Moving from Windows to Linux, who can give some info?

I use windows for years now, but I’m thinking to install Linux on my webserver. But before I want to do this, I want to get some info on how I could set up a good Linux computer.

Currently I’m using a:

  • 166 mhz pentium 2
  • 64 mb ram, no 3d card
  • 2 gig of HD space

Well these things where to most important. The computer runs smooth on windows 98 now, and has:

  • abyss webserver
  • serv-U Ftp server
  • teamspeak voice chat server
  • ventrilo server

And I still want to runs these programs under linux, ofcourse I have to download the linux versions, but that’s no problem. Anyways, is this computer able to run Linux on it? And if it’s yes, what kind of Linux version could I use? I also want to use the Graphic way of linux, instead of editing codes and only see ms-dos like screens.

I hope someone could tell me more about Linux, using it and what I want can be done. It would be great to use Linux on one of my computers at home. :smiley:

well, slackware? [which I personally have never used]

blender will be about as usuable in both, but I assume that is not what you use it for

it is possible [may dad did it more than me] to run linux with X windows on less of a system, and have it run reasonably, you just can’t expect all of the bells and whistles

so that means you will not be using KDE or Gnome as your window manager, you will need something a lot more minimal. Windowmaker, blackbox … there are a bunch that fit that category, and I am by no means an informed one that could best suggest which one you choose.

other than that, I would consider the distro choice up to you. For starting with linux slackware or gentoo may be a bit much, but the latest versions of redhat, SuSE or mandrake cannot instal on such a system [probably due to lack of ram, hard disk space can be dealt with. is the pentium2 a 686? recent versions of those distros probably are compiled for 686 and my latest attempts [with version 8.2 of mandrake and SuSE] to install on a amd 586 equlivent caused the installer to crash].

so there was an overlap in pentium 1 and 2 speeds eh? 200Mhz pentium 1 processcors, and you have a 166Mhz pentium 2…

For a while you’re going to hate what I have to tell you, after you use it for a month or so you’ll understand why people actaully prefer it and you will begin to wonder why windows doesn’t have a decent version of it.

The console/terminal. IE the ms-dos thingy.

It’s rather easy to learn, and once you understand it wou’ll really begin to actaully enjoy it. I regret being raised on windows. Microsoft has really destroyed true computing. Linux offers so much but for the engrained windows user a lot of linux practices (rooted in unix) seem ludicrous, they aren’t however and in the long run once you understand the practices and why they are used you’ll really begin to wonder why microsoft did what they did with OSs.

Linux may not be easy, but power and functionality come at a price. Linux’s greatest features are a new users worst nightmare.

I suggest getting knoppix or fedora core first. Join #fedora linux or #knoppix at and learning all you can about how linux works and how to navigate in a shell, or terminal/console. Once you’ve mastered those then I highly suggest getting Gentoo linux, it’s a little tough and isn’t graphical to install but with some practice at the console you’ll do just fine, and if all goes well a stage 1, or stage 2 install will teach you quite a lot. You’ll begin to understand why building software packages from source will bring great joy, it will greatly speed things up.

Remember to keep and internet connection handy, and a good web browser like firefox as well as a good irc client like xchat or irssi. Not everything in linux is self explanitory which means you will have to seek help, but help is plentiful.

Hope that helps :wink:


well, slackware? (which I personally have never used)

That would be ill-advised. Slackware is extremely hard to use for newbies.

A little about linux:

A while back (very early 90’s I believe) Linux Torwalds set out to make a clone of unix under a far less restrictive license than BSD. This license is the GNU GPL. Gnu’s Not Unix is the first acronym, the second is General Public License. This new operating system was like unix in many ways, thus what you do in linux, is most likely applicable in any other unix-like os, tru64 hp/ux irix macos x etc.

Linux consists of several parts. The kernel is the very basic piece of software that is installed, yet it is the most important. The kernel provides a layer of muscle between the hardware in your PC and the software. The kernel handles all drivers, which is what the software talks to. On top of this are the basic system tools which interface on many levels with end user software.

In the early days linux didn’t have a flashy gui as it has today. In fact any given linux system doesn’t require a gui, or as we will start calling ‘X’. X is interchangeable with XFree86, xfree, X11 etc. It is the basic system that interfaces with your video card to produce the GUI. X11 doesn’t make the gui it’s self (though it does have a very primitive one it’s almost never used). The gui is drawn by a ‘TK’, or tool kit. QT, GTK, GTK2 are tool kits. They provide the libraries (binareies that cannot run like an ordinary application, but provide functionality at run time for applications) for certain apps to draw the interface. These aren’t standardized across linux, each TK has it’s theme set (some are not skinnalble, or themable) and most apps are built for only 1 tk.

On top of these TKs applications called Window Managers, or WMs are born. They control placement of, size etc. of application’s gui interfaces or windows (where the dirty MS OS gets it’s name.).

After this a Desktop Environment is born. There are only 3 that are generally used to today: Gnome, KDE and XFce. These DEs come with their own window managers, file browsers, settings managers and lots of apps. The generally integrate themselves well with the OS and many apps and are based entirely on two different TKs, QT and GTK2. KDE uses QT, some don’t like it because it mimics windows too closely, and uses a license (QT at least) that isn’t GNU/GPL. Gnome uses GTK2 and is tightly integrated. It provide quite a plethora of apps and is what a majority of linux users use, though it’s a bit sparse on the MS likeness that KDE embodies, some like it some don’t. Right now it’s matter of personal preferance as to which you choose, though keep in mind a lot of apps that you may or may not use, use GTK2. XFce uses GTK2 as well, thought it’s size and integratedness ( :stuck_out_tongue: ) aren’t that of gnome or kde, but it’s small, is standard compliant and doesn’t hog memory like the other two.

Many distros (distros are basically the kernel and some software packages, the term distro is hard to define without you knowing a lot about linux) include X11, the TKs, at least two of the three DEs and plethora of software packages, some even install it for you, detect hardware etc. Fedora install Gnome by default with a login manager, X11, detects drivers etc. It does almost everything for you. This comes at the prce of bloatedness, which is easy to correct with gentoo once you learn enoug about linux to run it.

Learning linux isn’t by any means easy, and it’s not something to go into lightly, esp. if you’re planning on switching. I haven’t switched all the way, I dual boot with windows. Linux works great for my graphics software, lkie blender, gimp, inkscape, wings etc. Provided that you install the nvidia dirver…because we all know you own an nvidia and not an evil ATI…but don’t get me started!


Hope that helps.

I don’t think that instaölling gentoo or slackware as first system is a bad choice…
Since all other system s I’ve tried to install have had problems, not solvable without knowing linux so to have a working system you’ll have to learn it anyway, and in that case having a manual that goes through the install step-by-step as in gentoo is not a bad idea. That way you know that if you are having problems with resolution that you should edit /etc/X11/XF86Config wich, if you had used debian for example, you would not know. But I way just have had bad luck. Maybe Fedora installs everything so that it works on first try, in that case you can go with it.
But taking intoaccount that you will not be able to make a full install of fedora you will have to know wich stuff is neccescary, and for that you will probably want to know more. While in gentoo, you can emerge the package needed when you need it and have full check on your system.

And the console isn’t that bad, especially if you want to use an old computer. You won’t get the kind of interface that is on windows anyway in most cases. Remeber that you can have many terminals open and switch between them with alt-Fx.

If you have anothe4r computer nearby you can use that for websearch and irc when setting up, the ppl in #gentoo is helpful. Otherwise you have them in virtual terminals.

Listen to Dittohead.

I agree to all that has been said. Just want to add that being a webserver with those particular services to run, you don’t even need to install xfree86. The console might be enough. If not, consider using fluxbox or icewm.
I use Gentoo. Started out my Linux experience (Really using it, not trying it for one day. If I count those I started with RedHat 5.2…) with Mandrake. There were some issues with it, I don’t like rpm packages at all, had disposable software. Moved on to Debian. It’s kinda friendly and a bit more low level, has apt-get, a nice package system. Then I met Gentoo with everything Debian had and a custom-your-install approach, allowing one to config much stuff others didn’t, full compiling of the programs and a great community of users (one can find answers for everything in the gentoo forums!). Two months later I wiped out the Windows partition and being Linux-only since then. One learns a lot with this distro. Even just by doing a stage1 install… Surely I don’t play games anymore but that keeps me focused of college (and I didn’t play much anyway, my hobbies are more toward computer graphics and programming).
Sorry for the confuse post :slight_smile:

I learned tons from screwing up a stage 2 install. Doing a stage 1 right taught me volumes…


I still have a windows partition, because I’m an avid gamer, and as Dittohead pointed out, ATI makes terrible linux drivers. They don’t even HAVE 64-bit ones, and that’s what my (linux) system is. Also, most games run only on Windows. (though happily, two of my favourites, W:ET and UT2004 both run on linux)

Thanks for the info so far. But I hear a lot about RedHat, is that one useable? does it have graphical interface, and is it easy to install like all windows installations? About the detailed info to install Linux, that isn’t a big problem, I know a Unix super fan that runs every single piece of digital things in his house on Unix and Linux. I thought he tried to give me RedHat :smiley:

redhat, mandrake, and SuSE are all very easy to install

even the previous version

but you will have a hard time running kde with them, which [except for maybe redhat] is the default window manager.

you may have trouble installing on a pentium II
or maybe because you have only 64Mb of ram

If thinking of redhat I think fedora is a better choice, but I’m not sure since the computer is old. Fedora is replacing redhat’s personal edition.

Mandrake’s default WM is KDE
Red Hat’s default is (or at least was at one point) gnome

Both are very large (>500MB!!) so there’s no way you’d be able to put them on a 2GB HDD

I’d reccomend getting something like gentoo where you configure everything, and then it should fit - but it’s not a good place to start linux - you need to start with something simpler… like RH and mdk :-?

Basically an old computer is a bad place to start. Try to get access to a more modern computer and put mdk on it - fiddle with settings and config files, see what they do, then go gentoo or slack on the old one.

In fact, a good place to start may be getting Cygwin (a linux layer for windows, maintained by Red Hat) and put it on your windows box - then you can mess around with bash and some of the X settings before even touching real linux - once you’ve got the feel of it you may be able to go straight to gentoo or slack after that, or you might have to go via mdk or RH on a newer box.

I have a similar bind myself - I own a P150 laptop w/ 32MB RAM and a 2GB HDD, but I have to have windows on there, and there’s not enough room for a dualboot, so I stick to cygwin, it’s good enough for me. Once I get my new computer in a decade or two I’ll probably put gentoo or debian on it…

A useful cheat sheet for Linux users, new and old alike:

The one page Linux Manual -