How can I get started.

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# 1  
Old 05-16-2002
Question How can I get started.

I am new to all this UNIX thing and have a system with the following specs:

Pentium 1.7 GHz
Windows ME

My questions are:

Can install and run UNIX in such a system?

Do I have to stop using Windows?

Is there a safe way to get the necessary software online?

I will be very grateful for any information that you can provide on this.

# 2  
Old 05-16-2002
Personally I wouldn't put UNIX on a Intel box any more. Few reasons, but if you don't know what your doing Solaris on a Intel box isn't easy. Also Sun don't support Solaris on Intel no more etc etc.

Yeah it can be done though.

Run Linux it's better for a Intel chipset to run. Easier as well.

Yes you can dual boot with Windows and Unix/Linux. If you think your good enough or just want to try you can have Windows and Unix and Linux all booting from the same computer. Triple boot is easier when 3 drives are in there, dual is easy with 1 drive 2 partitions.

Try Linux on Intel instead of UNIX though.
# 3  
Old 05-20-2002
Hi ayalai,
I agree with Merlin 100%. If you want to get your foot in the door and learn about Unix on a PC, Linux is a great way to go.

It can be confusing getting started because there are so many different versions (distributions) of Linux. If you're just getting started I recommend Mandrake. It has the easiest installation of any distribution and is probably your best bet for your first run at Linux. I started with RedHat. I haven't used it in a couple of years but the installer is graphical and helpful.

Some things to keep in mind are how you will go about installing it. You're running Windows now and I recommend you don't just blow it away in favor of Linux. It's very easy to run both by dual booting. Whatever distribution you decide to go with will install a bootloader that will pop up a menu when you boot your PC and allow you to choose Windows or Linux. If you don't want to format and have to reinstall both OS's then you're gonna have to shrink your partition on your hard drive. Unless it's already partitioned into two drives (unlikely unless you did this yourself) then you're gonna need something like Partition Magic to shrink it so you will have enough space for Linux. I don't know if Mandrake or Red Hat's disk tools will allow you to resize partitions or not. Something you might want to look into. Anyway, you'll need at least a few gigabytes for Linux. The more you can give it the better but 5GB or so is good. You can get away with less just depending on what type of install you do and which distro you go with.

Linux has a fairly tough learning curve but if you're already pretty PC savvy then you're off to a good start. There are lots of websites to help you out. I'll list some below but it's also a good idea to pick up a book or two. I suggest hitting Amazon and searching out some current Linux books and read the reviews. I started out with books like Running Linux (O'Reilly), Learn Linux in 24 Hours (Sams) and Using Linux (Que).

One nice thing about Linux is that it's free. If you are on a fast connection you can download it from it's respective website or one of the many mirrors. If you're on a modem then you have a couple of options. Many distros allow you to buy a boxed copy of the software. This comes with a manual, extra applications and usually some minimal support (may just be installation support). This isn't a bad way to go for a beginner. You get a manual and a phone number you can call if you have questions (which you no doubt will). This usually isn't cheap though. Boxed copies usually start around $50. If you go this route Mandrake, Red Hat and Suse all provide good retail versions of their distributions.

Another good option for a modem user is Cheap Bytes. Since Linux is free you can get cd's of many different distributions from this company and they only charge you for the media and shipping. Basically it works out to something like $5/cd (double check that since I haven't bought from them in a few years). I was always very happy when I dealt with them in the past.

I should also mention that there are a few other ways to run Unix on your PC that aren't Linux. FreeBSD is a very popular version of Unix that is, as it's name suggests, free. It's based on Berkely Unix (BSD) and is a very popular alternative to Linux. I haven't run FreeBSD since about 1996 so I have no idea what the installation is like now. I'm sure it's much easier but I don't know how it fairs against say Mandrake. Anyway, I mention it because it is a very popular version of Unix for the PC.

There's tons more info I haven't mentioned. There are a staggering number of Linux distributions out there. If you want to find out more about them check out the excellent Distrowatch website. It has info and links including reviews of dozens of Linux distributions. There are a lot of very popular versions of Linux and Unix for the PC out there. Debian, Slackware, OpenBSD, NetBSD etc.

Some links: is a good place. They have files called Newbieized Help files which are easier to understand than the standard 'man pages' that you will learn about.

The Linux Documentation Project is a good place to search on specific issues and will become more helpful to you as you learn more about Linux. is mainly a site with links and explanations of what Linux is and is not. Definitely worth a persual.

Well that's aboue all I can think of right now. I apologize if I've flubbed a link or written something untrue as it's 3:50 am where I am right now.

I'm definitely no Linux expert. Even having played with it off and on for over five years I still consider myself only a well informed newbie. But I hope this at least gets you started. Linux isn't a replacement for Windows (and isn't intended to be) but is quickly becoming a nice alternative. You should be aware that Linux is a server platform first and a desktop platform second (or not at all as some would look at it). But Linux has come a long way on the desktop and if nothing else it's a great way to start learning your way around a Unix environment and begin learning common Unix commands.

Hope this helps and take care,
# 4  
Old 05-20-2002

There are alternatives to running linux on an intel box. One such alternative is freeBSD, which is derived from BSD unix. It is relatively easy to install and some consider it much better than linux.
# 5  
Old 05-20-2002
BSD is deffinitly the way to go.

If you wan to learn UNIX don't go with Linux. Although Linux is good. You specifically asked about UNIX. Start off with FreeBSD and continue from there. FreeBSD runs perfectly on an Intel box. I have 2 FreeBSD boxes at home and they run fine. The BSD versions of UNIX are very similar to SUN's Solaris. Also Apple's OSX uses FreeBSD as it's core. Learning this version or UNIX will aliow you to familiarize yourself with a few key areas in IT

here are some site. <- Very good for learning FreeBSD
# 6  
Old 05-24-2002
Wow! Thank you all for the information. It has been extremely valuable!! I will keep you posted on how it goes for me.
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