If it were a perfect clone, then it'd be windoze!!! There are many distributions of Linux which means you can have it just about any way you like it. One that has impressed me of late has been Linux Mint. I actually quite liked their "Cinnamon" desktop environment but it did not play well with my dual monitor setup so I am currently using "Mate" on my print server.
Most of the distros come with "auto partitioning" to allow you to run it alongside of windoze. The will permit you to install alongside other Linux
distros too. The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is: IF you want to run alongside Windoze make sure you install windoze FIRST! Billy's products
aren't as forgiving of other systems as Linux.
Be warned, whilst Linux is a bloody good OS and there is a plethora of very good apps for Linux, most of them free, Linux is still very "immature" in regards to automation. You will have to roll your sleeves up and "get your hands dirty" to make it work as you so desire. (Hence my previous comment about dual monitor setups)
Clarification question re your comment "....Most of the distros come with "auto partitioning" to allow you to run it alongside of windoze".
Since there will NOT be a Win OS on this 2nd HD, should I take your comment to mean that the issue of their being a LIMIT of ONLY 4 primary partitions per ANY HD is NOT APPLICABLE to the manner that I want to install 6 distros?
Getting WAY ahead of myself here with another question: when all is said and done, will a dual boot arrangement mean that on boot up I can chose either my Win 7 OS HD, or the Linux HD, or will the boot up screen actually also have a 'listing' for EACH Linux on the 2nd HD, and I can scroll down to whatever Linux distro that I wish at that moment (or to phrase it another way, will I have to boot up the Linux HD first, and then see a 2nd screen with each distro listed and pick which one I want)?
Not familiar enough with GRUB (Grand Unified Boot Loader) which is the menu where you choose to answer your question. From my limited experience with
1: It hooks into the boot sector so that no OS has a chance until you've made your selection
2: Linux auto configures for subsequent installs so I cannot comment on how the multi primary partitioning would work with it. I guess that it can work from a logical partition, but that might be a question for Linux Forums.
3: From my limited efforts with GRUB, you can modify it to set the menu structure, including sub menus to suit and, of course, auto selection.
As someone who uses Linux exclusively o all my machines I am somehat biased :-)
Grub will automatically detect (should) all operating systems on all disk partitions and then build a boot menu which allows you to select.
If you want to test-drive distributions then two other options exist:
(1) Most will run as a "live" CD or USB stick so no need to install on the machine.
(2) Do what I do which is run a Linux distro and then run other test distros as virtual machines running on top of the host one.
For example, this laptop I am typing on is running Ubuntu 14.01LTS as the host and has several (including Windows8.1 and XP) as guests.
For dist partitioning, if you do go down the Linux route, we don't normally worry about the amount of partitions etc. as you can use the logical volume manager "lvm" - here you add physical disks to your volume group and then create logical partitions which may (or may not) extend over several physical volumes - these can all be snapshot'd, backed-up, resized etc...
When I take delivery of my new HD (and add it to my PRIMARY PC), and begin installing the Linux Distros on it, I would like to prevent any unforeseen
(AKA disaster) behavior to my primary HD, by unplugging it (during each install and re-plug it in after the install is finished).
I'm wondering if doing that is a good/bad idea, to include when the time comes to dual boot? This would include a question as to whether doing that would complicate (as in testing the limits of the technical know-how of a non-tech home user) the setting up of the dual boot?
Pointing out any other consequences that I've not considered would also be appreciated.
If you unplug that drive, Linux will not know that there is a windoze to include in the boot options. You will then have to muck around to get it to
boot windoze or linux yourself. My suggestion would be to ensure that any critical data is backed up before you start and leave the drive plugged in.
Linux is usually pretty smart when it comes to other operating systems and, as long as you don't tell it to format that drive, you should be fine.
One word on drives to be aware of, Linux does not use drive letters so don't expect to find Drive "A, B, C".... It does read the volume label, however, but typically works on its physical location, like "sd0, sd1," etc. It can be confusing for the novice.
For a better understanding of how it happens, (Dare I say it? Dot might ban me!) A dedicated Linux forum might be a good place to start.
How old is your machine, it could well be more than 64bit capable. I've been running 64bit since the days of XP.
I'd almost guarantee that it is 64bit capable, in fact, I'd be trying one of the 64bit Linux distros from a Live CD to test it.
your 32 bit apps will work on Windoze 64bit without any major issues, unless they are orphan apps. Not many apps have yet to be developed for the 64 bit environment so we do not see the blinding improvements of parrallel processing and extra RAM yet.
You won't need to get all those details from the supplier unless you want to. There are programs like Speccy will tell you whats in your machine anyway. Typically if the program does not like the hardware it will tell you in no uncertain terms.
FWIW, I am a home user, too.
edit: My comment about 64bit was in respect to your last paragraph in the previous post.
Well your comments about 64 bit got my Google juices flowing copiously.
Item 1: New To Me was a hit with info that at least with Win 7, and I suppose possibly for other Win OSs, is a feature called "Windows Experience Index". I had NEVER heard of that before; I used the search window off the Start Button and put that phrase in it, and lo & behold wound up with scan results as per the attached image file; the scan results clearly show that I do indeed have 64 bit capability.
Item 2: The question of whether my mobo has additional capacity for more memory (which I could make use of in a 64 bit environment). I found out the answer to that by going to a memory manufacturer called "Crucial.com"; they give visitors a download that will scan, online, your PC system and spell out in detail such things as whether there is additional memory capacity, & which of their memory products would fit your mobo. And it's free.
Item 3: It is possible that an OEM install CD has BOTH a 32 bit and 64 bit OS install on it (this comment does NOT apply re info for someone who owns the full box install version of an OS).
The kicker is that the activation license on the back of your PC is for JUST ONE (not both). I will test the waters re that by using my Win 7 OEM install CD on an old HD (and simply unplugging what I have in the system now), and doing an install and see what turns up; and IF there is a 64 bit install what happens when I do the activation stuff with the license on the back of this PC.
I'm pleased that you have found out something new. I suggest that your new HDD be used to install 64bit W7 on it, then you can do your linux installs, leaving your old HDD as a "backup".
Well the news from the Windows Upgrade Anytime is very simply stated that you CANNOT buy your way to migrate from a 32 bit OS install to a 64 bit OS
install (or vice versa). The prices for the upgrades (to the other flavors of Win 7) are listed.
A PrintScreen from an online FAQ (at MS) for this Upgrade Anytime attached re this matter.
They are fundamentally different systems so the upgrade path is impractical, The disks that offer 64 or 32 bit are actually two complete systems on the one media. I'd suspect that the product key may only be for 32 bit. I'm aware how M$ differentiate between Home, OEM, and Ultimate, but I'm not so sure on their setups for 32/64 bit. Product keys seem, somehow, to be tied to the version, i.e. Home, OEM, Ultimate, but not to 64/32bit as I use the same product key on my lappy for either 32 or 64 bit installs. (It had 32 bit when I bought it, and I upgraded to 64 bit with no issues)
quote from one of my previous posts "the scan results clearly show that I do indeed have 64 bit capability". end quote
An attempt on my part with multiple 64 bit software installs clearly demonstrated that they CANNOT be installed on my 32 bit Win 7 OS (the install process will NOT progress at all since there is immediately a dialog window at the beginning of the install that informs me that the software is not compatible with my OS).
So having found out that I have a 64 bit capability with the HARDWARE on this machine ONLY tells me that I would need a 64 bit OS of some kind and that it should install.
Since at least some Linux distros offer a 64 bit install, I will select that for at least some of their installs on my new HD.
Have fun! Keep us posted.
You are starting to get the mindset, Jack. From my limited experience Linux is very much a "roll your own sandwich". You've got to be prepared to
spend time working with any distro to make it work right. That is, if you've managed to get it to work at all.
(Edit: WARNING - this next bit has become a bit of a rant)
My recent experience: I have two W7 machines, an XP machine, and, often two or three others all running windoze of some variant. My office PC is running Linux mint as it is the one I most afford to be without. It also serves as my print server, and should be my primary desktop (it isn't for other reasoins). My first obstacle upon installing Linux was to convince my video card that a) there were two monitors connected and b) that they needed to run at different (native) resolutions. That was a long and involved process in itself. I then had to find print drivers and get them working, so far, so good. Now comes networking! For a long time, everthing seemed to work "out of the box" I could see all the windoze machines and they could see the LInux box.
Comes a day when the media server (W7) dropped off the network. (Turns out that power saving turns off the network card and only another W7 machine can wake it up again). In getting that sorted, the Linux box has now disappeared off the network nor can it see any of the shares!! (If I search the network it says my network need authorisation. (BS!!! It ain't set up that way! and any "strange" machine I plug in can see everything) I can address the media server using a web address "smb://mediaserver-pc/drivename" which is ok if I want to look at it in firefox, but that isn't the point!
Trying to get some meaningful info from the linux community is like extracting teeth with a bit of string! They all blame Windoze, but none of them ever seem to explain how, why, or where the problem lies.
I'll give up for now, but you can't say you weren't warned.
Sort of missed the point perhaps?
There are loads of open source projects out there with varying numbers of people working on them. The source management systems (git svn etc) handle merging of multiple changes and branching (security patches on old versions etc.).
The distro maintainers are responsible for taking snapshots of the open source projects and bundling this into a stable working platform and then updating that platform with security patches as required. Normally this is by distributing binary builds of the source.
So essentially the hard work is done for you with a distro - however the more stable the distro the older the code so if you want cutting edges code you do it yourself.
Yes commercial entities support distros and make money through support - but this probably supports the model rather than works against it (despite the protestations of open source freedom warriors :-) )
As Simon has stated, a lot of Linux is open source which can lead to a very anarchic way of achieving things with no one responsible if it all goes
belly up. The various Distros are, in many cases, a variation on a theme, so you may find that there are some good things from one, that you can port
Of course there are commercial Linux entities out there just like there are professional window washers, we are all capable of washing windows, just some people are better than others, and the professionals tend to also do it better than others.
Linux, being open source, has some flaws, but, by and large, if a flaw is major, it is also rectified very quickly, too. You don't often hear of anything like "patch Tuesday" in the Linux realm.
Given the proliferation of a very large number of distros (300+ and counting), it seems to me that for a beginner, taking a good look (practice) at
several, one by one, is the optimum option to decide upon one primary distro.
Any given distro can be installed (and launched/work with/etc)on a HD, thumb drive (of sufficient size), or an external HD.
I have several old PATA ATA IDE HDs. I was, unfortunately, unable to master the task of creating a HD with multiple partitions, and putting a distro on each partition. So I reverted to form, i. e., the easy way out, and put just one on each HD. I did this by connecting up each HD to an ATA connector located on the mobo (a mobo with ATA connectors are likely to be few and far between at this point, and while there is the possible option of an add on card for an ATA connection, desktop PCs have a limited number of expansion slots). Installing these HDs (and then removing them for another distro's HD, ad infinitum) inside my PC was a hassle.
I have a high end ATA IDE external HD. It's held together by one screw, but for years now, I don't use that screw, and keep the assembly together with a very study, & very tight, rubber band. It's very, very quick to remove the band, slide out the circuit board, and put in another HD (it just slides in/out 1-2-3 like).
Unlike Windows which is a hassle to install an OS, and boot from an external HD, doing so with a Linux OS is problem FREE.
Yes it does mean going into BIOS each and every time, and making the Linux OS HD, the boot drive, but that's doesn't tax my limited tech skills, and is quite fast. And reversing that in BIOS when I want to go back to my Windows SATA HD is just as easy (and YES I do disconnect the SATA HD just to ensure that I don't ruin it).
The attached image file shows the desktop upon boot up of Ubuntu launched from my external HD (and YES that shade of green is my Ubuntu custom color/typical desktop color in Win).
By the way, in the image file, you will see that the "Home" icon has a white text font; I gnashed my teeth for a good while trying to change it to black text via a number of google searches-NO JOY; there doesn't seem to be a desktop icon text color option like in Win. If anyone knows how to do that, I sure would appreciate you passing that on.
Sounds like you are having fun, Jack, and learning in the process.
A couple of points that may make your life a little easier
A Live CD might be a good way to test your distros without having to swap drives around.
Unplug your Windoze drive, and try and install several distros to the large drive using their automatic installers. I'm fairly certain they'll take care of the partitioning by themsesves and you'll end up with a menu to select each Distro. (You may need to learn how to edit GRUB (basically a text file) to give each distro a meaningful name)
To try Ubuntu on any machine...
Download ubuntu desktop ISO
Burn the ISO to a DVD
Stick it in the CD drive
Reboot the machine selecting boot from CD
Select "try" rather than "install"
To install instead of trial, then select install - it will detect any other operating system and leave multi-boot.
To install from USB stick convert ISO image to bootable USB use any of the utilities like linux pendrive or boot trial linux and select "create startup disk".
Any image burner will burn an ISO to disk, Jack, so don't worry about what you think might happen. I use ImgBurn myself, but have been known to use
Windoze built in burner from time to time.
I know what you mean about watching over the shoulder of someone. It's my favourite way of learning, too.
No! You don't need a boot image, the ISO already contains that, all you must do is (in my setup and probably yours, too) double click on the ISO and
your image burner does the rest.
Creating bootable disks is outside the skope of what you are trying to achieve.
Thanks. Jack, I've only played with a few distros, Ubuntu (and close variants), Mandriva, Red Hat, Mint (only two shells) and Puppy. Debian has
gained some good reputation, but I've not tried it. My preferences for usability, so far, have been Mint (Cinnamon shell), Mint (Mate Shell) and
Ubuntu. None of the others have lasted on my systems long enough to prove their credentials, the reason being, they weren't too keen on my hardware.
For practicality, without too much mucking around, Mint (Mate) has become the only wirkable solution for me. The other two did not happily work with my dual monitor setup. Typical problem being two disparate monitors not being well served using two different native resolutions.
Might be worth a look
The attached image shows that I've successfully installed MS Office (2010) in Linux Ubuntu. It works with all the Office files that I created in Win
Part of the Ubuntu install is a suite of office gear called LibreOffice which has multiple components, to include, Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet application, Impress, the presentation engine, Draw, a drawing and flowcharting application, Base, a database and database frontend, and Math for editing mathematics.
I have Ubuntu installed on an IDE HD in my external HD enclosure.
I'm a frequent user of MS Excel, and all my Excel files did readily open in the LibreOffice Calc EXACTLY the same (visually) as they do in MS. BUT its commands to use Excel are different than MS's, and I wasn't about to learn another set. In addition Excel has a huge base of users, and if you run into something that you can't figure out re how to do it, it is very likely that a Google search will get you a hit from someone who explains it all.
To install MS Office, I did the usual Google search, and I selected a website at the following URL that explained all the steps:
It is very probable that there are other ways of accomplishing this task.
You do need the MS Office install disk/an MS Office install file to install in a Linux distro.
It is a must for a newbie like myself to do a quality (legibility wise) hard copy printout of the entire series of steps (many pages).
The very first line of this website explains it all re the key package to get MS into a Linux distro: "PlayOnLinux is a useful piece of software based on Wine which allows you to easily install many Windows applications with relative ease".
At this point I have NOT tried any other of my Windows programs that I would like to use in a Linux distro (for which Linux doesn't have a comparable package), but I expect to do so in the days ahead.
Periodically MS Windows (monthly) Updates has changes for MS Office, but I would think that it would be unlikely that I could port them over to a Linux distro.
A lot of the M$ patches are to cover security shortcomings in the product and may, therefore, be redundant under Linux.
The actual differences between open orifice and m$ orifice are minimal from the users perspective and you'll find that most of the commands are found in their "usual" places. Orifice 2010 has moved towards the "metro" style of things so nothing is where it was in previous versions of Orifice. I have, actually just migrated from Office 2010 & 2007 on my various computers to Apache Open Office and my main problem has not been the interface but the programming environment. (I was quite competent in VBA) and I am still getting my head around OO Basic. That said, I am attempting to program for a database and not a spreadsheet or document.