Help a newbie get started with Linux

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Dregg Heda, Nov 27, 2009.

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  1. Dregg Heda

    Dregg Heda Registered Member

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    I have an older XP laptop with some malware which has crippled the system.Since I cant find the original OS disk I have decided to install a linux distro instead. Will I have to nuke the drive with something like HDDErase first or will any malware traces be taken care of when I reformat the drive with the iso dvd? Also which distro do you guys suggest for someone who is new to linux? I was thinking of Ubuntu which is the obvious one? Are there others which you would suggest ahead of Ubuntu for someone who is new to linux? The laptop in question is a HP dv1000 iirc about 4 years old give or take a year. I will be using it mainly to surf the net, use some productivity tools like a word processor and if possible watch some dvds. Thanks.
     
  2. Eice

    Eice Registered Member

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    Reformat will nuke everything, no need for manual HDD erase.

    And yes, Ubuntu is the distro to go for. Large userbase means better support than most distros, and hardware compatibility is among the best as well.

    You can boot into Ubuntu from the CD without installing it. Then, if you like what you see, you can proceed with the install.
     
  3. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    I disagree, PCLinuxOS is the most user friendly distro.

    @Dregg Heda
    I would advise you to check the live cds of PCLinux, Mandriva, OpenSuse, Ubuntu and Kubuntu. For a windows user PCLinux and Mandriva are the best choises until you get familiar with the Linux Universe. :)

    Panagiotis
     
  4. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    PCLinuxOS is not always updated as consistently as Ubuntu is, and there is as yet no x64 version of it either, as far as I know. I'd rate Ubuntu best for someone new to Linux.
     
  5. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Each one has his preferences.

    For me Ubuntu and even worse Kubuntu seem eternal beta distros. I have tried almost every distro since Hoary Hedgehog was released and have yet to find one that is problem free. No wonder is costantly updated. :rolleyes:

    Panagiotis
     
  6. FastGame

    FastGame Registered Member

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    I will agree 100% on the PCLinuxOS, Mandriva suggestions :D Oh and both spank Ubuntu in the speed department (something that should be important on older hardware}

    Been using Ubuntu steady since 8.04 LTS, I know for a fact that PCLinuxOS updates it's applications faster and more often than Ubuntu does. In many cases you'll need to wait for the next Ubuntu release to get what PCLOS users have enjoyed for months........rolling release vs the 6 month release cycle thing ;)

    Yep no 64bit in PCLOS, the HP dv1000 that Dregg Heda mentions has a 32 bit processor.
     
  7. Eice

    Eice Registered Member

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    Heh. Personally, I think it may be the update schedule that's causing the problems, instead of the other way round.

    I do agree that Ubuntu is problematic at times. In its defense, though, I've yet to run across a distro that works OOTB for me; all of them have required tinkering and troubleshooting to varying degrees. For PCLOS it was the inability to login to the KDE desktop after I turned on compositing effects.

    But yes, I'll agree that PCLOS is a good distro for newbies to consider as well, especially on older hardware. Ubuntu would still get my first vote though, due to the size of its user base if nothing else.
     
  8. Dregg Heda

    Dregg Heda Registered Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    thanks for all your suggestions. Per the advice on this thread, Im gonna take a closer look at Mandriva, PCLinux OS and Ubuntu.

    Also , I know that Linux will be immune to any windows virii, etc so I shouldnt worry about driveby downloads and so on since any such malware would just sit there paralysed unable top infect the host. But there is the danger if I stick in a usb drive for whatever reason I might infect the drive which might then infect my other windows machines if I were to use said drive with those machines. Similarly all my laptops connect wirelessly to my router which also has a desktop wired to it. Is there any danger that any malware which finds itself on my linux laptop might be able to infect another windows pc, if both are actively connected to the network at the same time, including the desktop wired to the router, with the 24/7 always on internet connection.
     
  9. Eice

    Eice Registered Member

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    Not unless you use Wine.

    Win32 binaries are literally unable to execute on Linux. You can't run stuff like Microsoft Office, IE, Windows games, viruses, etc. It's not just that viruses (of which the majority are written to target Windows) will be unable to infect a Linux environment, it's that they won't even be able to start up.
     
  10. Dregg Heda

    Dregg Heda Registered Member

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    So is it the same with OS X? If so why is it that when I stick my usb drive into a mac, it gets infected with windows viruses which can be transfered to a PC?
     
  11. Eice

    Eice Registered Member

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    I've never used OS X, so I haven't the slightest clue. Perhaps there was a compatibility layer running on OS X; like I said, the scenario you described is possible if you install Wine on Linux.
     
  12. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    As far as user bases go. If you like the PCLOS LiveCD better than the Ubuntu LiveCD. Then visit both the PCLOS & Ubuntu forums. Then ime the choice is clear.
     
  13. Dregg Heda

    Dregg Heda Registered Member

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    Hmm perhaps I misunderstood something. So basically what you're telling me is that any windows malware which finds itself on my linux laptop wont be able to infect other windows pcs on my wireless network?
     
  14. lewmur

    lewmur Registered Member

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    How old is the XP machine and what hardware specs can you give? Most of the recommendations I've seen posted all involve The Latest and Greatest distros. With older hardware, this might not be the approach you want. For instance, you may be better off with an older version of Mint that is based on a Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu. (Mint is actually better than its parent, Ubuntu, for new Linux users. It has a lot of things preinstalled that, for legal reasons, Ubuntu can't.)

    Or you might even be better serve with a "lite" version of Linux, like Puppy, that is designed to be "resource friendly."

    After all, you know the hardware is insufficient to run Vista or Win7. Why assume it is sufficient to run TL&G Linux distro?

    As to formatting the drive, don't worry about it. Linux distros come with their own partitioning software that will take care of that problem during installation.
     
  15. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    Because Microsoft is a silent partner with Apple. :eek::'(o_O

    Many years ago in a land called monopoly, a failing Apple was resurrected, to the tune of 1 billion dollars (muahahaha..mUHahahahahahaha...:cautious: you get the joke, let's move on.), by Microsoft.
    After this, Apple used pc friendly hardware, able to run Windows on a mac system, instead of their usual proprietary hardware that used to set them apart.
     
  16. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    Oops, forgot about this thread.... Yeah, to each his own I guess. PCLOS was my very 1st distro and I ran it for quite some time, 0.93a I think. Then later I went to Ubuntu. They are both good. I have tried most of the others also, and always find something amiss, and then return to just a few that seem to consistently work best for me.
     
  17. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    From Linux Live CD, from a terminal or konsole,
    Code:
    hdparm -I /dev/(your drive)
    HDPARM can do the same as HDDErase by accessing the secure erase command, thanks to kernel devs. Not sure how long this has been available, but glad I found it.

    From a root account (should have a "#" at end of the prompt)
    1.
    Code:
    hdparm -I /dev/sda
    Result near bottom should say "not frozen" and
    "Master password
    supported
    not enabled"
    If it says "frozen" then hot re-plug the drive after the OS fully boots up.
    2.
    Code:
    hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass uber /dev/sda
    "security_password=uber" means success
    3.
    Code:
    hdparm -I /dev/sda
    Verify Master password "enabled"
    4. This is the ERASE command.
    Code:
    time hdparm --user-master u --security-erase uber /dev/sda
    5.
    Code:
    hdparm -I /dev/sda
    Verify that drive security is
    "Master password
    supported
    not enabled"
    You have now erased equivalent to physical destruction using a standard Linux.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  18. Dregg Heda

    Dregg Heda Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for this Searching!:cool: :thumb:
     
  19. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    To the OP, I recommend spending some time over at Distrowatch
    http://distrowatch.com/

    Take a look at the various distros at the top of the popularity list....you'll see brief reviews about each one, as well as screenshots.

    Ubuntu is quite well known, PCLinuxOS was mentioned above, I also recommend you take a look at Mint.

    Also since you mention a laptop, check into compatibility of the distro you're interested in, with the built in wireless card. As well as the graphics driver..some distros aren't have issues with some of the onboard ATI and nVidia cards in some laptops and require additional researching of getting the proper drivers from repositories.
     
  20. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Indeed, Mint looks excellent - a well polished distro.
     
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