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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject: Looking for an Alternative OS to Windows Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I am currently "on the market" for a new OS. I've looked at Ubuntu, dexOS, and several others but Gentoo has really caught my eye for what I belive an Operating System should be capable of. What I need to know is how hard it is to learn how to customize and set-up Gentoo, how much you can customize it, and generally where to start. I am running Windows XP Proffessional and since they've cut the support my system is glitching and getting buggier and its just time for something better.
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While Gentoo is a great operating system if you want a lean system that has only what you want on it, it is very labor intensive and it does require Linux know how to use.

You can find the install docs here. (Yes, this is the "easy" way) http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/

You might want to look at a simpler Linux to start out with like Debian or Fedora. If you really want to dive right in with Gentoo then know this

1) it will take you several days to get a graphical user interface installed and working.
2) its easer to use the System Rescue CD rather than the official install cd because it includes more of an environment. It does not actually alter the install process.
3) the install process is not a sure thing. Make sure its not the end of the world if you can't get your install working right away, ie make sure you have access to a second computer.
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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the reply, I have been reading a lot on the forum and I do want to learn how to do the major tweaking I need, the one thing I'm worried about is the compiling. I'm just not sure if my system can handle it, I'm running an older desktop with a low amount of RAM and not a lot of upgrade room.
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can probably handle a fair amount. I would say that if you have 25-30 GiB of space to give the root partition, you should have enough disk space. If you have at least gig of ram you should be Ok, but 512 mb is not the end of the world (although you only have about 512 mb ram you can forget about using a fancy desktop). With the above amount of ram you are going to have trouble with some packages and you compile times will be long. Xorg will probably take an over night emerge and kde (which you should not use) could take several days. Larger programs like libreoffice will be impossible to built, but most of those have binaries available.

The bottom line is that unlike windows Linux does not grow very much in its demand for resources over time. To be sure there are applications that have a very high requirement but Linux itself is happy with 60 mb of ram. I have installed gentoo on a laptop with 60 mb of ram. It would take forever to compile anything but it would work. Personally, I would say 512 is a minimum if you want to actually be able to use the computer. My old desktop had that and, aside from a few over night updates, it was manageable.
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creaker
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest to you Debian Squeeze. It is a most stable Linux-based system. Simple and thought-out package management system (aptitude) - it is very important for noobs.
Also Mint (Debian based) is good choise.

But if you need a bloody nightmare - Ubuntu waiting for you. :evil:
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pidsley
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did my first Gentoo install on a Dell Dimension 3000 with a 2.4 GHz Celeron processor and 1G of RAM. Gentoo runs well on old hardware, but the compile times will be longer (hours to compile the X server, and more hours to compile firefox). You will get a good education on deciding what you actually need in your installed system.

Having said that, I still might recommend that you start with an easier distro. If you choose to go with Gentoo, be prepared to install it more than once, use a test machine if you have one (please don't install it on an important machine where you are dual-booting the Windows system you need for work) and don't be afraid to ask questions if you get stuck. The members are very helpful here and have a much better attitude towards noob questions than some other forums.
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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok so I guess my question becomes, where do I start learning how to program it and understand the language?
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DanneStrat
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d_moulton,

Gentoo requires good knowledge of how a gnu/linux system works and you need to know your pc hardware. How you get that knowledge is individual. I started with ubuntu, then moved to debian and also tried arch briefly. When I found myself in need of more control and understanding of my system, I moved to gentoo. You can of course start with gentoo and gain the knowledge by reading and doing practical testing. You can read through the gentoo handbook a couple of times since much of the info you need is in there: http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/

I was also a windows user initially (vista) but when I discovered ubuntu, it didn't take long before I did the transition and it went smooth. I can't see that you can go wrong either way you do it. If gentoo seems too hard you can always use another distribution in the meantime and run gentoo in virtualbox. Right know I run linux mint debian (LMDE) on my laptop and I highly recommend that distro as well.
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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the help and I think I will go with a simpler distro but stay here on the forum while I learn. Everything I've read really says that this is the OS I've been searching for but I have zero Linux experience so I will need to learn and get familiar with it before i try Gentoo.
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@d_moulton, Welcome to Gentoo. :)
d_moulton wrote:
I'm just not sure if my system can handle it, I'm running an older desktop with a low amount of RAM and not a lot of upgrade room.
How about some specifics. How much RAM do you have? What CPU family? How big is your hard drive? Do you want to dual boot Windows and Gentoo?

- John
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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm running an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dualcore Processor 3800+ 2.01 GHz with 1.87 GB of RAM and a 150 GB HDD
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pidsley
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d_moulton wrote:
Thank you all for the help and I think I will go with a simpler distro but stay here on the forum while I learn. Everything I've read really says that this is the OS I've been searching for but I have zero Linux experience so I will need to learn and get familiar with it before i try Gentoo.

d_moulton wrote:
ok so I guess my question becomes, where do I start learning how to program it and understand the language?


I used #!while I was learning (and still do, and I'm still learning!). It's based on Debian stable (but many people on the forum run testing or unstable). The people on the #! forum are very friendly and helpful, tend toward using command-line apps and understanding how Linux works. I would highly recommend it as a great learning distro.

www.crunchbanglinux.org
http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/


Last edited by pidsley on Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might start Learning on Debian Squeeze, I'm just unsure of how to begin I know I'm probably going to have to wipe my HDD, and have to start backing up files I'm just unsure of whether I want the flash Drive download or if I want to try and burn it to a DVD.
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pidsley
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d_moulton wrote:
I might start Learning on Debian Squeeze, I'm just unsure of how to begin I know I'm probably going to have to wipe my HDD, and have to start backing up files I'm just unsure of whether I want the flash Drive download or if I want to try and burn it to a DVD.


Debian live will fit on a CD or a smaller USB stick, and it will let you run it from the CD or USB without installing it so you can see if you like it. It won't touch your hard drive.

Crunchbang (#!) also has a live download that will fit on a CD. You can get the latest version here: http://crunchbang.org/download/testing

Once you decide that you want to install it, both distros have easy text and graphical installers. #! has a much friendlier forum, but they won't mind if you ask questions about plain Debian there.
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The Doctor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I know I'm probably going to have to wipe my HDD

With 150 Gigs you have more than enough room to keep Windows around. I would deferentially back up the files either way. An insulation is asking for the hard drive to get wiped.
Quote:
I'm just unsure of whether I want the flash Drive download or if I want to try and burn it to a DVD

I also have a personal preference to using CDs. That way if I ever want (or need) to use it again I have it. Another consideration is the age of your computer. It might not boot from a flash drive.
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DanneStrat
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d_moulton,

Debian Squeeze is very stable and it uses tried and true older packages including an older kernel, so if you have very recent hardware in your pc it may not be the best choice but in your case it will be fine. If you want a distro with newer packages, Linux mint debian (LMDE) is good. It's based on debian testing (the debian testing branch) that will eventually become the next stable debian release. LMDE is basically debian testing made stable with the help of repository snapshots i.e if there is some problem in the "testing" branch at the moment, you will not get any package updates until they're fixed. LMDE is also a rolling release distro, meaning if you follow the regular updates you are on the latest version and you don't need to reinstall when a new release is made. No matter what distro you choose, you're still using a gnu/linux system so it will be easy to move from one distro to another.

Good luck


Last edited by DanneStrat on Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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d_moulton
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've decided to try CrunchBang and am in the process of downloading it to a flashdrive as we speak. I just want to thank everybody once again. This has been an amazingly helpful community, and I cannot wait until I have the experience and knowledge to use gentoo.
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pidsley
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

d_moulton wrote:
I've decided to try CrunchBang and am in the process of downloading it to a flashdrive as we speak. I just want to thank everybody once again. This has been an amazingly helpful community, and I cannot wait until I have the experience and knowledge to use gentoo.


Good luck, and if you have any problems just post on the #! forum.
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LiamOS
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d_moulton wrote:
I've decided to try CrunchBang and am in the process of downloading it to a flashdrive as we speak. I just want to thank everybody once again. This has been an amazingly helpful community, and I cannot wait until I have the experience and knowledge to use gentoo.

All things considered, it does seem you're quite interested in what Gentoo has to offer. Something worth considering would be having an 'easier' Linux distribution on your computer, but to have a small(But not tiny) partition on which you can fiddle with Gentoo. This way, you could do the installation from within your working linux installation(This doesn't affect it much, and there are guides out there for it), and you could do it casually over weeks or months, and you'd have a working system on which you'll still be learning the whole time. This might be best to do a few weeks in, when you're starting to get comfortable in linux, but it's the setup I have on my netbook, which suits me. I'm still not competent enough to get a properly working system(Kernels are the death of me), but I'm slowly getting there.

Best of luck with your endeavours. :)
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bigbangnet
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to learn then go with Gentoo. the #1 reason is very very simple. Gentoo has the best community ... A first would be to use the handbook and read it completely. If you got problems, post here and people will reply with what you need. Very helpful and even if it's an idiot mistake, no one will judge you here since at some point we all began at zero and had to learn something (I still do since I consider myself a noob). Once your done with the handbook and everything is running perfectly, continue with what you want to do and still use the forum for help.

I started my linux learning path with Gentoo and I don't regret it. Sure I had some problems in the process but I figured everything out with the gentoo community.

In my opinion, what makes a great system is not the system itself but what's around it. You might have the best OS out there but if you got no one to help you when you need it,what's the use ? That what makes Gentoo the best OS for learning linux if you ask me.

And lastly, if you fear compile time, don't fear it, you do it just once for a program and that's it. I mean, you use the program more than you compile it so it's time well spent if you ask me. Take the compile time as an investment since once it's compiled, it will be tuned for your system.
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tclover
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd go to bigbagnet route, simply because...
I switched to GNU/Linux completely with Gentoo and never turned back to Windows(TM) but only started (a very few times) Win7 to use Lenovo RFKill switch in there with a proprietary application when that connman #@*~! killed my wlan interface (afaik, I'd have to bring Windows back on my laptop to just resurrect my wlan iface).

But then, I struggled to install my first Gentoo box after a few days with a running X session (with KDE!)... only to re-install everything from scratch with GNOME2. Well that was the plunge I needed to quit Windows(TM) once for all. You seem to be eager enough to learn that the first installation experience will be a bit hard but 100% feasible. Just be prepared to face it with zero GNU/Linux knowledge!
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