[Techtalk] Newbie needs advice

Kathryn Marks kathryn.linux at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 00:47:39 UTC 2008

On Sun, Nov 30, 2008 at 9:20 AM, Juliet Halloran <tataloppit at verizon.net>wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm a college student with minimal Linux experience.  I have an HP laptop
> with 2 internal 80GB drives.  I want to put XP Media Center (which is what
> came with the laptop) on the 1st 80GB drive.  I want to partition the 2nd
> 80GB drive and use half of it for data and the other half for Linux.

Welcome!  I'm not that far past new so I'll try to share what's worked for

> 1)    What is a good version of Linux to use and learn from?

This is like asking which religion is best :-)

Personally, I use Fedora.  Why?  Because the person who has been helping me
though my switch over to Linux runs Fedora.  I did start with Ubuntu and
it's a nice OS.  However, it was easier on both Eric and me if we both spoke
Red Hat.  I know people who love Mandriva.

Fedora recognized all of my laptop's hardware out of the box.  Ubuntu sort
of did.  It didn't get my monitors native resolution.

My best suggestion is to burn a few of the LiveCDs and take them for a

> 2)   What kind of issues could happen from having a dual-boot?  Namely,
> will it work?

Will it work?  Yup.  I can't speak to having things on separate hard
drives.  My laptop will actually triple boot.  I have Vista (pre-installed),
Kubuntu, and Fedora.  I use Fedora on a daily basis.  Kubuntu is for those
times when I want to know the differece between the Debian way and the Red
Hat way.  It's also helpful when you make mistakes editing config files and
you cause a kernel panic on Fedora.  You just boot into Kubuntu (or a
LiveCD), mount the Fedora partition, fix what you broke, and then reboot.

> 3)    What are some good websites and books I could use to learn Linux
> better?  I have some books, but they're from older distributions - Fedora
> Core 2.

I have "A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors and Shell
Programming".  It's a nice book.  My brother (a CS major and Linux guru)
bought it for me last Christmas.

> I already have some CompTIA certs and I want to get the Linux+ cert as well
> so I'd appreciate any advice about how to get proficient.

Don't be afraid to experiment.  It's really hard to break things.  And often
when you do, it's relatively easy to undo what you did.  I was terrified of
the shell when I started out.  Now I find I prefer it for doing some things.

If your data is separate from your OS, what's the worst that you'll have to
do but reinstall the OS.  A Linux install is much less painful than a
Windows install.


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