Newbie to linux and redhat question/advice

Hey guys,
I have been a windows tech forever and am interested in finding out about redhat etc. What are the benefits or drawbacks to using these other products and where do I go to get the right stuff to test it out.

Are these just developer type oriented products or are they usable as a workstation or server product. I know Linux is a server product but don't know where to start to set one up and hammer away at it.

Thanks a million for your input.
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Hi Premiernc,

If your interested in playing around with linux, especially redhat, I would download the latest version of Fedora Linux which is the free version of Redhat that is a community driven.  You can download it from  Version 3 was just released last week and I can't wait to install it myself.  For someone getting started with linux I would definately recommend Fedora.  Setup is really easy and much faster than WinXP.  It's a good Distro to get your feet wet.  If I where you I would just try to setup say a webserver and email server on it just to see how it's done and tinker with it a bit.

Linux can be used as a server or fully functional desktop, it all depends on what you wish to do with it.  I use Fedora both as a Desktop and Server.  At work it is used as a web and email server and at home I use it for everything from browsing the web, writing school papers, listening to music. (won't run itunes natively, what a shame)

-Steven     O
              _/ \_
I would suggest, instead of installing a Distro, to use a live CD. Then you can just take it out of the cd drive when you don't want to use it. Knoppix is usually the choice of newer people. you can get it at.....

After you get the ISO you have a use a burn program that will burn it as an image and not jjust a file to a disk.

Then put it in your machine and your on your way.

  You can download Fedora Core 3 from the following URL:

  And burn those 4 ISOs into CDs and boot from 1st CD to start installation. During the installation, you can choose
"Desktop", "Workstation", "Server" or "Customized" type of installation.

  For documentation or user guide, besides from Fedora's website, you can also reference RedHat Linux 9's documents:
Getting Started Guide:
Customized Guide:

  RedHat is the most popular Linux distributor in the world. So you can get the most assistence for RedHat.

Have a good try.

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My experience with knoppix lasted about 30 minutes, I downloaded it and booted it and a few minutes later said "that was neat" and tossed the disk.  If you want a few an hour of entertainment down knoppix, if you want to learn about linux that is used in real world situations download a solid distro.

I don't know, if i show knoppix to my windows only friends they are
- completely impressed "wow, on one cd, decompressed on the fly, awesome"
- immediately browsing the myriad of applications and exploring the ones they are interested in (kstarts for person A, nessus and nmap for person B)
I'd also suggest knoppix to begin with. It already has plenty of builtin tools has good plug&play support, in fact, even if you won't be using linux, you can allways use knoppix for diagnosing some f***cked up system, or identify hardware. It is a good emergency repair toolbox. If you decide to use on a more permanent basis, you can install it to disk with an easy to use, ready scrupt. After answering a minimum of questions it more or less just kopies itself to disk, at high speed. Once installed you can use debians apt-get or the gui package manager to install one of the thousands of software titles from the internet.

For easy installation and use both mandrake and fedora seem a good distro for beginners.
Just to put you inside Linux 'politics':

There are several free distros which people use. Fedora, Debian, Mandrake, Slackware, Conectiva, just to mention a few, you can just grab a copy from the Internet and install on your machine. They're 'the same but different', they vary on things like 'most user friendly', 'most stable', 'desktop aimed', 'developers aimed', 'business aimed', et al.

Red Hat, SuSE and some other big players like to understand themselves as 'business corporate', so they have structured companies around their distros, working on some points they believe are more important to 'commercial linux' (which, by all meanings, is not 'development aimed'; it's meant to be able to replace usual funcionalities of a windows office with Linux machines). Since they take this approach, they charge for their stuff. Obviously, they're more mature on some aspects (let's say, workflow aspects, groupware, integration, collaborative development ...), but as many can advocate that it's absolutely nothing that you couldn't do with a free distro.

Knoppix, as people pointed, is a live cd that you can run to see how's Linux as desktop for a home user, let's say. It shows that Linux is mature enough to take down home desktops almost completely. Don't know about you, but that's my reality for almost 5 years :-)
PremierncAuthor Commented:
Heys Guys,
I have loaded the Knoppix cd and it worked great on failsafe mode, good suggestion. What exactly am I looking at? Is this the face of Linux or Redhat or who exactly? This particular version seems to be loaded with utils as well as a word processor etc. When I click on the terminal program (DOS prompt), what commands am I using, Unix, Linux etc? Where can I get a good book or something to begin to know how all this works from a tech standpoint?
PremierncAuthor Commented:
I am thouroughly impressed with the funtionality of a DHCP renew and the simplicity of that. Also, the email client setup and ran flawlessly the first time around. It even checked out the mail server to see what kind of Authentication and encrytion it was setup to use. So far as a windows guy, I am impressed. How does this product interface with windows product ie: Exchange? If it doesn't. is the sendmail product as easy going as this product?
Thanks again for the info.
Watch out Bill Gates
> what commands am I using, Unix, Linux etc
Linux. Knoppix is Linux.

> Where can I get a good book or something to begin to know how all this works from a tech standpoint
Linux in a Nutshell:

Running Linux:

Linux for Dummies:

Linux Administration: A Beginner's Guide:

Linux System Administration, Second Edition (Craig Hunt Linux Library)    <=== highly recommended

> interface with windows product ie: Exchange
Evolution: email client like M$ Outlook

Open Exchange (not free): email server like Exchange

The default desktop you see in knoppix is KDE (

You also have others, like gnome, tvm etc.

Inside a terminal you use linux commands. You can also use Midnight Commander, which simplifies the usage of these commands, similar to norton commander in DOS.

With Opengroupware or exchange4linux you can install exchange-like Servers under linux. Opengroupware is free and exchange4linux is free for private use (I think it is restricted to 4 or 5 Clients).

Sendmail is only meant for email, not groupware, but as far as I know it is used in some Linux Groupware software as part of the product.

You can use wine to run windows programs under linux (crossover office is a commercial wine, it is easier to configure,). If you use one of these you will of course need a license for the windows software you are going to run, in order not to violate licensing and copyrights.

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