Yesterday I went through various distributions and architectures for a Linux installation, focusing in particular on OpenSUSE. Before we go through the actual installation of OpenSUSE (and Linux in general), there is one type of distribution that I failed to mention in yesterday's post: the Live CD.
Live CDs are a great tool for those new to Linux, since they allow you to test a given distribution without actually affecting your existing system. Unfortunately, there isn't a live CD for OpenSUSE at this time. However, Ubuntu and Kubuntu offer great live CDs. These are downloaded and burned in exactly the same manner as described in yesterday's post, yet when your computer boots from them (again, assuming that you have your BIOS set to look at your optical drive on boot), you are launched into an actual, living breathing version Ubuntu. It's usually a bit slow, since you're running off of the CD-ROM instead of your hard drive.
However, you can test it with your hardware, understand the look and feel, and otherwise avoid hosing your computer while still deciding on a particular operating system before committing. It's a bit like living with someone before you marry them. One thing to remember is that the work you do won't be saved. However, Ubuntu, Knoppix, and several others all offer Linux neophytes a glimpse without any real hassle.
More on the OpenSUSE installation tonight (for sure this time)- I'm building a gallery of the 10.2 installation in between rebuilding the master schedule for my school. I love summer break.