Building a linux PC

  OdinOfAsgard 15:33 07 Mar 2004

I have decided to build a Slackware (linux powered) PC. But as I have never built a PC before I need a little advide. I have stripped and rebuilt one of my old PCs before(I was bored and had nothing to do) so I know what is in them and how to assemble the parts; what I am unsure about is what happens after I first turn on the new machine (what is BIOS and how do I configure it, when do I install the drivers and the OS). I have formatted my old PC when I had win95 all I had to do then was put in the boot disc and load the OS, is it similar?

  halfwit 16:08 07 Mar 2004

I wouldn't recommend this,having tried it and had all sorts of grief.Linux is not really the easiest OS to work with,and eventually went back to the inevitable Windows which is why I'm typing this and not swearing at the computer 'cos it wont do what i want it to.

  allstar 17:12 07 Mar 2004


I wouldnt be put off just because Linux does not have off the shelf installation like windows.

However, i would suggest that you do not have this pc as your main one until you have got all hardware up and running. There are a few ( maybe many) forum users who use Linux and will most probably be able to help you.

  Paranoid Android 17:27 07 Mar 2004

You can get Linux distros that do most of the work for you. However Linux is definitely NOT Windows, and you need to plan an extended learning curve and understand that you may not have your PC up and running straight away. Getting everything 'working' is only the beginning - you then need to understand the OS so you can make effective use of your system.

Look at your currect PS installation and work out haow many of your applications you have Linux versions of.

Many of the installation problems are hardware specific, particularly modems it seems, so try to track down all the drivers you need before you start.

Check out the complete Fedora Linux distro on this months PC Pro magazine (DVD version), supposedly the best available. If you send me an email I'll post you a setup CD.

Go to it and good luck.


  Paranoid Android 17:28 07 Mar 2004

Can't type. PS = OS.


  dth 17:31 07 Mar 2004

It might be easier to simply take your project in stages.

1) build your p/c first - make sure that it starts OK

2) split the hard disc (into 3) and load windows on the first partition. Set your data files to be saved on the second partition (drive d).

3) set up Linux on the third partion. Although Linux is very different from windows the same basic rules apply

NB - For your partition type use Fat32 rather than NTFS (if you use Windows XP) as although Linux based p/cs can access docs on a NTFS drive there can be problems with alter properties allowed.

Please post back if you have when you get to 3) if you hit any problems. Just a thought if you are new to Linux it might be easier to start with something like Suse. You can buy the personal edition for about £20 - it is worth the cost as the package comes with a really good manual.

  @jc 18:13 07 Mar 2004

OdinOfAsgard if you've never used linux before and know little of it,why don't you download Knoppix it's a version you run straight from the CD no installing.It would give you a chance to sample linux and make your mind up.

  LastChip 18:20 07 Mar 2004

However, I can't comment on Slackware as I have never tried it.

This is being typed on a Mandrake 9.2 machine, and having tried Redhat 9.0, to my mind, Mandrake is still the easier setup.

Providing your machine will boot from a CD, Mandrake will virtually install itself!

Without question, your choice of modem is likely to be the most critical, and is likely to provide the most obsticals, so consult the Slackware site if that's what you want to load, and look for compatible modems.

Linux is an exciting new experience, and provided you are prepared to take your time and learn a different way of doing things, can be very rewarding.

Always keep in mind, Linux uses the philosophy that everything is turned off, so if you want things to work, you have o turn them on! This is a strange concept after Windows, but can be understood when relating to security, where Windows has been wide open and Linux very much less susceptible to intrusion.

  Taran 18:49 07 Mar 2004

Slackware us superb but is not really for a newcomer to Linux. If you get your head around it and get it up and running you'll be working with a very, very fast and sleek OS. I really like Slackware but it is not as easy to get along with as some other distributions.

I always recommend Mandrake to beginners, if for no other reason than it is so easy to install.

Fedora is all well and good, if you particularly want Red Hat, which is the basis for it.

I'd suggest either Mandrake, SuSE [my own personal overall favourite], or Red Hat/Fedora for the relative ease of installation combined with more features than you can shake a stick at. To get the best out of Slackware it really does help to know what you're doing with Linux from a command line perspective.

In terms of building your own PC all the components you buy will have a user manual either with them or available from the manufacturers website. These manuals will detail any specific BIOS requirements and the motherboard manual itself will explain how to configure the BIOS based on the CPU you have fitted. Most of todays motherboards feature smart BIOS which pretty much detects everything for you but sometimes they get it wrong so it's handy to be able to go in and tweak things manually.

Assuming you have your components installed properly and your BIOS recognises the hard drive and other devices attached to it, boot from the Linux installation CD ROM and off you go. Some Linux distributions like Mandrake are so user friendly to set up that anyone could do it.

Post with specifics of you get stuck, but as long as you get your system build right, installing Linux is pretty straight forward and whichever version you finally decide upon you will find full installation tutorials on that distros website.

It's what comes after the initial installation that counts...

  OdinOfAsgard 17:30 09 Mar 2004

Thank you everyone for your advice so far.

There is a question I must ask as I can't find the answer out myself. When you buy a HDD or CD-rom drive etc. does it come with the necessary IDE cables and power connectors or have you to buy them seperate?

  Taran 19:31 09 Mar 2004

Some come with the cable connectors and some don't. It depends on what and where you buy.

You can sometimes pick up 'bare' drives which are usually the device itself with no cables or instructions included.

Other devices are fully boxed with the necessary cables and so on.

If you're building from scratch, most motherboards ship with the necessary cables.

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