Unix Noob, wat do i need etc

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# 1  
Old 02-24-2008
Unix Noob, wat do i need etc

Hey everyone

I am currently starting University, (Aus) and i am required to study Unix as apart of my study. We have gone through the basics in orientation but here at home they said i can access my files through the 'ssh' command.

All i need to know is:

- How will my wireless internet be used on Unix ?
- Can i install Unix on a basic system, e.g, PIII, 512mb SD RAM, 30GB HDD ETC.
- Will i need Unix drivers for the hardware i am installing it on ?

Currently i don't want to use it on my Core 2 setup as i believe it is too powerful, so im buying a cheap $80(AU)< system off ebay.

any help would be nice, (University said they can supply unix).
# 2  
Old 02-24-2008
I would recommend that you install Linux (OpenSUSE, Fedora, debian or someother well known distrubtion)
They all have lots of drivers for diffrent hardware so it shouldnt be a problem with your wireless card etc.

Then if you need a "real" Unix operating system i would go for Solaris X86. Check out the sun website (Sun Microsystems) for more information about drivers and what hardware it supports.

# 3  
Old 02-24-2008
- Can i install Unix on a basic system, e.g, PIII, 512mb SD RAM, 30GB HDD ETC.
All Unixes i know of as well as Linux (which would account, for your purposes, a Unix too) are by far less demanding in terms of hardware than the graphical interrupt handler Mickey$oft is selling.

Even the latest exaltations in User Interfaces like KDE, GNOME and what-you've-got are achieving the same as Windoze with only a fraction of the hardware.

So the answer to your question if the system will be sufficient is: yes, definitely. You won't try image processing (which needs lots of power in every regard) and similar things, you will mostly stay on the commandline and do some administrative work.

Until 3 years ago i used as my everyday workhorse a PentiumPro machine with 200MHz and 384MB of RAM for this and was happy with it. It had 2 Matrox Millenium II cards with 16MB RAM on each as graphics and i used screen resolutions of 1600x1200 with no problem. My work does not include anything graphical or fancy, just many commandline windows, Mozilla and the TeX typesetting system occasionally (i shun office software and prefer to do my paperwork in vi).

How will my wireless internet be used on Unix ?
You will need a driver (the same way as for every hardware you use) for the WLAN hardware. From there on it is just another network interface and treated as such. If you have concerns about the hardware you want to use take a look in some hardware compatibility lists. I have linked a few here, without intending to be complete:

Linux-drivers.org - Linux Hardware Compatibility Lists & Linux Drivers
Hardware - openSUSE
Compatibility Database

etc., etc.

- Will i need Unix drivers for the hardware i am installing it on ?
Yes, definitely. A driver is a sort-of glue between the operating system and the hardware. That is true for every hardware and for every OS. It works like that:

The operating system works on a idealized piece of hardware. For example, a graphic card. This idealized version of a graphic card has some abilities like, for instance, drawing a line, filling a rectangle with a certain colour, etc.

Real graphic cards can do all these things, but they do them in many different ways. The driver now is a go-between between the OS and the hardware: If the OS wants to draw a line it does so by telling the driver "draw me a line". The driver now translates this to one or more steps that the hardware can understand. Maybe card A can only draw dots, so the driver will fulfill the request of the OS by making the card draw many dots that give a line. Card B, on the other hand, can draw lines itself and the driver for card B will translate the "draw a line"-request into one step. The OS will be completely unaware of this difference, because both drivers got the same command - "draw a line".

This means: you need drivers for every piece of hardware (graphic cards, network cards, chip sets, etc.) and these drivers are different for every OS you use - to be precise: for every kernel you use. If you use Fedora and change to Debian or Red Hat or any other Linux you probably can use the same drivers because these distributions are basically all the same OS just differently packaged. If you switch to SunOS or AIX, etc. you will have to get different drivers, because these are different OSes and hence speak a different set of "commands" to their drivers.

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