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who uses Linux?

Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:29 am
by rossi46
I've just bought two Linux mags, each with a different version or 'distro' to install. If I install one of them, is the process reversible? will I still be able to access all my existing stuff? Can I dual-boot?

Does anyone else here use Linux?

Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:33 pm
by Antiriad2097
Is it reversible?
Probably. Depends on the install.

Will you be able to access all my existing stuff?
Probably. Depends on the distro and the install.

Can I dual-boot?
Probably. Depends on the distro and the install.

Who uses Linux?
Geeks ;)

Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:47 pm
by Dudley
Remember the old maxim.

"Linux is free only if your time is worthless"

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:35 pm
by rossi46
Ahh! that's more the like the Retro-Gamer forum of old...

Populated by members whose only purpose seems to be dismissing out-of-hand the comments and opinions of others. Keep it up, guys.

Re:

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:45 pm
by Dudley
rossi46 wrote:Ahh! that's more the like the Retro-Gamer forum of old...

Populated by members whose only purpose seems to be dismissing out-of-hand the comments and opinions of others. Keep it up, guys.
Glad to be of service.

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:49 pm
by Ciaran
I'll bite. I use Linux.

Is it reversible?
Yes, if you're careful. Linux (oh, okay, GNU/Linux) is an operating system, of course, which means that it can take Windows' place if you want it to. Of course, it sounds like you don't want to, so you need to make that clear to the installer when you do it. If you make sure you don't overwrite your Windows partitions, it's totally reversible - it's a matter of restoring the Windows boot loader and deleting the Linux partitions.

I believe some distros will assume you want to delete everything on the hard drive if you opt for one of the basic install options, so make sure you read up on the install process first and opt for a custom installation if necessary.

Will you be able to access all my existing stuff?
No, I won't be able to access all your existing stuff. :-P

Oops, sorry, that was a typo by Antiriad. :D Let me read that again...

Yes, you'll be able to access your existing stuff in almost all cases. There are caveats, though:
  • If you're using FAT32 as your filesystem, you have no problems - Linux can read and write in FAT32 natively.
  • If you're using NTFS as your filesystem (which you probably are if you're using Windows XP), then you should be aware that while read-only support seems to work absolutely fine, read-write support is experimental, which means it could potentially screw up your data, although it's not likely to happen. Out of the box, read-write support is normally disabled for that reason, which means you'll be able to access your data, but not be able to write back to that partition. I'm not sure how well encrypted files work with it because I haven't seen anything about it.

    You can get around this using something like Captive, which gives you full read-write support for NTFS partitions by using Microsoft's own drivers. For that reason, you'll need a copy of an NT-based OS (NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista), although this won't be a problem for many people, given the pervasiveness of Windows.
  • USB functionality is very usable, but as with all hardware it might depend on whether there are drivers available for it. You can be fairly sure that your USB thumb drive will work out the box, for example, but more esosteric hardware might be a problem. The easiest way is to try it and find out.
Can I dual-boot?
Yes, if you haven't overwritten your Windows partitions (obviously). You need to use a special bootloader like LILO or GRUB to do it. Most distros have graphical interfaces to help you set them up.

Who uses Linux?
Me.

Anyone ele?... Um, anyone?...

Okay, okay, I'm joking. More and more people are starting to use Linux; it's a good choice in my opinion. You'll need to be prepared for some changes though. Linux isn't Windows, and will never be Windows. If you want a taste of Linux before installing, download the excellent Cygwin, which gives you a Linux-like environment in Windows. Mostly in Cygwin you interact with the command line, which in my opinion is the best place to start. You can get KDE and GNOME for Cygwin too, though.

So, in short, the answers to your questions can be summed up as: "Probably. Depends on the distro and the install." ;-)

Hope that helps.

Re:

Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:58 am
by EnglishRob
Ciaran wrote:I'll bite. I use Linux.

Who uses Linux?
Me.

Anyone ele?... Um, anyone?...
Yep, I use Ubuntu Linux 5.10. It's not too bad for beginners. I've also seen down at WH Smiths, there are a couple of Linux starter packs containing a copy of Linux (I think they have Suse, Fedora & Mandrake) and a free magazine with it giving details on how to get started.

I think a good start if you have a fast broadband connection would be to download something like Knoppix and burn it to a CD (or DVD if you get the 4GB or so version). You can then try it out without having to alter anything on your PC.

I just boot into Ubuntu now, I generally only use Windows in VMWare Player (the free version of VMWare) for the odd one or two things that don't work in Linux like my GBA flash cartridge or MiniDisc recorder.

I would advise though, if you want to still run emulators, it might be worth keeping Windows installed. There are some emulators avaliable (Snes9x, Mame, Mess etc) but I've found the majority of emulators are still Windows only.

Rob

Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:54 pm
by andy vaisey
I would strongly recommend you use a "live" distro first, that boots from CD and changes nothing on your hard drive. Many of the popular distros have live taster discs. Download some here... When I first tried linux I used the SuSE live disc.

Personally, I dual boot Windows 2000 Pro and Mandrake Linux 10.1 on my second machine.

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:15 pm
by Mr. Pointless
Also, find the latest Knoppix, since it's the best live distro I've come across... It detected my external hard drive where others failed (When plugged into USB, FireWire doesn't work)

I recommend it because I needed to reinstall Windows recently and because several factors prevent me from making regular backups, most of my work was still on the main HD, so I used Knoppix to copy all I had to a couple of Zip disks. SAFE!

Although, an external burner may be needed in future... :oops:

Re:

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:52 pm
by andy vaisey
Mr. Pointless wrote:...so I used Knoppix to copy all I had to a couple of Zip disks. SAFE!
Back-up to CD/DVD!! Beware the Zip "Click of Death"!! :shock:

Re:

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:09 pm
by EnglishRob
andy vaisey wrote: Back-up to CD/DVD!! Beware the Zip "Click of Death"!! :shock:
That brings back memories. I've forgotten the amount of ZIP & JAZ drives I've seen with the click of death.

They don't tend to fare well in a science lab environment. MO drives & DVD-RAM drives on the other hand tend to last a bit longer/better.

Rob

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:41 pm
by Mr. Pointless
Yes, I've experienced the Click of Death before, although, because No-one in my family knew about it at the time, I got the blame! :evil:

Yes, I would back up to CD/DVD, but the only drive in my laptop was in use. Guess what by. Hence the reason I said I should get an external burner. :?

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:16 am
by Jax
I use Red Hat - Fedora Core 4 at the moment, on a Dual boot XP pro
machine at home, and Dual at work also 8) , But for starters can only
agree to what has already been said, use a Live version first.

for home use (Gaming Desktop ) use Suse, Mandriva only use something
like Fedora if you are developing (its a all or nothing distro full of bloat)

sorry, will hand you your forum back now :wink:

Re:

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 2:08 pm
by andy vaisey
Mr. Pointless wrote:Hence the reason I said I should get an external burner. :?
Beg, steal or borrow to get one then. DO NOT rely on ZIP. It a great device for transfering stuff quickly or whatever, but as a backup?

/me shivers...

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:54 pm
by rossi46
I toyed with Suse 10 then opted for the slightly easier Mandriva 2006. I'm dual booting my (this) XP pc.

Last night I managed to install the Nvidia drivers from the command line environment (which was scary) and it seems to be running smoothly.

I'm a bit disappointed to find Linux wont 'see' my AOL connection. I use AOL to connect, minimise it, then browse with Firefox (which I'm doing now).

Overall, though I'm quite pleased with it.