looking to learn about linux

can anyone suggest some distros that I could use to learn about linux. possibly some that will run live CD so I do not have to install onto my computer until I get comfortable with it.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Most popular CD based distro is Knoppix - I use it frequently.

www.linuxiso.org has a link to download it.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
When you are ready, Mandrake is generally considered the easiest and Red Hat/Fedora probably the most widely used.  Debian has a peacefully militant following (kinda like Mac users).  I'm sure others will swear by different distros - I've used Red Hat 7.3, Mandrake 9, and Debian Sarge (~4 months old at this point).  I like debian best - the package management is by far the easiest I've seen - apt-get install whatever-you-want-package.  MOST other distros use RPMs (including Mandrake and Fedora)
Gentoo also have a LiveCD (which doesn't need any installation to boot under Linux) to get your hands on it before changing your system to Linux :) Cause you will ^^
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If your familiar with Windows admin I know a great book I found really helpful making the switch.


Probably a little out of date now but mst of the concepts are true it helps change your mindset.

Otherwise as Leew suggested I would say knoppix is the best choice as far as live cd go
Here is a list of LiveCD distro's out there, categorized by target audience.


CD's are cheap nowadays, so try as many as you want.

Yet another suggestion (YAS):


There you can download a live CD and an install CD if you wish. I found this distro very well behaved and suitable for my old(ish) Dell laptop. The live-CD has moderate RAM requirements.
I don't think the live CD is such a good idea.  It will give you a sample as to what Linux is like, but you're really not going to learn a whole lot until you install a full distribution on your system.  If you don't have an old computer to do this on, you may consider installing Linux as a dual boot on your primary system.

I would recommend Slackware as a distribution.  It doesn't have as many of the GUI tools as other distributions and forces you to learn everything from the command line.  People who learn Slackware can easily translate their skills to other distributions of Linux and even been somewhat competent at some flavors of UNIX since it is POSIX compliant.

There is also a version of Slackware called ZipSlack which can be run from a zip disk or some other small media.  You really need some read/writable medium to get into Linux.  Having a read only media really limits your learning potential.
I totally disagree with you garak1357 a lot of the live cds allow you to mount your drives and store data and I think its an excellent way for newbies to learn about linux
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I generally disagree with garak1357.  If you want/are willing to ditch your windows/other OS environment and immerse yourself in Linux, then Id' follow Garak's suggestion.  You will end up "forcing" youself to learn how to do things.  BUT, if you're note prepared to do that, then I wouldn't recommend Slackware and stand by my recommendation of a Live CD.  This way you can do things at your own pace.
I recommend SuSE for beginners:   http://www.suse.com/us/private/download/suse_linux/

If you want to convince yourself that linux is good and mature and such in terms of applications and
desktops, provides what you need, etc, there are many live cds available; Knoppix, Mandrake Move... most of the major distributions provide a live eval CD, but they are not in general that comparable to doing an installation.

I mean at some point, if you're going to get comfortable and learn Linux, you're going to need to jump in
cold water.  Using a live eval cd is not much like managing a real system, but from a GUI perspective it is much like using one.

Just be sure to check out the terminal/command line interface... and be aware that as long as you're using that LiveCD your setup has limited flexibility: a livecd running is more or less beholden to the choices of the group that chose what to put together that LiveCD, and what interfaces to use, etc, and can't really add/upgrade applications or change kernels/settings in general.
(Except by building a new Live CD, which requires quite a bit of writable disk)

Advantage:  You do get an idea about a tiny subset of what Linux can do.
Advantage:  You can't really break the live CD  (assuming you don't damage the physical disc)

Disadvantage: The view is limited... there are a lot of options you don't really have readily available
                       when working with a live CD dist.

On the other hand, the view of running any individual distribution is also limited too.
To get the ultimate view, Gentoo or Slackware may be best; however, I would strongly
discourage any beginner from starting with either of those, except for those with lots of time on their
hands, and a good introductory book on the specific distribution.

SUSE and mandrake are both good and respectable.  Debian tries to be the most stable.  Fedora is taken from Redhat, and peole like it.

i heard a lot about the ubuntu distro.  that's becoming popular, though I don't have exp with it.
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