Linux - How easy is it?

Discussion in 'Hardware - PCs, Consoles, Gadgets' started by fltpilot, Oct 27, 2010.

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  1. After many years of thinking about it i'm finally going to do it & use Linux!
    OK, i'm thinking of running Linux as a dual-boot on a laptop running Windows XP Pro.
    Will the Linux cd/dvd partition the hard drive for me and leave XP on it or does delete all MS on it?
    Which is the best version of Linux to go for as a newbie?
    Or could i boot from Linux installed on USB Drive if the BIOS lets me?

    Or do i just buy a netbook with linux pre-installed and if so where's the best place to buy from(in UK)?
  2. Worth a try fltpilot! I've been running Ubuntu on it's own for about a year now, after I had it dualing with Vista and never used the Vista partition. I wouldn't buy a netbook with it pre-installed 'till you've had a pop!

    There's some fun stuff you can do with Ubuntu if you have a half decent PC. Try installing Compiz.

    If you need any help PM me, and I'll try and help you out!
  3. For a newbie, Ubuntu all the way. The installer will sort you out with a dual boot setup so no need to make it difficult for yourself by using USB sticks or whatever. Go the the Ubuntu site then download the ISO and burn a Live CD. You can boot off that to have a play (it will be slower as it reads off the CD rather than a HDD) and then install from there.

    The site is pretty good for guidance / advice on anything you need to do once its installed. Quirks are needing to do a bit of fiddling to get DVDs to work due to licensing reasons but again the guides are clear.

    Now, I've never had a problem installing it. There are times when some esoteric hardware combination will cause issues, but most and workarounds (or not) will be documented on the site - if they occur at all, they seem to have spent a lot of time making sure it installs on nearly anything.

    Expect a bit of sneering from the hardcore Penguinistas for using something popular and usable, but as you presumably want to do something with your machine other than frig around with the OS I'd ignore them.
  4. Personally I dual boot with Windows 7 Pro and Fedora. The Linux install can re-size the Windows partition and create another for itself.
  5. I use Ubuntu on a desktop and a Laptop and find it's pretty much hassle free.

    When choosing which version of Ubuntu (or any other Linux distributions) it's a good idea to select an LTS (Long Term Support) version. They are supported for about 3 years and updated regularly until you are advised that a new LTS distribution is available. There are versions released between the LTS distributions and may work wonderfully and have lots of extra features, but they are just beta versions that are used to get things right for the next LTS distripution. The latest LTS distribution of Ubuntu is 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) which was released in April 2010 and will be fully supported until April 2013.

    Another great feature of Ubuntu is that every instillation disk (Download the .iso file and burn it to disk) allows you to try it 'live' from the disk without making any changes to your present system. The cost of 'dipping your toe in the water'? A blank CD.
  6. I am running a dual boot windows / Ubuntu I found it easy to set up and use with lots of free software so thumbs up give it a try.
  7. Have installed on my laptop a dual boot Win XP Pro & Linux Mint that was on the cover cd of Linux Format mag.
    All installed and on the net etc, will take a while to get used to it, but it seems friendly enough.
    Went for it as it's meant to be a good version for newbies to learn.
    May at a later stage go for Ubuntu which seems to be popular at the moment.
    Will post back if i have any problems & cheers for all the input guys.
  8. I have an old computer knocking round doing nothing. How is Linux on older machines? It's about 8 yr old running XP home. What specifications does a computer need for it to run smoothly?
  9. I have just installed Ubuntu 10.10 on a laptop about the same age as that one. No issues, all the drivers seemed to be there. I could write reams here, but suffice it to say it IS different from windows, for example, installing some applications can be arseache.

    Do a bit of research on the Interwebz, and don't be intimidated. linux is good fun, and quite useful. I'm a Cisco Engineer, and I have another laptop running RedHat, specifically for punters who have widespread virus issues on Windows networks and maybe can't get in to sort it out. Windows viruses wont affect Linux.

    Sorry I didn't answer your Q: The laptop with Ubuntu I have is a Celeron 1500 with 512 RAM and a 40 gig hard disk.
    Enjoy (although Windows is still where it's "at" IMHO)
  10. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Running on older machines is a key strength of a Linux OS and if your machine is really old there are distributions that are made to be as light as possible. Have a look at

    I ran Ubuntu for a year on both desktop and laptop, but got driven off through lack of drivers. I'm now back to it on my laptop, mainly for speed. In the past I have found Linux to be tricky on brand new hardware before the community has a chance to catch up with drivers.

    I would add that a willingness to use the 'black window' (console) is fairly essential. There are a lot of windows-esque graphic tools on any major linux distribution, but you can't do everything that way, and you miss the point and miss the most powerful tools if you try. IMHO therefore is is still a bit of an enthusiasts / geeks OS.

    One more... it's phenomenally quick to install and have all the main applications you need ready to go. Therefore very easy to try out.
  11. I'm downloading it as we speak, it's a good job I have a fairly fast broadband connection, the download is 693MB, it would have taken me 6 months on dial up to download that!!
  12. It'll be an iso, so if you don't know already, use the windows disc image burning tool to burn a cd. A normal 80 minute CDR will do it. Just right click on the ISO, and the tool will be in the context menu.
  13. I've already got an image burner ta. I used it to burn another OS to disc. :-D
  14. msr

    msr LE

    Or use a USB stick and this: Download | Ubuntu - see section 2
  15. just curious but would my mac run much differently/ better using this software?