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Ok i have used linux (and various other unix flavours) to some extent over the year but nothng that i would call heavy detail. Very baisc stuff jsut for work purposes. No admin sttuf, installs or generally getitng my hands dirty..
I would like to learn more. so my plan would be to get linux installed asap, with a view to getting more experience on my own steam and then certification.

so now to my questions...

I run win 2000 server and i stil need this OS, so can i install linux alongside it. (i'm pretty sure i can)
If so how does it work? do i just need a new partition? can i jsut buy me a external HD, install on that and hey presto any time i want to play linux i jsut switch drives? I know its basics , but its all relevant and need to know where to start...

next up. I only tend to learn if i have some goal to work towards. so i would like to take some linux certificate exams. What would you reccomend?
this for me is important as my ability is low in linux and thus need some process or guide.

Which is the most relevant cert in terms of learning and in terms of credibility?
any perosnal opinions on whats the best way to go?
whay linux flavours are reccommended

any links, books info, etc etc etc

black dog
I've just installed Mandrake 9.2 (and 9.1 before that) and they installed no problem onto my primary HD (Drive C) without ruining my XP setup. They will create a partition for you- you just specify how much room you want the installation to take up. Then Mandrake will set up a multi boot menu which allows you to boot into windows, windows safe mode, Mandrake or mandrake without graphical interface, whichever you want. Once in mandrake, you can configure the bootloader to make whichever you prefer to be the default OS, so that if you don't make a choice, it will boot into whichever OS you specified as default.

Be aware than Linux (of any variety) expects you to create a swap partition, too, but once mandrake has partitioned off the space you want to use for your Linux installation, you can just click on that partition and choose "auto allocate". Experienced users probably wouldn't do it that way, but it works fine for me.

If you're really worried about your Win2k installation, my advice would be to get a second HD and get linux to install onto that- it will still set up a boot loader. Linux usually refers to drive C as HDa and any slaves (or secondary partitions) as HDb, etc.

I suppose you know this, but whilst Linux can "see" FAT32 and NTFS (windows) file systems, MS Os's can't (won't?) see linux partitions.

As far as distros go- well, I tried Lindows 4.5- very slick, but found it a bit restrictive and it likes to sell you more software with it's "click and run" feature. I TRIED to install Gentoo, which is very highly rated because you can do a completely customised installation- but you have to know what you're doing (and I don't really). I can only recommend mandrake 9.2- and it's a free (3 x cd) download. It's polished enough to be useable, but you can tinker with the nuts and bolts, too, if you want to.

I can't help with certificates, courses etc, but I'd suggest just meddling (with due caution!) and setting yourself small targets. Like, burning a CD, compiling a program, installing drivers, etc.

Hope this helps
Black Dog
A couple other things. One, although I would recommend getting a second hard drive for installing linux to so it can live by itself, (it will play nice with others, but some times others don't play so nice with it) I would not recommend using an external hard drive for installing your OS. Get yourself an internal HD and put it in your slave position and you will be fine.

As far as distros go, don't get Lindows, its not really linux so don't even waste your time with it. Other than that pretty much any major distro would be fine to learn. Mandrake is my personal choice, but Debian, SuSE or Slackware are also good distro. Red Hat is a great disto but its reaching end of life in April so I wouldn't recommend getting to attached to is.

As far as certification goes, I understand what you are saying about motivation but I can't speak for things like SAIR or GNU certification since I have never gone through the programs. There are people on the form who probably know more about that and they will probably be willing to answer your questions.

Just to get your started though, just try staying in Linux for an entire day or two, when you feel tempted to go back to windows to do something because you know how to do it there, just stay in linux and figure it out. You will learn alot quick. Try searching the forum to if you come up against a problem, people have probably had it before.
I have some problem to install my network card.
I got the good driver but I don't know how to install it.
My driver is not in the list
How can I install it.

There are a several good linux certs, including:

RHCE - The current top Linux Cert (in my opinion)
Thanks for all the info.
Hopefully once i get going i wil have more interesting questions!
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