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  #1  
Old June 10th, 2005, 04:40 PM
timsquash timsquash is offline
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Linux newbie:)

I recently got a new computer with windows XP i don't know much about computers but i was getting sick of all the virus threats, spyware and errors and having to pay out a fortune to get a program to stop them. A friend told me about linux and how there are hardly any virus for it and it's more stable than the microsoft junk. I don't know anything about linux so can you answer me these questions

1) How much does it cost?
2) Would someone like me who doesn't know much about computers be able to install and use it?
3) Can microsoft programs work on it because i need word and exel etc.
4) Would i need to delete everything on my computer or could i save my windows xp on a disk or something because i paid a LOT for it.
5) And what specs does a computer need to use it?
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  #2  
Old June 10th, 2005, 05:01 PM
bAdWaYz bAdWaYz is offline
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Hi Tim and welcome to CTH,

To answer your questions
1. You can get many distro's for free off the internet, but buying a boxed copy will get you doc's and alot of times even tech support for that distro.

2. Being new to computers IMO actually gives you a little bit of an advantage. Not knowing much about computers or windows means you will not have as much unlearning to do. You haven't yet become dependant on Windows and will take faster to linux because of that. This is not to say there will not be a leaning curve at all.

3. Linux distros come with Microsoft alternatives for office use and just about everything else. Some of these will work with MS products while others won't. For example with some linux apps you could write out a paper in the word proc and save it to disk and open in with Word in MS, but as I said it just depends on the app used. Also if you just MUST use a windows app you can try to run it under wine or the like. This is a bit advanced and not something you should worry about right away.

4. You wouldn't need to delet everything and I would actually advise against it right now. You can setup the computer to "dual boot" meaning it will boot into either windows or linux depeding on what you want to use at the time. This way you can keep Windows around but use linux and boot between them, making that computer pretty handy.

5. If your computer now runs XP well then you have everything you need to run a linux distro. The problem that alot of newbies have is with drivers for devices under linux. While driver support has gotten much better over the years there are still some devices that just don't work under linux. PCI Winmodems are a good example of that. While some will work they are kinda hard to find drivers for and messy to setup. So if you want to run a distro you might want to check your hardware against its compatability list. You can also post in here and get tons of good advice.

I hope this helps and I'm sure my fellow Nix guys here at CTH can offer even more advice on the subject. If you have any questions feel free to ask the members and mod's here at CTH's linux forum are the best around they will take great care of you
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  #3  
Old June 11th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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kage kage is offline
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Quote:
3. Linux distros come with Microsoft alternatives for office use and just about everything else. Some of these will work with MS products while others won't. For example with some linux apps you could write out a paper in the word proc and save it to disk and open in with Word in MS, but as I said it just depends on the app used. Also if you just MUST use a windows app you can try to run it under wine or the like. This is a bit advanced and not something you should worry about right away.
Just wanted to add to this a little. Under linux, using abiword, openoffice writer, kword, etc you can choose to save your 'document' as one of many different file types (.doc, .abw, etx). Choosing the '.doc' format will allow you to open it under windows. Same thing goes for excel spreadsheets (.xls) and pretty much any other kind of document around.

Also, I've found that CodeWeaver's crossover office is a great wine "add-on' for getting windows programs to run under linux.


Quote:
5. If your computer now runs XP well then you have everything you need to run a linux distro. The problem that alot of newbies have is with drivers for devices under linux. While driver support has gotten much better over the years there are still some devices that just don't work under linux. PCI Winmodems are a good example of that. While some will work they are kinda hard to find drivers for and messy to setup. So if you want to run a distro you might want to check your hardware against its compatability list. You can also post in here and get tons of good advice.
I thought I could add to this a little too. A rather interesting way of dual booting that conserves your hard drive space is to resize your windows partition to about 5-7 gigs, and creating one 5-7 gig partition to install linux on, and out of the remaining space create a large fat32 partition. When you install linux, set '/' to install on the 5-7gig partition you created (formatting as ext3, or whatever linux filesystem you prefer), and set '/home' to install on the fat32 partition you created, but do not format it, leave it as fat32. This will allow all of your personal files to be accessible while you are in windows or linux.

-kage
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  #4  
Old June 11th, 2005, 06:51 AM
bAdWaYz bAdWaYz is offline
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Very good advice indeed from kage! See I told ya these guys are awesome.
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