Re: Questions About Linux

On Fri, 13 Nov 2009 10:38:17 -0600, Tiziano wrote:

I know absolutely nothing about Linux...

Then read this book first: RUNNING LINUX, 5th Edition (O'Reilly, pub.)--
best Linux beginner reference out there.

I have this ten-year old PC which has two physical hard drives. Hard
drive C: has Windows XP Pro SP3 installed on it. Hard drive D: is now
completely empty (80 GB) and is NTFS formatted. The plan is to install
2 or 3 flavors of Linux on hard drive D: (all at the same time) -- just
to see which one I like the best! (I think I would like to try Ubuntu,
openSUSE, Fedora)

Use one (or several) of the Linux Live CDs to test your hardware. I
suggest PCLinuxOS 2009 (

1) Is there a utility that will allow to choose which operating system
I want to use for the boot up? Such utility would have to work under
both Windows and Linux and be capable to either boot up from C: or D:.

Yes. It's built into every Linux distro, the bootloader. It will either
be called lilo (Linux Loader) or grub (Grand Unified Bootloader).

2) Is there a way to tell if a Linux distribution includes drivers
compatible with my PC hardware? It would be nice to know that kind of
information before installing a particular Linux distribution, so as not
to waste time. My PC is old and I doubt that I would be able to find
Linux drivers if they are not already included in the distribution...

Use Windows' System Info utility to look up the specs on your hardware or
use one of the Linux Live CDs to do the same, if there is a compatibility
concern. If a Linux Live CD boots and runs, and everything on the system
works, then most any Linux distro will work with that hardware. It's
only super new hardware that Linux has issues with, but if the hardware
is older than about 6 months, everything should be fine.

Why is it that everybody seems to think that there is no need to run
antivirus/.antispyware utilities with Linux? If I go to a repository
and download and install some utility, how do I know that there is no
embedded virus in it?

First, there are less viruses, etc. written for Linux, but it's mostly
that Linux is intrinsically much more secure than Windows' systems.
However, if you don't feel safe not running something, there is Linux
anti-virus, etc. software available. AVG makes a pretty good one, and
it's free and supported (

All repository apps are checked for problems. I've been using Linux for
10 years (came from the Amiga, not Windows), and have yet to be
infected. All I've ever run is a router firewall, and what security each
distro sets up by default.