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Need Linux/UNIX/Darwin Help? Post here


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I am starting this topic for anyone who needs Linux/UNIX/*BSD help.

I am bored often these days and helping people out might give me some self-satisfaction

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Good idea.

What about a tutorial / guide to getting started with *nix for all us MS dudes.

I am sure there are some who would find it of benefit. I know i would.

Maybe if you felt like doing this the Tutorial Team might welcome it Huh?

Just a thought.

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1. What's all this Linux gubbins?
2. What can I do with it?
3. What can't I do with it?
4. Can it replace windows?
5. How can I get Linux?
6. Which Linux to choose
7. General Installation guide
8. A word of wisdom to those of new
9. Advancing in Linux
10. X piece of hardware doesn't work
11. How can I support open source?
12. What's UNIX?
13. Final Words


Linux (As a generalization for newbies) is an
operating system that is fast, stable, reliable
and IMHO much better than windows in many ways.

Linux is a FREE operating system, and once you
have mastered the basics, like any operating
system, you can become very proficient with it.

Unlike Windows, Linux is very stable. I have had
a machine running the same (but patched) Linux
operating systems for the past 10 years, with
only hardware failures taking it out of action.
Any Linux user will agree that if you want a PC
that you know will work when turned on, Linux is the
way to go.

REMEMBER: Linux is a geek's OS. Therefore there
is alot you will not understand. But anyone who
as switched to an Apple recently will appreciate
you don't need the terminal much, as a standard

There are two things to remember thinking about

1. Linux is fundamentally different from windows
2. Linux is very customizable and comprises of these

a. Bootloader
b. The Linux Base system
c. X Window
d. Window Manager

The 'Bootloader' is not important for newbies, just know,
if its broken your pc will not start Linux. Upon request
i will create a DUEL BOOT LINUX/WINDOWS section to
tell you how to have windows and Linux on one machine
and reboot between them.

The 'Linux Base System' is where all the cogs and
wheels are. System configuration and such things
are located in the base system. The base system
also has the kernel and system applications that
power your system.

The 'X Window' portion you need not worry about but
acknowledge its existence, as it is the engine for
your cursor, fonts and other visual aspects of the

The 'Window Manager' gives your PC its looks, such
as menu's, window styles, background picture. There
are many different ones, but the popular ones are
KDE and Gnome. This document will focus however on
KDE as i feel this is simpler for MS users to switch

Linux comes in many flavors UNLIKE WINDOWS. Different
groups and companies create their own Linux packages
with their own configuration utilities and helpful
setup wizards. This tutorial will generalize, but take
pointers from SuSE Linux 9.x

Other popular flavors are Red Hat, Mandrake (now mandriva),
Slackware, YellowDog(for PPC users)

2. What can i do with it?
Pretty much everything your windows box can do.
Linux distributions come with many packages
far superior to windows. Email clients (like outlook)
are faster and better. Browsers (mozilla) are native
to Linux and so are better.

OPEN OFFICE is included with mainstream distro's and
is a 'better than word' DTP/office-like package for
presentations, spreadsheets, documents, website design
and a whole lot more!

There are MANY MANY CD-burning tools, music players,
utilities etc, but during installation you can either
install them all, or look at the descriptions and pick
what you like.

BE OPEN MINDED: Many things will seem alien, but the
change is worth it and it wont take too long to settle in.

3. What can't i do with it?

Linux's major limitations at the moment are games.
The situation is changing however as games developers
are creating hybrid and Linux compatible games. Some
major games and games servers such as Quake 3 are
available but can be hard to configure successfully.

This can take some practice, my advice is to use the
'control center' type-program for your distribution, as
these are usually automated (RPM) based systems.

A lot of packages are compiled from source-code, but
this is for you when you are settled in and feeling
confident (again another tutorial may be needed)

Apart from games, there are few limitations. You can
(with some difficulty) use programs like Wine to run
Windows native programs, but i find this pointless in
most cases.

4. Can it replace windows

yes and no. The open source community might like me to say yes
but i will be honest, im using XP to type this now ... because
i need Macromedia Flash and other windows only ( and Mac )
programs, but where possible i use my iBook or Linux. If you
don't rely on windows for win-bin programs then be strong and
go for it!

The only way Linux will compete outside the server market is
by getting developers to port applications to Linux from

It may or may not be for you, but look at the cons, it will
last a long time, keep you better protected, and always be
faithful to your needs (provided you don't fiddle with it).

5. How can i get Linux

You can buy OR download free in MOST cases. Red Hat however
seem to think they are special and don't offer latest commercial
OS packages for download(ish).

You can download most distributions in a DISC1.iso DISK2.iso format,
meaning you can use Ahead Nero or Roxio cd creator to make the CD's.
Selecting an option similar to 'create CD from Image' will guide
you through the process.

Many of the companies you can buy from support the open source
community who volunteer their time to make Linux the way it is.
Waterstones and Books etc usually stock them, and you can order
from Amazon or Linuxemporium!

6. Which to choose?

Many distributions are aimed at different markets, selecting
the right one can be the difference between love and hate.
I advice SuSE for the beginner, and avoid more minimal and
technical ones like Gentoo and Slackware. will give you more
options and information.

7. General installation guide

Slip in the CD and follow the instructions. If this is a windows
machine you are installing on, depending on disk setup it may
allow you to install it beside Windows and duel boot. SuSE
has a very 'hand holding' installation process. Just use the
standard Partitioning settings and avoid buttons with Expert on them.

BEWARE: If you don't want to kill windows, skip to the final words
of this document!

BEWARE2: You installation will ask you for a ROOT password.
this is the super-user account, don't for get it and don't
write it down!

BEWARE3: Most hardware will work, however items like USB Bluetooth
Dongles and USB Wireless cards can be tricky.

8. A word of wisdom for the new
Having been using Linux since the tender age of 10,
and having used many distributions i can say one thing...


For some it will be a doddle, like for those who have
ventured Operating systems before (like to apple). But
give it a fair go. It might not be for some people, but
i would advice using it and reading about it for at least
3 months (hobby style) before making your decision.

Some good beginners books are:

Linux for dummies

SUSE Linux 9 Bible

On the whole the open source and 'geek' communities are very
friendly towards newbies, because we all start somewhere. However
some can be elitist and mean, but on the whole there is tons
of info, just google and ye shall find.

9. Advancing in Linux

The key to doing well with Linux is being brave in the face
of obscurity, change and disaster (maybe not that order).
YOU WILL DO THINGS WRONG! But you can always fix it, and the
fixing is how you learn. Get some recommended books, and
get your hands dirty.

There is a wealth of books from servers to programming to
music production. Smiley

10. X piece of hardware doesn't work

No problem, the internet often holds the answer. If you have
a problem chances are, someone else will have, and geeks being
geeks leave the answer on the net for others to find, and they
are well keyworded for google Tongue

Some hardware may not be supported, as is the case with some
rare pieces of hardware.

11. How can i support open source?Huh

4 main ways:

1. Send money / hardware / books
to developers of different projects. they
often post requests on their project website,
just google the application name.

for gods sake, if you can code well, do so.
this is the foundation of open-source

3. Report Bugs
Try and report broken bits of programs, they
don't come up very often for newbies but if they
do, goto the project website and click the
report bug link

People need to know, apart from the fact it rocks,
Microsoft smell, and need to be put in a box and
thrown away.

12. What is UNIX

Unix is kind of where Linux comes from.
When UNIX was created ( then POSIX time)
Linux was made as an open source and free
version of UNIX based on (i think im right)
the Minix code base.

Now Linux has grown and grown. UNIX is still
good, but stick with Linux for now. To find
out about UNIX, id recommend FreeBSD, OpenBSD
or NetBSD.


If you are worried, get a LIVE CD!
this is an ISO file that when you make a cd
from it, boot it in your PC and you have
a Linux to try without installation!

You can do most real-Linux things with a
live CD!

for more information


The author is not responsible for any damage to
persons, data or property as the result of this
tutorial. Any opinions expressed are the authors
alone and do not reflex PLUSNET's opinion in any way

Need Linux/UNIX/Darwin Help? Post here

Good tutorial.

Any Linux user will agree that if you want a PC
that you know will work when turned on, Linux is the
way to go.

Well, not necessarily. I'm a Linux user but the problems I've had have been myriad. I know I'm in a minority in having had problems, but still, I sometimes expect more from it.

For newbies, the concept of the X Windows System is probably best compared to the same situation in the Windows world: X11 is to Linux as Windows is to DOS. It's the GUI that runs on top of the command-line interface.

I agree that KDE is best for a newcomer's window manager, but as you become more experienced (and you invariably do), you'll want to experiment with others - because, in short, they're better. KDE is reputedly quite bloated; I mean, you actually have to wait for it to load. Many end up preferring 'lightweight' window managers like Fluxbox, Enlightenment etc.

Basically, what I'd put in a tutorial for beginners is that if you're a 'general' user - i.e. you like browsing the Internet, sending email, chatting online, writing letters and so on - there's no real reason not to use Linux. If you're doing something like gaming or video editing or you have a lot of incompatible hardware, it's probably not for you; although if you're a programmer, graphic or animation artist, or running a server of some kind, then Linux is one good route to go, especially for servers. Smiley Smiley
Posts: 478
Registered: 08-04-2007

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That is a good tutorial - good work Smiley

matt Wink

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What about getting it stuck in the Tutorials section Matt?

Is that an option?

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Been approached for tutorials team, so you might see me loitering in their soon!

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Good one.

Look fwd to seeing more like the above. Wink

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hello! I was wondering about the live CD section. I have used Knoppix in the past and it was great. This was because a partition on my hardrive had become currupt and a live CD was the best way to restore my files. But I was wondering (since my harddive is to small to hold more than 1 OS) is it safe to run a Live CD with my windows installation (NTFS) working fine and the harddrive plugged in. I was thinking about the swap files LiveCDs use. If the swap file is placed on my Windows (NTFS) partition of my harddrive, could it currupt the partition in anyway? I currently have 3 partitions on my harddrive if this helps, 2 are NTFS and 1 is FAT32 (the FAT32 one is a restore partition put there by the manufacturer and I do not want this one touching in anyway).


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I wouldn't advise creating a swap partition for use with a live CD as they dont need it, with regards to using a live CD and also having a local disk with NTFS or FATX Yes I think this should be fine. I dont think live CD's use active swap on hard disk space as no swap partition exists.

Live CD's tend to create 'fake hard drives' in the memory to write temporary files to, so i wouldnt worry. Im sure it would even be safe (if the kernel supports NTFS) to use your live CD to mount and explore your windows files.

Live CD's are designed not to need an active swap partition, and i wouldnt advise creating one on a windows hard disk to allow it to use swap space

Of course backup anything before doing this, but to my knowledge Live CD's are self contained in the memory and residual hardware.

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Knoppix gives you the option to create a swap file on any windows partition (at the time I used it, it did not support writing to NTFS though) I just hope that other distributions of liveCDs dont automatticly do it.

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I wouldnt expect they would write/alter partitions on any local disk without prompting, and they should work fine without providing the RAM on the system can sustain the lack of swap

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The NTFS kernel module isn't too reliable at support write mode especially on XP as M$ in their infinite wisdom have made change to the NTFS schema but not fully documented them and so enabling write support is left as a user choice.

Having said that all the livecd distro's should be more than capable of running without a disk based swap file/partition (which is a point in its own right - unlike M$ where the swap space is just another file under Linux in standard configuration the swap space is actually a seperate physical or logical partition of your disk drive). If, understandably, you don't want a livecd messing around with live data on your HDD then I'd just the use the livecd as is without the swap space option.

(Never used any of the livecd's other than Knoppix and that was to rescue a fubar'd grub configuration)
Posts: 377
Registered: 14-04-2007

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How do you see a windows share from a linux box. I successfully set up the samba server and can access it from windows but not the other way round?

Need Linux/UNIX/Darwin Help? Post here

How do you see a windows share from a linux box. I successfully set up the samba server and can access it from windows but not the other way round?

There are lots of ways this is achieved - it depends on your distro though; some offer GUI config tools. KDE has one too. You could also try LinNeighborhood. Otherwise, from the command line, try:

$ findsmb

Then look for the IP address or host name of the Windows computer, and type, as root:

smbmount //IP-address-or-host-name/share-name /mnt/point

Substituting the parts for whatever's appropriate of course. If that works, you can add a line to /etc/fstab to make it easier to do in future.