Planning to get Linux but...

I am planning to get Linux OS. And seeing as loads of people here talk about, and use Linux, I thought this would be a good place to start.

Some questions I have are:

  1. what are some of the benefits of using Linux?

  2. I’ve read that it needs very little ram to work(4mb from what I’ve read). If true, would this mean some programs would run faster/better?

  3. what is the best (free) version for, say, browsing the web, blender, games and photoshop and the like?

  4. Is it text based, or GUI? or both?

  5. How would I have Linux AND WindowsXP? Theres this stuff about PARTITIONING and stuff. I’ve read I need programs to add partitions to my drives. But when re-formatting my disc, I had options for deleating and recreating partitions. Are those options different? And what if I have an extra hard drive?

  6. And if I installed THE GIMP(Or any other program for that matter), with XP, will I be able to use it with Linux? (or vise-versa)

  7. Does the version I wish to use have to be on a CD? Can I install it useing WindowsXP?

Thats all I have at the moment.
I’d like to know what im doing before i get into this kinda stuff.


  1. Securer (if set up right), Faster, Nearly impossible to crash,
  2. If you want a GUI interface it is best to have atleast 256MB RAM
  3. Well there all free, I would personally go for SuSe Linux, although some prefere Ubuntu, Gentoo, Slackware, etc…
  4. Linux is both, you can do everything you want through the GUI but if you want to do stuff effeciently and fast and get down the the nitty gritty stuff the command line is the best.
  5. Most Linux installers come with a partitioning program for example SuSe Linux. Simply resize your windows partition and the rest to Linux. I always create 3 seperate partitions for linux. root partition, swap partition and home partition. This means you can update your O/s without loosing all your data. It also keeps your O/S secure from viruses.
  6. XP and Linux uses different executables. Windows uses .exe while Linux uses .run (and a few others if I’m right). You can have Linux read and NTFS partition. The files can be read or written on both O/S’s depending on there formats although you will find that Linux supports far more formats from the box than Windows does.
    You will have to install a seperate program for each O/S.
  7. I’m not sure what you mean. Linux does not need any help from Windows XP to help install or run.

A few extra tips make sure you install Windows XP first because it doesnt like another O/S being there first. Then install Linux.

Linux will either install Lilo or Grub boot loader this will allow you to boot up from either Windows or Linux.

search for a thread called linux noobie questions i think is what it is. it has lots of useful information

and if you go with fedora core 4,


These days, Linux is very stable… and it’s better at multitasking than Windows.

Some software may run faster… but don’t expect things to be more than 10% faster at most and on average.

Linux handles memory well, but there is no replacement for having enough memory for the tasks you need. No matter what operating system you use, Blender runs better if you have more memory.

These depend on the version of Linux you are using. Synaptic helps to choose, compile and install software… especially if you are just starting.

GIMP is the best open source replacement for Photoshop. It should be available for your version of Linux.

Truth be told, the commercial applications available for Windows and Mac OS X still blow away anything available for Linux. As a general rule, expect Linux apps to be at least a year or more behind their commercial counterparts. The Linux apps are still excellent, usable, and feature packed – but they do not compare to the professional commercial offerings. That is the difference between applications that cost millions to develop and open source.


You need to research more. There is no way anyone here can teach you about partitioning any better than what is already available from hundreds of sites on the web.

If you go to another planet, do you expect people there to understand what you are saying to them?

Linux and Windows are different planets.

To begin your Linux transition, please check out “pre-packaged” versions such as Ubuntu and Kubuntu. These versions of Linux are perfect for first-time users.

I would have to say the number one benefit is freedom. You can do pretty much what you want, when you want, and how you want. You have something you want to achieve, just start searching around to see what’s out there. If you find something, use it. If it’s almost what you need, modify it. If there is nothing, create something, all the tools are freely available.

Well, it can be setup to run embedded on a cell phone, or as a super computer cluster, or a development workstation, etc… It’s what you make of it. Now for the performance with 4mb of RAM… that would depend on what you want to use it for :wink:

The amount you will need will depend on what desktop envrionment you want. Being a beginner, you will probably fall into Gnome or KDE to start off with. They will need quite a chunk of RAM. They could run on 128, but 256 is better, and 512 is always good. Or you could go with something like XFCE4 which is a lighter, or even a stripped down KDE install can be pretty light. Something like Window Maker can be extremely light weight, but probably not something you’ll want to use for everyday use :slight_smile:

I started off with SuSE I believe, or maybe RedHat… though I think I may have had a copy of Mandrake laying around. Either way, a boxed version with the manuals and media and everything can be very helpful when starting out. There is plenty of information out there, but sometimes you have to know what you are looking for to find it. Using a boxed version will give you what you need to learn enough to know what to look for later.

If you just want to download one to try and get it going, and you have an extra hard drive, I’d just download and burn an ISO of Ubuntu or Kubuntu (Gnome or KDE versions respectively) and drop them onto the extra hard drive. They are extremely easy to install, given it is an extra and spare hard drive (they can auto install but will wipe the hard drive).

Both really. It’s all in what you install. You’ll quickly learn this when starting.

It’s called dual-booting. There’s tons of info and how-to’s out there on the subject. Most of the boxed versions of Linux (at least when I tried them) came with everything you needed to do the partitioning and seting up the bootloaders pretty easily.

Well, I’m not quite sure what you mean, but I’ll take a couple stabs at it :wink:

You won’t install Linux programs from XP, but with things GIMP, Open Office, Blender, etc… they have both Linux and Windows versions. So as long as you have a fat32 partition to hold the ‘common’ data (your files), you can use that data under the apps in both the operating systems.

If you are talking about using something, like Word or Excel, in Linux, then yes it is possible also. Something like Wine would work, but can be difficult for beginners. If you had a little money to spare, CrossOver Office is a wonderful for people who need to use certain Windows apps under Linux without the hassle of constantly rebooting to Windows. I use it for when someone at my office has a support questions pertainting to MS Office, or when I need to edit an Office document and don’t feel like using Open Office (which can also work with MS Office documents BTW…)

Overall, having good compatibilty between both the operating systems and your files, will just take some planning. Once you learn more about what software is out there, and what the capabilities are, you will be better able to pick and choose the right tools and setup for the tasks at hand.

It doesn’t have to be on a CD, and you can not install it using Windows XP (unless you’re talking about Cygwin stuff, but that’s a whole 'nother story :wink: ) However, concerning the CD topic, assuming you have a broadband connection, download a selection of different liveCDs. I just switched my laptop from Gentoo to Debian a few weeks ago, and before choosing to switch to Debian, I just downloaded about seven or so liveCDs to try the others out.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Have fun and good luck :slight_smile:

So, would I be able to access the .blend files, for instance, that was created in windows, will I be able to open them in linux?

And if windows and linux are on seperate HDs, would I still need to partition?

and NTFS…what does that mean? Im not that great with this tech stuff.

Another thing. Would I be able to browse files in the opposite partition? Like picuters and copying files back and forth?

thanks for the help.

Yes, though the last time I used Blender (a couple years back) you would have to go in and change all the paths to the textures and stuff depending on what OS you was in. Is anything different now?

You will need a common partition between the two operating systems to share the data. Both of them can work fine with Fat32, which is why it makes a good filesystem to setup a shared partition between the two.

It is the ‘NT’ Filesystem, though I’m not 100% sure what the NT means (New Technology maybe?). It is just another of the many filesystems out there. With Windows you will usually find Fat, Fat32, and NTFS. With Linux you will see ext2, ext3, reiserfs, reiser4, jfs, xfs, etc… etc… in addition to vfat (fat/fat32) and ntfs.

Linux has good read support for NTFS, and it is possible to write, though I’m not sure on it’s stability as of right now.

As long as the partition has a filesystem they can both use, such as Fat32. There is some apps that will allow you to browse Linux filesystems, such as ext2 and ext3 (and perhaps some that will handle reiserfs), but most of them are just read-only. Similar to the standard Linux support for NTFS partitions. This can come in handly though if you forgot to put something in a shared partition, you could always find it and copy it to the shared partition so you could access it. Again, this will just be something that requires planning as you learn according to your situation.


(Windows) NT (New Technology) File System

One thing I’d suggest: if you can afford the $$$$ buy a second hard drive specifically for linux. No need to repartition your windows drive!

If you do have 2 harddrive make Linux seperate from Windows then.

I would still make 3 partitions for Linux tho.

root partition: for your actual O/S
home partition: for your files, pictures, etc
swap partition: this is used by Linux as virtual memory.

The benifits of this is obvious.

Linux is constantly getting upgraded and improoved. So if you want to be on the peak of your distrobution have a seperate root partition means you can updgrade your O/S without loosing your pictures, movies etc.
Having a home partition keeps your files seperate from the O/S as said above makes it easy to upgrade.
The swap partition is usualy automatically made when installing. It is about 1GB of memory that is dedicated to being virtual memory. You can not use this to save stuff.

I have had a very good experience with SuSe Linux and installing it on my system. is has a simple and friendly GUI for installing. If I’m right Ark Linux lets you play tetris when installing. :smiley:

If you want to try out Linux without installing. Download a copy of Knoppix this is a live cd that allows you to run Linux without installing. It does run slower that is only becuase its reading from the cd/dvd drive.


Your first experience with Linux should be a nicely functioning desktop, not some long install process. I’d reccomend downloading a Live CD, such as Knoppix, and poking around on it for a couple days to see how you like it.

The DVD version includes both KDE and Gnome, and a few others. If you want to find out what Ubuntu is sort of like, launch it with “knoppix lang=us desktop=gnome” at that first prompt… the default is KDE.

(Lang=us means to use U.S. English as the language, btw)

If he wants to find out what ubuntu is like, why not use the ubuntu live cd instead of the knoppix live cd?

choose a mirror here:

and then “PC (Intel x86) live CD”