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Old 12-26-2010, 09:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pane-free: a LINUX PRIMER, Part I

Pane-free: a LINUX PRIMER based on experience

WHAT IS Linux?

A. COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEMs (OS) act as intermediaries between
application programs and computer hardware. They manage the computer
hardware and provide common services (i.e. libraries) for the efficient use
of various applications (e.g. Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Mozilla
Firefox, Limewire) computer users may choose to run on their PCs.
Think of an OS as core software that makes a computer run. Windows7,
Android and Mac OS X Snow Leopard are all Operating Systems. GNU/Linux
is the OS we are talking about here.


GNU (pronounced g-noo') stands for "GNU's Not Unix." On 27 September
1983, Richard Stallman announced to the world, "Starting this Thanks-
giving I am going to write a complete UNIX-compatible software system
called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and give it away free." Thus began the
Free Software movement and the Free Software Foundation. GNU provided
"all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C
compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things" for GNU/Linux.

Linux is an operating system that was created by student Linus Torvalds
at the University of Helsinki in Finland, in 1991. In 1994, version 1.0
of the Linux Kernel was released. The kernel, the heart of GNU/Linux
systems, is developed and released under the GNU General Public License
(GPL) and its source code is freely available to all.

{It should be noted that the word "free" as used here, means free as in
Liberty, not free as in "free beer!"}

The combination of GNU and Linux is the GNU/Linux Operating System. It
is now used by millions and is oftentimes incorrectly called just “Linux"
{as it is here, for simplicity's sake -Pane-free}.

WHAT ARE Linux Distributions?

A. LINUX DISTRIBUTION : A distribution of GNU/Linux is a variation on that
OS that incorporates software packages designed to satisfy the needs of a
specific group of users, such as a) home users, b) business enterprises and
c) network servers. Distributions can be composed strictly of free open
source software or they may include both proprietary software and drivers.

The base of each distribution includes a Linux nucleus (called the kernel)
with libraries and GNU Project tools. In addition, many other projects orA Pane-free
software groups such as BSD, Xorg, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, PERL, Python,
PHP, Gnome and KDE are included at the discretion of the developers of each
distribution or "distro."



1. What Type of User are you?
a. Home user
b. Business enterprise user
c. Network server user

B. HARDWARE CONSIDERATION (#1): Technical vs. Practical

- A Pertinent Example -

1. Technically, the Intel 80686/i686 designation refers to these

Intel * AMD / VIA
* Pentium Pro * Athlon
* Pentium II * Athlon XP
* Pentium III * Duron
* Pentium IV * Sempron
* Celeron
* Pentium M
* Xeon * VIA C3
* Core * VIA C7

2. Delete the Pentium Pro, PII, PIII , PIII-style Celerons, AMD Duron and
the VIA C3 processors as being impractical. We end up with a list of
i686 processors (CPUs) that are PRACTICAL for use with Linux:

Intel * AMD
* Pentium 4 * Athlon
* Celeron (P4 style) * Athlon XP
* Pentium M (top end) * Sempron
* Xeon
* Core * VIA C7

3. As minimums, a CPU speed of 1.6GHz and a RAM capacity of 512MB are
thresholds for practical usage of recommended-for-beginners Linux
distros such as:

Linux Mint LXDE, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, PCLinuxOS (LXDE or XFCE)

4. Alternatives for computers falling below these minimums (i.e. 512MB
RAM & less with Pentium Pro, PII, PIII; AMD K6-2 or Duron; or VIA C3
CPUs; and other slow processors) include Linux distros tailored to
i486/Intel 80486 specifications, such as

absolute-13.1.5 antiX-M8.5-i486 zenwalk-6.0-i486

The trade-off is that these three Linux distros are slightly harder to
learn than the four beginner-oriented distros listed just above.

For beginners of any User Type, it is impractical to expect to begin
learning Linux on a PC with a CPU speed of less than 1.6GHz and RAM capacity
below 512MB. This does not mean it cannot be done -- it can, with strong
determination and a couple other things (more on these later).

So, upgrade your computer to the minimums given above if your motherboard
allows and begin to learn Linux -- it will set you free from dependency!

------------------------------------------------------------- TO BE CONTINUED . . .
Next Installment begins with "What is this LXDE and XFCE stuff?"
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