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What's the deal with Linux?

Hi all,
   I just got a new laptop and i was wandering of a way to put the old one to use, then i came up with installing linux on it to see how it works...
  The problem is first i search for linux and i see some websites trying to sell different versions from $15 - $3000 ( I thought any software assocaited with an OSS was supposed to be free?) and then i see another website where you can download them for free(linuxiso.com). But the problem is there are over 14 different types of Linux.

I was just wandering, which one is the best for Professional (Aspiring) personal use and is "windows-like"?
 I think the most popular ones i've heard or seen is Red Hat, Slackware, SuSE, FreeBSD.

Adecold
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adecold
Asked:
adecold
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12 Solutions
 
avizitCommented:
mandrake is quite user friendly too .


also in opensource  'free' is 'free' as in "free speech" not "free beer". i.e you are free to change the code , sell it again , provided you transfer the same freedom to others. ( thats the definition in a broad manner)

while ist slao strue that many such software are also free in cost. but thats not the required quality of opensource software.

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knollbertCommented:
For a newbie
Red Hat, SUSE, Mandrake are good.  they are relatively easy to use and setup.
RedHat split its free side off its called Fedora.  Its accessible from the Red Hat site.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of linux slackware, gentoo, or debian are good choices

But no one linux distro is better than other in every situation.

The price 15 dollars is probably them sending you a CD.

$25-$3000 is tech support free upgrades for x years help setting up, etc.

Most have free version that you can download
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avizitCommented:
and oh the usual customary knoppix suggestion :)

you may also try "knoppix"
its lets you try linux without actually installing , its runs off the cd so if you dont like you just take out the cd and reboot

from http://www.knoppix.org/

KNOPPIX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it
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knollbertCommented:
Thanks avizit, I forgot about knoppix

adecold:
If you have problems with one of the above installations recognizing hardware
Use Knoppix
Knoppix Recognizes Almost everything as avizit stated and is very useful in laptops.

If you find that you love knoppix there is a harddrive install feature
check out  http://www.freenet.org.nz/misc/knoppix-install.html for a howto
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Guitarman316Commented:
I just started a few months back usiing linux. I payed $90 bucks for Suse Pro at Compusa.  It's an extremely easy install, as good or better than windows.  The gui environment is pretty familiar too.  Suse has a live cd that you can download as well for free, additionally their personal edition is free.  It was a good start.

Now I've just finished installing an SuSE Open-Xchange server and am about to bring up a PostgreSQL database server (gentoo linux probably).  Besides application development I don't do anything on Windows hardly at all anymore.  Performs better, it's more stable and you don't have to worry about all those viruses.

Good Lucj
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xDamoxCommented:
You sould use SuSE 9.1 it is very user friendly it is also plug and play:

Some screenshots of SuSE in action:

http://www.macewan.org/java.jpg
http://www.macewan.org/menu.jpg

Installation interface:

http://img.osnews.com/img/5157/suse3.png
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owensleftfootCommented:
No-one mentioned fedora. Im disapointed :) http://fedora.redhat.com
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pjcrooks2000Commented:
I can't really speak for many of the others except debian.  

I prefer RedHat myself as it is probably the best documented of all of them... that is my opinion.

pjcrooks2000
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xDamoxCommented:
No one mentioned Fedora because its a beta system and classed as unstable its a test bed for RedHat enterprise server
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Good, once I'm not the first one to suggest SuSE :-)

The prices you quoted for Linux distributions contains (as somebody else already mentioned) support, but in most cases you also get additional commercial software that is not part of what you can download for free. You also are paying for documentation. SuSE comes with two excellent printed manuals. What good does it do you if you have the manual on the CD if you cannot get your computer to work?

You can install the Personal version of SuSE for free by downloading an ISO image from http://www.suse.com/us/private/download/ftp/personal_iso_int.html

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xDamoxCommented:
The down fall of SuSE personal is that it does not have server or development tools :-(
which means you cant compile your own software you will need the SuSE .rpm's
which you can get off the site you can download the development tools off SuSE's ftp
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
All you need to do is to change the installation source in YaST2 from the CD to the SuSE ftp server. Once you've done this, you can add the additional packages - without having to download them one by one only to realize that you forgot to download a library that they depend on.
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subsis10ceCommented:
What about lycoris www.lycoris.com
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subsis10ceCommented:
Mandrake is also a good choice, its up to you what you want to get into. Why not get them all and try them out one by one. Most of them are very simialr sometime being built off one another.
like you said readhat and mandrake are the most popular and well add debian into it. anyways good luck with your choice , if things go well you should appreciate any which distribution you choose.
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pjcrooks2000Commented:
I think we should keep with the main nix's and those that are best supported otherwise we will probably have thousands of versions.

You will notice from his question that he went to (www.linuxiso.com)  and he was confused at that point because it listed 14 different versions.  Also he saw that some Nix's were trying to get money for the product and that frankly except for extended support is not in the nature of how Linux and suchlike were supposed to be.

adecold I suggest you go with one of the older versions or Redhat and not one that asks for some money to be paid up.  You will always get free add ons and utilities from the man redhat website http://www.redhat.com/  and places like ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/ there is tons of advice for would be linux newbies all over the web, so no matter what you want to do you can do it.

So what can you do with it, well why not get a book on the matter such as this one for version 9 of linux http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0764539388/104-1783640-6147163?v=glance

I found other nixes do not come with as much support as Redaht but they are all good in their own ways.  I stand by my choice RedHat Linux for you.

Regards

pjcrooks2000
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Don't use any old version of RedHat!
Let me repeat this: DON'T USE ANY OLD VERSION OF REDHAT!!!

RedHat is no longer supporting any of it's consumer versions of RedHat Linux. This means that you will no longer get any security updates for your Linux system, which potentially means that you are leaving your system open for known exploits.

THERE IS NO SUPPORT FOR REDHAT LINUX ANYMORE.

Regardless of which Linux version you get, make sure that you keep your system up to date. This is very simple for e.g. SuSE or Mandrake: You will see an indicator on your desktop when new security updates are available.

For a beginner I would strongly suggest to not get Debian. This is a fine distribution, but harder to install and to maintain than other of the big name distributions.
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troopernCommented:
First of all FreeBSD is not Linux. BSD == BSD and not Linux =)

And I don't even need to mention what distro's I think is good for newbies. All relevant distros are mentioned already =)
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adecoldAuthor Commented:
Thanks all... I think i get the idea..

I'm going to start of with using Knoppix to see how linux looks first.... Then i'll install SuSE... then mandrake.... then anything else...
SuSE was the first i saw and I thought it looked really cool and different

I better close this question before i end up splitting the points among 50 people

Adecold
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adecoldAuthor Commented:
Pont increase to try to increase individual expert points
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pjcrooks2000Commented:
Thanks adecold, it wish nice assisting you :)
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