Installing Linux


9 posts
by NotSteve » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:08 pm
I'm interested in getting familiar with Linux before my raspberry pi comes in the mail. Would it likely work on my laptop? It's a Lenovo 3000 N100. What would be a good place to start?
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by obarthelemy » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:33 am
If you want to get familiar without taking any risks, I would advise to either

- try out a Linux distro from a bootable USB key
- install Oracle VirtualBox, and install Linux in a VM so that you can run it from within Windows.

Debian, which is one of the Pi recommended distros, has a Live CD (or USB^^) download here: http://www.debian.org/CD/live/ . Puppy and Arch are also very worthy and also offer live CDs for x86 and a Pi version for when you get your Pi. Arch is a bit more for DIY types, Puppy on the contrary is more for getting to do actual work (internet...) quicker. Debian is the one being most worked with on the Pi right now (xbmc...).

Edit: I haven't checked if your actual laptop is supported by either of those distros. If you run into issues, try Ubuntu, though it's a bit different and has no Pi version, it's close to Debian deep down.
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by Super-Nathan » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:34 am
The best place to start would be with a similar distribution to what you will put on the Pi. Since you are a first time Linux user you probably want Debian.

http://www.debian.org/

It is pretty easy to install, and you can either dual-boot (have both Windows and Linux installed ont he laptop) or use it inside of a virtual machine

https://www.virtualbox.org/
echo "Something Useful" > /dev/null
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by NotSteve » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:19 pm
Okay, so I looked for a youtube tutorial, and found this http://linuxliveusb.com/
I downloaded "Debian Live 6.0.4 Standard" on my flash drive and when I try to start it up in the virtual box, it brings me to the page in the picture. I'm not sure how to get past this screen. Any help would be appreciated! XD
http://i355.photobucket.com/albums/r453 ... enshot.jpg
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by Noobest of them all » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:00 pm
on The Pi you type startx to start the GUI or whatever it's called.
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by Super-Nathan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:31 am
NotSteve wrote:Okay, so I looked for a youtube tutorial, and found this http://linuxliveusb.com/
I downloaded "Debian Live 6.0.4 Standard" on my flash drive and when I try to start it up in the virtual box, it brings me to the page in the picture. I'm not sure how to get past this screen. Any help would be appreciated! XD
http://i355.photobucket.com/albums/r453 ... enshot.jpg


Hmmm thats a hum dinger. First of all You dont need to put Debian on a flash drive. When running virtual box, instead of pointing the virtual box at a USB or CD you can point it to a *.ISO file, and it will mount it. Then you can so a traditional install. I have only ever used and recommend the small CD install, you don't need to update it, because it downloads the freshest packages. http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst#smallcd

What you saw was the terminal (that was not resized to fit the whole screen because it doesn't like to in virtualbox). In the terminal if you have a Window Manager or a Desktop Environment installed, you should hopefully be able to get into byt the command
Code: Select all
startx


Let me know how that works out for you. If it doesn't we probably need to install a GUI and thats pretty easy, but i dont want tot type it if i dont have to.
echo "Something Useful" > /dev/null
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by NotSteve » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:25 pm
I don't know if i have a window manager, or a desktop environment installed. (I'm not sure what those are even. XD)
Sorry I didn't think to mention this before. > I've been to the BIOS setup menu and rearranged the order so that the USB drive is the first place it loads an OS from, but it still brought me to the same page as in that virtual box, and it doesn't recognizing my keystrokes or anything from that point.

I'll try out the small CD install. It asks which architecture the processor is for which one to download. I'm not sure what mine is (I think I must be the noobest of them all...). It's a pentium dual core. What would that be? XD

Thank you for all your help everyone, and excuse my complete and utter lack of knowledge. I have absolutely no experience, and I'm trying to fix that.


http://i355.photobucket.com/albums/r453 ... ttings.jpg
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by Super-Nathan » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:30 am
No worries!

Now buckle your seat belt this is going to be long.

When you run a program like Debian from a virtual box, your computer is still ALL windows. virtual box makes a fake computer that you can install things on inside your windows environment, this is very easy and very low risk. in full screen mode it gives you most of the real Linux experience and adds only a few headaches.

When you rearrange your boot order and reboot into Linux. You could be changing things. if you install you are dividing your hard drive in to real parts and having a half (ish) Linux computer and a half Windows computer. This can be a good thing! It will give you the whole complete Linux experience. The big caveat is you are re-arranging your hard drive. Debian does a pretty good job of helping you not make a mess, but if you muck it up you can potentially delete your hard drive and Windows.

It really depends here how comfortable you are with trying new things. If you computer is backed up and you follow the directions it is the easiest thing you have ever done and it should work out fine. there are all kinds of tutorials on youtube about how to install. I even made a website that has only 15 total steps to help my mom install linux. http://mom.super-nathan.com Although that is Lubuntu not Debian. (very very similar to what the RPI will look and feel like though, you might think about trying it instead of Debian.....)

As far as your architecture let me break it down for you. Debian is ported to a LOT of non mainstream stuff, some of which I dont even know what it is.
Arm-thats what the RPI uses.
AMD64-Thats new computers. any later core duo and ALL i3 i5 i7 computers
I686 or x86 - these are good old fashioned home computers
(x86 Linux WILL work on an AMD64 processor fine, the reverse is not true, download this)
powerpc-is old school g4 g3 macs
The rest I dont even worry about.

As far as a Desktop Environment or a Window Manager, (almost the same thing, its not really important right now)
These are things like LXDE, KDE, GNOME, Blackbox, Openbox (my favorite), FWM, TWM, Awesome, enlightenment, and others. These are only on linux. During the debian isntall there is a choice where you get to install a "graphical window environment" I think they call it. That will be one of these, but it WILL NOT BE what comes with the RasPi. Thats ok you can add it later, its easy!!!
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by antiloquax » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:12 am
Just in case it's of any use to you, here's a link to RacyPy.

To use this, you download the .iso and burn it to a cd. Then you can boot using the CD.
You won't need to install anything (it just runs in ram - with the option to save your settings to disc).
It's a complete Linux OS(based on Puppy) with quite a lot of useful Python programming stuff installed. You can also install it to a USB.
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