"Linux has come a long way in a short time. When I first got
started, there was just Slackware, and I downloaded about 30 floppy
images from the net, copied them to floppies and installed. Now you
can buy Linux shrink-wrapped at your local software retailer, buy
online, or download CD ISO's from the net. A good source for ISO's
if you choose to go that route is http://www.freeiso.org."
"There are many Linux distributions to choose from these days.
In this roundup, I'm going to cover nine of them, but new ones seem
to crop up monthly. Due to time constraints, all of the
distributions covered here were installed from ISO images I bought
from CheapBytes, with the exception of TurboLinux 6.1, which I
downloaded and burned my own CD, and SuSE Linux, which I had the
full package here, courtesy of SuSE. Most of the distributions
offer various configurations of either desktop, developer, or
server versions, with prices varying depending on the package you
choose. Prices listed here are for the entry level product for each
"The test platform is a whitebox Pentium P166, with 80MB of RAM.
I allocated just under 1.5GB for each install. Hardware includes an
NCR chipset SCSI card, a 3Com NIC (network interface card), a
3-button serial mouse, and an ATI Mach 64 based video card. In all
cases, I chose to use dhcp to setup networking from my server,
which worked out quite well. Most of the installers had trouble
automatically probing my mouse, but were OK once I defined it
manually. All but one of the packages installed by booting from the
CD, after changing my BIOS setup to look at the CD first."
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