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Running Linux on Intel


I am pretty much a windows person - and I would like to start the process of learning a *nix system.

What would be the best way to start to use Linux on my intel machine - I currently have Windows XP (Pro) which I would like to keep.

The options I seem to have are:

Dual Boot - i.e. Particion the HD

VMWare - running the linux as a guest OS on my PC

Virtual PC from Microsoft - same process as VMWare

I bought Virtual PC over the weekend and loaded up Red Hat Linux 7.2  - the intsallation went without a hitch. But I cannot share files across my guest OS (Linux) and my host OS (Win XP). Although the material said that sharing files across guest OS were a piece of cake - this does not appear to be the case for Linux as a Guest OS.

Also the networking seems to be shot - I cannot access the internet when I am in the Linux interface.

Has anyone tried running Linux via the Virtual PC route? Should I persevere or try another process?

Thanks for all feedback.

Monday, July 5, 2004

Isn't this the sort of question you should be asking tech support?

not VPC tech support
Monday, July 5, 2004

Get a copy of the Slack-based DragonLinux. It uses UMSDOS. So you boot it from Windows (A batch file boots its + the whole Linux OS is in a image file on the FAT32 disk.)

Or DL a live CD distro (Knoppix or DSL) and boot of your VM software, set to "boot from CD Drive". Make sure that Network settings are configured properly before accessing the Host OS.

Monday, July 5, 2004

just download a live distro & boot your computer from the CD!

here's a partial list. i've only tried knoppix.

a bigger list:

Monday, July 5, 2004

I used fedore core 1 on Virtual PC 2004. It worked fine, you just need to configure it like a normal PC and forget about the fact that it really is a virtual PC.

I have FC1 accessing the network just fine, and I can even run a packet filter on FC that watches all the packets on the network (just to prove to my brother that I (or somebody else) could read his MSN conversations if I wanted :))

Chris Ormerod
Monday, July 5, 2004

Virtual PC doesn't support Linux. Buy VMware, it will install native Linux tools drivers that will enable easy filesharing between guest and host. Virtual PC is just a poor imitation of the real thing.

Monday, July 5, 2004

Anyone tried CoLinux?

It apparently will run Linux inside a windows on Windows without needing VMWare or Bochs.

Matthew Lock
Monday, July 5, 2004

Oh yeah check out Bochs, it's an open source x86 emulator - kind of like VMWare but it's not using virtualisation:

Matthew Lock
Monday, July 5, 2004

Don't check out bochs at this stage. It's dead slow, and mostly useful to O/S and driver developers. If you want something to run and be usable, use VMWare, Virtual PC, or QEMU (The latter is free software).

And if you feek adventurous enough, coLinux might be for you.

Ori Berger
Monday, July 5, 2004

You missed my favorite option: Install Linux on a separated box and use a X server on your window box.

You don’t have to mess with your Windows XP installation, and still you can run both Windows and Linux software in the same environment, as you can see in this screenshot:

… but you need an extra box.

Monday, July 5, 2004

> Anyone tried CoLinux?

Yes, I do.  It works find for me.
I use it to have an Apache server on Linux (actually Debian) and one on Windows on the same physical box.
I only use it as a server, that is to say command line in a terminal.

Monday, July 5, 2004

"I would like to start the process of learning a *nix system"

Decide ahead of time what you really want to learn. One of the desktop environments like KDE or Gnome? Applications like Apache or Samba?

The reason I say that is because unlike MS Windows, the Unix operating system itself is pretty small; not much more than the kernel. Then there's the file system(s) and a gazillion utility programs that don't require X windows to learn and run. I suggest you start out by avoiding X and the desktops at first; in fact much of what you'll need to know will make more sense in a command line environment (CLE). Learn the editor everyone must know (vi), learn how to configure the file system, printer, network (including Samba), web server, databases like MySQL or Postgresql, etc. Then (if you see a need for it, and for a Unix server you might not) you can set up X and start learning another gazillion windows based programs.

I like FreeBSD for a command line based system, very fast and easy to install. It might have a couple of rough spots installing X if your video card is real old or real new. And as someone mentioned earlier, find an old PC or get another hard drive, it's lot lot less stressful to know you can reformat and fdisk whenever you want.

Tom H
Monday, July 5, 2004

I would also recommend the "use a second disk drive" option.  I did that when I first installed linux (back in teh days of Red Hat 5), and used lilo to manage the dual booting - the original hard disk was my windows boto disk, the second ("D") drive was my linux disk.

As well, avoid X-Windows and the Gnome / Kde / etc stuff initially.  Once you have come to gtrips with the command line, Bash (the shell), vi, and similar tools, you will have a much better understanding of how the system works.

Ken Ray
Monday, July 5, 2004


With the xwindows on a separate box option, how easy is it to transfer files between the two?

Ged Byrne
Monday, July 5, 2004

buy a cheap computer (<$100USD) and install linux or bsd on it. Don't use X windows in the beginning.

Tom Vu
Monday, July 5, 2004

If you're on XP you are likely using NTFS.  If that is the case, support for reading NTFS is pretty okay, but for writing it's still in alpha quality (which means you could lose data!).  I would recommend setting up a separate FAT partition and putting files there that you want to swap around.  That way you're at way less risk of losing something.

I would strongly recommend starting with KNOPPIX.  In case you don't know, a liveCD is generally defined as an operating system that runs directly off the cd.  You put it in the cd drive, boot your computer, and have a fully working, configured operating system with which to play around.  KNOPPIX is nice because it has a ton of software and it autmoatically configures itself (networking, graphics cards, sound cards, etc.).  You'll wonder why windows installation is such a pain when an OS can figure everything out by itself...

Of course, you'll likely have issues if you have and intend to use some sort of strange hardware (like winmodems especially).  Good luck!

Monday, July 5, 2004

"how easy is it to transfer files between the two?"

FTP has been around for decades, it's very easy.

Anony Coward
Monday, July 5, 2004

Aside from FTP, what you probably want to do is set up Samba on the Linux system, and then your Windows machine will see it just like a Windows file server. There are NFS clients for Windows but they pretty much suck compared to Samba.

Dan Maas
Monday, July 5, 2004

Ged Byrne:

I use ftp to transfer files and Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) as a ftp-client. It works just as easy as transfer files between two Windows boxes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

>> I use ftp to transfer files and Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) as a ftp-client.

Aren't the two the same?

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Dual boot, defrag and scandisk your windows xp partition and then use partition magic to make an empty partition the size you want to dedicate to linux plus some more space so you can make a fat 32 partition to use to copy files back and forth.. this blank space can be 5-6 gigs or as big as you think you might need.

Using partition magic, make the fat32 partition.. think about the types of files you'll need to transfer to linux.. you shouldn't need more than a gig in this partition, maybe even less.

Assuming you are using a relatively easy to install linux distro (debian, redhat, mandrake, etc) you can partition the rest of the blank space during the install.. generally there will be a swap partition of 512 or so and a root partition of the rest of the space.. generally these 2 linux partitions end up being within a logical partition. 

If you want to get advanced, you can have another partition for /home /apps and whatnot, but it's not required. It's much easier just to have a swap partition and a root partition.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Running the secure OS inside the insecure feels kind of backwards for me. But it all depends on what you do of course. (As for the question, I've only used vmware which worked flawless.)

Jonas B.
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

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