Linux Free Operating Systems – Ubuntu, Debian, Mandriva Installations on an Old PC

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[Best Syndication News] For a long time I have always heard of Linux the free operating system, and have enjoyed many of the free applications that have been ported over to the Windows platform. I finally had a opportunity to take some antique computers and install Linux onto them, and found out how simple and sometimes complicated it can be to get up and running with it.

Linux really took hold when web hosting SQL servers and HTTP hosting applications saved companies thousands of dollars from paying the Microsoft and Oracle corporations connection fees that could easily going into the thousands of dollars. So instead running a linux server to serve up their databases made much more economic sense and that is why there has been a insurgence of the free operating system over the last years.

There are paid versions of Linux bundles and there are completely free versions of the unix based operating system. So which way to go? It depends if you are looking to do business with the systems or if you are just wanting to have fun on it. The free version is fine for a home computer, but chances are you are going to probably go with a commercially prepared version for a business server.

I decided to go the free route, because I was looking to have fun using the graphics, video, and music editing applications developed for Linux. On the journey of finding the best free linux operating system installation I learned a few things along the way.

Here is some of the experiences I had installing some of the more popular installations of Linux on two different computers.

Debian is a free installation package of Linux. The installation is most commonly downloaded as a ISO Cdrom image and uses the internet to completely install the rest of the software packages. The nice part about the Debian installation is the many ways you can install the operating system. There are options to configure it for a web server, email server, a desktop computer and more. That way when you are done with the installation the most common applications are installed and ready to go on your linux computer system. Debian looks like it is pre-configured for the Gnome desktop environment. It takes a while to install in comparison to Ubuntu. It didn't handle all the hardware that I had in the system but once the problem card was removed, viola, I was up an running.

Ubuntu is based on the Debian configuration of Linux. This is the most popular free installation of linux currently and for good reason. The bad news was it didn't install on both systems. With the one system that it did install on it was the fastest Linux installation that we tested. Another plus was when we browsed over you Youtube.com we were able to get a plugin to play the videos at no extra charge and it installed automatically. So it was user friendly in that regard.

Mandriva has a free version as well as a paid version. The free version I tried was to download the complete install Cdrom which took a long time because it was over 4 GB and they throttled it. The installation went very smoothly and had worked quite well on the system that didn't handle Ubuntu and Debian very well, which leads me to believe that they have a wider driver support library for hardware. The bad news was when you went to Youtube.com you get the option to buy the drivers in order to watch the videos. During the installation you also get to choose which desktop you want, KDE or Gnome which are both popular desktops. I chose the KDE desktop and I did like the feel of the desktop better than the default one that installed on Ubuntu.

Fedora is Red Hat's free distribution of Linux. Red Hat has been around selling commercially packaged Linux operating systems since the 90's. Oops, I downloaded the Live CD version which didn't like to run on my system. I didn't get a chance to run through the complete install.

Other things that I found out along the way, the installation disks like running from a DVD rom drive, not a DVD burner drive. I bet you have to pay for the drivers to get the DVD burners working on the system, I haven't gone that far into testing yet. Extra hard drives plugged in will probably work, but one hard drive just during the installation process will probably make your life easier. Once you have an operating booting, add the additional hard drives. You also want to make sure that you have your network card and cable plugged in and ready to access the internet as most of the installations go on the internet to complete.

The systems I installed on were an old Pentium III 600 Mhz with 500 MB of memory and a 60 GB hard drive. The other system was an old Celeron processor with 500 MB of memory and a 30 GB hard drive. Surprisingly for the old technology, the systems ran pretty fast. I noticed on the Celeron with Ubuntu the Youtube video streamed extremely fast, faster than Windows systems that are of faster speed and performance.

The moral of the story of what I learned, free means that you are probably going to have more time involved in getting the installation completed. You might have to try several different installations on one system to get it to fire up because of driver support issues. Try the most popular installation first and work you way down the list. There are several more installations than available for Linux and you can find a complete list and CPU's supported at linux.org.

Everyone has their favorite, and surely you will find that you will like things about each different installation of Linux distributions as well. Because there are so many different hardware configurations it will very likely take a couple of different tries to find the perfect free linux operating system that suits your needs best.

By: N Wilson

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other information

Ubuntu Demonstration YouTube Video

A Modified Desktop of Debian Gnome + Beryl "3D-Desktop" YouTube Video

Mandriva 2009 KDE Desktop 4.1 YouTube Video

Linux Fedora 10 desktop - Compiz-fusion effects - Screencast YouTube Video

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