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Should I use Linux?

Posted on 1998-12-09
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-15

I am a happy user of win98, with all office software, and a lot of business applications that require memory, an internet connection which is heavy use in evenings with netscape and IE, and a few heavy graphics games for the weekend.

I am using the latest PII 400 mhz, 6 gig partitioned drive, 128 SD RAM, 8 megs graphics card, AWE Gold soundblaster and the general crap that computers have.

Simple question.  Should I use Linux on my system? I know if ain't broken dont fix it, but I like new things/toys and challanges.  I know hardly anything about Unix and its operating system, no programming experience, but am very confident in the old dos based system.

What are the advantages of using Linux, is it easier (doubt it) more powerful, stable and dual bootable with win98 on the drive.  I heard that dual boot can trash your system?

Question by:oddbod
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Accepted Solution

talwyn earned 200 total points
ID: 1638772
If you like a challenge and to learn new things then yes you should use linux.  

  It is more Powerful as an operating system than windows is and much more stable.  Applications are still a little slim but there are a few office packages out there.  This OS will give you better I-net access, more knowledge , and possibly more satisfaction than win98 will.

 Dual booting is certainly possible.  As everything you are attempting to learn... ask questions first, and read the README files. and do things one step at a time.  

Author Comment

ID: 1638773
I was hoping some more general banter as to what Linux can do that what win98 cant do at the moment?

Is the operating system completely different so that I cannot use my existing applications at all?

Also is there any GUI, or am I gonna get RSI by having to go through all the dos days again?  :)

Expert Comment

ID: 1638774
  Well, you can't use MS word. ;)  You *may* be able to use some or most of your DOS and win3.1/95 applications through emulators known as wine and Dosemu.
Linux comes with several programming languages, has a webserver and mailserver as well as standard unix services (email, file transfer etc) .

There is a configurabvle Gui called X   this gui can look like just about anything.  Sometimes it resembles 95 , or Mac or whatever the user wants it to look like.

 Linux can act as a fileserver/ share with Windows and can act as a password authenticator (using a program called Samba 2.0)  it can be setup to act as a firewall or as a network server or manager for several machines to share one inet link.

 While the gui varies  it is generally fairly powerful and has ready access to a commandline. (most unixes are CLI biased :) we hate unecessary nested clicking :)  

  There are some games  (quake, quake II DOOM, Civ, freeciv, Simcity and others available) with more anticipated within the next month or so.  

  Linux is a good place to go to learn how to program or how an OS works or why.  There are lots of applications that are a little off the wall.  Take a look at

 to get an idea of what's available.  This is consantly being updated.

Linux tends to be faster and more stable than Windows.  The version of Doom II for linux could be played on a 486/66 at about the same speed as a pentium 166MMX with windows.  

But if you're looking for a Word processor ... they aren't up to speed yet.  There are several projects and a couple of commercial products.  But I haven't been really excited about them yet.

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Expert Comment

ID: 1638775
why not starting at

Expert Comment

ID: 1638776
I will start adventure with RedHat, because is very easy to use and setup. In linux you get lots of free software, you have to pay for all software for windows. You get stable system that you  can set for your needs.

Expert Comment

ID: 1638777
I would suggest u give Linux a go.
partition your disk and put it on your computer... if u hate it after a few
weeks of exploring kill the partition.

Word Perfect 8 just came out for Linux and it is FREE
So there is a good word processor available.
(and in my opinion better than MSWord 97).
An I hear star office is free also, and pretty damn good too
but I haven't downloaded it yet.

I have KDE ( set up. It can make your system
look exactly the same as windows98 with shortcuts, taskbar,
panel, toolbar, quicklaunch etc.... but I prefer my own look and
have customised it fairly heavily.

I have successfully had Starcraft, total annihilation and Quake2
running under my system.. altho it took a bit of work since u need
to install Wine... and u need to do a fair amount of experimenting

But most importantly i use it for development...


Author Comment

ID: 1638778
Sorry I did not have time to get back to this question.

I have just obtained a new HD for my old cyrix 6x86 system, and want to give Linux a try.

1. I have very little knownledge of Unix
2. What files and where can I download for free from the internet so that I can burn them onto CD and install them onto the other computer.

3. With the new drive, should I enable "Support for large drives" when I run fdisk for the first time.  i have a 4 gig drive and it tells me that if I intend to partition the drive and have 2 operating systems, then perhaps I should not do this.  Should I partitiion the drive and enable large disk support?

4. ANything else i should know, is it easy to remove?

Expert Comment

ID: 1638779
If your are interested in RedHat try their web pages and ftp sites (URLs:  For ftp you may wish to use a mirror site.

Enabling "Support for large drives" should not make a difference as you should use the Linux partitioning programs (one is also called fdisk).  To install Linux leave the drive space unpartitioned and partition it under Linux (from a bootable install disk of course).

There are probably lots of things you should know but prior to installing I think information on what types of hardware you have is most important.

Author Comment

ID: 1638780
Sorry I dont understand what you mean.

I have a brand new empty hard drive.  I also have a Win98 customised boot up disk so I can run basic dos functions like, config.sys and fdisk.

I have just ordered a copy of Linux lite version, but the lady on the phone could not give support.  Once I receive this CD, where do I go from there.  Do I use the fdisk command and enable support for large drives in the dos version?

Author Comment

ID: 1638781
Sorry I dont understand what you mean.

I have a brand new empty hard drive.  I also have a Win98 customised boot up disk so I can run basic dos functions like, config.sys and fdisk.

I have just ordered a copy of Linux lite version, but the lady on the phone could not give support.  Once I receive this CD, where do I go from there.  Do I use the fdisk command and enable support for large drives in the dos version?

Expert Comment

ID: 1638782
Do not use the Win98 version of fdisk to setup Linux!

Use the Linux version of fdisk to setup Linux.

The "enabling of support for large drives" in the Win98 verion of fdisk just allows that fdisk to create special new partition types for Win98.  Use the Linux version and do not create Win98 partions but only create Linux partitions and you will have no problems.

Leave the new emplty disk empty and do not place any partitions on it (unless you plan to use that space for Win98).  The install should go just fine.

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