I have a new computer at work, a Dell Optiplex GX280. No great powerhouse, but sufficient for what I need.
Today I installed Scientific Linux 3.0.4 on it. This is a RHEL clone, put together by some high energy physics laboratory people. As their web site shows, I was not the first to install it on a GX280, and I had similar success — video is VESA, other than that no difficulties.
I kept WindowsXP on the disk and set up a dual boot… with Linux the default, of course. As for partitioning, well… wanting to sully myself with Windows as little as possible, I tried booting from a Knoppix 3.7 live CD. This didn’t work. The default boot, with kernel 2.4x, didn’t recognize the SATA hard drive, and booting with kernel 2.6x just hung. There may be a workaround, but I just took the advice of M Otis Beard and tried using Kanotix 2005-01, a Knoppix variant. That worked well — until I tried running QtParted to shrink the Windows NTFS partition. It wouldn’t cooperate. I finally gave up, went back to Windows, and did it with PartitionMagic. Well, at least I now have a couple live Linux CDs in case I need them.
Tonight, for the heck of it, I installed Scientific Linux — in a much more stripped down form, given the massive 4 GB disk — on my old ThinkPad 600 laptop. Once again it went fine. No sound, but that’s nothing new — I hear it’s possible to get sound support for the TP600 in Linux, but it involves sacrificing a goat and reciting Kant backwards while doing handstands, or something. Anyway, I’ve never done it.