[lug] Basic Guidance Solicited

Ed Hill ed at eh3.com
Mon Sep 23 18:54:04 MDT 2002

On Mon, 2002-09-23 at 18:04, Charlie Rose wrote:
> I am planning on installing Linux on my 1 GHz PC as a second OS to
> the Windows 2000 that is already there. I can devote 20 GB to the
> Linux operation. Although I've been working continuously with one
> computer or ten others for the past 40+ years, I am an absolute
> novice in the Linux world (despite running a Unix-like command line
> shell over DOS for many years).
> The many flavors of Linux that are available is somewhat intimidating
> and not a little confusing, and I'd appreciate it greatly if any of
> you would recommend one or more flavors that would be good for me to
> start with ... and, just as important, any that I should stay away
> from. The RedHat that comes from KRÜD is appealing because of the
> latest updates and patches with which it's bundled ... but what do I
> know?

Hi Charlie,

I believe that we spoke at the last Installfest on the CU campus.

Let me let you in on a secret: once you get Linux installed, there
really aren't huge differences between most of the major distributions. 
The major distributions (Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Debian, etc) for the
most part all include slightly different versions of the same software. 
They also have somewhat different file system lay-outs (though the LSB
is helping to standardize things: http://www.linuxbase.org/) and they
use somewhat different "package managers" to control how binary versions
of software are bundled and installed.  But the differences are, in many
ways, largely cosmetic.

For a Linux beginner like yourself, I'd recommend one of the RPM-based
distros such as Red Hat, KRUD, Mandrake, or SuSE.  They all use the RPM
package manager (so most third-party commercial software will easily
install and run on them), they all have good (user-friendly) installers,
and they're all rather similar once the install is complete.

So good luck with your foray into Linux!


ps - I looked at http://www.isaac.com/ and you're probably going to 
     enjoy scientific software development on Linux.  I've been using 
     Linux and GCC as a development platform for both large-scale 
     simulation (eg. PDEs for groundwater flow and transport) and 
     optimization (eg. LS and ML methods for X-ray absorption 
     analysis) programming for some years.  If you'd like some help 
     getting started with Linux for scientific computing (or just 
     porting your codes to Linux) please feel free to contact me.

Edward H. Hill III, PhD 
Post-Doctoral Researcher   |  Email:  ed at eh3.com,  ehill at mines.edu
Division of ESE            |  URLs:   http://www.eh3.com
Colorado School of Mines   |    http://cesep.mines.edu/people/edhill.php
Golden, CO  80401          |  Phone:  303-273-3483    Fax: 303-273-3311
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