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I'm sure these kinds of posts are pretty common on here but I'm not sure what to do. I am only using Linux because my Windows seems to have crashed and it won't load and I can't even reinstall because it just freezes.
Anyway, that's besides the point. I had a copy of Mandriva lying around and thought since I can't get on my computer, I'd stick the disc in and see if it works. At least then I'd be able to get on the computer...
It's installed and working but I'm so confused about how to go about getting things working. For example I needed to install Java for a web site I regularely visit. Instead of just clicking "install" like normal, I had to download Java, untar/zip it, open the command line and type in a load of commands to install it, and then I had to go and configure Firefox so it would work with it (I can't do it so it doesn't work yet).
I can't seem to get video files to play (Kaffeine), can't get my Ethernet working, can't seem to install anything without having to compile, use the command line, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I like the look and feel of Linux. It seems to run smoothly, too. It's not that it doesn't work well, it's just that I don't know what I'm doing yet. I'm not really asking anything specific questions here, but to me this seems so complicated to use. Like having to use the command line so much, having to memorise commands, compiling programs, etc.
I haven't come across a program that I can just double-click and install yet. Not complaining either, but is that how it is on Linux? I'm quite keen to learn how to use the command line and get to know Linux and have no idea where to start.
Generally these days, there are package-management systems that handle a lot of these problems for people, Fedora based distributions generally use YUM, Debian generally use apt-get and these handle most of these sorts of problems out for people as they can find the dependencies and other such things as well as saving having to manually download, unzip/tar and then install/configure. I think there is such a thing in Madriva but not sure what one it uses off the top of my head.
The only thing with package-management systems is that you can only install what is in the repositories, if it's not in the repositories you have configured you either need to find a repository manually or revert back to the manual way of installing things.
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.04, that alternative OS from Washington State
You don't say which version of Mandriva you are using, but it does incorporate a package management system called urpmi which uses RPMs. I do not use Mandriva myself, but somebody will no doubt chime in and explain exactly what you need to get to the "point and click" interface that allows you to install software without worrying about dependencies and manual configuration/compiling. Or, maybe try a Google search on "Mandriva package manager".
In my prior experience with RPMs (using Fedora and YUM), I found that, for the most part, you can set up what you need using it, including things like browser plugins (Flash, Java, etc.) with a minimum of fuss.
I sympathise with your Java trouble: I've been there myself in the past. My current Fedora had a Java clone pre-installed in Firefox, and found the ethernet OK. You might just have a very old version of Mandriva? Mint is probably the best distro for having things ready to use out of the box.
Having experience with Windows can be a negative when trying to deal with Linux---there is the built in expectation that thing will work the same.
Yes, some things take a bit more effort, but overall setting up Linux is faster and more efficient. I just did a clean install of Windows XP, and was rudely reminded of how slow and tedious the process can be. Just installing SP3 took almost an hour---and I have a reasonably good Internet connection.
I would have thought that java would be in the package manager...
If you wanna talk about installation speeds. Where I work due to the level of installations that are performed daily, we have an installation system that we use for the majority of installs. Generally we expect most linux distributions to install within 15~25 minutes and windows installations between 25~45 minutes. That's off of an installation system with everything automated, the only manual information goes in pre-installation.
Also that's why the first two responses were about package managers, to guide him to checking it out .