I have been asked to put together an installation guide for Linux. Well, here goes. It won't be the type of guide that provides for a step-by-step installation. They are all over the net and besides, documentation comes with the distribution. For Mandrake it was a .pdf document. This post will concentrate on some of the decisions that you should make before you start.
Do you need Linux?
First question is, ´why do you think you need it?¡ If you are a gamer, Linux is not for you. At least not yet. If your primary needs are office applications, email and browser, then Linux can fill that need. The great thing is that all of these programs are included in the distribution.
Which distribution should you choose?
There are many Linux distributions. Some are are full fledge operating systems with a wide range of applications included in the distribution. Others are smaller operating systems for more specialized uses. The four big names are Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian and Suse. There are also some lesser known distributions that are getting positive press which include Fedora, Gentoo and Knoppix.
It is impractical to test every distribution, so I recommend some time with Google to read others opinions. Over the past two years, I have installed Red Hat, Mandrake (several times), Suse and Knoppix. The look and feel was similar in all of these distributions. Red Hat probably has the most eye candy. I ended up choosing Mandrake 10.1 probably because I was more familiar with it.
For those of you that are curious and would just like to try Linux, without having to deal with partitioning issues, Knoppix is the answer. With Knoppix, you boot into Linux from a CD.
Nothing is installed on the HD.
Where do you get Linux?
All of the distributions can be downloaded via the internet. A Google search for the distribution will find the download location. You will need a fast connection because distributions consist of 1 to 4 CDs. Mandrake 10.1 required a 3 disk download of more than 700mb per disk. I accomplished the task over two days.
You can also purchase Linux disks. Here is one location. Download
If you want a dual boot system, start with a fresh Windows install. During the Windows install you will decide how large the Windows partition should be. A convenient method would be 50/50. Once the Windows installation is complete proceed to the Linux installation. You will install it to the unused portion of the HD. The Linux distribution will automatically create several partitions on that unused portion and then proceed with the installation. A boot menu will be created that allow you to choose which OS to boot when the computer is turned on.
Obviously, you can also install Linux on a separate hard drive.
The computer should be connected to LAN and/or the internet. Printers, scanners, etc, should also be connected before starting. The installation will most likely most likely install these items with no action on your part.
Big Booger contributed the following:
Below is a good general guide on Getting Started With Linux:
Perhaps mention http://freshmeat.net/ http://kde.org/
http://www.linuxhelp.net/ http://www.linuxquestions.org/ http://www.groupsrv.com/linux/index.php http://www.yolinux.com/ etc... With a little explanation for each.
This site was critical for me in getting Linux working with Nvidia
products in the early stages of the game:
And for the Nvidia Driver:
And let's not forget ATI:
Printing & Linux:
Linux Sound Support:
Linux and Networking:
Linux & Gaming:
Linux on Laptops: