Linux - Newbie questions, I need help!


Limp Gawd
Feb 9, 2004
Ok, i have a spare box lying around and i was wondering some things about Linux because it seems a good way to open my OS's rather than Windows all the time.

System spec;

Amd 700mh athlon
128mb generic ram
16gig hard drive
32x cd rom drive
16meg video card(voddo 3dfx)
floppy drive.

Would this be a good box to run linux i.e fast enough?

also a few more questions...

1) What is the best free Linux version to use, Where can i get it from? How to i actually install it on the machine?

2) is it easy to get started with? or will i have to learn new commands with?

3) security, What free anti virus programs/firewalls are out there? what are the best or ca i simply fire in my norton 200 cd and use it?

any feed back tips or general knowledge would be greatly appreciated, thanks :)
that system will be perfect, although i think getting some more ram wouldn't hurt and it can't be too expensive.

1) Debian, Download the latest version and burn the iso onto a cd.

2) The installer for debian is known to be alittle tough, but if you follow the on screen instructions you'll be fine. Yeah with linux, comes new commands to know.

3) This is one area i'm not familar with. ANd no about norton.

If you're new to this then i would go the Suse 9.1 route, the installer is more newb friendly.
your system looks ok as far as being able to run Linux. i've run linux on a P3 600 w/ 64 megs of ram and a 12 gig hdd. the system wasn't a speed demon or anything, but it was reasonably fast enough to use. one thing i am not sure about is your video card. i don't know for certain if there are drivers for it, but they probably exist.

1) the install of linux can be real difficult. i suggest you try a distribution that has an easy install program like suse or mandrake or fedora core.

since this is your first linux adventure, i suggest you try out a "live cd" version of a distribution. i know suse has a live cd version, i'm not sure if fedora core or mandrake have live cds. basically, live cds are bootable linux operating systems on a cd. once you have one, you can have your bios boot to the cdrom and the live cd will load the operating system into memory. this way, you can download a bunch of different distributions to try them out before actually commiting to an install.

2) learning linux is just like learning anything else. it'll be hard at first, but then you'll get better at it.

3) i don't know too much about linux antivirus programs or firewalls, so i'll leave this to someone else to answer.
piller1999 said:
one thing i am not sure about is your video card. i don't know for certain if there are drivers for it, but they probably exist.

On one of my old servers i used redhat 8 and 9 and it detected the voodoo 3 perfectly.
Thanks for the help so far!

The thing that worries me about Linux is that there are so many versions out there. I know theres stuff like madrake etc and some people have said that in an earlier post.

What my main concern is what is the most newbie friendly version, As in easiest to install, Get up and running and actually use. The main thing im worried about is the command lines? do i have to type a command every time i want it to do something or is it like winblows with a menu.

as ive said before security and network compatability are a few issues for me. I would like to use the box as a server/forum site server etc but i dunno how to go about it.
As for the Firewall/AV, don't worry about it.

a) Viruses for Linux are almost non-existant. Worms are only slightly less so. If you don't run as root there's very little opportunity for them to get in.

b) Linux has a very good firewall built into the kernel; at most what you'd want would be some configuration utility and most of the 'newbie friendly' distros provide one with sensible settings.
to be up and running fast, you will probably want mandrake, fedora, or suse. i loved suse when i started using linux regularly a year ago. but really, any are fine for a novice.

if you are worried about the command line, use window managers kde or gnome, as they can look and function much like windows. when installed with one of the above distros you will have everything in a "start-like" menu.

using the box as a webserver will require at least the installation of apache. many of the installers from the above distros well include optional sever-enabling packages.

i'd advise you at least get comfortable with the command line before trying to set-up a server.
Thanks again.

I'm really stuck for time at the moment so if you guys can post links that would be great.

As for the windows like packages what are the links to them? are all of these free too?#

i dont plan to think about doing a server until im comfertable with linux as you said but knowing that it has the capabilities is nice.

Thats almost all of my questions answered, All i need to do now is get the box up and running and see how it goes.

if i start a webhosting company free megabytes for all :D
As for the windows like packages what are the links to them? are all of these free too?

What you mean?

X is free. Most window managers & desktop environments are free.

I suggest you do an install (or at least boot into Knoppix) and look around a bit to see what's actually there; it'd be a lot more helpful.