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I bought the Linspire package and decided to test it first using the Live CD function. It started to boot, then many errors came up, resulting in Live CD boot failure. Should I go ahead and try to install the OS to my HD anyway? I have a brand new Compaq Presario V2000 series notebook with 1GB RAM and AMD Turion 64 processor. I have had problems using Linux in the past on other computers, so I am very leery, but I am still attracted to Linux. I was wondering if I should try a HD install or is the LIVE CD problem a warning NOT to do it? Also, is Linspire wi-fi or wireless friendly? I'm trying to get away from Windoze. Thanks for the advice.
Last edited by geoffcaplan; 06-09-2006 at 10:06 AM.
Here are a few tips in random order that may help.
1. I have not personally found the Linspire live CD to be worth much.
2. I have successfully installed Linspire on two computers and it works very well. Linspire is somewhat finicky regarding hardware compatibility. Chances are that if you start an install and it seems to work, the install will go well. Otherwise, the installation will lock up very early in the process and no harm should come from that, since it will do so long before you get to a step where it attempts to write anything to your hard drive.
3. Linspire does not come with partitioning tools and will want to take over your entire hard drive, wiping out your Windows OS. If you want the option of being able to boot into either Windows or Linux, you will need a separate program to repartition your hard drive. (It is not difficult at all, but you should know before starting that this needs to be done.) Incidentally, I wrote an installation and review of Linspire at another forum that describes a complete install, including setting the computer up for dual boot: http://www.lightningseed.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=734
4. Linspire is WiFi friendly if you use no encryption or WEP encryption. Personally, I think running an open (unencrypted) wireless network is asking for trouble and WEP encryption is not much better. I recommend WPA encryption if your home wireless setup allows it. For use with WPA, I recommend SUSE 10.0. Note: SUSE 10.1 is not as good regarding ease of setting up wireless as 10.0. Of course, you can get WPA encryption to work with any distro if you are willing to "get your hands dirty," but for someone who is new to Linux, I strongly recommend sticking to SUSE 10.0.
Thanks for the advice. Someone in a Linspire forum advised me NOT to proceed with this install in view of the Live CD problem. The person also said that proprietary software on a Compaq notebook would make this a very difficult install. The bottom line, according to this person, is that if the Live CD boot won't configure and work, then a HD install won't either. So, I guess I am reluctantly staying with Windoze.
Well, before giving up entirely, you might want to give SimplyMEPIS or PCLinuxOS a shot. They are "newb" oriented and run as live CDs. If you like what you see, you can click on the "INSTALL ME" icon on the desktop and install whatever you are using on your hard drive.
Disclaimer: although I have run both as live CDs and been pleased with what I saw, I have not permanently installed either. You will want to do a little research before installing, but to run as a live CD has essentially no risk.
I have heard good things about SimplyMepis and ordered a CD to support their effort. I wonder if it is wireless friendly, though, will play DVDs, MP3s, etc. These have been issues for me with Linux distros. I realize that experienced Linux users research drivers, compile kernels and the like to accomplish all of this, but my view is that Linux for the desktop must be easier to install and use if it is to gain more acceptance.
PCLinuxOS plays mp3's, flash, quicktime trailers, and the like out of the box. It doesn't play DVD's by default, but the plugin is in the repository . The PCLinuxOS control center works easily and well. Getting wireless to work with WPA and ndiswrapper is quite easy to do. The only fault of the installer is that it does not give an option to resize your existing hard drive partitions. The way to do that is to install windows first and leave a chunk of free space or to use GParted from another live CD.
Run as a live CD, SimplyMEPIS plays MP3s, audio CDs, and unencrypted DVDs with Kaffeine. Everything works as you would expect. As platanazo64 mentioned, it is also wireless compatible, although it only supports open and WEP encrypted formats, which are what you would generally encounter in public WiFi hotspots. I checked and it does not support WPA encryption out of the box. Of course, pretty much any distro can be made to work with WPA encryption through the use of wpa_supplicant, but that does require some Linux expertise to install and set up.
Made some progress. Downloaded a SimplyMepis ISO and burned it. The CD booted "live" perfectly with no errors, but there was no wireless on the live CD version. I do see that there are library packages with wireless config files but now I am nervous about a HD install due to the lack of wireless.
I do not have a live CD now to check for the path, but I recall playing around with a GUI for wireless (WiFi) support, which you should be able to use with the live CD. You might also try entering kwifimanager in a terminal window and see what that does. If I remember to check this evening, I will look into it and see if I can recommend something more specific.
I checked my setup and found two starting points for troubleshooting wireless network connections with Mepis. I am guessing that you already explored the second one, but I will add it in here for the record. Here is the first one:
K Menu --> MEPIS Config (OS Center) --> Network Interfaces
You should see a "Wireless on: " listing under Network Status. Click on the WiFi tab. Enter the ESSID. Click Use encryption key box (if appropriate) and enter the encryption key. You may have to enter or select some other things, but you should get the idea from this.
If that does not work, here is another approach.
Open the Configuration Editor one of two ways:
1. Using the GUI:
K Menu --> Control Center --> Internet & Network --> Wireless Network (link) --> Administrator Mode --> enter password
2. Using Konsole:
Settings --> Configuration Editor
Once in the Configuration Editor:
Enter the Network name and click the Use encryption selector box if you are accessing an encrypted wireless network. Click on the Configure button and enter the key(s).
One more thing: MEPIS is just a distro with which I have played around and chose to recommend based on your questions. There are a number of people who have gotten wireless working with this distro like platanazo64, so if that is your only problem, keep looking. Chances are you will turn up a solution soon.
Thanks. I felt like I was so close to success. But how do you know which encryption key to enter? I also read somewhere that my notebook's wireless (Broadcom?) is especially unfriendly to Linux.
Setting up your OS to properly utilize a particular wireless chipset like Broadcom or Atheros is more of a driver issue than a wireless network setup issue. Although some setups are more problematic than others, for most people using newer Linux distributions this is no longer an issue. As I stated in my earlier post, if your OS detects a wireless card, even if it does not connect to your network, you do not need to worry about it further--it has been detected, configured, and is running.
The encryption key is related to the wireless network, not your hardware. For security reasons, if a wireless network is left open, anyone driving by in a car (war driving) can enter your network and do what they wish. To limit this, there are various security measures that can be added. Therefore, when someone sets up a wireless network, they have several choices with regard to security. The most common three are:
1. Broadcast SSID or not. If they broadcast the SSID, anyone within wireless range will detect this network. If it is not broadcast, anyone who needs to use the network will have to manually enter the SSID.
2. Enable MAC address filtering or not. The router can be set up to accept certain hardware addresses (MAC addresses) and omit any others that try to connect. If MAC addresses are filtered, the MAC address of the wireless card has to be added to the routers table of allowed addresses.
3. Enable encryption or not. If encryption is used, it can be one of several types, but the most common for our purposes are WEP and WPA-PSK. (There are several variations of WPA, but the only one commonly used by consumers is WPA-PSK). WPA is much stronger than WEP. In either case, a password is assigned at the router and must be typed into the client computer as well.
If you are using a wireless network at work, just ask the system administrator for this information. If you set up your own wireless network and are using the "defaults," your wireless network is probably broadcasting the SSID, has MAC filtering turned off, and does not use encryption.
Unfortunately, encryption is not the issue. The wireless is not recognized at all. I even bought a wireless card to test it; no result. Enough is enough. I'm staying with Windows, or might even get a Mac, though they have some wireless connectivity issues, especially with Linksys routers. Thanks for all of the advice.