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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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kistaro
I'm presently trying to delete a lot of the cruft that's accumulated on my hard drive. My 40GB drive only has 15GB free; I'm trying to get it at least half-clear.

Why? So PartitionMagic can split it 25GB/1GB/2GB/12GB, or Windows, Root, Swap, Linux. I'm sick of this crappy operating system, but I've got too much software I can't do without that runs only under Winduh. So a split it is.

So this is a general-purpose "Any advice?" I suspect that a nonzero number of you are familliar with getting Linux installed onto a computer. I tried it once before, years ago, on a different computer, and it never did get going correctly; I got frustrated with it. But now that I've worked with properly-configured Linux in the computer labs at Washington University, I know how well it's supposed to work- and, in short, I want one...

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My experience is that, if you use a user-friendly distro like Mandrake, you can just run its setup program, point it to the right partitions (although I'm not sure about this Root one?) and let it go. It should set up its own dual-booting.

In general, for a beginner I recommend just two partitions for Linux, one for swap and the other to hold the whole thing, system, user data and all. Swap is usually fine at twice the size of your actual RAM.

In general, I hear good things about Debian or Mandrake as distributions that install easily just by running their provided installation routines. Since I'm mainly accustomed to Slackware and Redhat, I don't know that from personal experience. Slackware installs easily if you have enough disk space to just let it install everything (or at least the recommended default system) but can be very fiddly if you are trying to cut it down to run in a small space. Redhat used to be good several years ago but now I think they've wandered too far afield from the Linux mainstream so I'd suggest you avoid them.

In general, Linux is happier with older hardware (two or three years is fine) because brand new devices often don't have Linux drivers yet. This is especially true for devices like video cards that use "proprietary" technology that they won't disclose. This problem has affected ethernet cards, video, and sound devices in the past. In my experience, sound is often the most difficult to get configured, but perhaps you'll do better than I have.

If you don't yet belong to linuxsupport and linuxfurs then I recommend them to you as potential sources for quick help.

Oh, and I'll put in a word for a friend's favorite OS: Don't forget to look at FreeBSD as an alternative choice to Linux.

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