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  1. #1
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    * * * * All New Linux Forum FAQ * * * *

    Welcome to the all new Linux Forum FAQ.

    The idea is to create a simple but easily seachable FAQ. Like the Linux Forum Links thread, this thread is designed to expand, but that will depend on you, the forum members, submitting your FAQs. To make a submission either PM a forum moderator or post it in the forums.



    Bonso has recently started an FAQ which I hope he'll submit to this, and I know Provicemo has also expressed an interest in doing some bits. If you'd like to tackle a topic, I would suggest either using Bonso's thread or starting a new thread as a "workshop" to work on your FAQ, and then when you're happy with it, it can be added here. Also, suggestions for a list of topics to be covered would be useful then people can pick off which they would like to cover. I've started the ball rolling below to give you an idea (there is a 10,000 character limit per post and I'd suggest one topic per post).

    Bonso's FAQ Thread can be found here or in HTML form.

    Ned
    Last edited by Ned Slider; 03-16-2005 at 03:46 PM.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Re: * * * * All New Linux Forum FAQ * * * *

    How to download and burn your copy of Linux



    Originally Posted by Ned Slider

    The first thing you'll need to do before you can try out linux is to download and burn your chosen copy to CD (or DVD). Here I will address a few common questions to help you out. First you'll need to decide which Linux distro you want and then download it from the distro's site or a mirror site (see the Linux Forum Links sticky for the common distro download sites). The files will most likely be in .ISO format (CD or DVD image files), one per disk. Files that have SRPM or source in the name are normally not required as these contain the source code. Files that have x86_64 are probably 64-bit versions and i386, i586 or i686 are the common 32-bit versions.

    Once you've downloaded your .ISO image files, before you burn them to disk it is wise to check that they have downloaded correctly and are not corrupt. To do this, we use something called an MD5 checksum. In the download directory of the server you will probably also find a small file called MD5SUM or similar that contains a long checksum number for each file. We must now perform a checksum on each downloaded .ISO file and check that it matches - if it doesn't match exactly then the downloaded file is corrupted. The md5sum file is available on all Linux systems and a copy for windows may be downloaded here. Simply download and save the md5sum.exe program in the same directory as your downloaded .ISO files and run the program from a DOS command prompt as follows to check each .ISO file:

    Code:
    md5sum.exe FC3-i386-disc1.iso
    db8c7254beeb4f6b891d1ed3f689b412  FC3-i386-disc1.iso
    As you can see, the command outputs the checksum together with the file name, and this must exactly match the checksum for that file on the server. In this case it matches so the downloaded file is good and we can now burn it to CD. When burning the image file to CD, it is important to burn the file as a CD image, not just write it to CD as a normal file. You can find instructions here for common Windows CD writing software.

    Congratulations, you've just created your first linux CD and you're now ready to think about installing it.

    ..
    Last edited by Ned Slider; 03-21-2005 at 01:18 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: * * * * All New Linux Forum FAQ * * * *

    Can I try out Linux without installing it?



    Originally Posted by Ned Slider

    Yes. There are a large number of Linux distributions that are available in what is commonly known as Linux LiveCD format. These are typically single CDs that are bootable and run Linux directly from the CD. They load Linux to a RAM drive and thus do not need to be installed to the hard disk. Because they run from CD, they are somewhat slower in booting and do generally require a reasonably fast machine (modern CPU, 256MB RAM) with plenty of memory.

    The main advantages afforded by Linux LiveCDs are that they offer a way to try out Linux without having to install it to your hard disk. This is a great way for potential new users to get a feel for Linux and to check their system for hardware compatibility. They also make very useful system recovery CDs.

    A comprehensive list of Linux LiveCDs is available here. Knoppix is probably the most well known of the Linux LiveCDs, but there are now many variations to choose from including LiveCD offerings from some of the major Linux distributors. They are generally available for download in ISO format - see the section on How to download and burn your copy of Linux.

    ..
    Last edited by Ned Slider; 03-21-2005 at 01:15 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: * * * * All New Linux Forum FAQ * * * *

    How should I partition my hard disk for Linux?



    Originally Posted by Ned Slider

    Basically, you don't - well, not in advance anyway. Most modern Linux installation routines have the facility to partition and install to unpartitioned free space and it is probably best to let Linux handle this for you until you know what you're doing. How much space is required and how it's distributed will depend on the distro, but as a general rule of thumb, you'll need the following:

    Many modern distro's use a /boot partition to store the booted kernel. Fedora, for example, will allocate 100MB to this partition which is more than ample. Generally anywhere between 10-100MB is a sensible size. Next, you'll need a linux root partition (labled "/"). This will store the complete OS and together with all applications. Again, size will depend on the space you have available and how much you wish to install. 5GB is probably a minimum starting point for modern distro's with a good representation of applications installed, 10GB would be better for trying out a distro and more if you have the available space. The root partition can be further sub-divided into partitions but there is no need to do so if you don't want to. The only other partition you'll need is a swap partition that is used like a page file in Windows to swap code from memory to hard disk. Generally it should be at least the size of your physical RAM and up to twice the size of your RAM depending how much memory you have installed and whether you run memory intensive applications and are likely to regularly run out of physical memory.

    Some discussions on this topic can be found here:

    http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=363102

    http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=362819

    ..

  6. #6
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    Re: * * * * All New Linux Forum FAQ * * * *

    What filesystem should I use for Linux?



    Originally Posted by Bonso

    Linux uses its own and as per usual there are loads of them to choose from. The more popular choices that many distros default to are Ext2/Ext3 and ReiserFS. Linux can read and write to FAT32 filesystems (partitions) but only read NTFS with a maintained level of data integrety (ie without having you reach for your backup). I would recommend sticking with Ext3 or ReiserFS unless you need some of the specifics in for example XFS.


    Originally Posted by Ned Slider

    The Linux Ext3 filesystem is becoming the default filesystem for many Linux distros. Generally, new users are probably best advised to stick with the default choice of their chosen distro. An additional FAT32 partition should be used where a user wishes to share data between Windows and Linux on a dual boot system. For example, an NTFS partition for the Windows system, an Ext3 partition for the Linux system, and an additional FAT32 partition that is shared between both Windows and Linux systems.

    ..

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