Saturday, April 11, 2009

Installing GNU

Before installing GNU, you need to be aware there is no single version of GNU. There aremany, each containing many different quirks of operation. The GNU distribution that is rightfor you is something only you can decide, although there are many popular ones. Some of themore frequently suggested distributions include: Suse Linux, Mandriva Linux, Ubuntu(basedon Debian), and Fedora Core Linux - since they are generally the more user-friendly ones.Distributions that tend to be more overwhelming to new-comers are: Debian, and Slackware -but they certainly have many advantages of their own.This is by no means a complete list, and there are many other distributions that you can selectfrom: for more help in picking a distribution see A Neutral Look at Operating Systems/Linuxor Distrowatch. If you are more comfortable with computers, Gentoo will arguably run fastest,but it is much harder to install.Installation instructions for GNU vary greatly between the distributions, so no instructions willbe given here, but look out for a section that installs software called GRUB or LILO. Upon38installation, you should be prompted about whether you have other operating systems (OS)(such as Windows), make sure that all operating systems on your computer are listed(otherwise you won't be able to boot them). The install for most distributions takes up about 4gigabytes of hard drive space, however this figure varies from distribution to distribution.If you are unsure as to whether GNU is for you or not, many distributions (most notablyKnoppix and Ubuntu) provide a LiveCD which boots a fully working GNU system from a CD,without affecting the data on your computer. This can be useful in evaluating whether GNU canprovide what you need. However, it must be remembered that distributions of GNU can beanything up to 5 CDs, so a single CD will not accurately reflect the breadth of softwareavailable on the platform.

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