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dont know which version to install..

i am a newbie to linux, i went to the gentoo linux download site and there was alpha, x86, sparc64, ppc64, ia64, hppa.. and lots more... which should i get.. i am absolutely clueless :s

also my friends warned me that the setup process itself is not as easy as i may think.. so could someone plz give me some guidelines here as to where to start and what to do.

i am installing linux on a seperate drive entirely from the windows xp one.

1 Solution
It depends on the hardware you have. alpha is for alpha workstations (DEC Chips), x86 is for the intel architecture, which probably is yours, sparc64 is for the sparc risc chip, ppc64 is for powerpc (MACs), ia64  is for newer intel or AMD chips which use the 64bit architecture, hppa is for a risc chip I think that was produced by HP, etc... Tell us your hardware...
And to add to the above; For ease-of-installation I would recommend either SuSE or Fedora.

Your friend is correct if you are new to Linux I would not suggest installing Gentoo as its a system that requires alot
of knowledge. I would recommend Fedora it has excellent support and it easy to use.

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gentoo is great for learning...
You should be able to see what your architecture is from your BIOS (hit "F2" or whatever it tells you to hit to get into "setup" when you are just starting up your computer).

Chances are you have x86.  If it is a newer computer you may have x86_64 (64 bit machine).

And I agree also that SuSE (www.opensuse.org) may be better if you are learning; the installation is graphical and pretty straight-forward.  It should also re-size your windows partition for you (I think by default, check the partitioning during the install to be sure) and set up your dual-boot automatically.
As a newcomer to linux, in order to find maximum information and examples on, you need to choose a mainstream distribution. Also, with your system, you don't need to worry about performance if picking an up to date distribution.

Therefore go for one of the following:

Fedora Core:


Redhat Enterprise Linux is a good server distribution, and can be downloaded free, but you need to pay for the update service...so rather than have to mess around with tring to convert the up2date program to yum, download a 'clone' which has this already done for you. CentOS can be obtained from:


Both of these are used by a very large base of people, and the skills that you learn on either of them will work nicely on most standard linux hosting providers - most use Fedora Core, although some provide alternatives.

Most Linux distributions use a 'common' kernel, and the difference between the distros is the applications and configuration that they are shipped with. If you are planning on using it as a PC as well, then you may wish to look at Ubuntu and Kubuntu as they are 'optimised' a little more for the desktop. Of course, you can still add the Apache, php, mySQL daemons to give webserver/database server capability to it etc

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