Total linux beginner/experienced windows user

Hi guys, sick of using Microsofts over bloated operating systems and want to start using Linux, but first if you would be so kind could you give me a few pointers to get started,  by using the specifications of the PC I will be using as a guide.The computer will be an old AMD Athlon XP 1900+, with 768mb of RAM, and an old GeForce 4 card.Now, I have downloaded both Ubuntu and xUbuntu, as well as Wine, Compiz/Beryl, k3b(essential apps I was told), so which operating system would best fit the specification for my older PC?, and would that spec run all of the software mentioned without any problems?, as having seen a few tech demos of Compiz/Beryl it looks very impressive, and as if it would be hard on resources.Also I don't have much knowledge of using command lines to install software etc, but it seems everything I have downloaded thusfar usually has instructions on how to install, is this generally the case?Any help/pointers etc will be most welcome,look forward to hearing from the experts.Thanks.

With 768Mb of RAM you can

With 768Mb of RAM you can use any distro you want. If you have downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 it has Compiz-Fusion built in. Start by looking at and . If you have questions use this forum and/or Be careful Ubuntu Forums can be very quick! When you have installed you will be lacking certain necessities e.g. the ability to play MP3s or DVDs - look here -

Compiz/Beryl is old and

Compiz/Beryl is old and won't be updated. What ur looking for is compiz-fusion - they re-combined.

U do need to downloaded some compiz-fusion extras to get a complete set of features.

Ur RAM is okay - more than mine but note that when u look in the memory info. for more info. in the gui / etc.. it will say u have less, that's because the kernel is always in mem. and can't get used by any other app.

I also came from windows.

If u ever want to try out the newest kernel u can download it from - ubuntu uses it's own patches, etc..

It's quite easy to configure and install ur own kernel and even optimize for ur cpu and remove junk such as laptop code, etc.. to make it smaller. :)

With linux dep. on ur distro. Install is usually one of the following:

1.) deb, RPM, etc..

2.) u will have to compile from the source.

U see with #2 if u will find many items in tar.gz or .gz files - like zip but another compresed format with a makefile, source code, etc.. as you will need to compile it. As with compiling the kernel, it's quite easy.

http// on some tips I made and howtwos about using linux with mainly ubuntu and now kubuntu 7.10 in mind.

When using sudo in ubuntu and u input ur pw, it won't show as u type, this is normal and u will need to do sudo for some things to work.

With sudo u use ur pw u use to sign in to do some sudo things, Unlike windows where everything in the system can be deleted and removed and added to anywhere, there are restrictions in linux.

to compile, it's

cd to the directory of the file u just unzipped - sometimes u need to cd into the src folder if there is one,



if ./configure ends without any errors,



sudo make install

then ur done.. :)

if u want u can use checkinstall - might be installed by default, it's in the repos - ie: synaptic package manager and don't forget to find a program in the start menu called software souces and enable just about all repositories, except for software souces - ie, the program code unless u need them.

oh man u got a lot to learn about linux compared to windows and how much diff. it is.

With windows u had to very little as many things were done automatically by the installer. With linux u will have to do a lot manually urself. ;)

By the way if use checkinstall u will need to change when installing make install to

sudo checkinstall -D make install

and then answer some Q's incl. making a description, etc..

also rem. that if u use checkinstall when it makes a deb file for u so u don't have to compile again by source, then it sets the permissions as root so u will need to sudo dolphin, or sudo nautilus and go in there and change the permissions or move the file, etc.. even the folder won't fully delete without whole root privs.

Also u can set permissions thru the CLI - Command Line :Inteface or the terminal.

Compared to Windows linux is NOT dependent on the gui. Another few tricks are:

If u get in a bind, to logout or force a logout or again to logout norm. use ctrl+alt+backspace on the keyboard.

Also ctrl+alt+f1 -f6 will put u in virtual terminals so incase u need to kill something and don't want to force a logout, to get back in the GUI press ctrl+alt+f7.

Rem. If u get stuck in CLI and the GUI won't boot, no need for a install. If u got DSL, or Maybe Cable, u should automatically be able to browse the net with lynx which is a cli text browser.


@ the cli type:


then hit the enter key. :) it's easy to use and navigate. If using dial-up then u will need to dial in first with wvdial, if wvdial doesn't work then u will need to setup wvdial first,

sudo wvdialconf

to autoscan for a modem to use. then to dialin use


press enter


in CLI once wvdial dials up then u will NOT be kicked back to a CLI waiting for input, so use another terminal. pressing ctrl+alt+f1-f6.

To end Wvdial go to the Virtual Terminal and press ctrl+c to end the call.


Regular use of the computer again DOES NOT NEED ROOT PRIVS or DEPENDS ON THEM. Compared to windows linux was started this way and continues to operate this way, meaing that to run an app shouldn't require any root privs for operation - reg. operation.

Also compared to windows:

NO REGISTRY - there is NO central registry - gconf is like a registry but if something messes up in there or u make a mistake it won't bring the system down.

Everything else is done in files.

Also /etc/

is where a lot of the apps config files go.

also compared to windows linux file structure is diff. there is no LETTERS for drives.


Also all ur apps. settings, and everything else ur desktop, etc.. is put in ur /home/urusername/

in other words ur home folder. :) so it's quite easy to restore ur settings, such as colors, themes, etc.. with just a backup of this folder. :)

And to quit rambling on, do some research on linux and it's file stucture, etc.. 'cause u've got a LOT to learn compared to windows and it's diffs.

Oh and Wine can be updated officially thru if u want the direct route..and get updates and new features.

Wine let's u run many windows programs FREELY without the need for windows. Some things may or may NOT WORK, or crash at certain points, and it's still beta software but useful. :) There it also has a regitry, and it's folder which can be restored easily is in ur /home/username/.wine folder

compared to windows hidden files are denoted with a DOT in front of the name. Also compared to windows u DO NOT NEED FILE EXTENSIONS such as .txt, etc.. as it doesn't rely on them. But if u do every upload a file to a site and get an error and it's a txt file just a txt at the end.

to show hidden files in nautilus press ctrl+h on ur keyboard or on kubuntu alt+ the ">" key on ur keyboard.

Also compared with windows u can make ubuntu look like VISTA, MAC, etc. and even windows. I'm using KDE and use a WINDOWS 95 look with a nice set of NON-WINDOWS icons. :)

also everytime u save a file esp. txt files ubuntu/linux will auto create a backup file named ~nameoffile which are also hidden. :)

oh, I can ramble on and on. Just go to a search engine and do like I said before - some research as u've got a ton of stuff to learn about, also lastly the virutal desktops which can be added to are of much help. Once u go with linux/ubuntu u will never GO BACK to windows and then if u have to work on a windows machine it will be a pain in the a** compared to ubuntu.. :) for morei info. about me, and see a screenshot of my setup - sort of, I just changed fonts and re-added the windows way of max, min, & exit icons at the top, which can be removed, added and changed to the other side which I might do, this can also be done thru ubuntu with gnome, but u need to go thru gconf to do it, no need to reboot, it's done in real time. With linux rebooting just to change a setting is RARE at best. Plus with the max, min, and close icons u can change the order or REMOVE ALL OF THEM.even the menu icon in the titlebar.

Ro remove them all and just use the right-click just put a ":" in the txt box and press enter. :) in of course the config setting. The ":" denotes the side. max:exit means that max if i rem. correctly on the exact names, means that max will be on the far left and exit icon will be on the far left. :) and no min icon will show..

oh my I can't stop babbling on.. :D