Linux? etc

So I’m a bit bored, and my computer is getting kinda slow, and I’m playing less and less PC games lately, so I thought I might go ahead and switch to a different operating system. I’m thinking BeOS, because I love it so dearly, but if anyone wants to tell me about all the awesome new linuxes, I might go that route.

Also, what’s the fastest/easiest/best way now to take my single-partition Windows drive and make it dual boot with another OS? Last time I did this it was ohboutfiveyearsago, and I defragmented and used FIPS… but this hard drive will take forever to defrag, and FIPS was kind of a pain, and I never got BeOS into the NT boot loader, and… yeah, basically, tell me how to make this the least of a pain in the ass possible. I know how to do it the hard way, but I don’t really feel like it.

I’m already losing interest, so the sooner I get this advice, the better.

Edit: Here’s some history on my *nix background: I have a fair amount of specific Unix experience on servers, none of which will matter here because I really just want a simple, low maintenance desktop for once, because I just don’t feel like dicking around with it right now. But I know my way around, so you don’t have to baby me. In the past I’ve run SuSE pretty extensively, also FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Slackware, Debian, and Mandrake. I’m not interested in Redhat/Mandrake/etc right now… basically, not something dumbed down, but not something that makes me compile the kernel and every app I use every week either.

Also, suggestions for good Linux apps (like a Trillian replacement that works, for starters) are welcome.

SuSE just completely opened up to the community. You can download 9.3 Pro or the 10.0 Beta1 from

If you haven’t tried it though, I’d strongly suggest giving Ubuntu a shot. Although its based on Debian, its a far smoother ride, and its got a lot of integrated and well designed apps to update your distro rather painlessly. It’s also got the Big Mo’ as far as community support.

I know SuSE says it will resize an NTFS partition, and it likely works, but I haven’t had the guts to try it. I’d still use partition magic, if you have a copy, shrink your current partition, and free up some space for an Extended/Logical partition for Linux.

There are plenty of IM/IRC apps available. I tend to favor Gaim in Linux, but Kopete isn’t bad either.

Thanks, Ubuntu is what I was looking at. What specifically is available for it, or even just Linux in general, these days? What’s the best video player? What’s the best MP3 player? Bittorrent client? CD burning utility? And I hated GAIM last time I used it; has it gotten better? Does it support MSN?

UbuntuGuide is a great starter’s guide with directions on how to get extra packages. They made getting a working video player with win32 codec capabilities a breeze.

The UbuntuForums are available for any questions you may have…

My personal preferences, which are probably not the same as anyone else’s:

Video Player: MPlayer and VLC.
MP3 Player: XMMS (It’s pretty much Winamp for *nix)
Bittorrent Cliet: I just use Azureus.

Gaim has definitely improved over the years, and supports MSN for as much as I use it anyway.

Whoa, what the hell is this fucking thing? Some kind of hoax? They claim that it runs Windows games under Linux… hundreds of them, including some good ones (Gothic!!!111one1).

I feel like I have to do this now, if only to see this thing in action.

Edit: Guild Wars! Jesus.

Yeah, that’s what Transgaming does. They take the WINE code, run popular games against it, and fix/add the features that those games need. So you get a tested system that runs Windows games.

Now… I’m not sure what the performance hit is.

And Linux is always going to be tweakier than Windows, but that’s fun for some people.

I tweak with OSes all day long at work, and my last job had me putting together a custom embedded Linux setup, so well, tweaking with Linux at home isn’t as much fun.

You can’t be arsed to defrag your hard drive, but you’ll install an alternate OS?

I’m sorry, I should clarify:

I’m not opposed to tweaking, and yeah, I’ll defrag my HD, etc. I just haven’t used linux in nearly five years, and I wanted to get the skinny one what the current most straightforward ways of doing this stuff are.

Essentially, I don’t mind tweaking while I’m setting it up (though I shouldn’t have to spend days tracking down drivers and stuff), but I’d rather it just stayed working most of the time after that, unless I feel like making a change.

BTW: boot loader? Should I use the Windows one, or is there a good other one by now? And am I right in assuming that it will be able to read the data from my NTFS partition without a problem by now?

I second ubuntu. I use it too.

Bootloader is annoying if you use Lilo. Use GRUB. ubuntu uses that by default.

When you get comphy, edit /etc/apt/ to include the Universe stuff. It’s a whole range of unsupported software that will actually more than likely work. Use the synaptic package manager in your files menu to browse the listings after you change /etc/apt/

And befor eyou pay for Transgaming, ububntu has Wine preinstalled. Try inserting a windows game cd, opening a console, and typing wine /cdrom/

Then have fun!

Thanks! And finally, which is better these days: KDE or Gnome? I know there’s been some jostling over the years.

Oh, and TG’s site makes it look like Cedega is free. No? Regardless, I’m amazed Wine is actually apparently good for something now.

Edit: I was wrong, it’s not free, they just have a completely bizarre payment model. You have to pay them… a monthly subscription? And while your subscription is active, you have access to their releases, which continue to work if your subscription lapses, you just lose the ability to upgrade.

There’s still jostling vis a vis KDE and Gnome, although the major devs for both desktop manager outfits now all work for Novell (ergo SuSE).

Ubuntu favors Gnome, while there’s an offshoot called Kubuntu, which is the same distro, but with a KDE slant. If I were using Ubuntu though, I’d stick w/ Gnome and the original distro personally.

I’ve been subscribing to Transgaming forever. The Transgaming game wiki is a good source for the problems you may encounter with any given game.
A lot of titles, particularly not brand spanking new games, do work quite well.

… and what Transgaming does for games, CodeWeavers does for business apps.

There’s something twistedly amusing about being able to load up Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word on my Ubuntu workstation.

It better be amusing, because I sure can’t think of any other reason to do that.

I do small-time HTML work on my Linux workstation, and sometimes I really am too lazy to bother switching over to the WinXP worstation to test the layout on IE.

Of course, most people use CodeWeaver’s Crossover Office for either MS Word or Adobe Photoshop and the like. The fact that IE works is more of a side-effect of that than anything else.

Oh, ok. That’s not a bad reason, I guess.

So one thing I’m anticipating problems with is sound. Mine is onboard… will it work, or will it make me want to cut my balls right off?

Extar – here’s how to check some of this Ubuntu stuff out (including sound):

  1. Download Ubuntu Live CD disk image.
  2. Burn image to CD.
  3. Boot off CD.

Done! (it’s one of those spiffy boot-up-and-try CD images, leaves your hard drive untouched)

Eh, maybe. It depends on whether the install disc is done downloading by the time I get home tonight.

Even though Ubuntu is the current “hot item” I’ll add in a suggestion for Mandrake(called Mandriva now). I think its a well made distro that’s one of the more user friendly(for linux) ones out there.