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Old 04-19-2006, 11:11 AM   #1
Ilander
20th Level Warrior
 

Join Date: December 28, 2003
Location: Kentucky
Age: 32
Posts: 2,820
...So...I'm okay with Windows. It mostly suits my needs---it is reliable as far as playing media goes, and all of the games I own are "Windows only." But, always, in the back of my mind, there's a little imp telling me to try out Linux, so that I can be versed in it. "It's easy to install as a dual boot," the imp says, "and it will run without a hitch for a long long time..."

So, I turn around, and I ask the imp these questions, and he usually just shrugs and has nothing to offer.

1)Where do I find a distribution of Linux?

2)Is it compatible with my hardware? RAID 5 array? ATI x800 graphics card? Intel CPU? ABit motherboard?

3)Can I get a 64-bit version? Does my 64 bit processor support the right extensions for a 64-bit OS? What ARE 64-bit extensions???

4)What file system does Linux use? How much of the windows parts of my computer am I going to be able to access?

5)How lenient is the GUI? I don't know command-line code at all....

6)Will I have to partition my hard disk? Will that screw up in any way my Windows installation?

7)Does electrical shock kill imps?
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:44 AM   #2
shamrock_uk
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Join Date: January 24, 2004
Location: UK
Age: 35
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ilander:
...So...I'm okay with Windows. It mostly suits my needs---it is reliable as far as playing media goes, and all of the games I own are "Windows only." But, always, in the back of my mind, there's a little imp telling me to try out Linux, so that I can be versed in it. "It's easy to install as a dual boot," the imp says, "and it will run without a hitch for a long long time..."

So, I turn around, and I ask the imp these questions, and he usually just shrugs and has nothing to offer.

1)Where do I find a distribution of Linux?
See my signiature

Or check out the Distro chooser.

You can try Linux without even installing, check out the Knoppix live CD/DVD.

Quote:
2)Is it compatible with my hardware? RAID 5 array? ATI x800 graphics card? Intel CPU? ABit motherboard?
The only thing you'll have a hitch with is getting decent 3d acceleration to work with your ATI card as ATI don't give a sh*te about their Linux users. Your mileage will likely vary depending on your distribution.

Quote:
3)Can I get a 64-bit version? Does my 64 bit processor support the right extensions for a 64-bit OS? What ARE 64-bit extensions???
Yes. There have been Linux 64-bit distributions long before equivalent MS offerings. You'll need a little fiddling to get things like Windows codecs working though (as they are binary and 32-bit).

Quote:
4)What file system does Linux use? How much of the windows parts of my computer am I going to be able to access?
Many - there is a huge selection to choose from, and the main ones are extremely robust, fast and stable. You will want to use either ext3 or reiserfs - your distro will pick a sensible default. Reiserfs is my personal choice.

Microsoft refuses to allow other operating systems to interact with NTFS. It is now possible to do so safely, but it's a pain. I would resign yourself to read-only access (which works flawlessly) or make a FAT32 partition to share.

Quote:
5)How lenient is the GUI? I don't know command-line code at all....
Depends on the distro. Don't touch something like Slackware. Ubuntu will be great if everything works (and it usually does). Check out Suse 10.1 if you want a fully-fledged control panel (more control than the windows one).

You will get the most out of Linux accepting that the command line is your friend though We don't use it for some things because we're masochists, it's damn useful.

Quote:
6)Will I have to partition my hard disk? Will that screw up in any way my Windows installation?
Yes. No. Make sure you defragment your windows drive first however. You don't need to defragment in Linux incidentally as it stores its files sensibly in the first place.

Quote:
7)Does electrical shock kill imps?
Maybe.

Do report back for further clarification etc. If you have any wireless cards in particular it may be worth mentioning that here

[ 04-19-2006, 10:51 AM: Message edited by: shamrock_uk ]
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
Iron Greasel
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Join Date: July 13, 2004
Location: Finland
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It takes a little skill, but it is possible to screw up repartitioning and accidentally remove the windows partition. I haven't achieved it myself, though, just something I heard. Easy enough to avoid. Just make sure there are no sad faces or skulls or the like next to the thingy that says "NTFS".

The command line thingy is pretty well documented most of the time and you don't have to use it if you don't want to.

On the electricity/imp question, the imps should remain unharmed if you don't use too much electricity. If you absolutely need to use more power than one imp can handle, divide it evenly between several imps. I would also suggest that you use a surge protector of some kind, as good imps are hard to come by.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:28 PM   #4
Ilander
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Well, as I said, I'm more than happy to leave media-playing to windows...I was aware that there were 64-bit issues with my codecs...It's also a little disapointing to not have a nice, easily installed set of drivers for my ATI card, but my games aren't Linux compatible anyway...

Here's the full story on my storage system...I have a 20 Gb single hard drive which I have reserved for Windows...and was going to install Linux on that, and, as with Windows, leave my 500 Gb RAID 5 array for storage and installing gaming programs upon...but the 500 Gb is in NTFS currently, and I've heard that while one can convert from FAT32 to NTFS, the process is one-way. Now, I'm no wizard with these things, but that tells me that without partitioning my RAID array, I'd end up with precious little storage for the Linux half of my computer...

Shame I didn't know that in the first place :S

No special hardware to report, other than, maybe a digital camera, but Linux would accept those, right? The wifi is on my laptop, which is not territory I'm willing to take Linux...

Finally, I revise my opinion of command line, and admit that I'd be willing to use it somewhat, as I do need to learn, but I'd like an OS that didn't necessarily require it.

My aim for using Linux on my computer is to pretty much phase out Windows for my standard computer needs (photo-editing, office applications, @home processing, internet browsing), and leave Windows for media watching and playing video games.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:46 PM   #5
shamrock_uk
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Join Date: January 24, 2004
Location: UK
Age: 35
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Your camera should work absolutely fine if it's a standard USB drive model (like every one I've ever seen, ever). Just plug it in and a nice icon should pop up on the desktop. You can test this with a liveCD in.

ATI drivers do work, the problem is just installing them. The internet is littered with people who install them but they somehow still don't work. ATI's attitude has been that we should be grateful what support we get.

Fair enough, but that's why I bought an Nvidia card for my new computer

It sounds like there's no reason you can't do everything you need in Linux and if all you're doing is standard office stuff then 20GB should be enough. The largest Linux installs (including all the programmes you'll need for any task) would be about 4GB.

You can't revert from NTFS back to FAT32, like most things MS, it's a one-way forced upgrade process unfortunately.

If 20GB really isn't enough, then you could try copying the large files from your linux drive to your RAID array from Windows.
Interoperability is kept deliberately poor from the Windows side of things but I'm sure I heard of a programme that lets you read Linux drives. A google may turn up something.

Honestly though, I would try Linux out first before worrying too much about space - you may not like it.

I'd suggest you try the Knoppix LiveCD first. Then try installing a distribution on your 20GB drive - start with the latest Suse probably. They will both use the KDE desktop by default (supposedly the most windows-like), Ubuntu uses Gnome which is another good alternative you may wish to try out.

[ 04-19-2006, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: shamrock_uk ]
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:03 PM   #6
Ilander
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Location: Kentucky
Age: 32
Posts: 2,820
Well, again, Windows is also installed on that hard drive, so after a partition and a Linux install, that wouldn't leave all that terribly much at all...though I am clearing more space off of that drive.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:41 PM   #7
Drakilor
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Join Date: July 27, 2005
Posts: 52
I tried running Ubuntu live CD recently. But I got an error message during bootup. Possibly because my graphics card (Radeon X800GT) isn't listed in their compatibility list. Know of a distro that might work? Will my mouse work when it has the text "Microsoft" on it or will it be rejected and explode?
Edit: I've seen an imp that is immune to lightning bolts.

[ 04-19-2006, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Drakilor ]
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:55 PM   #8
shamrock_uk
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Join Date: January 24, 2004
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Age: 35
Posts: 3,092
I don't rate the Ubuntu live CD against the Knoppix one to be honest - Knoppix is uber-speedy in comparison and the DVD version contains tons of software.

Your Radeon will always work - it'll handle 2d absolutely fine. There are a multitude of drivers all handled 'out of the box' in Linux (you generally don't have to go driver-cd-hunting in Linux)

There's even reverse-engineered 3d-acceleration available, it'll just never be as good as the proprietary drivers from ATI and it's the proprietory drivers that make it fall down.

If you could tell me the exact error message it should be an easy fix, as there are several 'guaranteed' drivers that would work.

Oh, and your mouse will work just fine - I've always used Microsoft mice.
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:03 PM   #9
Ilander
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Join Date: December 28, 2003
Location: Kentucky
Age: 32
Posts: 2,820
...I should listen to this...my graphics card is also a Radeon x800GT.
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Old 04-20-2006, 04:20 AM   #10
Hivetyrant
Jack Burton
 

Join Date: August 24, 2002
Location: Brisbane
Age: 31
Posts: 5,401
Ahh young Ilander, I was once like you and had that silly little voice nagging me to use Linux.
Unfotrtunantly I learnt the hard way just how fun Linux is...

If you like coding and using command lines, use (generally) dodgy free apps (I am well aware that there are some very good free apps out there),then you will have a ball, if you want to do anything else, then stick with Windows or even a Mac (never thought I would say that)

Yes, there ARE games for Linux (ZOMG!!!1 Freeware Warcraft!!!! and Tux Racer, fun for hours!!!!)
And it is true that many people have managed to get cool games like Doom III, HL2 and others to work in windows emulators, but its not as simple as double clicking on an executable and takes time, which you may very well like wasting, but I didn't (not trying to say you like wasting time )

Anyways, i'm sure freeware OS's are the way of the future, but I like it to just work, I want to come home from a long day at work, turn on my pc and do nothing but double click and icon on my desktop and run Oblivion, or whatever decent/demanding app I have.

But I suggest you try it for yourself, just dont install it on the same drive(s) as your windows instillation

I will admit though, I could not be bothered asking the general public for help, which would seem like something that one must do to have a good time with it.


Yes, I had horrible experiances with Linux, Fedora Core 3 was the closest I had to success, but I got sick of opening the terminal and using commands to do menial tasks that were impossible to find through the OS menu.

[/rant]

[ 04-20-2006, 03:24 AM: Message edited by: Hivetyrant ]
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