bj at netaxs.com
Tue Jun 6 22:29:27 PDT 2000
On Tue, 6 Jun 2000, Samus wrote:
>I've found someone local to me that is going to help me through it
>all. I'll let you know how it goes if I ever get it going.
Sorry for the length of this posting; it turned into more of a ramble.
I guess I'm just trying to tell you that you're not alone when it comes
to having problems. If you're going to skip some part of this, skip
that part between the *****'s.
If I could offer a suggestion, it would be to have your friend let you
do the install and help you, rather than him doing it and you watching.
IMO, a big step in "learning Linux" is getting through the install
process. (A nice side effect is that when you do something to hose your
install -- and you *will*; this comes from experience -- is that you'll
be able to do the reinstall yourself. Not much difference than when MS
tech support tells you to reinstall their operating system; the
difference being that you'll need to do this less often is you make use
of the built-in Un*x security model. This means create a user account
for yourself and don't use root for your everyday activities.) Linux
*seems* so much harder because few people actually install *any*
operating system, and also because the Windows install program has had
probably decades of programmer-years poured into it.
Anyhow, when I was getting started, I first installed ZipSlack (a subset
of the Slackware distribution, see http://www.slackware.com/ for more
details if you'd like). Starting out with Slackware is generally *not*
recommended. :) From there, I attempted to add XFree86 to ZipSlack, but
I was unsuccessful in getting it to work properly. (My video chipset,
which was integrated onto the motherboard, was *supposed* to be
supported; the only thing I can surmise is that what was called an ATI
3D Rage IIc AGP on my motherboard has a slightly different interface or
chipset than a standard card by the same name.) This was with Slackware
4.0; 7.0 came out soon after. I downloaded that version's ZipSlack and
attempted to mess with it (I was extremely short of cash at the time,
which is why I didn't buy a distribution.), but I ran into something
which I found out later was a kernel bug (for the interested, it was the
UMSDOS bug present in ~2.2.7-2.2.13). At some point in there, I used
FIPS to repartition my drive, reinstalled ZipSlack, and moved it to a
"real" ext2 Linux partition. (ZipSlack uses a UMSDOS filesystem,
similar to PhatLinux or WinLinux.) Anyway, at some point after that, I
found a cheap set of official Slackware 7 CDs, so now I didn't have the
damned UMSDOS bug in 2.2.13 to deal with, but I was still unable to get
X working like it should've been (had to use the kernel's framebuffer
device and the X server to go along with that).
Some time after that, I picked up SuSE 6.3 and installed it. But I was
in a worse problem with X, because SuSE doesn't support the framebuffer
out of the box like Slackware does. So I copied Slack's /etc/XF86Config
file over from Slackware (which is still installed on my system, I just
don't boot to it anymore, although I'm eyeing that partition to wipe and
mount on /home now), and it worked. At some point in there I was able
to get the winmodem working with some horribly kludgy kernel module that
had ostensibly created by the vendor.
As it stands now, I've gotten a new graphics card (I recommend 3dfx
because of their open specs) and a decent external [non-win]modem.
Things are going good and I've got hardware acceleration in X. My
system still feels slow, but that's because of a poor design decision on
the part of the manufacturer and a poor purchasing decision on mine.
Once I start assembling the components for another box, that'll go away,
and this one will be relegated to some function on my home network.
So yes, there was some pain associated with getting my system to work
properly. But no pain, no gain, right? :) I and my system are none
the worse for wear for it, and I have a much better understanding of how
things work than if everything had gone smoothly the first time. It can
be really frustrating, I know, but it's well worth the effort. A very
important web site is http://www.linuxdoc.org/, the home of the Linux
Documentation Project. This should be your first stop if you have a
problem. When that doesn't work, there are mailing lists such as this
one, and for real-time help, try IRC, channel #linuxhelp on the Undernet
(all levels of users are there, and they are newbie-friendly). Oh, and
contrary to what you probably think (and what I thought when I first got
started), your choice of distribution isn't all that important since
you'll probably switch at some point. :)
Hang in there. We've all been where you are now at some point or other.
>Ever heard of .cshrc? | "Linux means never having to delete
That's a city in Bosnia. Right? | your love mail." -- Don Marti
(Discussion in comp.os.linux.misc | http://www.netaxs.com/~bj/
on the intuitiveness of commands.) | http://www.harrybrowne.org/
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