An Introduction to Linux

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An Introduction to Linux

Its Sunday evening, late, but I suppose I have been named your linux guru (even though my screen name is vistausah). I'm not exactly an expert in Linux, but I'm not a beginner either. But I will do what I can to help every one out.

Honestly, since Vista I feel that M$ is going down a long, disastrouous slope, and Linux will be the "wave of the future." I'll start this forum by speaking a little bit about the "problem" with Linux. Unlike Windows, where you have a single operating system (though many versions), Linux is open source,, and there are literally hundreds of distributions (distros) using the Linux kernel. There has been a constant fight among distros, and until recently Fedora Core (formerly Red Hat Linux) was among the most popular. However, Ubuntu Linux has taken over that title. Ubuntu Linux is the "Linux for Humans" as its name implies and runs of the Gnome (GDM) X Server manager (X is the graphical interface for Linux), but there are variants of Ubuntu, Kubuntu (using KDE) and Xubuntu (using XFCE) as well as an educational version of Ubuntu (Edubuntu), also based on Gnome. The difference in Ubuntu is that it introduced and made popular two very influential ideas, the idea of Click N' Install and the idea or Live Booting. As the name implies, Click N' Install is just that. You select the packages you want (applications if you will) and click add. Add/Remove (the default Click N' Installer) is found right in the main menu for all variants of Ubuntu. However, as with most things, occasionally a few programs may not work, which is why Ubuntu has fostered a great Linux community. Live booting, another major acomplishment, now part of most popular Linux distributions, is the ability to boot into a full blow operating system with applications off of a CD or DVD. Depending on the size of the disc (mostly with DVDs), you may have everything you need preconfigured on the DVD. One of the best distributions like this is Sabayon Linux, and it is gaining popularity. The only disadvantage is, unless you have some sort of removable media, you can not save files, and you can never save settings. After you have booted, you may then install comfortably from the Linux GUI interface.

The final major "new deal" in Linux is Beryl. Starting with SuSe 10, the world first saw a sneak peak at XGL, the 3d x Server environment. Now, XGL, AIGLX, and Beryl (each built on top of another) can be configured on nearly any Linux distribution. This is is a really cool new interface, loaded with all sorts of cool effects, and the best part is, you don't need a super powerful graphics card to use them. Beryl has been proven to run on 32 MB integrated video with 512 MB of RAM quite fluently, though for the full capabilities, a graphics card (or integrated graphics solution) that is post 2000 is recomended. HDTV (1080p) is not even slowed on more powerful graphics cards, like the GeForce 6 Series when running Beryl. Lets just say, my GeForce 7600 GS which lags on Vista when running 720p HD and Aero performs flawlessly with 1080p HD on Ubuntu, while spawned across the faces of a 3D cube.

So what do you need to know to install Linux. First off, if you plan on using Vista, don't even bother with Linux, unless you want to remove your Vista hard drive. Vista's boot manager is so poorly set up that it is completely unable to dual boot in Linux. Secondly, a great site I recomend is where you will find a link to Ubuntu ( and Sabayon (as # 20, Sabayon I recomend for first time Linux users who want to try a preconfigured Linux with Beryl in a Live DVD environment. Ubuntu also has a great support community ( for those who want to go more in depth.

Some time soon, I will post a guide for basic installation of Sabayon and Ubuntu, and a more depth guide on how to configure Ubuntu. For now. please post any Linux questions, please feel free to ask on any subject, and please feel free to answer questions too (I don't have all the answers). If you would like to start a new topic, feel free, and most of all, don't fear the penguin.

Peace out. Vistausah