PDA

View Full Version : Using Linux?


Raven_Writer
06-11-2004, 06:45 PM
I have a question about using Linux:

How dangerous is it to have a computer dual-boot Linux and WinXP?

I'm thinking of trying to convince my mom to let me do this, and am wondering if there's any major (or even minor) things that could happen, and ruin the computer. I know there's virii out there, and stuff like that, but I mean just have Linux itself reformat the drive (just for an example).

Venkatesh
06-11-2004, 07:02 PM
Its almost completely nontoxic. There isn't even industrial chemical residue from trying to mix Linux and Windows XP. =)

The greatest dangers appear during the install of Linux. Many people without experience (or with experience but were careless) wiped out their Windows partitions.

Raven_Writer
06-11-2004, 07:03 PM
Its almost completely nontoxic. There isn't even industrial chemical residue from trying to mix Linux and Windows XP. =)

The greatest dangers appear during the install of Linux. Many people without experience (or with experience but were careless) wiped out their Windows partitions.Got any resources on doing this by any chance? (Just even in general of doing dual-booting)

Ryan M.
06-11-2004, 07:05 PM
If you have a decent about of knowledge of disk partitions, you should be fine. Depending on which distro of Linux you are installing, you might have to use fdisk, which can be hard if you haven't used it before. If you are using one of the bigger ones, such as Redhat/Fedora, Mandrake, etc, you should be fine. Feel free to PM me/IM me if you need help. I've at least attempted to get many of the larger distros working. :)

--EDIT--
In response to your last post, try Redhat.com. I'll look for a the address here and see if it is still up...
Here you go: https://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/linux/RHL-9-Manual/install-guide/s1-diskpartitioning.html
Probably focused on Redhat mostly, but it should give you the idea... :)

-----EDIT-------
I don't know what distro you are installing, but know that most can't resize NTFS partitions (what XP is on). If you download the first ISO for Mandrake, you can resize them. I've never had a problem with it. :)

----EDIT------
Better than the last URL: https://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/linux/RHL-9-Manual/install-guide/ch-partitions.html

mtrawls
06-11-2004, 07:16 PM
Its almost completely nontoxic.

That's not what Bill would have you believe! (http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/facts/default.asp)

Ryan M.
06-11-2004, 07:17 PM
That's great! I don't know how they "figured" that out... Weird. :)

Don't believe a word of it. :)

Raven_Writer
06-11-2004, 07:39 PM
That's great! I don't know how they "figured" that out... Weird. :)

Don't believe a word of it. :)I'm not. Even if that were true, I wouldn't care. I don't like Windows at all. It is good for some things, but I just prefer *nux O/S's anytime over Windows.

Joe Ross
06-11-2004, 07:40 PM
How dangerous is it to have a computer dual-boot Linux and WinXP?

The most important question is, how many times have you installed linux before? Unless you've installed it a few times before, I wouldn't recommend you do it to your mom's computer.

Also, you should make a full backup, while it's normally quite safe, you don't want your mom killing you if something goes wrong.

Finally, there are some issues with the 2.6 kernel that can cause corruption of the XP partition table. http://slashdot.org/articles/04/05/23/1448209.shtml?tid=110&tid=187. Definetly make sure that whatever distro you chose has fixed (or uses a 2.4 kernel).

Raven_Writer
06-11-2004, 07:48 PM
Joe:

I've never installed Linux before ( :\ ). I've only used LiveCD versions of it (ala Knoppix).

I would always make a backup disc of my computer anyways. That way my mom doesn't blow up worse than an a-bomb.

I'll check to see what kernel the distro. I choose uses.

Thanks a lot also for your input :)

opnickc
06-11-2004, 08:11 PM
I currently dual-boot Windows ME and 2000prof. I've never installed linux, but i know that windows 2000 (and probably XP) will recognize a previous OS and give you an option of which system you want to boot to when you start up. The only catch is, you have to install 2000 after the other OS, so you'd have to backup your system and reinstall eveything. Not a big deal, but then again I don't know if this will work with Linux or Windows XP. Good luck.

Raven_Writer
06-11-2004, 08:18 PM
I currently dual-boot Windows ME and 2000prof. I've never installed linux, but i know that windows 2000 (and probably XP) will recognize a previous OS and give you an option of which system you want to boot to when you start up. The only catch is, you have to install 2000 after the other OS, so you'd have to backup your system and reinstall eveything. Not a big deal, but then again I don't know if this will work with Linux or Windows XP. Good luck.Thank you. So, basically what you are saying is that when you installed Windows ME over Win2k Pro (or vice-versa), you had to reinstall the origional operating system?

Marc P.
06-11-2004, 09:11 PM
I currently dual-boot Windows ME and 2000prof. I've never installed linux, but i know that windows 2000 (and probably XP) will recognize a previous OS and give you an option of which system you want to boot to when you start up. The only catch is, you have to install 2000 after the other OS, so you'd have to backup your system and reinstall eveything. Not a big deal, but then again I don't know if this will work with Linux or Windows XP. Good luck.

There are many key differences in multi-booting between various versions of windows and booting between windows and linux. Most windows systems can utilize the same file system (fat32), and as such, not much must be changed on the hard drive to get them to work with each other. Linux, however, is a whole differant animal. For most distributions you will have to repartition your hard drive (to ext2/ext3, reiser-fs, etc) or install to a different hard drive, both of which could potentially be hazardous to windows if not done carefully. The master boot record of the primary drive would have to be changed to allow the new system to boot, which isn't too difficult- especially in modern distributions. However, should something go awry, it could prevent windows from booting. Make sure you read all documentation before you install, and read all prompts and warnings that should come up during the install.

The one thing I've found about most linux communities, is they are usually very open and helpful should you run into trouble. Linux is a great system to run, and very satisfying once you get into it. Good luck with the installation!

Joe Ross
06-11-2004, 09:30 PM
There is a big difference in the assumptions that windows 9x (including ME), Windows NT (including 2000, XP, and 2003), and linux make when installing.

When Windows 9x installs, it assumes it is the only operating system. It must be put in the first primary partition on the hard drive, and overwrites the MBR with its bootloader. If you have another OS in the first primary partition, it will be overwritten. Even if your OS is in a different location, the MBR will be overwritten and you won't be able to boot into it.

When Windows NT installs, it looks for other Microsoft operating systems, but ignores others, like linux. It can be installed in other partitions. If it sees another windows operating system, it will include options for it in its bootloader. You can even modify the bootloader to load the linux bootloader.

Most linux distributions can be installed anywhere on the disk, and will include options to any other OSes in the bootloader (in fact, they are much more likely to miss other linux installations then windows installations). I've always used the linux bootloader (both lilo and grub) to load windows 2000, but there are people who swear by using the windows bootloader to load linux.

Raven_Writer
06-11-2004, 09:57 PM
Does anyone here use a liveCD (namely Knoppix)?

JakeGallagher
06-11-2004, 10:10 PM
I had one problem when i was trying to run Redhat 7.3...i got it installed, but my video drivers weren't compatable and so I had someone uninstall it, but it was apparently labeled as the primary boot partition, so my Windows partition was almost lost.
My friend runs Fedora and WinXP Pro on his laptop and it works fine, though. He hasn't had any trouble at all with either of them.
Just make sure you know what you're doing when you get into Linux (especially if you're working on your main machine).

Joe Ross
06-11-2004, 11:08 PM
I've used Knoppix a little, and a few more specialized CD / floppy distros.

I've also used Caldera (2.3), a few versions of Mandrake (6-8), Redhat (7.3 - 9), Suse (8.1) Gentoo, LFS, and Debian. Probably a few others that I've left out.

Raven_Writer
06-12-2004, 08:27 AM
What would one recommend for a beginner?

Bharat Nain
06-12-2004, 09:19 AM
What would one recommend for a beginner?
Mandrake is decent for a beginner, I've seen its slight more user friendly than others, but thats my view. If you need help installing feel free to IM me, I used to use dual boot a while ago, but uninstalled it because of disk space.
-Bharat

Joe Ross
06-12-2004, 09:24 AM
I used Knoppix 3.2, I think.

For beginners, I like to make a couple of suggestions

Suse - just like German Engineered cars, Suse takes care of the small details very well. If I was recommending a distro for a business, this is it.

Fedora - Used to be Redhat, very nice, however they take the high rode when it comes to patent issues (which is good, except when you are trying to make the absolutely easiest use distro). They don't include MP3 or NTFS support, and a few other things. They can be easily added, though, by adding in third party packages.

Mandrake - Very up to date and includes everything Fedora/Redhat leaves out. However, in 3 or 4 version's I've tried, I've never gotten it to be as stable as linux should be (more on the level of windows).

If you were trying to learn linux very well, I'd suggest installing one of those and playing with them for a while, then installing Debian or Gentoo. I can help you with Debian, and Ian W. can help you with Gentoo. However, since you just want to get it running for you mom, I'd use one of the above three.

Ryan M.
06-12-2004, 04:10 PM
I agree with the stabilty of Mandrake thing, but I'd say go with that at first.

Also, it has very nice NTFS support. So, if nothing else, get the first CD and use it to resize the XP partition(s). :)

And getoo is hard to install... good luck if you go for that. :)

Joe Ross
06-12-2004, 04:27 PM
Also, it has very nice NTFS support. So, if nothing else, get the first CD and use it to resize the XP partition(s). :)

You can also resize NTFS partitions with qtparted, which is included with knoppix.

Raven_Writer
06-12-2004, 04:35 PM
Really, Knoppix is only worth it if you partition your hd, and dual-boot it, in my opinion anways.

I'll probably figure something out during vacation, and do it when I return.

Timothy D. Ginn
06-26-2004, 07:58 PM
What would one recommend for a beginner?

I'd recommend SuSE. SuSE's YaST is a very nice update/software install tool and makes finding software easy. The SuSE installer is quite good at coexisting with Windows partitions, it can even resize NTFS partitions to give itself some space, and does so by default (rather than overwriting your other partitions). It's also probably one of the most straight forward systems to install, as it gives you enough to have a nicely working system that's suitable for use by most desktop users and then you can get the rest of the stuff later using YaST as you require it. The FTP installer may be a bit slow (SuSE has a fair number of mirrors overseas) but with enough persistence you will succeed.

There's a 9.0 Personal version that does an install over FTP. 9.1 uses a 2.6 kernel, but 9.0 doesn't uses a 2.4 one.

If you need any help, feel free to contact me (that includes post-setup).

Astronouth7303
06-27-2004, 06:43 AM
What would one recommend for a beginner?
Try CollegeLinux (http://collegelinux.org/index.php). It's based on Slackware, comes on 1 CD, and has a doc for Dual booting with WinXP (http://collegelinux.org/docs.php?jedi=view&id=1073191776). We just installed it on my brother's laptop, that went pretty good. (Know in advance, it's virtually impossible to change the resolution (http://collegelinux.org/phorum/read.php?f=17&i=464&t=464))

Ryan M.
06-27-2004, 07:00 AM
...so my Windows partition was almost lost.I tried to install Gentoo (twice) a while back. I messed up the installation of the bootloader (with Gentoo, you install everything using a command line from a live CD) and then couldn't boot into Windows or Linux... :ahh:

I had to do some fun work on my own getting it back up. :D

Andrew
06-27-2004, 08:32 AM
I just got a new laptop with Windoze XP Pro pre-installed. I installed Mandrake 9.2 as a dual boot.

At the partitioning step, I chose the "use free space on windoze partition" option, selected the new size of the windoze partition, and let 'er rip. At the final step, where you can review your installed services, etc. I went into the boot-loader options and selected the windoze option as the primary boot option. You might have to hunt around to find this option. Otherwise the linux will boot first.

If you don't find this option and you boot into linux, you can edit the /etc/lilo.conf file and select another boot option. If you're not expert enough to know what I'm talking about here, you might want to cleanly install linux and fool around before going for the dual boot.

Inside linux there's a "dual boot howto" which explains all this better.

In any event, my Windoze XP and my Mandrake 9.2 linux are co-existing peacefully on the same machine now.

Raven_Writer
06-27-2004, 10:40 AM
Thanks ya'll for your help.

One other question, I know *nix is free, but would it be smarter to buy a copy of redhat or some other sort instead?

Ryan M.
06-27-2004, 11:05 AM
Thanks ya'll for your help.

One other question, I know *nix is free, but would it be smarter to buy a copy of redhat or some other sort instead?I've never had a "Pro" version of Redhat, but I'd say that unless you are using for, say, your business, I wouldn't bother. There is a strong community out there, and they are more than willing to help out if you run into problems. Heck, I'm willing to help... :D

Raven_Writer
06-27-2004, 11:18 AM
I've never had a "Pro" version of Redhat, but I'd say that unless you are using for, say, your business, I wouldn't bother. There is a strong community out there, and they are more than willing to help out if you run into problems. Heck, I'm willing to help... :DThanks :)

I know the community is pretty big :); that's 1 reason why I want Linux (amoung other reasons).

Timothy D. Ginn
06-27-2004, 11:32 AM
Thanks ya'll for your help.

One other question, I know *nix is free, but would it be smarter to buy a copy of redhat or some other sort instead?

As long as download times for an ISO aren't a problem (ie, you're on a fairly fast connection, or are willing to wait for a while) and support from a single place isn't a requirement, then you're best off downloading an ISO and putting it onto a CD (http://www.linuxiso.org is a good place to look for this).

If you don't have the connection speed (or the patience, or require support from a single place; the vendor) then a boxed software version is probably worth looking at.

Raven_Writer
06-27-2004, 01:02 PM
I'm 99.9% sure the ansewr is yes, but I'll ask anways. It's a very safe bet to backup your computer before doing any of this, correct?

Venkatesh
06-27-2004, 01:44 PM
Absolutely. Backup before installing Linux. And after. And very very often.

One more thing - make sure that you can recover from your backups as well - all my backups used to be to CDs, but I have recently discovered that I can't read my earliest CD-Rs any longer, namely ones from before 1999.

If you want to get started with Linux, I think that Red Hat Linux 9 or Fedora Core (either 1 or 2) are excellent choices. Everything is already set up for you. I found it quite easy to install Red Hat 7.2 (back when I first started) and immediately I had a development environment, excellent GUI, and office tools (KOffice).

Eventually, you will get annoyed with the fact that Red Hat/Fedora has customized everything just a little, enough to cause frustration to people who like to understand the complete workings of Linux. Right now, I'm very significantly confused by the graphical bootscreen of Fedora Core 2 (how the hell do they do that?).

But yes, backup and good luck!

Raven_Writer
06-27-2004, 01:54 PM
Absolutely. Backup before installing Linux. And after. And very very often.

...

But yes, backup and good luck!Is using the backup program that comes w/ Windows XP a good program? (Sorry for the newbie-ish questions here, but hey; why not). I'm going to test RedHat on a LiveCD, and see if I like it.

Timothy D. Ginn
06-27-2004, 02:19 PM
Right now, I'm very significantly confused by the graphical bootscreen of Fedora Core 2 (how the hell do they do that?).

SuSE has that too. It's called a Bootsplash. Here's an outline of how it works (and how to change it):

http://www.bootsplash.org/

There's also more splash screens available on KDE Look (I believe it was somewhere within this category, but could be wrong)
http://www.kde-look.org/index.php?xsortmode=new&page=0

But that's a bit off topic, isn't it?

Venkatesh
06-27-2004, 02:40 PM
I have never used the Windows XP Backup tool, but I have heard that its not that good.

But, why even bother with a backup tool? Find all the files that you use, will use, and have ever used (eg all documents, pictures, music, thesises, codes, novels, etc.) and copy those onto your backup medium of choice. I use CD-Rs in the absence of something better.

And btw, is there such a thing as a Redhat livecd?

Timothy D. Ginn
06-27-2004, 03:12 PM
And btw, is there such a thing as a Redhat livecd?

There isn't one pre-packaged as an ISO distributed directly by Redhat or the Fedora Project. It is possible to make one, of course, and there's most likely either a Redhat-derivative which is distributed as a LiveCD, or an "unofficial" LiveCD somewhere.

Knoppix and DemoLinux are Debian based, SuSE LiveCD is SuSE based (of course) and that covers the ones I've seen around lately.

Raven_Writer
06-27-2004, 03:21 PM
I have never used the Windows XP Backup tool, but I have heard that its not that good.

But, why even bother with a backup tool? Find all the files that you use, will use, and have ever used (eg all documents, pictures, music, thesises, codes, novels, etc.) and copy those onto your backup medium of choice. I use CD-Rs in the absence of something better.

And btw, is there such a thing as a Redhat livecd?I did it for all the registry info and stuff like that.

As for the LiveCD, I ment SuSE, not RedHat (sorry). The LCD of SuSE is availible here (http://www.linuxiso.org/distro.php?distro=2) if you want to check it out by the way.

Astronouth7303
07-04-2004, 12:30 PM
I'm 99.9% sure the ansewr is yes, but I'll ask anways. It's a very safe bet to backup your computer before doing any of this, correct?
Yes. Linux requires 2 new file systems (neither Win32 or NTFS). I use the Hard drive backup utility in Nero. It does a sector copy to CD-Rs. The advantage is that even the partition table and MBR is preserved. The down side is that you have to restore the whole thing and you don't have access to individual files. Good for backing windows up before installing Linux.

Ryan M.
07-04-2004, 01:25 PM
And btw, is there such a thing as a Redhat livecd?
Adios (http://dc.qut.edu.au/adios/) is at least one I'm aware of.

Timothy D. Ginn
07-04-2004, 04:35 PM
Yes. Linux requires 2 new file systems (neither Win32 or NTFS). I use the Hard drive backup utility in Nero. It does a sector copy to CD-Rs. The advantage is that even the partition table and MBR is preserved. The down side is that you have to restore the whole thing and you don't have access to individual files. Good for backing windows up before installing Linux.

Well, requires isn't exactly true. There is, for example, a version of Slackware called Zipslack that will run off of Windows FAT partitions. I'm sure there are other distributions with this capability. Other distributions can do the same, with more or less effort. However, yes, the regular installation procedure is to create a native Linux file system of some kind, and most installers create a swap partition (however, if you already have a Windows partition, it's possible to share the Windows swap file, rather than creating a new parition to do the same thing). One example of a free sector by sector copying tool is dd (if Nero is not available). dd is almost certainly contained on all of the Live CD distributions.

Venkatesh
07-04-2004, 09:05 PM
I have been using Linux (of many varieties) on FAT partitions. I do this because I don't care about security and FAT is universally accessible. There are a few caveats about doing this though.

First, you can't have symlinks. A direct consequence of this is that you cannot compile a linux kernel (as far as I know) on a FAT filesystem, as one step in the compile involves the creation of a symlink. Second, you lose all security. Any user can access any part of the filesystem. A non-root user can still do pretty much anything on a FAT system. Third, you lose many of the features of chown (change ownership), chmod (change mode), and ACLs.

Even then, for my uses, the benefits of universal access of any OS to any OS far outweigh the problems. I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you are sure of what you are doing, but if you are sure of what you are doing, then there are better options. Until that Linux NTFS driver gets better.

evulish
07-05-2004, 03:53 PM
Actually, ReiserFS, ext2, and ext3 can all be read by Windows. Not natively, of course.. but with some work, you can get it to work.

Most notably:
Explore2fs: http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/explore2fs.htm (r/w: ext2, ro: ext3)
rfstool: http://p-nand-q.com/download/rfstool.html (read-only and ignore journaling)

There might be some for jfs/xfs/etc.. but I don't feel like finding them :P E2fs works well, rfstool is.. decent.. but it does work.