Linux installation question.....

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sethypoo, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #1
    Hey all,

    I'm interested in downloading a version of Linux to install on an old Compaq laptop (running Windows 98 SE). It has an AMD K6 processor, which should do for basic computing stuff, like surfing the Internet and word processing.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Is there anyway to install a version of Linux and somehow save any or all of the data that is already on the hard drive?
    2. What is the most widely used free version of Linux?
    3. What version (meeting the criteria in #2) is best to use? Most user friendly?
    4. Since the laptop has no Ethernet port, I can't connect it to a high speed connection, and using the internal 56K modem would take a really long time to download an entire OS. I'd like to use my Mac to download the OS, and then burn it to a CD-R, and then install it on to the laptop. Is this possible?
    5. Are there versions of Linux to install that work with pre-Windows computers? Is it, for example, a .exe file for Windows computers?

    Thank you for any help you can give me. Links would be nice too.

    Seth
     
  2. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #2
    Well, for using a K6 processor, I'd recommend either Slackware or an older Redhat, like 5.2 or 6.0.

    The only way of saving data is via CD-R or Ethernet. Maybe you could get a cheap PCMCIA card that would work to backup the data.

    By the way, are you a member of Tremor?
     
  3. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #3
    I don't quite understand your statement "The only way of saving data is via CD-R or Ethernet." I already know this. Please explain.

    No, I am not a member of Tremor.
     
  4. belf8st macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #4
    Check out http://www.linuxiso.org. You'll find links to most of the popular linux distros out there. For a newbie to linux you might want to take a look at mandrake. Simple install for the person that is not familiar with linux. I personally prefer gentoo, but make sure to pack a lunch if you want to tackle it.

    http://distrowatch.com is another good site that tends to offer reviews on the latest distro. If you want to verify that all of the hardware is supported you could always download the latest copy of knoppix. it's a live cd that will boot up and put you in a working linux environment. Everything is loaded into RAM.

    http://www.knoppix.org/

    You'll be able to dual boot and preserve the data on your disk only if you have room to create another few partitions for linux. you'll be able to mount the windows partition from the linux side if you like.

    You shouldn't have a problem running linux on the compaq. How much memory do you have? If you plan on running with kde or gnome, I'd at least make sure you had 192Mb of RAM. If not, you could always use another window manager for X. I like fluxbox!

    This site should help you out quite a bit. http://www.linux-laptop.net/

    good luck.
     
  5. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #5
    Thank you belf8st!

    I am getting a page that looks like the one below, once I go to the mirror site from the Knoppix homepage that looks like the picture below. What do I download first?
     

    Attached Files:

  6. benixau macrumors 65816

    benixau

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #6
    just download the latest .iso file and burn it to a CD with nero or something else. Just burning the file wont work it needs to be opened and burnt.

    In your scree shot the latest file is called
    KNOPPIX_V3.3-2004-02-16.iso

    you dont need the others at all.
     
  7. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #7
    Seth,

    Did you say how big the hard disk is, and how much free space is left? You can non-destructively repartition the hard drive using bootit-ng (which you can download for free), but you'd need enough room for linux plus your current FAT32 partition. Current Linux distros probably need at least a couple GB if you want all the GUI goodness and programs like gimp, open office, kde/gnome, etc.

    If it were me, I'd give fedora a try - fedora.redhat.com. I've had better luck with redhat's installer when it comes to the video card "just working out of the box" than with mandrake, and the installer is just about as friendly. It should run on your K6. The older versions of Red Hat that were mentioned earlier (5,6) tend to be rather insecure out of the box, although they can be tightened down. Version 7 was when RH figured out it wasn't wise to turn on all those services by default. :D Although now that I think about it - you don't have a network card, so your laptop will be fairly secure by design. :)

    The main problem I can see is performance is really going to depend on your RAM. Both KDE and Gnome (the two most common graphical environments under Linux) tend to be memory hogs nowadays. If you don't have a lot of RAM but want a graphical environment, you might need to look at some of the older window managers (TWM, Windowmaker, IceWM).

    Oh, and to answer your "does it need Windows" question. Linux is a self-contained operating system, and is completely independent of Windows or anything else. It will run on any new or old x86-compatible chip (now, running well is another matter. It can coexist on a hard disk with Windows, but it doesn't need to have any other operating system installed.

    Edit: As far as widely-used distros go: Red Hat is dominant in the US and Japan, while Suse (and to a lesser degree Mandrake) are used more in Europe. Fedora is the "free" version of Red Hat. Slackware is a bad idea IMO, unless you want to spend tons of time figuring everything out yourself. It's a good way to become a Linux sysadmin though. :D
     
  8. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #8
    dude why do you want the most popular free distro of linux? why dont you try something new, like gentoo (http://www.gentoo.org) or fedora (like someone mentioned)
     
  9. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    #9
    Um, yeah, because Fedora is the most popular version of free Linux.:rolleyes:
     
  10. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #10
    Gentoo

    A lot of people love Gentoo, but it's not for someone looking for an easy installation. It's more of a distro that Linux geeks really love.
     
  11. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #11
    Sorry about my original reply, but it appears belf8st and others cleared it up. If you have one partition on your hard disk, you will need to resize the partition, then install the Linux OS. Most of these resizings are considered non-destructive, but your mileage may vary.

    The K6 processor may or may not be supported by some of the later Linux distro's so make sure you check the requirements. Slackware will definitely run on your machine, as it only requires a 386 with 16MB of RAM.

    I'm not sure what Red Hat's Fedora has for system requirements, but since Red Hat moved from offering a free edition to Fedora, it seems they've classified it as a development style product. Others may clarify more on that.

    You may also check out Debian. Fink for Mac OS X uses some Debian features, so if you have used Fink, Debian may look familiar to you as well.

    Links:

    http://www.slackware.com
    http://www.debian.org
    http://fedora.redhat.com/download/
     

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