How to get started?

PC Word (based in the UK) are selling different versions of the Linux operating system.

one is for beginners, another has a GUI interface (Is that Redhat or something?).  What is the difference between all of these and how would I install the software from scratch assuming I have just purchased an additional brand new SCSI hard drive with nothing in it.

How do I get my CD ROM to read something without drivers.  WOnt the drivers be in Microsoft language anyway, in which case how does it read Linux installation software?

simple instructions please, and also why should I buy these products, isnt Linux available free on the web?

ANyone got a URL for downloading a GUI version of Linux?
oddbodAsked:
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mzehnerConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Getting Linux:
I don't know who PC Word is but you can get CD image files through "http://www.tucows.com".  You will want a high speed connection if you do this since the files are about 600M.  Also you will need a read/write CD-ROM to create the CD's.  I recommend that you use one of the more popular versions, such as Redhat6.1, SuSE 6.2 or 6.3, Slackware 7, or Debian.  I would not say any particular version is for beginners, but all versions that I know of have a gui interface which is X windows.  The differences in these versions mainly involves installation and setup tools along with some configuration differences.  For getting up and running fast Redhat is best, but you will learn more about the packages that come with Linux if you use SuSE or Debian.  You might want to consider setting up a dual boot system.  If you want to check out buying Linux, the best place I have found is "http://lsl.com", Linux System Labs.  If you decide to buy, it would be for technical support such as Redhat provides, and for extra packages and documentation that you would not get if you download from the web.  You might find your purchase to save enough time and trouble to pay off.  To understand what I'm saying, check out your purchase options at lsl.  Also note, there is a new 6.3 version of SuSe coming out that is not yet posted on their site.
Installing Linux:
Some of the systems (Including RH6.1)can be booted from your CD-ROM if you set your BIOS to boot from the CD. For others, you will need to make boot disks from your CD.  Linux supports most CD and will work for sure if your CD is ADAPI compliant.  To do a Redhat install from a CD, when your system starts, press the <del> key to enter BIOS.  Find the section in your BIOS where the boot order is set and set it to boot from CD-ROM first.  Then when your system comes up, the Redhat install program will automatically start.  If you can't boot from CD, read the readme files on the CD and they tell you how to make a boot floppy.
Drivers:
No, Microsoft does not have a monopoly on drivers.  Anyone can write driver support and Linux does well supporting most devices.
You didn't say how big your hard drive is, but normally on multiboot systems I would reserve 4G for any windows systems, and 3G for each Linux system, then make 1 130M Linux swap partition.  The rest of the hard drive room I use as one large fat32 data drive that all systems can see.  All partitions I try to make primary. Partition Magic 4 or later works well for doing this.
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gravityCommented:
As a relativly advanced Linux user, I would recommend SuSE @ http://www.suse.com .

It is pretty simple to use as far as linuxes go, but has the scope to be used very advancedly.

You can download it from their site... but be warned, it comes on six CD-ROMs

As for a GUI version... that's called Windows ;)

Sorry, Linux isn't a GUI per se... it has the command-prompt looking bit that you do everything through, but you can have the X windowing system on top to do graphical things through, like surfing the internet.

As it is, Linux is difficult to use at first, but there's nothing you can do for that except dive right in and try it. I'd recommend partitioning your drive so that you've still got Windows installed, just in case you need help gettings things working under Linux.

Oh, another reason for SuSE... they'll give you free support for (I think) 60 days, which'll be handy.
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n3mtrCommented:
I prefer the redhat version at www.redhat.com
The reason to buy it is unless you have a high speed connection; it could literely take days to download.  Depending on what you buy it could also have technical support with it.  For example you could buy a red hat cd package for $5-20 with no support(for example from www.cheapbytes.com).  Or you could buy the official redhat for around $50 and get tech support as well.

As for the drivers you usually make a linux boot disk with the supplied program.   Linux will work with most cdroms; no drivers needed.  Then the boot disk reads the rest off the cdrom.

Hope this helps
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