Complete Linux Noob

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Complete Linux Noob

Postby Quagmire on Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:28 pm

I have never so much as seen Linux run before. A co-worker struck up a conversation with me about linux Mint, which is what he uses, and, since I have a spare computer I am not doing anything with currently, I decided to give it a shot. I downloaded Mint from this website like my friend told me, and burned the .iso as a bootable disc (I understand the difference between creating a bootable disc from an iso and simply burning the iso file to a data disc) Upon inserting the disc into the machine and rebooting, The screen flickers a little bit and I see some text about linux...(debian?) or something like that. and then the screen goes completely blank. the keyboard is utterly non-responsive (cant turn scroll/num/caps locks on at all) it does't look like it is even drawing power from the computer. I have searched through many forums including this one and simply cant find anything that will work. I found out about a .exe for windows that i could supposedly run (unetbootin, i think it was called) and it would allow me to dual boot using the .iso file on the machine from what i understood. I directed it to the .iso file and selected the local harddrive and kit ok, it said that i should be able to select it as a boot option and asked if i wanted to reboot, i did, and windows came up just like normal, never having given me any other boot option. As soon as windows started up, unbootin came up and uninstalled itself. Another friend told me that he thought linux wouldnt work on HP machines, so I guess that is the heart of my question; Will Linux simply not run on some machines, or am I simply failing at Linux? The machine I am using is a 3-4 year old Sony Vaio http://129.33.22.12/release/specs/VGCRA820G_mksp.pdf
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Fred on Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:03 pm

Quagmire,

I see nothing in the specs you referenced that would keep mint from running on your equipment. It sounds like you have a bad cd. You should burn the cd s-l-o-w, 4x... no faster than 8x. Burn as an iso of course, you already know that. You should also burn it in a RAW mode. Usually shown as TAO, DAO, or SAO. After you burn the cd verify the md5 sum with the one on the download page for the Mint version you downloaded.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby sundayrefugee on Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:23 pm

Often times, especially with laptops, using acpi and/or apic "cheat codes" when first booting can solve this problem as well. You may wish to give this a try. Since Mint is based on Ubuntu, here is an *excellent* tutorial on how to do this, both for starting the cd, and for when you have it installed. Note that specifically you are looking for noacpi, noapic, nolapic, and, as a *last* resort, noapm. If you have to use "noapm", post back for how to fix this once you have it installed.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootOptions
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Dutchmaster on Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:22 pm

I'm not sure what "blank" means. If it means a white blank screen, try this............

When I boot my laptop initially, I see grub menu or something like that, then the LinuxMint menu. At the bottom of the screen at this point, I have to delete text that ends with "r/w quiet splash." or similar language. Then mine boots fine.

Welcome to Linux-world! Please don't give up yet on Linux. If LinuxMint won't work, try PCLinuxOS or Mepis also (at least). They have some differences in how they are set up at boot and will work on some machines that won't boot other distributions.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Quagmire on Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:33 am

WHEW! It has been an interesting week so far! Mint never did load on that machine, and by blank screen, I mean solid black, could not see anything. under the mistaken guess that I maybe needed to load ubuntu first because that was what mint was built around, I loaded ubuntu and it works perfect. I discovered through forum searching that the ati graphics card that machine has and linux mint do not get along. Now I am considering putting Mint on my "good" computer which currently has windows vista on it. I have my data backed up, and what I am wanting to do is dual boot windows vista ultimate (I have been considering upgrading to that anyway) and Mint. I loaded the live CD on that machine and it was AMAZING. Mint was running insanely fast, I could not even tell it was running off the live CD. My question now is; can you dual boot windows vista ultimate and mint? I have seen some posts in other forums saying no, but not really going any further on the subject. My ultimate goal is to dual boot vista ultimate and mint on my good machine, and load some linux server action on my other machine. I still need Vista because I play new, high end games, but I want to use mint for everything else (e-mail especially. Holy eff Linux knows how to do e-mail All I had to do is give my Company's exchange server"s url and my login and it was like I was sitting at work, I could never get outlook to do it that well.) One of the issues with my dream is that I heard that if you buy a legitimate copy of vista, you can only load it 3 times on 1 machine. I.E. if I wanted to format my machine, (which I usually do about once a year, screw you windows) I could only do it two times after the initial installation. Does anyone know if this is true or not? I heard it from a friend, but can't find anything on the internet explaining it, I hope my friend is just wrong. I realize this is no longer a loading/booting issue, but I would appreciate some help if anyone knows; 1: if you can dual boot vista ultimate and mint. 2: If vista can only be activated with Microsoft 3 times before the disc you payed upwards of $300 for becomes useless. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:18 pm

Accidental double post.... sorry
Last edited by Fred on Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:18 pm

Quagmire,

Welcome to Linux and Mint. I have a few suggestions for you before you start installing on your main system.

1) I am assuming that Vista is using your entire disk currently. That means you will need to shrink your Vista install to make some room for Mint. I know many will tell you you don't need to defrag your Windows install first, but I am not of that school. You would be well advised to take that little bit of extra time and defrag before you start this process. It just gives you a little more margin for safety when you shrink the Vista install.

2) I consider a Windows drive full at 80%. Windows doesn't like a full drive. It gets very slow very fast. Do a rough calculation of what the total size will be after you add any data/program space you see in your Vista future, then add 20% to that total. Don't shrink your Vista install below that size. If you can't get at least 10 Gig. for your Mint install, I would seriously consider purchasing another hard drive to add to your system before you attempt a Mint install.

3) Use Gparted, either by downloading the live cd iso or using the Gparted program on the Mint 4 live cd install disk to resize and partition your hard drive before the install. Depending on the space you have available and the needs of the next section, you may want to create an extra partition to hold your Windows backup image.

4) If you are concerned about the number of reinstalls Vista will allow, use one of the cloning or imaging programs that are available so if a reinstall is needed for some reason you won't have to use the Windows install disk. Ask in the forum for advice on which program to use. There are others much more qualified to help you with that chore.

5) There may be one or two more small partitions on your hard drive with the Windows install now. Make sure that you leave that partition arrangement the way it is. When you shrink your Vista install move the other partition back up adjacent to Windows where it was, putting the space you liberated at the end of the partition table. The unallocated space should wind up on the right most part of the graphic in gparted.

6) Read... There is a lot of information in the forum and on the Mint wiki that will give you a head start so you won't be going into anything completely blind. The search function in the forum is not the best I have seen but it is quite adequate for finding information on key words. Don't hesitate to use it.

7) A bit of philosophy to end with. You can go to two different extremes. You can insert the live cd, boot it up, push the install button and hope for the best. Or, you can study and learn as much as possible over the next two or three years, and then install. There is a happy medium in there somewhere that balances the risk of problems with the odds of a successful install. The point between thess two extrems is a personal decision. So do as much prep work as it takes to make you comfortable, but in the end you are going to have to actually install it for a successful conclusion to be possible. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Quagmire on Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:09 pm

Fred,

Thanks for the break-down, I have been doing a lot of forum jumping and reading various things. The thing about retrieving information from the net is that you sometimes have to take it with a grain of salt, and I figure my best chances for real information are here. I had heard and completely intended to defragment my machine before attempting this, it just makes too much sense. I feel pretty confidant as far as knowing what I need to do to get both operating systems functional, but one little tweak I didn't mention before and can't seem to find good info on is this: I intend to dual boot as you know, but I was wondering if I could set up a third partition (I assume it would be best to do within windows) and format it fat32 (which seems to be the filesystem that both windows and linux will recognize) and put my movies/music/documents/pictures and other data on such that I could access said data from within either operating system. I have a 400 Gb harddrive in the machine, and I was hoping I could try to get at least 150-200 Gb allocated to the data parition I just desribed, at least about 50 Gb to play around with in linux, and I know windows will definately hog the rest (if not more) Is this feasible, and is it as simple as I am imagining it? I speculated that I would be able to shrink Windows as much as is safe, and make the fat32 partition I spoke of, and then install linux to the rest. Is there something I am not taking into account? Thank you guys for the wealth of information so far, I really appreciate it.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:36 pm

Quagmire,

Yes, you can have a shared partition with Windows. I would make it a NTFS partition though. Mint supports NTFS out of the box, both read and write. Many/most distros don't, at least not very well, that's why you hear the FAT 32 recommendation a lot. NTFS is more robust than FAT 32 and you don't have the file size limitations. This could be important when trying to share large multimedia files or download isos. I would suggest one NTFS shared partition, and the rest of your data partitions ext3. Ext3 is a superior file system to NTFS. It is more robust, faster, more secure, and more fault tolerant than NTFS. Use your NTFS partition as a transition partition so-to-speak. You have a large drive, so you have a lot of options as to system structure.

I strongly suggest you follow the links given in my post in the reference thread below. This may give you some ideas as far as system organization and understanding some basics.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=11502

Fred

EDIT: The above thread is developing well. He is asking some good questions that might be relevant to you down the line too.
Last edited by Fred on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Quagmire on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:06 pm

Nice. Yeah, I was thinking Linux in general didn't do NTFS, thank you for clearing that up, NTFS is certainly superior to Fat32, even a windows user like me can appreciate that. I have read every bit of the material especially your other posts that you linked and I feel enlightened. especially that whole part where you explained how Linux treats partitions. I was trapped thinking, "I want to make a data partition separate from OS files as is common in Windows basic networking" but your info really shed light on that subject for me, so again, thanks a lot.
Quagmire
 

Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:24 pm

Quagmire,

As I pointed out in that first link, partition mounting and the independence of storage, file system concept is probably one of the most difficult things for a new Linux user coming from Windows to get a good handle on. But it is the secret to the flexibility of the Linux infrastructure layout. It also gives you the ability to optimize your install for your intended use instead of the one size fits all requirements of Windows.

If you can honestly say that you understand what I was talking about in that first link, you will be ahead of the vast majority of new Linux users. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby atlef on Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:27 am

Hi, and welcome to Linux Mint.

I am a little off topic here, but I find it hard to read your posts quagmire. Not to offend , but could you maybe use enter a couple of times just to break up your posts.
Other then that, it is always good to see new users.

atlef.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby Fred on Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:55 am

atlef,

Good morning sir,

You certainly are in a good mood this morning. Would you like a cup of coffee? :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
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Re: Complete Linux Noob

Postby atlef on Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:14 pm

No, I'm ok. :lol:
Just find it tiresome to read such posts. I see this in other forums as well. Maybe it's just me.

atlef.
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