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The Generic, Basic, (Mini) Linux Starter's Thread

Discussion in 'Linux - General discussion' started by The_Fiend, Nov 17, 2006.

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  1. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    Ok, so if you're reading this, you're probably sick of windows.
    Or maybe you want to try linux to see if it's better than windows.
    Or you want to show off to your friends by saying "hahaha, i'm running linux, i'm more 1337 than you".

    If you fall in one of the first two categories, read on.
    If you're just trying to be 1337, then buzz off, nothing to find here for you.

    First off, let me tell you that linux is not as easy as windows.
    Installing software is a bit more difficult, and the overal navigation can be a bit troublesome at first.
    What makes linux superior is the fact that unlike windows, linux offers it's users full control over their systems, something that is especially interesting to people who are into computer security *like myself* and people looking to have more control over overal program functionality.
    It might be a bit harder to learn how to work with, but trust me, once you realise the benefits of linux, you'll gladly invest your time in it.

    So, let's start with the basics.
    First, some history lessons, which are meant for those truely interested in computers.
    This is not essential data, if you just want to get started with linux, then read on beyond the links.

    the first real OS, UNIX (Linux's "daddy", or "mommy", if you will)
    Linux
    DOS
    QDOS
    Microsoft DOS, or MS-DOS
    Microsoft Windows
    FreeBSD
    OpenBSD
    NetBSD
    =================================================================

    Linx is an operating system (or OS for short), similar to windows.
    Or, i should say this the other way around, because windows is based on unix and linux.

    Linux comes in various releases from different conmpanies, called "flavors" or "distributions" (or distro's for short), that each have their own set of included software, and setup *kernel and architecture, software base*.
    (I'm not going to delve into those last two technical terms, you can find more info here if you want : Kernel Architecture,
    and i think that software base is pretty self explanatory)

    Now, i'll start with the easiest thing for people that want to try out Linux before going in headfirst and actually installing it: The "LIVE" distributions.

    A "LIVE" distribution is a version of Linux (or unix), that runs off a CD, DVD, Floppy, or even a USB stick*.
    It does not install to your hardddrive, but rather runs off the media it's on*, and your system's RAM, and so you can safely use it without losing anything you have on your system, and if you turn it off and remove the live linux medium, your windows will start as if nothing ever happened.

    Some examples of Live distributions are :

    Damn Small Linux(DSL for short)
    Knoppix
    SLAX
    Ubuntu
    Linux Mint
    OpenSuSE
    There are hundreds of other distro's to be found on DistroWatch

    And here's one extra for Pen. testers and security geeks :
    Knoppix Security Tool Distribution Not for newbies or those who don't have the proper IT security Know-how.

    Now, these can all be downloaded via direct download, FTP or Bittorrent, and all you'd need was media to put it on, and ImgBurn if you are going to burn it to a cd or dvd.
    From there on, all you need to do is pop it in your cd or dvd drive, restart your system, and you should be good to go from there.
    *if not, go into your computer's BIOS at startup, and make sure that your computer is set to boot from cd/dvd drive first, then USB or floppy drive, and then the HDD*
    ======================================================================

    Now, onwards for the more daring folks : Installing linux.

    There are two options in doing this :
    Either installing linux over your windows, which means that if you regret that choice, you'd have to re-install everything windows related, or

    Installing Linux on a seperate harddrive or partition, preserving your windows and additional software, sometimes known as Dual Booting.

    ***[bold]if you are going to overwrite your windows, i STRONGLY advise you to backup ANY and all IMPORTANT DATA you have to either a secondary (external) Harddrive or something similar, because if you install linux over windows, EVERYTHING on your harddrive will be overwritten[/bold]***

    First, some more distributions :
    Linux Mint Ubuntu based, made with ease of use in mind.
    Ubuntu Often referred to as the windows of Linux, nice beginner's ditro.
    OpenSuSE fairly easy to use
    Mandrake/Mandriva Linux Famed for it's great 64 bit distro's, comparable to SuSE in ease of use.
    Fedora Core Based on RedHat linux, slightly more daunting.
    Debian Not for the faint of heart
    Again, more distributions can be found at DistroWatch.

    Installing linux over windows is basically as easy as popping in a cd or dvd, and having it overwrite everything on the windows partition(s), so i won't offer any help in this initial post, if you need detailed help, you can post a question here, and i'll try to help out.

    ******[bold]just to make sure this is clear, AGAIN :if you are going to overwrite your windows, i STRONGLY advise you to backup ANY and all IMPORTANT DATA you have to either a secondary (external) Harddrive or something similar, because if you install linux over windows, EVERYTHING on your harddrive will be overwritten[/bold]***

    Since there are many tutorials on how to set up dual booting, i'll post some links here, rather than explain it myself, because most of the tutorials available are way better than anything i can come up with.

    DevHood tutorial
    vsubhash tutorial
    Generic Google search for the lazy folks and the dummies

    Once you have your linux installed, i suggest you read some of the accompanying tutorials to get the hang of how to work with and navigate your distro of choice.

    This concludes the brief starter for linux, hope it's helpfull to some.
    If you have any questions or problems, post them here [bold]with as much detailed information as posssible[/bold]

    Questions like "i can't get my linux to work, any idea what might be wrong?" will be ignored, because i can't tell from here what kind of computer you have, what distro you're running, and what kind of errors you're getting.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2006
  2. 21Q

    21Q Regular member

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    well, thanks for the intro, but I already have linux installed, where's the part on how to install things, I realize it confusing as i cant figure it out, so if you dont mind please add this to your tutorial
     
  3. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    This is a starter tutorial, just for starting out.
    I didn't include installing programs or anything else for that matter, because that varies from distro to distro.
     
  4. creaky

    creaky Moderator Staff Member

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    @21Q - ..plus that's the 'fun' part of linux, "that's your mission, if you choose to accept it" :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  5. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    Indeed, that's what makes it fun, puts the challenge back in computing.
    So figure it out yourself, and start reading those bloody ubuntu forums FFS !
    They're there for a reason.
     
  6. janrocks

    janrocks Guest

    Any chance of some bsd sshd info.. I just can't get my head round it these days. I need to sleep on it, but I lost the capability to delete files off my server because it's lost one half of it's pair.. (or is looking in the wrong place)

    Quick and dirty refresher will do me.. I used to know this stuff before my stroke.. It's one of those holes I find from time to time.
     
  7. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    I hate sshd stuff... does my head in.
    Have you tried metasploit to exploit a(ny) common flaw and bypass the whole thing alltogether, and just getting in the quick and dirty way?
    I take it you mean it can't find half the key pair ?
    And not half a RAID HD setup? *i know, wild assumption, but hey, at least it's creative*
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2006
  8. janrocks

    janrocks Guest

    Heres the prob.. I can log in, but to delete a file it's demanding a ssh2 connection. All passwords are in place, but no public/private key pair (I never bothered setting one up because it's just my home fileserver) When logged in normally..delete is access denied, and ssh gets to password and just hangs blank..
    There's not much stuff on it to be honest that is not replaceable. I'm tempted to just rebuild the whole thing. The FreeNAS systm is lacking in everything but the very basics, and the manual doesn't even touch on this issue. Oops..maybe a mail to the support@ is in the pipeline.

    I'm a bit pi**ed at it really. I used to sort these problems as part of my job until the hospital stuff earlier in the year, must've fixed exactly this hundreds of times...

    CURED!!... When I shoved the files up onto the server I wasn't logged into my admin account (numpty!!) they went as "anonymous"..
    Solution.. chmod -R 777 /mnt/<folder name>

    Then after deleting whatever.. chmod -R 755 /mnt/<folder name>
    for the default permissions on the directory...the files should be changed to 744 (if you can be bothered.. I can't, there are only 2 of us with access)

    See?? I do know what I'm doing sometimes... *phew..was looking like a n00b for a moment back there*
    It's only a small fileserver (1200Gb), on a totally independent network.. No possibility of outside interference, so security isn't really an issue. may just leave it 777 and not worry about the account hassles.

    I found how to deal with ssh keypairs too..but it's brain numbing at this time of night, and I can't be bothered instaling stuff tonight..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2006
  9. The_Fiend

    The_Fiend Guest

    See ? that's why i hate sshd. silly stuff.
    I'd rather use with other id sources that can't be spoofed *yet*, like certain personal identifiers.
     
  10. blivetNC

    blivetNC Regular member

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    Thanks Fiend for a good guide, was able to run a live disk of Ubuntu, runs nice, may be taking this baby out for a good run to see what it'll do with a dual boot on the second hard drive, if that works..
     
  11. janrocks

    janrocks Guest

    Another convert.. Always good to see. ubuntu has improved, but please be aware of it's securuty issues before installing it. As it's built from debian etch (which is STILL) testing it's likely to be a little unstable so you may find a few surprising bugs, but on the whole I'm much happier with it than 4 months ago, plus the ubuntu forums are very friendly and helpful for new *nix users. A refreshing change after some of the *nix places.
    Still prefer my (now) mostly home made debian sarge, uptime 07:52:03 up 20 days, 16:13 stable and secure.
     
  12. blivetNC

    blivetNC Regular member

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    Thanks for the words of encouragement Jan,
    the next step is to figure out how to put the system on the second hard drive and run a dual boot off of it.
    I first tried OpenSuse, but couldn,t figure out how to get on the net, read thru the forums and didn't see anything, then tried Ubuntu and it worked first time. OpenSuse couldn't read a realtek 10/100 card properly I think, and couldn't find any drivers, so I tried the second most popular one.
     
  13. janrocks

    janrocks Guest

    Hmm..Never had any problems with suse and drivers.
    If ubuntu worked then by all means use it, but please make a user account and change your root password immediately after installing.

    To install on a second drive here is a quick and dirty lowdown..
    Linux likes 3 partitions, 2 must be primary and the 3rd can be logical.. First for / (root) where the core of your operating system will go, I use an old xbox 10 gig drive for this, and after more than 6 months there is still 70% free so 10 gig is more than adequate, second a /home.. where your user data, home files, programs and settings will live. Make it as big as possible. 3rd (can be logical, but I always use a primary) for /swap.. Linux needs a swap space, I make it 1 gig for convenience, but twice your ram will do. take a note of the names.. linux uses a different naming convention, drives are hda hdb etc and partitions will be hda1 hda2 hda3 hdb1 hdb2 hdb3... and so on.. now for the weirdness.. cd drives are also seen as hdb or c or d, so you need to be sure of drives and partitions before you install anything. First time.. pull your windoze drive out altogether, you don't want to partition it and wipe everything. Ubuntu is pretty quick to install so just stick the drive for that in on it's own and get it installed. When you feel confident with drive naming and have found the way the partitions like to sit then you can go for both drives and a dual boot.. safety first. ;-)

    I'm running old debian, which ubuntu is built from. There are small differences, but nothing much apart from possibly in the xserver files and you will be on a 2.6.xx kernal which means no scsi emulation of drives for burning. One big headache solved.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2007
  14. blivetNC

    blivetNC Regular member

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    Thanks for the info, I think I'm going to try and work with Suse for a little bit and see if I can get connected to the internet. I appreciate the advice. I have and old 7 Gig hard drive collecting dust in my closet that now has a new purpose in life.
     
  15. blivetNC

    blivetNC Regular member

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    Okay, this is posted from SUSE,Not sure how I got it to work, but it worked. Somehow now able to get onto the internet VIA SUSE, only problem is that the connection keeps dropping and I need to unplug cable from modem and replug to get a connection, any ideas?
     
  16. dragondog

    dragondog Regular member

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    i just got ubuntu...i am new to the linux world and i hear bout ubuntu having security prob. and im am concerned.....i have a firewall dsl modem with a wep key....should i still be concerned....is ther a better linux os i can have fun with insted so i dont have to worrie.....oh yea i enjoy a lot a media so whatever works better thank you...and i did go to all those siten you posted and i still cant make up my mind like i said im new as a fetus.....or maybe youll just say something like the best way to learn is to try them all out...but be4 you do just let you know i dont have that kind of time.
     
  17. dragondog

    dragondog Regular member

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    oh yea and thank you
     
  18. dragondog

    dragondog Regular member

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    what is this im reading bout live disk......you can boot up a os from disk or even a flash drive with out installing it? how dow does that work and what is it for? can you install programs and save them?
     
  19. blivetNC

    blivetNC Regular member

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    A live disk is a "Practice Session" so to speak. The computer will boot up just like the operating system was installed on your hard drive, but not changes are made to your hard drive. The only difference you will notice is that it is much slower than a hard drive installation, and you might not be able to access all of the peripheral devices attached to your computer if the drivers are not installed.
    Just burn an .ISO image file to either a DVD or CD, depending upon the size of the file, set your computer up to boot from the CD/DVD drive, (or USB if the case may be)reboot the system and soon you will be running whichever distro of linux you have chosen. So far I have played with Ubantu, Suse, and Mandrava, my personal favorite is Mandrava which I have installed on an extra hard drive, and when I get the time I'll figure out how to dual boot on the main hard drive.
    Have fun playing with the live disk and welcome to Linux.

    P.S. Heed the learned advice of Janrocks and The_Fiend, they are the gurus here and won't steer you wrong.
     
  20. dragondog

    dragondog Regular member

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    thanks for the help.......when you use live disk can you get online? can you download? can you install a game and play it? how will that workout....and what is dual boot do both os run at the same time? i have xp and i partitioned ubuntu with it but so far all i know is one runs at a time.
     
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