hordecore
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:56 pm

Ok, my ignorance is gonna be apparent now :).

I was in WHSmith of all places and came across a few Linux magazines. The only reason they stuck out was all the info on R-Pi that I have been reading lately. Which is a lot and I'm not afraid to say I get lost a little.

So, I wonder! Do you guys read a lot of the magazine type info on Linux? I'm trying to work out what I want my first R-Pi to do (OS wise) and it gets muddled real quick. Should i go for something like Linux User(came bundled with Ubuntu 11.0.4 or something), or is the website linux.com the best way.

It's difficult to step out of what you know but I'm convinced what I learn now can help my son really excel in this atmosphere in the future.

As to what I imagine in the future comp/net wise see David Brin's "Earth". Must be right Ywah?

ShiftPlusOne
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:28 pm

No, I would not go for a linux magazine or blog. For the most part it's just opinionated, biased and useless speculation.

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,"
"I don’t much care where--"
"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,"
"--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,"
"Oh, you’re sure to do that, if you only walk long enough."

-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

So... where do you want to get with linux?

obarthelemy
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:06 am

Linux is a bit too fragmened for magazines to be really useful: info that's useful for one distribution is usually useless for another. Worse, info that's useful for one *version* of a distro may well be useless for another version of the same distro.

keeping that in mind, I think the best way to move forward is to install linux, and then make it do what you want, whatever that is. both can be an adventure.

you have to start by choosing a distro. I'd go with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, because it's mature, still relatively modern, and supported. Run that under Windows off of a USB stick to make sure it likes your PC, then install it to your HD or a stick or a VM, then start playing.

imagine it were a windows machine, and make it do what they do (access then share printers, folders, remote desktop, backups, access your phone/mp3...) then choose a direction (dev, office, server, games/emulation...) and run with it. bonus points for learning a scripting language and the basic shell utilities in the process.

One thing you'll find is that documentation is very lacking, and things are nowhere near as smooth as with Windows. Get a famous distro (hence Ubuntu LTS), a book about it, and make sure whatever extra info you get off forums actually does apply to your specific distro and version. don't bother with asking questions in forums, or reporting bugs.

hordecore
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:54 am

I guess i'm just unsure of where to start from. In R-pi can see a multitude of OS images on a multitude of SD cards. It's my chance to leave windows behind without worrying i'll Break my pc so to speak. Only reason I haven't ditched MS before is I didn't wanna risk doing in a pc i spent a lot of time saving up for.

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abishur
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:28 am

That's a legit reason. One thing I did when I was first playing with Linux is I took an old hard drive and put it in my PC. Then I built a switch that would let me turn on either my Linux drive or my windows drive. Now days, as long as you have that spare drive you can always set up a dual boot environment where every time you turn on your PC it asks you if you want to boot your linux or windows partition. Otherwise, get VMWare (the free version) set up a linux image so you can play with linux without leaving the comfort of your windows environment. Or if you have a rust old PC/laptop lying around that you never use. Put linux on there,

Long story short, the only way to learn linux is to play with it yourself. It's a pretty nice OS, but it often suffers from a lack of coherent instructions for its software :( so just accept that it's going to be a learning process. Don't mess up your windows install, just build a VM version or use a spare hard drive to dual boot and you'll be fine :)
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Emanuele
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:43 am

Just to reiterate: you don't need to install Linux on your PC to play with it! Most distributions (including Ubuntu) can be put on a CD-ROM or a memory stick. To run them, power on your PC with the CD-ROM/memory stick inserted. They usually have an option to start Linux without touching the Hard Disk. Just remove the CD-ROM/memory stick when you reboot to get back to Windows.

If you don't have broadband (I know, unlikely in your case), Linux magazines might be a convenient way to get a distribution. Other than that, I don't see much point in them.

If you are confident with the command line in Windows, a good alternative is to install Cygwin (http://www.cygwin.com/) and get some familiarity with the Linux command line (or shell, in Linux jargon). Loosely speaking, Cygwin is like a Linux distribution that runs on top of Windows. You can install/unistall it like a normal application.

jamesh
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:02 am

There also Linux.com which has a lot of learn linux stuff, but as the messages above say, install it on a PC (or use a CD image or USB stick to just run it) and try it out.
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gerits
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:32 am

I would suggest not to start with ubuntu, the current versions gives a wrong impression about linux. At http://distrowatch.com/ you can view some distro's.

Linux is actually just a kernel and the thing you see is the Desktop Environment (that is for the normal users). So your experience with linux will most likely depend on how much you like the user interface.

basic options:
- Gnome (fedora, opensuse, ...) -> recently gnome 3 came out which is completely different from gnome 2. Give it a go, see if you like it, but it is still to early to judge.
- KDE (opensuse, ...)
- Lxde (mint, ...) -> very lightweight
- Xfce (...) -> wannabe lightweight
- Unity (Ubuntu) -> See how I did not add dots here because ubuntu is basically the only distribution with this DE

I think that are the most important, if not all, desktop environments.

My recommendation for you to try on the raspberry pi is Linux Mint, because it is lightweight yet very user friendly.

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RobinJ
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:43 am

I always read/watch thisweekinlinux.com and omgubuntu.co.uk.
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Gert van Loo
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:10 am

I would approach it different.
Linux is a program on a computer just like 'windows'. The main reason why we talk Linux on this forum is that is is free! (Yes indeed no cost!). If you know how to work with windows you can work with Linux. (At least my seven year old daughter switched to Linux without asking any questions) Linux has the same type of program windows has. But they have a different name. So you have your spreadsheet, word processor, email, web-browser and a plethora of simple games. In contrast to 'windows' there are many different Linux versions. Like cars: under the hood they are very much the same but they all look different. Just as cars have different type of gears: (Automatic, gear stick on the floor, gearstick on the steering wheel, gearstick on the dashboard) each has small differences in how to manipulate them. But again, if you know how to shift a gear stick you will manage to get around. So best is to go for some 'test drives'. As mentioned before you can get a CD or USB stick which you pop into your computer and turns temporary into a Linux machine. (If you re-start you old expensive Windows will be back).

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Lob0426
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:12 pm

All good advice. Take it for a test drive. Try several. See what you like. Keep the RasPi requirements in mind as you look. Model A 128MB memory. Model B 256MB memory.

Question: am I going to have to go back to good all DOS days or will a lightweight GUI work on the model B? Any suggestions which one?
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RobinJ
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:34 pm

A GUI should work as they reported that Quake 3 will run at highest settings on model A. Just install Debian with LXDE or something and it will run just fine.
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Emanuele
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:02 pm

Yes, LXDE should be fine. I guess that XFCE should be fine too, at least on a Model B.

For sure you won't need to resort to the command line: debian 6.0 with openbox uses 32M on my PC.

vladhed
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:13 pm

Linux is "just" the OS. To access it you can have a command line "shell" to a tty, or you can run an X-windows server, with the window/desktop manager of your choice to do all the windows and menus and stuff (e.g. KDE, GNOME, or even just twm). Even with the GUI, you can get at the shell with an xterm.

MSWindows includes all these things, but being a closed system only supports environments and applications that MS thinks they can make money at...that should make it clear why RaspberryPi isn't considering Windows as an OS.

For Linux at home, I currently have Ubuntu dual-booting with Windows XP on a circa 2003 laptop. I also have Knoppix disto of Linux on a 1Gb flash card for an HP mini netbook (http://www.pendrivelinux.com/u.....oppix-510/) that distro includes e-mail, firefox browser and some office suite that my kids can't tell is different from Office 2003. This somewhat weird distro is only possible because it's open-source and someone put it together for their own uses and made it and the tools available for free.

Another reason for R-Pi to use these is that they happily run in 128M. The first Linux system I ever built (version 0.99) was on a 386DX33 with 16M of RAM.

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Lob0426
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:49 pm

Good! I still regularly use command line. Especially on my WHS. I have a dual boot of natty on my netbook with Win7 basic and my old laptop with XP MCD. The linux is faster on both. I started with DOS only and used it for years, so I can muddle through I am sure. Just like to be lazy sometimes and use a mouse. lol. I have not used either LXDE or XFCE before. Is there something similar I could try on my Ubuntu installs?
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Emanuele
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:05 pm

In theory you should be able to install LXDE and XFCE alongside GNOME and choose when you login which one you want, but it's been ages since I've last used Ubuntu.

amiga65
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:24 pm

I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot of custom made distro's. after launch of the R-pi. this crowd seems pretty knowledgeable about linux and it's inner workings.

jamesh
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:59 am

Quote from Emanuele on August 21, 2011, 21:05
In theory you should be able to install LXDE and XFCE alongside GNOME and choose when you login which one you want, but it's been ages since I've last used Ubuntu.


I have the option on my Ubuntu - running Unity but I can run Gnome if I want. Just choose the required desktop when you log in.

Never tried XFCE though. Might put it on the offsprings rather slow PC - currently using Gnome2, might make it a bit sprightlier.
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hordecore
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:39 pm

So I decided to go for it, popped in an old HDD and am now dualbooting XP/Debian-LXDE. Took some running around to get swing of stuff, such as getting sound up and running and putting LXDE on after the distro came with gnome.

At the moment I am chasing down keeping the Resolution a constant 1024x768. Harder than I thought and learning about using the package managers to trim the fat and get what I want from it.

Last two nights i've been upto 3am playing around. Not good for a 7.30 start!

Svartalf
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:50 pm

Quote from hordecore on August 21, 2011, 01:54
I guess i'm just unsure of where to start from. In R-pi can see a multitude of OS images on a multitude of SD cards. It's my chance to leave windows behind without worrying i'll Break my pc so to speak. Only reason I haven't ditched MS before is I didn't wanna risk doing in a pc i spent a lot of time saving up for.

A GREAT way to do this is to do it via a "LiveCD" distribution, with the understanding that you'll need a CD/DVD player that works reasonably fast and at least 512Mb of RAM on the PC as it's pulling the applications from off of the disk itself and caching at least part of those reads into RAM. Well known regularly updated LiveCD distributions are Knoppix, Kanotix, Mandriva, Ubuntu, and many others. The beauty of this is that you can buy magazines with these on the DVD or download CD's or DVD's of this stuff, boot the disk and never once mess up the machine and you can play with many different distributions.

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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:00 am

If you'd like some help installing or using Linux, whether it's to replace you're Windows PC, or just to run on the RasPi, I'd suggest looking up your local Linux Users Group http://lug.org.uk/

A quick note before you go though, some are more geeky than others, generally speaking the levels of knowledge about most things is very high, which is a good thing, the downside is that sometimes the cost of that knowledge is a total inability to operate socially in person, when not behind a computer screen.

Don't be put off though, I'm the Treasurer for Bradford Linux Users Group (BradLUG) and our LUG is very friendly and welcoming, with enough eccentricity and specialist knowledge to help with just about anything, but also includes the illusive social skills.

You don't have to be a geek, IT professional, or know anything about Linux to join your local LUG, that's really the point, they are self help groups of like minded people.

Raspberry Pi has created a large buzz with our group, the anticipation is almost overwhelming, so many ideas, so many applications and projects.

It's all about having fun, with the added bonus of learning something you might never have been exposed to.

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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:05 pm

Thankyou, all above. It will give me courage to get into this.
I first learnt computing with the OU, Basic over a dial-up (possibly a DEC?). Then to a tangerine, 6502 assembly. Onto the BBc-B, then Archimedes where I found GUIs, RiscPCs and now A9Home.
Most of what I do is in BBC Basic, cos it's easy to do quick-'n'-dirty, and can be tidied up later, and RiscOS allows me to stick a spanner into the works.
At work we mostly had windoze with some Linux and half a dozen Unix boxes, but messing was discouraged with most of the kit live-to-air (you may have seen some of my mistakes).
I tried to learn C - got it to say "Hello World", got no answer.
So Windows is for office stuff, e-mail, letters, so-on. RiscOs is for hardcore, and drawings (couldn't get my head round Inkscape or Autocad)
Now I want to add Linux to my CV
Instead of getting a Linux distro on CD, as suggested above, would I be better off waiting for my pi? That way I could have a separate device (ctrl ctrl 1) that runs Linux for learning on, windows (ctrl ctrl 2) for that letter, A9Home (ctrl ctrl 3) for that family tree drawing.
Laptop runs Windows, Riscos in VRPC, over the network to see all the others. Would the Pi be happy with VNC? Then I don't have to get out bed!
Oh, and thankyou to all at Pi: even this forum is more fun than I've had for ages

kme
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:46 pm

Jesus - this is about the worst Linux advises I've seen.

All the discussion about distros is crap. Contemporary Linuces are all the same. The more or less use the same kernel and the same x.org. You may as well ague that a green 2011 Ford Focus is wildly different from a blue 2010 Ford Focus. Hell no.

I've used Linux more or less exclusive the last ten-fifteen years. I do have Windows XP (for a particular game) but for any sort of serious work Linux is *WAY* superiour - no matter which distro. I use several distros for different purposes, but frankly they are more similar than different.

obarthelemy
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:57 pm

I don' quite agree, in the case of noobs who are quite dependent on he defaults. I spend the week-end toying around with Linux. Knoppix: x11 crash; Ubuntu: Grub2 shenanigans... I'm trying Debian now, hopefully it will have the required drivers.
I'm sure an expert would have sailed through those issues. I'm not one though, and neither are the PI's targets.

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crundy
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Re: So, this thing called Linux.

Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:53 pm

Others have mentioned it, but I think it's best to get a few LiveCDs for different distros and have a play around with them. They boot directly from the CD / DVD and don't affect your hard drive so it's the perfect way to test drive different flavours of linux.

Ubuntu
Suse (Gnome & KDE live cds are separate)
Fedora
Debian
(Have I forgotten any? CentOS, but that's more of a server distro)

Some details on the 10 "best" distros here: http://www.techradar.com/news/.....011-704584

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