Would you be kind enough to recommend a version/release of Linux?
Good evening, F.
We make recommendations all the time! We're like a dating service for Linux.
Let me go question by question inline with your message so I don't miss any points.
I am a virtual novice in the Linux world, and find that I'm spending far too much time trying to figure out what I want. I am willing to take your recommendation and assume full responsibility for it.
Would you be kind enough to recommend a version/release of Linux? I've been attracted to Kubuntu and Knoppix. Also, I like the idea of the Live DVD. (What is the basic difference between the CD and DVD distributions?)
Both Knoppix and Kubuntu use the K Desktop Environment (KDE for short) and most will agree that a KDE layout is more like a Microsoft Windows Layout.
But while you're looking around, don't rule out Gnome, or XFCE. They might surprise you.
As far as Live CD or DVD, they'll both load the OS from the disc so you can take the distro for a test drive to see if you're going to like it before you install. Just remember that you will be using the OS just as you would if it were installed. The only exceptions when running live is that you won't be able to save without a USB drive and that everything will be slower due to the limitations of the drive and RAM.
Next when you see a CD and a DVD version of the same release, one of two things has happened. Either they've taken their release and added more software, or they've trimmed it down. Why? if it starts out as a CD, they can add more functionality. Although trimming a DVD down makes the OS more accessible to folks without DVD drives or older hardware that would have trouble running all the bells and whistles.
My plans of the moment are to partition my (old) 40 GB / 1 GHz laptop such that I can boot into either Linux or WinXP. (BTW, do you know if there is a way to share swap space between the two environments -- probably as a 3rd partition.) You can ignore my plans here unless you know the answer; in which case, I would appreciate it.
When you're setting up your partions, you'll usually make a partition just for swap space. Forgive me for not knowing much about XP (I've never actually used it) and it's style of Virtual Memory, but I do know that with Linux, if you go beyond Dual boot to "Multi-boot" one swap partition will be fine. You'll only be running one OS at a time and it will use the swap available.
If you want to know more about setting up partitions, be sure to check out our "Basic Magic 101" article.
While the article is written for the Parted Magic Live disc, the steps and logic involved are the same. And the good news is that most Linux distros will will have a partition tool for you to use as part of the install.
Do many folks try several varieties -- e.g., Kubuntu and Knoppix, or whatever?
Yes, they do.
It's not just personal preference that causes people to hop around. Some people just like to see if the grass is greener. Others could have a quirky computer hardware set-up that might not jive with the first OS that comes along. Then you can look for specific features like speed, or ability to edit media or entertain your pre-schoolers.
There's little cost and no obligation - sounds like a good reason to check things out.
Thanks in advance for any help. And, I'll understand if you are not allowed to make recommendations.
So now that you've made it to the end, and since you like KDE, I'll say that you'll probably like PCLinuxOS 2007.
It has been designed to be a desktop computer. Meaning it was built for every day computing. Email, Web, IM, Word Processing, Multimedia, and the like. Plus you'll also have Synaptic which will allow you to access the repository which is full of additional programs.
Since you've been using XP, you'll find that the layout of the desktop is fairly familiar to you. Of course it's not the same, but it shouldn't take you too long to get the hang of it. Oh and the best part... The PCLinuxOS communitiy is one of the best for guiding new users.
The product listing has been updated and you'll find lots of extra information about the release, including screen shots and a video