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Wanting to get into Linux, Gimme your advice!
https://www.betaarchive.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=493
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Author:  empireum [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:27 pm ]
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No offense intended, but please don't transform this into a Linux(/Unix) bashing thread.
Everyone is free to use what he wants, likes and prefers. There are people like me that can't live without a command line, and there are people that like a GUI more. That's the way it is. (And now, it doesn't take 15 minutes to install Java... It's one single command unless you're on an x64 box)- Concerning Mac OS X: I have to confirm this is about the only Unix OS that you can (almost) completely use without having to touch the command line. (Unless you're trying to get it to run on a generic grey box, that is, I just say OSx86).
If you absolutely don't want to touch the command line, Linux and most of the Unix flavours are not the right OS for you. That's it.

Author:  Vista Ultimate R2 [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 11:04 pm ]
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empireum wrote:
And now, it doesn't take 15 minutes to install Java... It's one single command unless you're on an x64 box


That was a true story - I don't know if they didn't know what they were doing, or if there was some weird error or something - I wasn't taking that much notice of exactly what they were doing. It's possible it was x64 - it was a Core 2 Duo but I don't know if they were running an x64 version or not.

empireum wrote:
Concerning Mac OS X: I have to confirm this is about the only Unix OS that you can (almost) completely use without having to touch the command line. (Unless you're trying to get it to run on a generic grey box, that is, I just say OSx86).


The thing is that I'd like to perhaps explore the Unix command line a bit and get to know the basics of how a Unix-based OS works (as it's something I know absolutely nothing about, and if I'm going to use an OS I do like to have some sort of understanding of what's going on under the surface), but I find the idea of Linux terrifying (probably because I know nothing about Unix at the moment) - I feel OS X would be a way to have a look at Unix without any of the really difficult stuff that I'd probably struggle with (it would kind of ease me in, rather than throwing me in at the deep end!), and I really like OS X (and there's a much greater range of programs available that you can use on it) while what I've seen of Linux doesn't appeal to me that much.

I do have OSx86 in VMware but it's the preinstalled image, so I didn't have to fiddle around to install it, and although there was some command line and plist editing to get it working at its best, I just followed the guides on the internet so it was easy. It's a little slow though, and 10.4.1 seems incompatible with most OSx86 software (as it's actually an early beta - the first released version was about 10.4.4) - I'd really like to have a real (old) Mac to run OSx86 on, as it's never quite the same both virtualising it and using it on non-Mac hardware. I certainly wouldn't risk instaling Linux or OSx86 natively on my main PC, so a sepaarte machine would be the best way for me to try Unix anyway.

Author:  empireum [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 11:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
That was a true story - I don't know if they didn't know what they were doing, or if there was some weird error or something - I wasn't taking that much notice of exactly what they were doing. It's possible it was x64 - it was a Core 2 Duo but I don't know if they were running an x64 version or not.

Nevertheless, it's really easy to get Java running on x86. If the box is x64, it's a bit more complicated indeed, but nothing too fancy if you know what to do. I've never had problems with Java on my Linux installs, but so far, they've only been x86 ones I confess...

Quote:
The thing is that I'd like to perhaps explore the Unix command line a bit and get to know the basics of how a Unix-based OS works (as it's something I know absolutely nothing about, and if I'm going to use an OS I do like to have some sort of understanding of what's going on under the surface)

This is a great attitude, the one I've been following since I'm into computers, that's, since 1992 or since I was 5 years old. :)

Quote:
but I find the idea of Linux terrifying (probably because I know nothing about Unix at the moment) - I feel OS X would be a way to have a look at Unix without any of the really difficult stuff that I'd probably struggle with (it would kind of ease me in, rather than throwing me in at the deep end!), and I really like OS X (and there's a much greater range of programs available that you can use on it) while what I've seen of Linux doesn't appeal to me that much.

What exactly do you think is terrifying about Linux/Unix? Concerning the programs thing: Yes, the big programs like Adobe and such are available for OS X, just because there's an active demand for it (the Apple users, that is). But there are thousands of programs for Linux as well. And if you don't absoltely need Photoshop and fat programs like that, you can get along with the Linux apps as well, there's OpenOffice and The GIMP, for example. And there's always WINE enabling you to run some Windows apps (even Photoshop and MS Office) on Linux. So, the argument of lacking programs doesn't count much anymore.

Quote:
do have OSx86 in VMware but it's the preinstalled image, so I didn't have to fiddle around to install it, and although there was some command line and plist editing to get it working at its best, I just followed the guides on the internet so it was easy. It's a little slow though, and 10.4.1 seems incompatible with most OSx86 software (as it's actually an early beta - the first released version was about 10.4.4) - I'd really like to have a real (old) Mac to run OSx86 on, as it's never quite the same both virtualising it and using it on non-Mac hardware. I certainly wouldn't risk instaling Linux or OSx86 natively on my main PC, so a sepaarte machine would be the best way for me to try Unix anyway.

Yes, 10.4.1 is really old and was only shipped on the development machines, not meant to be used for everyday work. That's where 10.4.4 and newer jumps in. Using a preinstalled image is easy, installing it and tweaking it to run as good as possible on a real x86 PC is the real challenge. I understand your point of having a separate machine to try to avoid messing up your primary machine and its OS (or more important, its data). That was how I got started with Linux back in the 90s.

Something more about your "Terrifying because I know nothing about it" argument: Please be honest: When you had just started using Windows some years ago or whenever that was, you knew nothing or almost nothing about it either, right? Were you also terrified of it then? And if you were, this changed as you got to know it more and more, right? And I promise you, exactly the same thing will happen if you begin to use Linux or Unix and get the hang of it.

And then, you'll maybe eventually realise tht on Unix, the command line is way more powerful than the GUI. File operations, for example, can be done way faster using the CLI than a GUI. This also applies to Windows. One example: You have a folder with 2000 files, 1500 of them have a "90" in their name (somewhere in the middle or at the end). You want to move all these (but only these) into another folder, using Explorer. How would you do that?

Author:  Vista Ultimate R2 [ Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:18 am ]
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empireum wrote:
Using a preinstalled image is easy, installing it and tweaking it to run as good as possible on a real x86 PC is the real challenge.


Yes, I think the DeadMoo image as it is known was not particularly optimised, so I had to follow some guides to install drivers for sound, networking etc, edit a plist to make more screen resolutions available and for it to star up at 1280x1024, and install the hack to make Rosetta work with only SSE2, not SSE3. As far as I can remember that's all there was - I should possibly have disabled Dashboard as well as that is said to provide speed gains (I did that tweak to my dad's G3 iBook, which I think was again just editing one plist).

It would be interesting to actually install OSx86 natively on a real PC as that would be more of a challenge, although I would definitely want a different PC to my main one for doing stuff like that, as it would be VERY easy to trash everything!

empireum wrote:
Something more about your "Terrifying because I know nothing about it" argument: Please be honest: When you had just started using Windows some years ago or whenever that was, you knew nothing or almost nothing about it either, right? Were you also terrified of it then? And if you were, this changed as you got to know it more and more, right? And I promise you, exactly the same thing will happen if you begin to use Linux or Unix and get the hang of it.


I started using Windows when we got our first computer at home in early 1998, and it was running Windows 95B (it was early in the year, before Win98 was released). The only computers I had used before that were Acorns at school, and the OS7 Macs at my dad's office. Yes, I had never seen Windows before that (I think there was a time before that when I didn't even know what Windows was!) and it was very different to the Acorns that I was most familiar with at the time. However, I think as at that stage I didn't know muchabout computers at all, I didn't mind the fact that I was using Windows without knowing what was going on underneath, what all the files in the system folder did, what the registry was etc.

Now, if I was trying a new OS I would be kind of scared of it because I have that understanding of Windows and are used using a system where I know how to do things like optimising Windows and making sure it's set up properly so it doesn't crash etc, and I hate the idea of using something and once again being the type of person who knows how to open their web browser or word processor, but nothing else, and doesn't have a clue what's beneath the surface. And as you say, you're not really getting to the heart of Linux (ie the comman line interface) unless you do understand these things. I mean, I don't even know the basic commands eg for file/folder navigation for Unix! Another example, I can install any version of Windows without hardly thinking about it, but when you were saying about how to install Linux before and start talking about “mount points” and things like that it really makes me realise how much I would struggle (I mean, if I couldn’t even install it!). I gather that with some versions of Linux you have to give the installer complicated information about your PC which I probably wouldn’t know (and with things like Gentoo you even have to compile the whole OS yourself!), although I’m not sure if that is the case with an “easy” version of Linux.

I’ve been using Windows for 8 years now and still don’t know that much about it, so there is no way I could gain a sufficient understanding of Linux to not be terrified by it in a reasonable period of time (considering Windows is easier to learn than Linux). I also think if I was going to spend some time on this kind of stuff, it might be better spent getting a deeper understanding of Windows than the basics of something new (although not being able to program means that I probably wouldn't be able to understand how Windows works at a much deeper level than I already do?).

empireum wrote:
And then, you'll maybe eventually realise tht on Unix, the command line is way more powerful than the GUI. File operations, for example, can be done way faster using the CLI than a GUI. This also applies to Windows. One example: You have a folder with 2000 files, 1500 of them have a "90" in their name (somewhere in the middle or at the end). You want to move all these (but only these) into another folder, using Explorer. How would you do that?


When I have tried out the command line in OS X I can see that it is very powerful, a lot more so than in Windows - one thing is you can just do everything from it. For instance I remember unzipping an archive and opening one of the files in it in an editor, and rather than opening the Start menu, finding an unzipper, browsing to the folder where it is etc etc, you can do the whole task with a few quick commands (as OS X comes with command-line unzip programs and a whole load of other things, and I guess Linux does too).

For the example you mention, I suppose you would open the Search pane, search for “90” as part of the filename, open another window with the folder you want to move them to, then drag them from the search results window into the other window (or just type “90” in the search box in the top-right if you were using Vista). For the copying, you could of course ctrl+x ctrl+v rather than dragging if you wanted to, or use the “move to…” button on the Explorer toolbar and browse to the folder.

Author:  ppc_digger [ Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:05 am ]
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Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
Agreed :D I watched some Linux people spend about 15 minutes trying to install Java on their Linux box just to look at something on the internet recently

And you probably counted the time it took the package manager (yum, apt-get, Portage, etc.) download JRE, right?
Installing Java is easy. emerge jre (on Gentoo). Or use Kuroo if you prefer a nice GUI. You don't even have to restart Firefox.
Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
I started using Windows when we got our first computer at home in early 1998, and it was running Windows 95B (it was early in the year, before Win98 was released). The only computers I had used before that were Acorns at school, and the OS7 Macs at my dad's office. Yes, I had never seen Windows before that (I think there was a time before that when I didn't even know what Windows was!) and it was very different to the Acorns that I was most familiar with at the time. However, I think as at that stage I didn't know muchabout computers at all, I didn't mind the fact that I was using Windows without knowing what was going on underneath, what all the files in the system folder did, what the registry was etc.

I got in (seriously) into Linux about 3 years ago. In comparison, I've known Windows since I was 4 (I'm 17 now). In spite of that, I know Linux way better than I'll ever know Windows, probably due to the closed nature of Windows. Doing trivial tasks in Windows is easy, as it is on every simple Linux distro (Fedora, Ubuntu, SuSE, etc. ). Non-trivial tasks, however, are extremely difficult to do in Windows, if not impossible. Did you ever try making the Windows kernel load a custom-built application on boot instead of everything else? On Linux you simply add init=your_application to the kernel command line (in the boot manager). Remember what I said (about a month ago IIRC) about me being able to load a completely usable and modern GUI with 16 MB of RAM and just two or three processes active? That's what I meant.

EDIT: you know what? I take that back. Loading a fully usable GUI on Linux with three processes is trivial (init=/usr/bin/startx). On Windows, it's close to impossible.

I sincerely apologize if I sound like I'm trying to start a flame war. I'm not.

Author:  Vista Ultimate R2 [ Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:08 am ]
Post subject: 

ppc_digger wrote:
Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
Agreed :D I watched some Linux people spend about 15 minutes trying to install Java on their Linux box just to look at something on the internet recently

And you probably counted the time it took the package manager (yum, apt-get, Portage, etc.) download JRE, right?
Installing Java is easy. emerge jre (on Gentoo). Or use Kuroo if you prefer a nice GUI. You don't even have to restart Firefox.


I don't think they managed to get it installed, as they started up a virtual XP instead eventually! I'm not sure what they were doing as I wasn't paying a lot of attention - I noticed them doing something in Firefox but wasn't looking all the time. Their Linux setups often seem to be a bit broken though, as they're the kind of people that like fiddling with it so much that it breaks! I guess there must have been some sort of problem if it didn't work, if you say it should be easy to install.

ppc_digger wrote:
Loading a fully usable GUI on Linux with three processes is trivial (init=/usr/bin/startx). On Windows, it's close to impossible.


I think 6 is about the minimum number of proceses on startup for a working XP

Author:  empireum [ Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:54 am ]
Post subject: 

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
Yes, I think the DeadMoo image as it is known was not particularly optimised, so I had to follow some guides to install drivers for sound, networking etc, edit a plist to make more screen resolutions available and for it to star up at 1280x1024, and install the hack to make Rosetta work with only SSE2, not SSE3. As far as I can remember that's all there was - I should possibly have disabled Dashboard as well as that is said to provide speed gains (I did that tweak to my dad's G3 iBook, which I think was again just editing one plist).

It would be interesting to actually install OSx86 natively on a real PC as that would be more of a challenge, although I would definitely want a different PC to my main one for doing stuff like that, as it would be VERY easy to trash everything!

Yes, that's what I mean. If you have to do some more or less hard work to get something to run, it's a bigger challenge. As for the risk, I agree I'd like to test the OS on a separate PC first or in a VM if I absolutely have to. But I'm the kind of guy that likes to take a bit of a risk, so I'd install OSx86 if I was new to it on my main PC, but on a separate HD, for example. Maybe I'd also unplug my other hard drives just to be sure. But as soon as I'd have gotten the hang of it, I'd have it coexist with my other OS. Frequent backups are a necessity when doing such sort of stuff, though. That's what my multiple external HDs are for.


Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
I started using Windows when we got our first computer at home in early 1998, and it was running Windows 95B (it was early in the year, before Win98 was released). The only computers I had used before that were Acorns at school, and the OS7 Macs at my dad's office. Yes, I had never seen Windows before that (I think there was a time before that when I didn't even know what Windows was!) and it was very different to the Acorns that I was most familiar with at the time. However, I think as at that stage I didn't know muchabout computers at all, I didn't mind the fact that I was using Windows without knowing what was going on underneath, what all the files in the system folder did, what the registry was etc.

Now, if I was trying a new OS I would be kind of scared of it because I have that understanding of Windows and are used using a system where I know how to do things like optimising Windows and making sure it's set up properly so it doesn't crash etc, and I hate the idea of using something and once again being the type of person who knows how to open their web browser or word processor, but nothing else, and doesn't have a clue what's beneath the surface. And as you say, you're not really getting to the heart of Linux (ie the comman line interface) unless you do understand these things. I mean, I don't even know the basic commands eg for file/folder navigation for Unix! Another example, I can install any version of Windows without hardly thinking about it, but when you were saying about how to install Linux before and start talking about “mount points” and things like that it really makes me realise how much I would struggle (I mean, if I couldn’t even install it!). I gather that with some versions of Linux you have to give the installer complicated information about your PC which I probably wouldn’t know (and with things like Gentoo you even have to compile the whole OS yourself!), although I’m not sure if that is the case with an “easy” version of Linux.

As for installing Linux, it's not too difficult if you use an "easy" distribution, like Ubuntu. The mount points I was talking about are Unix's equivalents to Windows' unflexible drive letters – and they're supported since Windows 2000 there too. :) But another point: If you were starting to use a new OS and learning how to use and tweak it and stuff, if you were able to completely forget the knowledge you have about other OSes, the new OS would not scare you because you'd have nothing to remember. The fear you might experience is because you have experience on Windows, and haven't on Linux/Unix. And if you learned Unix without thinking "Ah, on Windows this was done like that and that was done in that way..." and stuff like that, this wouldn't be that much of a problem. But I do understand your point. I started with Windows (3.1, to be exact) and learning Linux/Unix and MacOS was not easy for me but once I knew how to deal with the OS (and stopped comparing every single step to the one I was used to on Windows), this wasn't important for me anymore and it was no problem either. Heck, I even had these problems when switching from Windows 3.11 to NT 3.5. :)

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
I’ve been using Windows for 8 years now and still don’t know that much about it, so there is no way I could gain a sufficient understanding of Linux to not be terrified by it in a reasonable period of time (considering Windows is easier to learn than Linux). I also think if I was going to spend some time on this kind of stuff, it might be better spent getting a deeper understanding of Windows than the basics of something new (although not being able to program means that I probably wouldn't be able to understand how Windows works at a much deeper level than I already do?).

On Linux/Unix, you can explore the system much, much deeper than on Windows. And you'll be able to understand how it works after some period of time. That's one of the things why I like it so much. I don't have to cope with and face something without being able to completely understand it even if I was able to, if I really want, I can understand how it workss. And the final step of that would be to use something like LinuxFromScratch where you build your own Linux OS, compiling everything you need on your own. Now, imagine how hard it'd be to make your completely own version of Windows. Maybe it's possible with XP Embedded, but I think it's much more effort-taking than on Linux/Unix...
And you can even build your own kernel, 100% assimilated to the special hardware you might have. Can you do that on Windows?

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
When I have tried out the command line in OS X I can see that it is very powerful, a lot more so than in Windows - one thing is you can just do everything from it. For instance I remember unzipping an archive and opening one of the files in it in an editor, and rather than opening the Start menu, finding an unzipper, browsing to the folder where it is etc etc, you can do the whole task with a few quick commands (as OS X comes with command-line unzip programs and a whole load of other things, and I guess Linux does too).

That's what I mean. And I think Linux comes with a lot more command line tools than OS X does. You can do everything in the command-line. And I mean everything.

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
For the example you mention, I suppose you would open the Search pane, search for “90” as part of the filename, open another window with the folder you want to move them to, then drag them from the search results window into the other window (or just type “90” in the search box in the top-right if you were using Vista). For the copying, you could of course ctrl+x ctrl+v rather than dragging if you wanted to, or use the “move to…” button on the Explorer toolbar and browse to the folder.

On the command line, this is going to need two commands that you can enter in less than ten seconds, assuming the files to be moved are all in one single folder and you know where they are, but that was determined in the example I gave you. And I could go on.

Another thing: I can have a fully functioning and usable desktop Linux system with a GUI, Internet access, browsers, e-mail app and some Office apps, not to mention a plethora of other tools, on a 50MB CD. Is this possible using Windows PE? :)

Again, just like ppc_digger, this is not meant to start a flame war. I'm just trying to avoid some prejudices and unnecessary fear. :)

Author:  Vista Ultimate R2 [ Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:28 am ]
Post subject: 

empireum wrote:
Another thing: I can have a fully functioning and usable desktop Linux system with a GUI, Internet access, browsers, e-mail app and some Office apps, not to mention a plethora of other tools, on a 50MB CD. Is this possible using Windows PE? :)


I seem to remember someone making a live Windows 3.1 that was just over 10 MB, and I suppose you could install programs in it like yours has, although it is still 3.1 :P

One thing about Linux: I sometimes see these guides that tell you how to do various things on Linux eg installing various software, and they always give you a load of commands to run. I’ve always wondered whether this is because the commands are the quickest way of doing whatever they're wanting to do, or because they're the only way? Just that when I first learned Windows I didn't have any manuals or guides or anything, and just got the basics by trying things out and seeing what happened. But if the only way to do these fairly basic things is by these weird-looking commands, there's no way at all that you could figure out anything in Linux by just trying things out (as you can't work out what the right command is).

Author:  empireum [ Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:56 am ]
Post subject: 

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
I seem to remember someone making a live Windows 3.1 that was just over 10 MB, and I suppose you could install programs in it like yours has, although it is still 3.1 :P

But you can hardly call 3.1 modern. :) That was what I meant. I meant a modern desktop.

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
One thing about Linux: I sometimes see these guides that tell you how to do various things on Linux eg installing various software, and they always give you a load of commands to run. I’ve always wondered whether this is because the commands are the quickest way of doing whatever they're wanting to do, or because they're the only way? Just that when I first learned Windows I didn't have any manuals or guides or anything, and just got the basics by trying things out and seeing what happened. But if the only way to do these fairly basic things is by these weird-looking commands, there's no way at all that you could figure out anything in Linux by just trying things out (as you can't work out what the right command is).

Sometimes, these commands are the quickest way, and sometimes, these are indeed the only way. But they're not the only way in each case you might encounter. You can install and uninstall software using a GUI and a graphical installer on Linux- :) You can get your way around a Linux GUI like KDE or Gnome by trying things out, yes. But using the command line, mostly required when doing some more complicated actions, requires knowledge of the commands you're going to use. And these commands only seem weird to you because you're not used to them. :wink: But it's roughly the same when using DOS or a command line window. As soon as these commands are your "daily bread", you don't think about them, you just use them. And modern Linux distributions, targeted towards the "beginner" and Windows switcher, try to realize as much as possible automatically or with a GUI. For example, if you plug in an USB flash drive to a box running a modern Linux system that has been configured that way, an icon will automatically appear on the desktop, just as in Windows. If it's not configured like that, you'll indeed have to open the command line, look up the partition name and manually mount the device. :)

Author:  glbanksitter [ Mon Nov 27, 2006 1:28 am ]
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Just a quick question before I go out and do this.

If I format my Windows install, it in no way should mess with Ubuntu or GRUB boot loader, right?

Author:  empireum [ Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:35 am ]
Post subject: 

No. Formatting the Windows partition doesn't mess with Grub or the Ubuntu partition. (Rewriting the MBR when reinstalling Windows does probably mess up Grub, however.)

Author:  ppc_digger [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:10 am ]
Post subject: 

empireum wrote:
No. Formatting the Windows partition doesn't mess with Grub or the Ubuntu partition. (Rewriting the MBR when reinstalling Windows does probably mess up Grub, however.)

For which the solution is to backup the MBR before installing Windows and restore it later (a simple dd will do <haha>see you do that with a single command on Windows!</haha>).

Author:  empireum [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:36 am ]
Post subject: 

ppc_digger wrote:
empireum wrote:
No. Formatting the Windows partition doesn't mess with Grub or the Ubuntu partition. (Rewriting the MBR when reinstalling Windows does probably mess up Grub, however.)

For which the solution is to backup the MBR before installing Windows and restore it later (a simple dd will do <haha>see you do that with a single command on Windows!</haha>).

You're right :lol:

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