Want to install Linux in my laptop but which/what/how?

First of all I am sorry if this is not right forum to ask this but I hope someone could suggest me.

Till date I am all working Windows Platform though I completely work with Apache, PHP and MySQL. But now I want to work in Linux systems itself.

So I want to install Linux in my laptop. I am completely new in Linux. I want to learn working with it. I have heard Linux is free. Can I download it from internet for free? Can anyone suggest me what version/brand is to install and how? I had tried Ubuntu before. But I want a real version of Linux. Please suggest me.

Thank you in advance!


As you’re a windows user, I’d recommend Ubuntu. I used it for a couple of years until Windows 7 won me over.

You can download it for free via HTTP, FTP or (probably the best method) Torrent. Burn it to CD as an ISO image, then restart your computer with the CD in - setup will then start :slight_smile:

Don’t worry, it won’t write over windows. If memory serves, it allows you to create a partition inside the setup. I’d recommend a defrag before setup though, to maximise partition size!

Thanks Jake for quick response.

I am really a newbie for Linux stuffs and I am keen to learn it and want to all PHP developments from there itself.

Windows 7 will be there in another partition or as another OS in the same laptop. I had tried Ubuntu before (tried means I just installed it but didn’t use anything).

One question with you since you have already used it for couple of years, isn’t there any difference in look and feel, features, applications that are available in distributed Linux OS and Ubuntu? I can find all the things/features in Ubuntu? I just want to make sure I start download and install. What are real differences between Ubuntu like linux systems and Red Hat?

Off Topic:

As you’re a windows user, I’d recommend Ubuntu. I used it for a couple of years until Windows 7 won me over.

BTW, what main feature of Windows 7 won you over?

Thank you once again.

If you plan on setting up a Linux Server, I recommend CentOS http://www.centos.org/

It is EXACT replica of Red Hat Linux Enterprise, without costing you $$$$$.

Not as user friendly as Ubuntu, but it’s a great LAMP OS.

Forgot to mention, www.distrowatch.com is a great resource to compare Linux Distros and what others are using. I am a Windows user, but when I was pondering using windows vs. linux, that site had a plethora of OS’s and their stats.

Good Luck

It probably depends on whether the original post really belongs in this thread or really belongs in the hardware/software forum.

If it belongs here because the computer is being used as a web server then CentOS is probably one of the better chouces.

If it was posted in the wrong forum and is actually intended to be a desktop system as a replacement for Windows then Ubuntu is probably one of the better alternatives.

As I have written in the very beginning as well, I was not quite sure where exactly to post this so I just posted here. Sorry if I have posted it in wrong forum and anyone can move it to the right forum. Since the purpose is not the server management so it can be moved to Software/Hardware forum but I could not find that particular named forum when I just looked in forum index here in sitepoint.

Why I want to have Linux in my laptop is not for such special purpose, it is just to learn how to use linux and I want to learn how to operate everything in linux what we do in windows. It is just to replace the use of windows for now though I will still have Windows 7 in another partition. I am not going to setup a server, it is completely just a personal use but of course I want everything that is available in Linux should be there to learn. That’s it.

First of all I am going to try once again Ubuntu and will come back to you guys how it will. I am gonna install it tonight.

Thank you so much for the responses!


Most web servers are on CentOS. It is a matured os - that we can see with minimum updates releases. Other OS have frequent releases.

You can download the official torrrent distribution - which is about 4 GB. but it works for at least a year :slight_smile: Just download it and burn a DVD. It is self-bootable one, and begins the installation.

You can use CentOS along with Windows. Here is the link:

There is a major difference between ubuntu and centos.
In ubuntu, you download and install what you need.
In centos, you choose what to install. It comes with several packages, in a dvd.

Thanks Bimal for the response!

Yes yesterday I tried to download centos but could not complete downloading because of the interruption with internet connection at home. I am surely going to try once again tonight as well. Hope everything will go properly and I will be able to install it successfully. I want to play with Linux for next couple of weeks and get experienced with it.

Thank you all once again for the suggestions.


First of all, are you sure?

UNIX-ish operating systems (with OS/X being the exception) don’t really seem all that laptop friendly to me. I use windows 7 on a laptop, (I’ve installed cygwin and its X11 server, now my laptop is rather like a wireless X terminal that I use to connect to real machines)

Have you considered something like that? maybe renting a VPS or using an old desktop machine?

If you’ve got a “beefy” laptop, you might actually do OK with something like vmware and installing linux in an emulator. In this case, look for a bare, stripped down version of linux. You probably don’t even want an X11 server. (slackware, archlinux, gentoo come to mind)

I don’t care for apple… at all… but I do have an old macintrash running OS/X, it’s pretty decent. You might consider an apple OS instead of linux, if you absolutely must install on a laptop and the emulator path doesn’t work and you’re more into the unix stuff than specifically linux (remember, linux is a flavor of unix)

Someone else suggested distrowatch, I second their opionion :slight_smile:

I use gentoo here, I’ve used slackware, debian, redhat, archlinux, LFS, mandrake, etc… For getting real cozy with linux, a bare distro, like archlinux or slackware is the way to go. (I don’t think I’d like these on a laptop though…)

If you want to join a cult, debian is for you. :slight_smile: Clients seem to like the RPM flavors, they’re alright, but I find them to be rather bloated down, usually with a zillion “monitor” processes sucking up resources.

Each flavor is different, there isn’t a “real” linux distro, LFS perhaps is as “real” as it gets (I did that once… great for learning, but I strongly advise against it unless you’ve already had some experience)

Is it linux or general unix that you’re interested in?

I think I have already mentioned above that I am not going to setup a server here. I just want to learn how to operate Linux systems. I just want to learn commands that are actually needed sometimes in PHP or while setting up a new site for PHP sites. I have already Windows 7 in my laptop and pretty happy with this too. But still I want to learn something more in Linux systems. That’s it.

BTW, I have already installed Ubuntu 10.04 which seems to be more than enough for me at least for now. I am just learning how to install programs/packages in it and also getting some common Linux commands from terminal.

Thank you very much for the response.


“I just want to learn how to operate Linux systems”

Yeah, you are on the right track with Ubuntu, it is the closest distro to windows. Great community and support. Defiently #1 in the Linux desktop world. Also, I would consider Fedora, by RedHat. www.fedoraproject.org.