Forums > Social Chat > (Very basic) LINUX questions

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:I expect some of you use Linux type operating systems and thought I'd start a thread with a few questions.

I thought it would be good to keep it as a beginners resource type thing, rather than a thread where experienced Linux users show off their knowledge using technical language that no one but themselves can understand (though it may be a good idea to start a new thread along those lines, for advanced users).

So here are four questions, answers to which I (and probably many others) would find usefull as I'm wondering if it's worthwhile switching from windows.

Firstly, how practical is it to switch from Windows to a Linux operating system if you're not especially tech minded?

Many people say it's pretty straightforward, but when asked about specifics, it seems anything but.

I suspect that Linux users are a lot more technically minded so that would be something to bear in mind if you want to give answers here; my computer knowledge is totally windows based and good in some areas e.g. HTML, graphics, basic internet stuff, and bad in others e.g. DOS type stuff, the new internet things like php etc.

Secondly, what are the main benefits of Linux- is it true that you can expect a lot less system crashes; also, is it better for dealing with hacking attacks/viruses?

Thirdly, what are the main downsides to switching to Linux?

Lastly, are there any good sites on the net that explain concisly the basics of Linux from a beginners perspective?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Just done a search and found this: -

http://www.uselinuxathome.com/ENwhylinux.htm
br>
Answers some of the above questions in an easy to understand way.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Rozi
100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Member Since: 11th Jan 2002
Total posts: 2996
Posted:However it doesn't answer the question "why is mandrake a piece of rubbish?". If it could answer this question, along with "why can't I, or any of much more experienced linux user friends, get the graphical interface on it to work?" I would be happy.

/end rant

sorry about that. Had to get it out of my system. I had wanted to run a partitioned disk with linux & windows on my computer, but it went the way of the dodo.

My advice: choose redhat.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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Kaji
Kaji

Quantum Theorist
Location: Vansterdam
Member Since: 12th Dec 2002
Total posts: 564
Posted:I use Mandrake 7.2
KDE works fine with mandrake but the gnome desktop doesn't work with mandrake for some reason.

I don't feel like answering all those questions. But I will same if you don't like dos don't bother with linux. And that attacks on linux boxes are easier for any good hacker simply because linux is completely open source.

Also the simplest way to but this:

Business: Linux Good
Home: Linux Bad


In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird, now the world is weird and they take prozac to make it normal again.

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Rozi
100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Member Since: 11th Jan 2002
Total posts: 2996
Posted:I guess I got into Linux for the wrong reasons. I got it because I wanted to start avoiding Microsoft as much as possible. The partitioning of the hard drive was a cautious beginning.

I am not a total klutz when it comes to computers, I do know a reasonable amount and am fairly cluey so I can work stuff out. I have some very basic knowledge of DOS based systems, but not enough to run Mandrake without a graphical interface.

It bugs me that I bought a product that has a major component that doesn't work, especially because part of my decision to buy it was based on it having that element. So be sure of what you are buying, read a lot of reviews and get to know what kind of support they offer.

It also bugs me that a lot of the user-forums I have been to for Linux-based systems have been fairly elite, with the attitude that "if you don't know it already I am not going to tell you". Some of the newbie forums have been better, but still that attitude is there.

My personal experience of Linux has not been that good. That being said, I have seen it do some amazing things in the hands of more experienced operators.

Maybe the answer is to find a friend who knows Linux inside and out and set them the exciting project of setting up your computer.

[ 01. November 2003, 20:32: Message edited by: Rozi ]


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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flid
flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire
Member Since: 27th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3136
Posted:Firstly, how practical is it to switch from Windows to a Linux operating system if you're not especially tech minded?

for however much everyone hates microsoft, they are a company with billions of dollars to invest. LINUX was made in people's bedrooms. For something made in people's bedrooms it's highly impressive, but it hasn't had attention paid to making it user friendly. Most programmers, myself included concentrate on making great programs, not great idiot proof user interfaces and documentation. Only when you get paid can you be arsed to do that, so much Open Source software is poorly documented. Microsoft doesn't always get it right, but it is a lot easier to use than LINUX. Some companies have packaged toegether the LINUX kernel and stucck it on 10 cds with every application you've ever heard of, with a free book and installation program with which you can use a mouse, but at the end of the day it's had 10s of thousands invested not 10s of millions. I wouldn't recomend LINUX to a computer newbie, and I wouldn't recomend a newbie to LINUX putting their machine online unless behind a seperate firewall machine.

Many people say it's pretty straightforward, but when asked about specifics, it seems anything but.

People like to beleive MS are evil, so they use LINUX and want to love it even if they don't. It's the same with people who use netscape, on windows MSIE is free, comes built in, is far superior and 99% of sites online are designed for it.

Secondly, what are the main benefits of Linux- is it true that you can expect a lot less system crashes; also, is it better for dealing with hacking attacks/viruses?

no linux system crashes? Lies.

There's certainly not as many viruses, but then are there any viruses these days? Most viruses are actually trojans, openned by dumb computer users. LINUX has a tradition of having less, because it has less dumb users, but the technology and potential is the same.

'hacking' attempts...... LINUX boxes by default run lots of services, which have to be kept up to date. The downside of making software open source is that people other than the designers can study it and find exploits/ways of breaking into your system. Most people who do tell the designers, who make a patch, then they release the details once this is done to further their career as security analysts. Once an exploit is known about, any 12 year old with a copy of redhat on his daddy's computer can break into LINUX machines which don't have the latest patches for services which are out of date. Most new LINUX users don't understand this, they don't understand that in the time between it being manufacturer and being installed many of the services which come with it are already exploitable. If you are on a fast internet connection (ie broadband) then your machine will get scanned on a regular basis for vulnerabilities by kiddies wanting warez dumps/irc bot machines/DoS machines. My unix box in telehouse gets at *least* one attempt a day. If you don't keep upto date with things then you can find the police after you, for something that someone else did from yoru machine without your knowledge.

Thirdly, what are the main downsides to switching to Linux?

Not user friendly. No games (tux racer i think not). Lots of stuff like office applications quite unstable. Lots of closed source software not available for it. Lots of hardware not supported. If you buy something like a digital camera you may hafta wait a year for someone to write a driver for it cause most companies only support windows/mac

Lastly, are there any good sites on the net that explain concisly the basics of Linux from a beginners perspective?

Billions, but then i don't use LINUX anymore, once you taste proper UNIX theres no going back

You hafta think what you want it for. I wouldn't switch totally, either dual boot or build a second low spec machine, unless you do a lot of coding, don't play games and are confident with things like gcc. I use XP on a daily basis for browsing the net, icq, email, games etc. I have a second XP machine for TV and mp3, then XP on a laptop. All my other machines are unix, but only one of them has a monitor/i sit infront of with a keyboard, and that's because it's designed as a workstation not a server. LINUX/UNIX is far superior for servers, which can be remotely accessed, but for sitting infront of, i prefer XP. I've gone through phases of XP/X, but at the moment i prefer XP overall. I don't have a anti MS stance, i'm not sure why you'd want to, out of all the companies in the world abusing human rights, animal rights, the environment etc, MS is one of the few multinationals who don't.

[ 02. November 2003, 03:02: Message edited by: flid ]


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Kaji
Kaji

Quantum Theorist
Location: Vansterdam
Member Since: 12th Dec 2002
Total posts: 564
Posted:Linux crashes less? BS!

When I worked at an ISP all of our routers and servers where Linux Based. There was one machine in there that had only one job monitor all the others. When one crashed the network monitor dialed a number with it's private line modem. That number was attached to a pager my boss always had on. That pager sometimes went off 10 times a day. Sometimes at two in the morning. I'm sure my boss's fiance was impressed when he had to get up at two in the morning and go fix some damn linux box that decided to sh|t it's self (aka stack dump).

Also I've heard people say that Linux doesn't have the blue screen of death. And they right! In linux it's the black screen of death.

I use Win XP pro now at home and school. It is far better then anyother OS i have ever used. My machine when I worked at the ISP was a Red Hat 8 box. Mostly because I was the only one there that new how to set up and use the GUI on a linux box. And that box was a bloody nightmare even for an experienced linux user (I used mandrake for close to a year prior).
Rozi if your looking for a good site for linux questions try the BBS at Hackers.com other then a couple jackass's it's quite friendly.

as far as I'm conserned though linux can go fsck it's self while !'ing a penguin. (This coming from the guy with a Lunix journal 2003 calendar on his wall, goddess i'm a geek). And don't worry if you don't the above joke. most of you won't. Only the hard core nerds/geeks will.


In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird, now the world is weird and they take prozac to make it normal again.

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flid
flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire
Member Since: 27th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3136
Posted:>When I worked at an ISP all of our routers and servers where Linux Based.

I wouldn't use LINUX in a business myself, too unstable for systems which people rely on. I've found Opensource BSDs are much more stable as servers, I've used FreeBSD and OpenBSD a lot over the past few years, one OpenBSD machine was on for over 200 days with no probs, the reboot was due to a hardware upgrade. I wouldn't recomend OpenBSD for a newbie thou, the installer is highly archaic (even more so than LINUX installers i used 6 years ago) and other than being renowned for security pretty nasty. FreeBSD is much easier to get going, but it's not as user friendly as wannabe XP Linux distros like redhat, which for some bizarre reason my uni insists on using (damn prospectus authors, i applied to a uni which showed pictures full of Sun boxes, only to find the picture was about 5 years out of date).

But then, I wouldn't recomend MS Windows to an ISP either, i'd tell them to stop being cheapskates and buy proper gear, CISCO routers and real UNIX machines, or at least, high spec'd FBSD boxes.

If you want a funny picture thats probably not suitable for younger viewers, do a google image search for takeittux


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Kaji
Kaji

Quantum Theorist
Location: Vansterdam
Member Since: 12th Dec 2002
Total posts: 564
Posted:I tried to get them over to UNIX boxes and CISCO routers (which would have given me job security being the only one there who knew how to set up and maintain a cisco router). I got told that Linux was just as good as UNIX. And that they couldn't affored CISCO routers. Nor could they affored to have to reley on me for CISCO router suport.

In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird, now the world is weird and they take prozac to make it normal again.

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Matthew B-M
Matthew B-M

Lemon-Aware Devilstick-wielding Operative
Location: East London Wilds
Member Since: 9th Jul 2003
Total posts: 605
Posted:onewheeldave: As another of the geeky types on here, I initially avoided your question, but I think flid has made all the valid points. If your use of a computer is anything like mine then Linux/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD/Solaris i386 is a good choice. I use it for programming, IRC, web browsing, reading mail. I don't tend to have any gaming requirements, and most stuff I do is command-line based. This is almost certainly not what you're after. As flid pointed out, Linux is not really a unix, but a unix-clone (in that it can't trace its lineage, I know, snobbish, eh?). I like command line things, and often log into other boxes and run stuff on them. That's partly because of my job. Most people don't like to work like that.

I'm not hugely impressed by any of the pretty graphicy linux distributions, as M$ for all their faults, have almost invariably done a better job for the user-experience. Things are just that bit tighter, and more consistent, and you don't (generally) have to know what's happening inside.

Kaji-kun: ciscos are all very well, but they are insanely overpriced for what they are, and for some things they really do totally suck. The command-line configuration interface is second-to-none, however. zebra/quagga as a border router, with several full-views is becoming plausible, even if not for a gigE core yet. I will also agree that ciscos do tend to Just Work(tm). We run a large number of FreeBSD boxes and a few linux boxes, and I've run both for a number of years. I like both, but for different things. Linux is much nicer as my workstation than FreeBSD, it's noticeably less hassle to maintain, but I wouldn't run it on my server anymore. Most of the problems I've had with most machines and both of these systems have been hardware related. If you get cheap hardware, you won't get good reliability, whatever you run on it...


Luv 'n' Lemons
purity :: clarity :: balance

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Cheers for the replies everyone, it's good to know that Windows has it's good points.

I guess for now I'll not be getting into Linux, but I may put my older system back together and load it onto that to see what I can learn.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Hey searching works.. (eventually)

I want to get a dual boot machine running.
I want Linux XGL but im a bit confused with it.
I wanted KDE Konqueror originally but thought wish and fipsy to it, and decided to go for OpenSuse , but I cant work out if I can run this "XGL" thingy with it which is basically what I want it for. Oh and for Airsnort devil

Is the XGL like a program that will run on any distribution, or is it distribution specific?

Also and finally, with the dual boot, do I want to have windows on one drive, Linux on the other?, or have both on one with 2 entries in the MBR?
Can someone come round and help set it up for me please? ubbangel

Thanks guys. ubbrollsmile


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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:I don't know a lot about this, but I would have thought that with some playing about you could get XGL to work on almost any distro. That being said you should go for one that has other features you like, not just this one.

As for the booting, I have found that a boot loader like grub can be hard to uninstall if you want to remove it at some point. You can uninstall it, but getting and other OS to boot can be hard. Just be careful when you're doing this, you really don't want to mess with your MBR too much!

I have found Fedora core to be great. If you're intersted I might be able to give you the CDs of FC5 at play (seeing as you're not at home till after then...)

Has that helped?

hug


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NOn
activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac
Member Since: 23rd Jun 2004
Total posts: 1643
Posted:wow, lots of linux information, i wonder if anyone knows whether it's possible to download just features of open source software to run on a windows system, i thought about downloading the gnome desktop (it has tetris and mahjongg...!) but can't afford to lose windows as my OS or I won't be able to run a lot of programmes that i need... I already run individual programmes like Mozilla, Thunderbird and Abiword, but Gnome desktop has got really good games....... oh uh... and of course, lots of other lovely features... biggrin

Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:Check out

http://x.cygwin.com/
br>and
http://www.cygwin.com/
br>
You'll have to fiddle a bit - I've never managed to get it to work, but I've only tried on Windows computers that have not had admin accounts (work ones).

hug


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:oh, and http://cygnome.sourceforge.net/


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hobgob
hobgob

Member
Location: Morley, Leeds
Member Since: 15th Jun 2006
Total posts: 55
Posted:Ay-up

You could run it as Dual Boot - most linux distro's come with a boot loader to select which OS you want to use. Partition Magic can change the partitions on your HD without erasing all the data.

Hob


life is like a roadtrip.... The idea is not to arrive at your destination in a pristine showroom model, but rather to slide in sideways in a battered jalopy hanging out the window screaming "wow what a ride..."

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NOn
activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac
Member Since: 23rd Jun 2004
Total posts: 1643
Posted:cool, thanks Sym, i'm not very good at fiddling though, so maybe i shall wait until i can see a nice Linux doctor before i f*** everything up smile would be worth a try though i reckons.

hob.gob> that sounds complicated, and probably not worth the effort, as the majority of my uses of the computer would need the windows system. i tried one Linux graphic program and it doesn't even compare to Photoshop (which is my baby, i must protect him ubblove)


Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:Well The Gimp is very good, but it's only like PS v5 or 6 I'd say.

Cygwin isn't actually hard, you'll just have to download load some stuff and read some tutorials (linked to from the sites I posted).

You should try it, as the rick of messing anything up are slim smile


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polarity
polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1228
Posted:If you're running dual (or multi) boot on different drives you can use the windows boot loader (which is already there, but doesn't show up unless you add more options to it).

Just install linux without a boot loader on the other drive (pull the windows drive's ide cable so the Linux installer doesn't find it and try adding options), and then use a program called bootpart (google it) to copy the boot sector of the linux drive into c:\ on your windows drive, and add a line to boot.ini. Then you'll have an option to boot linux whenever you boot from the windows drive.

--------------------------------------------

Simple rule of thumb for someone considering switching to Linux. Don't bother until you can install windows on bare metal (I don't mean using the repair disk that comes with most big name PCs).

Start off with a version of Linux tailored for home windows users, like Ubuntu or Linspire (SUSE and Redhat are server OSs). Don't pay for them, you can download them legally for free.

You'll have something that operates pretty similarly to windows, and nearly everything you need is installed by default, like firefox, thunderbird, gimp, and an office package.

--------------------------------------------

A lot of the earlier posts in this thread go on about how good XP and IE are. That was back in 2003, and I'll admit that back then XP was good. Since then the whole spyware problem has exploded.

--------------------------------------------

Forget Linux. Get OSX wink and start using the terminal/darwinports wink

keep at it and maybe one day this'll make sense:

Code:
#!/bin/sh
i=0
while [ i=0 ]
do
echo "Looking for disk in drive 4..."
disktool -l | awk '{
if (match($0, "disk4") && match($0, "/Volumes/")) {
start = match($0,"Mountpoint");
a = substr($0,start);
sub(/Mountpoint = '\''\/Volumes\//, "",a);
sub(/'\'', fsType.*/, "", a);
gsub(/\//, ":", a);
printf("Found disk mounted at: %s\n", a);
printf("mkdir \"/home/archive/unsorted/%s/\"\n", a);
system("mkdir \"/home/archive/unsorted/" a "/\"");
gsub(/[[:space:]]/, "\\ ", a);
gsub(/:/, "\\:", a);
system("cp -R /Volumes/" a "/* /home/archive/unsorted/" a "/");
system("diskutil eject disk4");
}
}'
sleep 10
done


You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.

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NOn
activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac
Member Since: 23rd Jun 2004
Total posts: 1643
Posted: Written by: Sym


Well The Gimp is very good, but it's only like PS v5 or 6 I'd say.

Cygwin isn't actually hard, you'll just have to download load some stuff and read some tutorials (linked to from the sites I posted).

You should try it, as the rick of messing anything up are slim smile



(you read what i did to my mp3 player didn't you...? :P)
i will try it, but i will make sure everything is backed up first smile

The Gimp is the program i tried i think. It probably could get there, but it's depends whether anyone chooses to develop it that way i guess shrug ask me again in a couple of years smile


Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted:haha, well give it a go if you have afew hours spare.

You should back up all the time anyway so it shouldn't matter... wink


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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Sym
Sym

Geek-enviro-hippy priest
Location: Diss, Norfolk
Member Since: 28th Sep 2004
Total posts: 1858
Posted: Written by: UmbiliciformCraterOnFace


Hey searching works.. (eventually)

I want to get a dual boot machine running.
I want Linux XGL but im a bit confused with it.
I wanted KDE Konqueror originally but thought wish and fipsy to it, and decided to go for OpenSuse , but I cant work out if I can run this "XGL" thingy with it which is basically what I want it for. Oh and for Airsnort devil

Is the XGL like a program that will run on any distribution, or is it distribution specific?

Also and finally, with the dual boot, do I want to have windows on one drive, Linux on the other?, or have both on one with 2 entries in the MBR?
Can someone come round and help set it up for me please? ubbangel

Thanks guys. ubbrollsmile



I have compiz/XGL working on my Fedora core 5 install biggrin It's very nice, but I had to turn off some of the wobble effects (there was a wobble on every menu at one point).

Fedora is a really nice OS for a linux n00b - I'd say that people should give it a go. The install in easy too.


There's too many home fires burning and not enough trees

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jo_rhymes
jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops
Member Since: 10th Apr 2005
Total posts: 4525
Posted:eek
sym!! you said you were turned ON by my wobble effects!!


Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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