.
Most distributions offer a "Live CD". It's a CD that you can boot off and just runs the given Linux distribution. No installation required. It'll be slow because everything is running from CD, but it's a good way to see how you like its default configuration, and how well it works with your hardware by default.
SuSE puts together a pretty good package, IMHO. Fedora Core and Debian are 2 other popular choices. Gentoo is gaining popularity and I recommend it if you want to know how things hang together under the hood. Ubuntu/Kubuntu seem to be the new kids on the block. I haven't had a chance to check them out yet.
Don't pay any money until you've tried a few Live CDs and know you're paying for what you want. All the distributions I mentioned are freely downloadable so you don't necessarily get much value for your money anyway. If you want to pay money, invest in a CD burner and some blank CDs. :-)

Tim
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 12:48 PM   #3
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Re: Linux

If you're really into experimentation and technical fiddle faddle, you'll probably enjoy it. Most distributions can be downloaded and burned to cd for free, although you can pay a nominal amount to 'buy' one, and pay more for support.

Problems you'll encounter are a great deal of arcane stuff on downloading s/w and device drivers, lack of device support (for example, good luck with that camera and other usb devices), limited support for certain types of hardware (some distros are better than others in that regard), and limited application support. Yes, some well behaved apps will work on some windows emulators. Good luck with the microsoft apps.

Unless you're in the mood for a real adventure, find yourself a cheap copy of windows 98se on ebay and use that. Should be under twenty bucks. Or reuse the license from your old computer.
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 01:14 PM   #4
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Re: Linux

I use linux all the time, but fortunately I do not have to do any sysadmin crap with it anymore.

Based on what you wrote using Windows will probably be better.

You can probably get a new PC with the Windows XP operating system already installed and running cheaper than you can buy the software for your free PC.
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 01:32 PM   #5
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Re: Linux

When I looked at the download for Debian it had something like 16 CD's -- is that right? That's going to take forever!

I used to do some programming in XENIX, but that was a long time ago, and I don't really feel like spending a ton of time fiddling around. I thought if I could get my 2-3 apps working then I'd go for it, but it sounds like it's going to be quite a hassle.

"You can probably get a new PC with the Windows XP operating system already installed and running cheaper than you can buy the software for your free PC" -- Yah, that's what I'm worried about.
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 02:38 PM   #6
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Re: Linux

The 16 CDs would get you everything, the kitchen sink, plus some extra. If you're going to install, just go this route:
http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/

Then it'll download only the stuff you actually want as part of the install process.
Looks like Debian doesn't put together its own Live CD, but Knoppix is based on Debian, so you can try that. (For that matter, both Ubuntu and Kubuntu are based on Debian as well.)

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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 04:07 PM   #7
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Re: Linux

I found Ubuntu recently - a debian offshoot - check it at* http://www.ubuntulinux.org/

I downloaded the live version and the installer - only one CD image each - The live version found most all of the hardware ok - video, sound, non-ntfs hard disk, usb, etc.* Includes a MS Int Explorer like browser also, I used them to successfully connect to most of 'my favorite' websites, including this one - all this straight out of the free-downloaded version.* *This is the "most functional" version of linux I have ever tried, and I've tried a bunch along the way, always hoping for an alternative to Windows, etc.

Alas, it has had the usual linux problem for me - somethings didn't work - in my case I couldn't download files and save them so I never attempted to get into passworded private financial sites - that was just the tip of the iceburg - essentially I didn't choose to (yet) become a linux guru and work out all of the kinks in customizing linux to my system.

It may be worth a try - let us know and maybe we can all learn a little in the process.

JohnP
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 05:24 PM   #8
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Re: Linux

It's really easy to try the live cd's.

Such as Knoppix, Ubuntu live cd, and Damn Small Linux. Each can fit on one cd. Knoppix also has a bigger version which fits on one dvd.

I suppose you'd want to eventually install though, and if you like one of the live cds, there is a similar (or identical) version you can install.

Or, if you can get it for cheap enough, Windows 2000 is pretty good. I haven't checked ebay prices, but maybe you know someone who has a copy they aren't using anymore...
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Re: Linux
Old 01-10-2006, 05:53 PM   #9
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Re: Linux

Well now lets open up the can o' licensing worms...I have at least 3-4 valid windows 98 license keys, at least one windows ME keys (but I wouldnt wish that on anyone) and at least one windows 2000 key. I'll never use any of them ever again. What the heck is the legality of "giving" one of those keys to someone?
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Re: Linux
Old 01-11-2006, 11:47 AM   #10
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Re: Linux

I say it's completely legal. Send me a PM with one of those spare Win 98's!
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Re: Linux
Old 01-12-2006, 09:33 AM   #11
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Re: Linux

I would highly recommend you try Knoppix to get your feet wet with Linux. It fits on one CD, you can download the image for free and just burn it to CD-R. It boots flawlessly on my Dell, full support for the graphical interface and both ethernet and wireless network cards. Completely auto-configured. If you decide that you like it, you can get a version to install to the hard drive., but this is a no-risk way to take it for a test drive.
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