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Nilsiboy

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okay guys, i decided to make a linwin dualboot system. I'm just downloading Suse Linux 9.1 or so and want to use it for media center purposes (like the windows media center edition) because all the software needed for that is expensive for windows and seems to be free for linux.
I've got a few questions:
- how much memory will i need for linux?
- will i need to split up my HD? It already is split in two partitions, one for windows and everything else, the other one for recovery
- what is a good prog for partitioning without losing data? is this even possible?
- would it be easier to just buy an additional HD and use it?
- does Suse have a GUI from the start?
- is installing it complicated? if so, what especially?
- are there differences between linux distributions, so programs run for example on red hat, but not on suse?
 

White Demon

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Congratulations on deciding to try out Linux. I've answered your questions below.

okay guys, i decided to make a linwin dualboot system. I'm just downloading Suse Linux 9.1 or so and want to use it for media center purposes (like the windows media center edition) because all the software needed for that is expensive for windows and seems to be free for linux.
I've got a few questions:
- how much memory will i need for linux?
Generally, most linux distros these days require only 64MB, but you'd be better off having at least 128MB, or preferably 256MB. If you have more ram, that's even better. Like anything else really.

- will i need to split up my HD? It already is split in two partitions, one for windows and everything else, the other one for recovery
What exactly do you mean by recovery? Does that mean you have backed up your windows partition in case of it failing?
You'd most likely be better off buying a separate HDD for that purpose anyway. Then you can partition your main drive for dual booting with windows & Linux and the second drive can be attached to backup purposes.

- what is a good prog for partitioning without losing data? is this even possible?
For this purpose you can get a program called Partition Magic. Just make sure to defrag all your hard drives/partitions before attempting to use Partition Magic. A second HDD (as mentioned above) may also help to make sure all your data is backed up safe just in case something goes wrong (which could happen even if you do know what you're doing).

The best way to get a drive ready for linux is to resize your Windows partition so that the drive has free space on it and then when you install linux you tell the installer to use the remaining free space on your HD. I would recommend about 10GB for using linux, which will be no problem with most HD sizes. If you only have one drive then I would say it should be at least 80GB so that Windows has enough space to operate as well (since, only having one drive you would still be saving stuff to your Windows partition).

Um, this is getting a bit hard for me to explain, so I'll tell you how my computer is set up. I have Windows 98 and Windows XP set up in a dual boot system on a 20GB hard drive, with 10GB allocated to each partition. But I also have a second HD, 80GB, formatted FAT32 which is where I would save all my stuff to. This drive can be seen and used by both Win98 and WinXP.

I also had a third drive, 10GB which currently has an install of Mandrake Linux v10 on. When I want to use Linux, I actually detach my 20GB drive and hook the 10GB drive on. This way Linux loads and I still have full access to all the info on my 80GB drive which Linux can also successfully mount for use. I would triple boot my 20GB drive with Linux too, but for some reason installing Linux on that drive seems to screw up all the Windows systems. It never happened on my previous system, but does now. Go figure.

Generally it's better if you have 2 hard drives, since you can set them up in the way I have above and use the primary drive for dual booting (Win/Linux in your case) and the second drive to save all your data onto. It also means you can access all your info from both Windows and Linux without the danger of screwing up your windows drive when accessing it from Linux (which can happen if you're not careful).

- would it be easier to just buy an additional HD and use it?
As I've said above, an additional HDD may be better for more than one reason.

- does Suse have a GUI from the start?
Most Linux distros these days have a GUI from the start, and SUSE is one of them. Most even have a nice GUI while installing, and will let you choose whether you want to boot into text mode or GUI while installing.

- is installing it complicated? if so, what especially?
The most complicated part you will find is choosing what package groups you want to install, and you can even have the option of choosing individual packages to install. You can easily spend all day just seeing what packages are available. Other than that, installation’s a snap with SUSE/Red Hat/Mandrake (at least).

Just make sure to install all the games, there are some really great ones in there, especially Tux Racer.

The installer will also set up a boot manager which will let you choose to boot either Windows/Linux when you start your computer. Most distros use LILO for this, some also have the option of using GRUB. Just install whichever boot manager your chosen distro defaults to at the boot manager install screen.

- are there differences between linux distributions, so programs run for example on red hat, but not on suse?
SUSE uses the RPM system, which stands for Red Hat Package Manager, when installing new programs. You can also compile programs from the source, which is supposed to be better but I've never been able to do it successfully personally. Red Hat/Fedora, Mandrake and SUSE are all based on RPM but need different RPMs compiled especially for their particular system. Even different versions of the same distro need different RPM builds generally. Most coders that offer RPM builds of their program will have build for the latest version of each distro and also usually the version before too. In other cases you can also find (with a bit of searching) RPM builds for all the popular distros/versions of Linux.

SUSE is generally used in business environments and that is what SUSE is aimed at. Red Hat offers two different versions - Red Hat for business use and Fedora for home use. Fedora Core 3 is the latest home version available.

For beginners, Mandrake is the best version of Linux to go for. The installation is easily the smoothest, (almost) completely foolproof installer and offers the biggest selection of programs across all types of application use. If you are just starting out with Linux, you might want to try Mandrake first. I have tried SUSE (which is pretty good), Red Hat/Fedora (for some reason each successive version has had less compatibility with my system, to the point where Fedora Core 2 looks up during boot up) and Mandrake (which has always installed flawlessly). I have v10 installed, but the latest version is 10.2 (or it may be 10.1, I'm not entirely sure). Mandrake is great for beginners and even some more advanced users prefer Mandrake too.

Mind you, if you are a newbie to Linux, STAY AWAY from any Debian distro. These distros are for more advanced users and while advanced users can get some real power from Debian distros, Linux newbies will get absolutely nowhere with it. Best to start with a RPM based distro (such as Red Hat/Mandrake/SUSE) first.

Hope all this info helps. Any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.
 
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Nilsiboy

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thanks, you answered all my questions....although getting mandrake "could" get a bit complicated for me....i've got 100 hours internet per month and 20 GB traffic, if i hurt one of these i have to pay the money added, if not, my parents pay. however, will get my neighbour to download mandrake for me :p
btw 10.1 Beta is the newest version, but as im a newbie I'll use a safe version (;

oh and recovery means...um... its a 10GB partition with one exe that'll make my pc like it was when i bought it (yeah crappy english i know :D )
 

generalnmx

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Just to note, there are plenty of free PVR / DVR software for Windows. DScaler, WinTV, VirtuaDub, etc. Whether or not Linux is more suitable to be a PVR unit is dubious. In fact, you may want to make sure you have a BT87x chipset with your TV Tuner, otherwise the Linux software may not be compatible! However, I am not really suggesting Windows is more suitable - it has a lot of bloat that will impede encoding.

And I suggest Debian or Fedora Core 3 over Mandrake or SuSE (especially since SuSE is not entirely free). Debian is actually pretty intuitive with a nice GUI installer. If you think Debian is "advanced", then you've never tried Gentoo :D
 

Nilsiboy

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i changed my mind in what i want from a linux unit. i want to do downloads secure (afaik very few viruses for linux), maybe play around with some tools like blender...although i could do this in windows too.... and listen to music and/or watch movies...have no tv tuner at all...
 

yaustar

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The next version of Debian looks to making the install process a lot easier and apparently the net install is the best option.. havent tried it myself yet...
 

Nilsiboy

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i live in germany, but there are mags here, too... I'll try...but unfortunately, i have no money atm, because i bought maracas to play samba de amigo :D
 

Nilsiboy

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ok i got partition magic and want to split 10 GB ferom my 110 GB Win and prog partition. it says it can do in "boot mode"....wtf is this? if i reboot, nothing happens....or can you do that only with registered (bought) PM??
 

generalnmx

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Don't use Partition Magic to make a dual-boot system. If you're going to dual-boot, do it right.

http://www.geocities.com/epark/linux/grub-w2k-HOWTO.html <-- if you already have Windows installed and don't want to worry about NTLDR problems

http://www.enterprisedt.com/publications/dual_boot.html <-- alternative to above

http://www.linuxforums.org/tutorials/grub-...-with-GRUB.html <-- using GRUB on the MBR

If you don't have any OS installed yet, make about a 15GB (min) partition for Windows as the 1st partition (hda0), and rest should be per the install guide for your Linux distro. I'd suggest making the last partition FAT32 to share inbetween the two OSes. So if you have a 200GB HDD with 512MB of RAM, this would be my recommendation:

hda0 - 15GB - Windows NTFS
hda1 - 15GB - Linux EXT3 (Root)
hda2 - 1GB - Linux EXT2 (Swap)
hda3 - 80GB - Linux EXT3
hda4 - 60GB - FAT32 (extended)

Debian 'Sarge' (Testing) Installer will auto-detect any Windows installation and setup GRUB accordingly. Same with Fedora.
 

Nilsiboy

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i dont want to use PM for multibooting, i want to use it for partitioning....thanks god it didnt work. i read the linux boot partition has to be on the first 1024 cylinders of the HD. is that still a fact or did it change?
 

yaustar

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Mandrake will probably be your best bet to get a dual boot painlessly. I did it at one point and it repartioned and setup the boot menu automatically...
 
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