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Total noob here! compiled 10 kernels so far just for the sake of doing it (seeing how long it would take for my pc). Now i'm ready to sit down and learn some junk! Any Ideas on the best distro to learn linux on? Knoppix? Gentoo? I'm not afraid of work, and I have time to spare when the kids are sleeping. I am willing to do a full install without a GUI, and willing to document my actions so I can write about what I did for other noobs to learn. I have intermediate VB skills, and embarrasingly huge amount of DOS, Windows knowledge (willing to forget it all if the need arises!). Lastly my wife bet me I cant do it! So for my sake and my future! I need to learn this stuff...

If this is amusing, Good! I want to feel that I will have fun doing this... so please don't bust my happy lil' bubble... for now at least.

Please let me, and other know what we need, and possibly where to get what we need before creating a whole new world! Yes! I have a phobia of penguins!

Thank you all in advance before I end this post.

Your's trully,
If you have the time to go through some trial and error and are will doing to do some research I would recommend doing a stage one Gentoo install. A couple things about this.
1) It takes a ridiculous amount of computer compile time, so there is going to be lots of down time where its just working (you can do it over night and go to sleep) but your not going to have use of the computer, so its best if you have a second one you can use while your trying to do this for everyday stuff, and trouble shooting, plus Gentoo has an awesome on-line guide to follow.
2) It will teach you allot about the way a linux system works, where stuff is stored, data structures that sort of stuff, so if thatís what you are looking to learn this is a way to do it.
3) Ounce you are up and running you will have a pretty average system, meaning there wont be allot of special things about it specific only to this disto (mandrake has alot of that) so your knowledge will be pretty generic.
4) Its very hard, even for pretty good linux users, so if you are looking for a quick and easy way to win the bet, this isn't it, but you will come out with the best understanding of linux. If you want a quick easy install Mandrake has a great install and its a very good distro, just watch out that some of the tools are very specific to Mandrake.

Thatís my recommendation, fact of the matter is, what ever you install you can learn linux on, I just think that the Gentoo install will teach you alot you wont get out of other installs.
I agree that Gentoo is the distro to install if you really want to learn Linux ... and have a functional and easily upgradeable install after you are finished.

Actaully, where I learned the most in the shortest period of time was going through the Linux From Scratch (LFS) install.

First you need a regular install ... I would use Debain Sarge (download the Beta 4 installer 110mb iso ... here are instructions).

Then do the lastest Linux From Scratch book from start to finish ... after you have completed that for fun and understand it all, then I would start over, erasing the LFS and do a Gentoo install (or use Debain Sarge) as my workstation (if you have a week or so to play and can do with out the PC while you are installing). If you can't do an LFS for fun ... just do either Gentoo or Debian Sarge ... in my opinion ... to learn about how linux works on a workstation.

After you are done with that, You will be very knowledgeable....

If you want to build a server, then I would use CentOS or WhiteBox Enterprise Linux.

DistroWatch just rated Mandrake 10 the cream of the crop for the new distros from Fedora, SUSE, Mandrake. So Mandrake 10 if you just want a good workstation that is fuctional....
I honestly dont like mandrake. From the first time I installed it (older version) I said I would never do a Mandrake install again. I currently am running Core 2 with kernel 2.6.6 patched to 2.6.7 rc1... with some errors mind you! I have a system I like, but dont understand. That is why I want to learn.

I have printed the Gentoo installer guide fromt the Gentoo website and now am not too sure what I need to download. I can get the Debian Sarge, but would like to clarify why? What is a Gentoo stage one install. I have a Gentoo cd already, but not exactly sure what it is. It boots to a command line, and thats it! If I get the Sarge? What is it doing for me that other Distro's wont do?

I am asking for the sake of learning. When this is done (however long it takes) I plan to write a full-descriptive document about what linux is to a total newbie including my failures, and sucesses. I think this process may have been done before, but I think the more the better. People like yourselves make the journey easier, at the same time solving problems and moving to the next question.

I found you few have fixed many of my problems, but I didn't learn anything at all. I just copied, and pasted to get it to do something. This goal is to understand my errors, and correct them, as I would have with a Windows PC. I also plan to take some classes related to the environment during my courses of study, and would appreciate some direction there too.

Lastly, Yes! I am looking forward to building a server, and maybe this explains why I want to learn. What is CentOs? in terms of distro type, and feel. I have used Redhat, Fedora1, and 2, Mandrake, and Caldera Open lite.

Thanks in advance Guys, and Gals.
The Debian Sarge was if you want to do Linux from Scratch .... (see link above). You already need a base OS to start from when you do LFS...
CentOS and WBEL are RedHat Enterprise Linux 3 AS clones ... they have all the good features of an Enterprise Linux distro, but are free! See this article I wrote for If you look in the Guides Forum, you will see instructions on how to install many server related items on WBEL/CentOS.
As to how to do a stage 1 Gentoo install ... you boot from the Minimal Install iso and follow the steps in the install manual.

Basically ... a stage one install puts the minimal system files on the hard drive from the CD ... rebuilds itself from the latest sources on the web, then adds all the things you need to get a bootable linux base system ... then you build from there. I always do stage 1 installs for gentoo. Here is a thread where I gave termina some gentoo advise...

If you follow the guide (and understand what you are doing each step for) ... you will know how linux really works.
Gentoo is basically the same as Linux From Scratch, except some of the steps are automated and they have an install disc...
Great! I guess that's where I was confused. I ran a Gentoo Live CD (not minimal) and it booted to a promt after discovering tons of hardware... Not what I wanted! So I will follow the Sarge link and get that D/L, or can I do the stage 1 with the Gentoo disk I have. As for the free server, very excited to hear that, but not ready yet. I have the Gentoo documentation printed, and was ready to start the install but got very tired and went to bed. How much time would you say I need during install sessions (interactive time). are there places where I can stop, then return to later? Just worried I wont be able to stop until it is done.

About having a bootable system? When I boot Gentoo Live CD it gives me options for the Gentoo, and smp kernel. I choose the smp for the simple reason the 2.6 Kernel boot is recognizing my net adapter, and the Gentoo kernel boot does not!

Is this what I should do? are you saying use Sarge to build my system, or Gentoo? Please excuse my ignorance, I am trying to understand what I need to do in order to build a complete system.

Would it be a good idea to do a stage one install for Gentoo, then a LFS? I am assuming Gentoo is a bit easier to do from the looks of the installation manual.

you can probably do the gentoo install with the full version, just after you get to the command prompt, start following the instructions.

there will be plenty of times throughout the install period when it takes several hours to complete the instructions after you spend five minutes typing them in.

A full statge one install with GNOME and KDE takes 3-4 days ... but most of that is cpmpile time. Take a look at the link I gave to termina ... it contains my USE= and my cflags= settings. These 2 items are key to getting a good install ... the CFLAGS are the compiler flags that control how all the programs are compiled ... the USE flag controls what options are compiled into programs.

Gentoo is easier than LFS ... sarge is easiest of all to install.
Nice! I think I know how I will tackle this Linux thing!

1. Build a Stage 1 Gentoo system.
2. do a LFS system.

I will look at this link again and decipher the USE, and cflags commands. If Sarge is easier, I think I'll stick to the Gentoo. The documentation is great and seems very sensible.

Wish me luck. I will post information as I go, hopefully failures I can comment about, then ask for assistance as to why?

Thanks Guys...err and Gals? tongue.gif
Ok! I think i'm understanding more than I did before. If I am correct this is what I'm doing, and why.
USE="wxwindows samba mozilla gtk2 cdr dvd alsa bonobo videos oss mysql MMX sse gstreamer fftw flac mad mpeg nas xmms xv" <-- no idea what this is about? I am assuming it will be the programs initially compiled to the kernel.

CHOST="i686-pc-linux-gnu" <--system archittecture!

CFLAGS="-O3 -march=pentium2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer -mmmx -msse -mfpmath=sse,387" <-- Changes for my setup... supported GCC for pentium2, and -03 for all optimizations

CXXFLAGS="${CFLAGS}" <--understand this does something with the above line.

MAKEOPTS="-j2" <-- single processor setup

ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" <-- accept all x86 architecture compiles? (really no idea here)

GENTOO_MIRRORS="" <-- emerge ftp links? not sure what this is?
Please do tell me what I am understanding, and what I have no clue about. The GCC document pages are cumbersome to navigate and find the options Gentoo install is describing. I am muddling through, but hopefully getting somewhere. Btw, I have already formatted my first drive, configured partitions, activated swap, and mounted the drives! Yay for me! the only thing I didnt really understand was is asking me to create directories I needed besides the ones in the Gentoo Documentation. Any idea what other directories they are referencing?

Btw, when you say Gnome, or KDE compile time... makes me wonder which one would be best for my system?

PII 400 deshutes 512K
768MB Ram pc100
2x nVidia GeForce 2 MX 400 DDR 32Mb Svid-out
2x Compaq S700 19" (sony) monitors
10 gig Seagate 7200 Rpm (will house Gentoo)
30 gig Maxtor 7200 Rpm (Windows Xpoop)
30 gig IBM Firestar 7200 Rpm (backup)
TDK VeloCD 48x24x48 CD-RW drive

Better = best for my system? any ideas?
Yes! I made this thing from scraps! Mboard, CPU, and Case cost me a whopping $15 US dollars.... McGuyver would have been proud of me! biggrin.gif
2 days later of compile time! it seems that I may have missed something? it boots and says I have an error checking disks. I think I need to copile the XFS setup for soem reason? I swear I didnt set it up as a choice? but fo rsoem reason I think it was setup. any ideas what I need to do to check, and I need to reconfigure my network settings in the conf files.

be back soon I hope.
Ok! the gentoo install didn't go very well at all. I tried it again, this time using the stage three install. It booted and asked me to build DEVFS into the kernel, and then told me it couldn't find my drives... /boot, and /mnt/gentoo? it still looks as if it was looking for an xfs partition? Why? I made sure I formatted for ext3, changed the fstab to represent the proper /dev/BOOT, and the partition type to ext3.

Not giving up... just a bit lost right now. on another note! FC2 is running amazing. rebuilt the 2.6.6 kernel for non-4Kstacks, and have nVidia running great now. fullscreen per card I'm getting 285-300 fps with the glxgears test.

Doing a gentoo stage one is very difficult for me right now, but it has taught me how to build the kernel better.
Oh.... what's this? wink.gif

4909 frames in 5.0 seconds = 981.800 FPS
5727 frames in 5.0 seconds = 1145.400 FPS
5715 frames in 5.0 seconds = 1143.000 FPS
5718 frames in 5.0 seconds = 1143.600 FPS


Geeforce FX 5200, 128mb
Showoff! tongue.gif my vid cards were purchased for a grand total of $30 for both! Brand spankin' new! dont be hatin' biggrin.gif in the normal window i'm getting abolut 780-800, but not full screen. I think it's a great accomplishment for me since every kernel so far failed like one of Frankensteins monsters. The last one worked like a charm without any problems! woo hoo! Ok, back to the gentoo. What do you think I'm doing wrong (btw, my notes look like second year algebra) I can barely understand what I wrote, but I wrote what i understood? hee hee unsure.gif

time for ninja face! ph34r.gif Whatcha' say it with me! loud! 'WHATCHA'
whops ....

[root@demon root]# glxgears
12861 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2572.200 FPS
15443 frames in 5.0 seconds = 3088.600 FPS
16831 frames in 5.0 seconds = 3366.200 FPS
14247 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2849.400 FPS

Robert B
O_O 0_0 o_o *shoots lasers out of his eyes, hitting Robert*
I just found a neat thing to do while installing gentoo!

I setup realvnc, and i'm setting it up from work! and surfing the net without the hinderance of Organizational firewalls! WOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO... i've been quite busy having fun surfing, and doing all the things they dont want me to do.

Still no one has posted comments on my errors?
sad.gif blink.gif
Still no response to what I did wrong? hmmm? anyway facing my weekend now (three days off) I am going for another attempt to install and run Gentoo.
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