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Where to get LINUX for home?

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AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Where to get LINUX for home?

Got several PC's. All pentium save one AMD K6.

1 - Will LINUX work on them?

2 - Is there a list of supported LINUX PC's somewhere?

3 - What flavor of LINUX should I put on my PC? (* Redhat, SUSE?, other? *)

4) What version of what flavor?

4 - Should I put FREEBSD on my PC's instead?

(* TEN POINTS FOR ALL!!! *)
Yours, Mine and Yours
26 REPLIES
Jean-Pierre Denis
Valued Contributor
Solution

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Hi,

1) Linux run on almost anything so yes it will work on it.

2) Go on the linux version you are interested with and look for the HCL ( hardware compatibility list) This will list all the hardware and tell you if it's supported or not.
( ex: http://www.mandrakelinux.com/en/hardware.php3 )

3) I'm a Mandrake Advocate but RedHat and suse are also pretty good...

4) I suggest that you start with Mandrake/Redhat and then later you could give BSD a try.

Thanks,
JP
Open your Mind and use Open Source software...
John Poff
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Hi,

1. Almost certainly. I scrounge up old machines at work that have been discarded because they won't run the latest versions of Windows, and I install Linux on them. They run great.

2. Here is a hardware compatibility list for Red Hat:

http://hardware.redhat.com/hcl/

3. I'm a fan of Red Hat but the others are good as well. I've also worked with SuSE, but just on a mainframe.

4. I suggest getting Red Hat 9. Each version of Red Hat seems to get better and better and I've loaded RH 9 on several boxes without a hitch.

5 or 4a) I'd load Linux first and get comfortable with it, and then tackle FreeBSD.

JP


Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Linux will run on almost anything, including many machines not on the hardware list.

Things to avoid:

laptop's with unapproved/untested video systems. Lots and lots of itrc posts and very few resolutions. Have to write your own drivers there, most don't have the time or patience.

NIC cards not on the list.

I don't know how many Linux installations fail because of some dorky NIC card that nobody every heard of. There are lots of good ones. Almost anything Intel ever built works, Bay Networks PCI cards have also servered me very well.

Back in the 6.x days, I tried Red Hat with a linksys card, loads of trouble. I'd avoid Linksys because there is a lot of variance in the cards themselves. Bought a lot of them in 1997 and there were three different chipsets and drivers needed. They may have resolved this issue, but I put my surplus cards in Windows Boxes. Hardware support there is still better.

I'd also avoid totally no-name video cards. If the video card doesn't work, you can get one that does for $30.

Linux has an easier install program than Free BSD. Free BSD requires a real nuts and bolts person. You pick the packages, figure out the dependencies and really build a system from scratch. I like checkboxes, call me lazy.

Are you going to cluster the boxes or do anything cool, or are you just learning networking with the setup?

SEP
Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
Sponsor: http://hpux.ws
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hpuxlinux
Founder http://newdatacloud.com
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

A) Even with my old Pentium 133, something like, 11 years old PC?

B) I've heard kernel loading problems nightmares with LILO, GRUB, etc. How does this work? Which one? Additional purchase?

C) How similar is LINUX to HP-UX install?

D) How similar is FREEBSD to HP-UX install?

E) Even with my AMD (* piece of junk from HP *) K6? (* The 133 runs better! *)
Yours, Mine and Yours
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

At CompUSA I see HOME and a Professional editions. Which to get and what differences?

(* Any place else to get LINUX besides CompUSA? I hate CompUSA after their tech manager blew my video card up years ago, on the 133, and then loaded my PC with the Monkey virus for complaining to his boss. *)
Yours, Mine and Yours
Balaji N
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

hi,
you have got many answers. but neverthless, still will add my few paise.

linux runs on most of the old hardwares. your catch will be the problems with video display / network drivers as SEP has pointed out. all you need to do is to check if they are supported.

the first thing which you need to decide is the distro which you are going to run. i would suggest you to start with RedHat (my personal preferance) or Mandrake (have heard that this is very user friendly), all assuming that you are a new user or the machines are for people new to linux. After you are comfortable, you could move to some source based distro like gentoo or even Slack / BSD. But if you are newbie and if you try BSD, i guess you are going to have a good (!@#$) time.

and regarding you latest post.

A. Yes. even if it is a age old P133 it will work. have heard people running Linux on 486 as well. But in that case i would suggest you to have some older versions of the distro as well just in case you run into problems.


B. No. In the Linux world, you have the freedom to choose any software and most of them come free (as in beer). The older versions of Bios / Lilo doesnt support booting from hard disks where the boot record is 1024 cylinders and above (Gururs, Correct me if i am wrong.). So, you might need to install Lilo on the MBR. and based on your inputs, i assume that only linux is going to run on these boxes. so it's not going to be a problem.

C. The installation of RedHat is just click and go. If you talk of the installation similarities, they are somewhat similar. Both ask for the Language, Keyboard type, Partition Stuff, S/W Selection, N/W config, etc. But in HP, you specify most of them in a single screen and in redhat, they are over a series of screens.

D. Sorry. havent ever seen FreeBSD.

E. I guess yes.


And last, if you are going to run a set of boxes for your personal use, try if you could setup LTSP, The Linux Terminal Server. You could get a good box with a decent configuration and set it up as a sever and then all the other stone-age boxes boot of this.

and keep us posted.
-balaji (good morning. a very long post)
Its Always Important To Know, What People Think Of You. Then, Of Course, You Surprise Them By Giving More.
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Your questions with answers where I know them:

A) Even with my old Pentium 133, something like, 11 years old PC?
If you put in enough memory, Linux will run fine on that box.

B) I've heard kernel loading problems nightmares with LILO, GRUB, etc. How does this work? Which one? Additional purchase?
LILO and GRUB come with, GRUB is more modern, becoming the standard, all controlled by one text file.

C) How similar is LINUX to HP-UX install?
Very different. HP-UX is guided, similar to Red Hat. FreeBSD is write your own cookbook. I did it once, did not like the results.
D) How similar is FREEBSD to HP-UX install?
See answer C
E) Even with my AMD (* piece of junk from HP *) K6? (* The 133 runs better! *)
There have been instances of AMD processors not running Linux right, but to find out you'll have to install.

On some of the HP Pavillion boxes, Linux doesn't detect drive geometry correctly, limiting the amount of usable space on drives bigger than 2 GB. The problem is with the BIOS.

SEP
Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
Sponsor: http://hpux.ws
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hpuxlinux
Founder http://newdatacloud.com
Claudio Cilloni
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

I'm using RedHat 7.3 for my desktop machine at work, and RedHat 9 for my home pc. I also use RedHat 7.3 installed on a 486/100MHz with 48MB ram and it works great. Obviously, every cpu-bound activity make me sleep, but it isn't a linux fault ;-). I use this ancient machine as data backup system and to have some fun with network applications.

I think that 7.3 is still the best version of RedHat, but I'm trying to change my mind. If SEP says to use RH 9, believe to him (look at the towel on his head ;-)

I installed FreeBSD some months ago, and it was a little bit difficult operation. I played with it for some days, but I didn't find reasons to use it for a desktop use. Maybe it could be a good idea for a firewall/mail server/web server; someone says that FreeBSD has better performance/reliability than linux.

Ciao
Claudio
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

What is difference between home and professional versions?
Yours, Mine and Yours
John Poff
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

The difference between the home and professional versions of RedHat is that the home version comes with 30 days of support, while the professional version comes with 60 days of support [including phone support]. The professional version also comes with more software packages.

JP
James Wilson_5
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Bill,

You don't have to buy the distro if you have a CD-burner and broadband (Dial-up will take ages) You can download images from the web and burn them. The downside is no support, but with "home/personal" versions you only get email support anyway and most places (like itrc) is a great way to get [better] help.

Just go to
Redhat : http://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/9/en/iso/i386/

Claudio Cilloni
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Agree with James.
There are (at least here in Italy) a lot of magazines that every month publish the CDs of each new Linux distribution (Red Hat, Suse, Mandrake, Debian, etc... FreeBSD, too). It's easy, cheap (5-6 USD) and fast. Usually I update so my linux home machine.

Cheers
Claudio
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

All right, no more points (* and you know I'll give out ten *) until you've told me what packages are missing in the home version vs. the profesional version. Also, is licensing involved?

Also, I have no idea what a 'distro' is. Is that like "you dissin me bro"? 'Disbro'. ??? What is that?
Yours, Mine and Yours
John Poff
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

I was wrong. I thought the professional version had a few extra packages that the home version didn't have [I seem to remember that from some earlier versions], but it looks like they now come with the same packages. Here is a link to the list of packages:

http://www.redhat.com/software/linux/technical/packages.html

The Linux kernel and all the GNU software that comes with it is open source, so you don't have to worry about the license. The main stipulation is that you post the source code for any changes to make to it. Most of us just load it and run it and never touch the source code so it isn't an issue. The license is the GPL or GNU public license. Here is a link to the GPL posted at the Red Hat site:

http://www.redhat.com/licenses/gpl.html

The 'distro' mentioned previously is a slang name for 'distribution'. Red Hat, Mandrake, etc. each is a distribution. They are all using the same [pretty much I guess] kernel, but they bundle different software packages and tools with it to make a 'distribution'.

JP
Caesar_3
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Hello!

Here is good site for you, you will see
all the distributions and the packages
that came in.
www.distrowatch.com

My flavor version is the one that i compiled
from zero and called it my-linux.

You also can build your linux from zero.

Caesar
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

OK - all good links.

Now, from this list of products please indicate the top twenty to concentrate on for LINUX certification or valuable enterprise server administration:

http://www.redhat.com/software/linux/technical/packages.html
Yours, Mine and Yours
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Caesar:

Got a procedure for building my-linux from zero?
Yours, Mine and Yours
Balaji N
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

hi

if you want to build your system from zero, then have a look at the gentoo distro.

http://www.gentoo.org/

-balaji
Its Always Important To Know, What People Think Of You. Then, Of Course, You Surprise Them By Giving More.
AlienRoadShow
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

OK Balaji I think I can do that. In fact, this the best discussion yet.


Now, what about that list? Anybody. List?
Yours, Mine and Yours
Jeff Billman
Frequent Advisor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

I have a very good friend that swears by gentoo but I would say that after talking with im you need to be a programmer and pretty heavy into Linux to tackle it.
Balaji N
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

which list are u asking? the difference between the home and professional edition? sorry. no idea.

may be u could ask the reseller.

-balaji
Its Always Important To Know, What People Think Of You. Then, Of Course, You Surprise Them By Giving More.
Craig_72
Occasional Visitor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

The only issue I have ever had with Linux on a PC is with a laptop with a Lucent WinModem on it. If you are connecting to the internet via a broadband connection, you should not have any problems.

As far as flavors go, I personally think Mandrake 9.1 is a fantastic distribution. Install is easy as pie. Auto Hardware Detection works like a dream (that's been a problem with previous distributions of all flavors). And it comes packed with software for a very reasonable price and it's well documented and their support forum is fantastic. I have heard very good things about SuSE as well.

FreeBSD is more techie oriented. I'd go with Linux first.
"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning." - Rich Cook
John Meissner
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

1 - Linux will work on all your systems. Linux will run on just about any platform. Intel and one distro (a debian product) will run on PA Risc.

2 - There is not so much a list of "pc's" but more a list of hardware. Many manufacturers user different hardware even within the same model. So most linux distro's have a list of hardware they support.

3 - This is a very subjective question. I personally prefer Red Hat. I'm currently using Red Hat versions 7.3(at work) 8.0(on my laptop) and 9(on my home system). I really think 9 is the best version Red Hat has put forth so far. Other distributions I've used have been SuSE enterprise 7 and 8. I prefer the tools and the look of Red Hat.

4 - see #3 (Red Hat 9) The reason I say this is they have pretty'd everything up and it's not just estetics.... in 9 some functions are much easier. I've never been able to correctly get Samba to work correctly on the other versions but in RH 9 it was SOOOO easy.

5 - no unless you have a need to or just want to try it.
All paths lead to destiny
Jerome Henry
Honored Contributor

Re: Where to get LINUX for home?

Hi !

Adding to Balaji's tip lfs is also a good one to build it by yourself :
http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
(take some coffee).

RE the list, it's more a question of kernel compilation than a question of packages. You can always get more packages on downloading from the Internet.
Take Red Hat as an example, you have the standard distribution (called 'standard distro'), and several distributions, called 'pro' (distro for distribution), which all have a specific kernel :
So, Advanced server has a smp (multiprocessing) enabled kernel, ehenced RAM support up to 16 Go.
You could recompile your kernel yourself to do that, but Red Hat did it for you, and also sells very good online or phone support.
ES edition does the same with 2 processors and 4Gb only.

As for the LIST itself, there is no difference in RH, In mandrake, for example, some network tools are not included, such as NFS server, NIS, NTP server, and all network monitoring tool...

Did I get the bunny you kept in your hat for that ? :]
J
You can lean only on what resists you...