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[vox] Re: Fwd: shoud i get linux?
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[vox] Re: Fwd: shoud i get linux?

Sorry the subject line changed.

> ----- Forwarded message from zmcarrico@ucdavis.edu -----
> Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 02:37:54 -0700 (PDT)
> To: root@lugod.org
> Subject: shoud i get linux?
> From: zmcarrico@ucdavis.edu
> X-Mailer: Geckomail-b16
> Hi,
> I'm starting at ucd this fall and I need to get a computer.  I've
> never used linux before but I like the idea of a cheap operating
> system with open source coding.  Do you recommend I get a labtop with
> windows and partition the drives so I can use linux or should I just
> get linux? If just linux do they sell labtops with linux pre-installed
> or labtops without either windows or linux installed? What version is
> best because the only one I've heard of is Red Hat? Rad site, i think
> I'll join lugod if I ever learn how to use linux.  Thanks for any
> intel you can give.
> -Zac

First, I don't recommend getting a laptop. A laptop is easier to steal,
but an even bigger reason to avoid a laptop is that a laptop's keyboard
and screen make it less ergonomic and you're more likely to injure
yourself. I know someone who has injured herself because of her

I'm not aware of any laptops that are preloaded with Linux on them, but
I am aware of some desktop systems. Walmart.com just started (within the
last few days) selling cheap desktop systems preloaded with
Linux-Mandrake ranging in price from $391 to $648 You'll have to add a
monitor and probably a printer to this yourself. But you can guarantee
that all of the included hardware will work with linux out of the box,
including the modem. This wasn't even true of my computer which I tried
to custom order so that my hardware wouldn't have trouble with Linux - I
had to replace the internal modem to be able to connect to the internet
from home over the summer. For $498, there's a configuration of these
computers that beats the specs on mine.

I personally use Linux-Mandrake. It's a very user-friendly system, and
is one of the most modern distributions out. That doesn't
necessarily make it the best distribution - Debian is generally
considered to be more stable but usually has older software- it's a

As for Windows, I have Windows 2000 installed on my system, but I get
the impression that it's just 5 gigabytes of wasted space. Although I
started the school year using Windows a lot more than Linux, by the
beginning of winter quarter I had almost completely converted. I
purchased my system right when Office XP and Windows XP were beginning
to ship and the corresponding 2000 versions were just ending, so I had a
choice between Windows XP and 2000 and I chose 2000 because I didn't
like Windows XP's licensing arrangements. 

At that point I had never used Linux as anything other than the server
side of a web site (I was a webmaster for my high school, but didn't
administer the web server itself). When Windows BSOD'd over that summer,
I had to totally reinstall the system from scratch, and I left room
behind for Linux on my system when I went through this process. If you
get a computer totally preloaded with Windows, then take the time to
make room for Linux before you do _anything_ with the computer. That way
you won't have to back up documents before reformat to make room, and
you won't have to buy PartitionMagic to resize a partition that already 
has data on it.

If you're not interested in this point at committing fully to Linux, or
you're squeamish about installing Linux yourself, then you can sign up
for a LUGOD installfest when you arrive in Davis. We can help you to
install Linux, even if you haven't cleared out space on your hard drive
before arriving.
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