Regarding Databases...and distros...
Linux now has complex mechanisms similar to the 'CacheFS' on Solaris. Databases like MySQL, Oracle can take huge advantage of this as the swap isn't that badly needed. Nowadays computers have so much ram, that apart when dll larges files from intranet and watching a movie fullscreen at the same time, swap is barely used at full. I have 125 Megs swap on a small box for 256 Meg RAM, with no problem. But has stated before 2xRAM is usually a good idea for swap, to a certain limit.
Mandrake and RH can be both recommended for starting learning linux. They are graphic, user orientated and powerful. The main problem is the tweaking brought to classic component such has gcc(compiler), kernel, VitrualMemory, X window is so advanced that it doesn't teach one the traditionnal 'Linux/Unix' environnement. It proves hard too to find out on their sites which patches are used on which kernel for example
. Umm, remind me of something...no can't be, or could it become ? It has proven hard for new users for example to recompile a kernel on RH/MDK without using the kernel srcs supplied from their sites. A kernel from www.kernel.org
will not work. Umm still linux is it ?If you want to use Linux FAST, only as a user, then they are good to keep.
On the other hand, when you want real 'FREEDOM', installing only what you want and need , and as well LEARNING another way of using a computer than windows, then after feeling comfortable with shells and majority of linux commands, i recommend moving away to more 'bare' no bells-and-whisttles distribution like GNU/Debian, Gentoo, more traditionnal UNIX: Slackware, BSDs (Free, Net and Open) or hardcore LFS as Linux From Scratch ( vers 4.0 out )
Can't wait for the sager....friday...