[Nottingham] Starting out

Stephen Hodgson S.Hodgson-03 at student.lboro.ac.uk
Wed Nov 5 09:32:49 GMT 2003

Hi Jay.

The first step is to select your distribution - there are literally 
hundreds out there although you should probably stick with a popular and 
well-known one with good documentation to start with.  For someone with 
UNIX experience it is probably worth looking at Debian or Slackware for 
a first distribution but ensure you have read a getting started guide 
for the distribution you choose first in case there are any issues you 
need to be aware of.  You should also have an understanding of the kind 
of partitiong scheme you require if you choose either of these distros. 
  Both Debian and Slackware are freely downloadable from debian.org and 
slackware.com.  You can also download boot disks can use them to get an 
FTP install started, the advantage of which is that you'll only download 
what you need.  If you don't have a broadband Internet connection then 
you can buy CD sets for very reasonable prices. 
http://www.linuxemporium.co.uk/ is one place where they'll download the 
distro for you and put it on CD for a few pounds but there are a few 
others too.

The other popular 'advanced user' distro is Gentoo but I hesitate to 
recommend Gentoo if you're installing to a 300MHz Celeron system, as the 
whole idea is that you compile every piece of software yourself and that 
might take a considerable amount of time on such a low-spec machine.

If you're after a quicker start then the most popular 'newbie' or 
'Windows user' distros are SuSE (www.suse.com) and Mandrake 
(http://www.mandrakesoft.com/).  Both of these distros include GUI 
installation routines and point-and-click system administration tools as 
well as automatic disk partitioning.  You'll also find distros included 
on the cover discs of magazines like Linux format (which I believe costs 
about £5-7).

Awk and sed are pretty much included as-standard with every distro. 
There are a number of text editors that you'll find useful when shell 
programming but it's all a matter of taste but for getting started 
you'll find vi and vim are included with all major distros.  In terms of 
what tools you can use... well... the list is almost endless - there's a 
tool for every task and they tend to be freely available on the 
Internet, along with source code.  Select your task and then use Google 
and it shouldn't take long for you to find something.  Consider that 
Linux powers a great many webservers, mail servers, file servers and so 
on and you should get an idea of just how many and what sort of tools 
are available.

Stephen Hodgson

jay haynes <jasonz249 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi
> I have now got a Compaq 300mhz celeron and am ready to start. Where do i 
> get a copy of linux from to install. Also what tools can you use with 
> Linux , does it have sed or awk or any shell programming utilities.
> Cheers
> Jay
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