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Old 08-31-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
dcalki
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Complete newbie to Linux working on install


Hi guys,

Never used linux before at all. Mostly clueless. Have no idea about even the most basic linux stuff.

I've installed Mandrake 8.2 w/ KDE as a dual boot on an old 700 MHz Athlon based machine. Running Win98 as the other install. Install disks were left-overs donated by friend.

Got through the install without any crashes or errors indicated and can boot to both Win98 and Linux, but the Linux system still has many kinks to iron out.

Be aware that this is my only machine so checking details and posting them will have long delays for rebooting between OSs.

First:

Can't get modem to connect to ISP in Linux. When I try, the modem starts dialing but after 10 seconds it reports that the connection failed (using dial-in modem). Problem is, at that point the ISP hasn't even answered the phone call yet. Also, the system continues to attempt a connection, every few minutes it dials out and fails and I can't figure out how to make it stop trying without rebooting.

Have done a smattering of research on modem stuff, poked around the linux config stuff, but can't seem to get anywhere. All online info keeps referring to KPPP, but I can't find any way to get to KPPP on my machine. As far as I know it's not there. Best I can do is from K button go to network configure stuff.

Would greatly appreciate any help or hints as to how I should proceed. Again, I'm clueless in linux so please don't assume I know what you might think is basic stuff.

Thanks for any help.

Last edited by dcalki; 08-31-2007 at 10:53 AM.
 
Old 08-31-2007, 11:36 AM   #2
Shadoglare
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Unfortunately modems can be tricky under Linux, especially since the majority of them have moved to being "WinModem" style modems that require Windows software to work rather than having everything built in.
You might want to start here with the LinuxQuestions mini-FAQ regarding modems: http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Set_up_modem

As far as getting KPPP installed, I'd assume it would be available through whatever software installer Mandrake uses, but I'm afraid I don't know enough about Mandrake to be able to help out.
 
Old 08-31-2007, 11:54 AM   #3
pixellany
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This may not help, but Mandrake (any version) is now obsolete---replaced by Mandriva.

Something like KPPP should be available through the package manager--just checked on my system (PCLinuxOS2007) and it is there. The problem, of course, is downloading a package if dialup is not working!! (In principle, you should be able to download it in Windows and then install it manually.

Is there any way you can get a hi-speed connection--even temporarily?
 
Old 08-31-2007, 11:57 AM   #4
Padma
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Mandrake 8.2 is ancient. If you like the Mandrakelook-and-feel, tools, etc. try getting the latest release from Mandriva.

Or better yet, try PCLinuxOS.
 
Old 08-31-2007, 12:07 PM   #5
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padma View Post
Mandrake 8.2 is ancient. If you like the Mandrakelook-and-feel, tools, etc. try getting the latest release from Mandriva.

Or better yet, try PCLinuxOS.
second that: PCLOS2007 is now my default distro--it is amazingly good. Now on the laptop also, and the Wireless setup was the most painless EVER.

But we digress.......
 
Old 08-31-2007, 12:16 PM   #6
Shadoglare
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Or another option if looking for a newer distro might be Ubuntu... it's the most popular dist out there right now, and you can order physical CDs from their website for free - I forgot about Mandrake being outdated now and things improve pretty quickly in the Linux world.
 
Old 08-31-2007, 12:35 PM   #7
dcalki
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I figured my 8.2 was old news but had no clue where to start for replacing it. As for "Look and Feel", I have no preference, just experimenting with Linux to escape the clutches of Micro-squish. Have no attachment to Mandrake, it's just what I could get for a starter.

I can download using high speed at work, then transfer via jump drive to home machine to burn a CD (if the burner still works).

I'll see if I can successfully download PCLinuxOS and burn it to a CD, then give it a try.

Update: Success downloading at work! Sadly I only have my 512Mb jdrive with me today. Will have to wait until Tuesday to bring in the bigger jdrive and transfer home (no burner at work).


Can I install it right over top of the Mandrake or do I have to un-install Mandrake first? The only place on the hard drive to put this is where the Mandrake is currently installed.

Also, how do I go about uninstalling Mandrake (if that's what I need to do) and reclaiming that part of the hard drive? Will that mess up the bootloader?

Guess I hadn't given much thought to 'undoing' the install. lol.

Again, many thanks for your helpful suggestions.




PS. For Pixellany's sake I must admit to raising my hand for all 5 categories.

A) & B) I can remember as a boy taking our TV tubes to Radio Shack to test and replace them if needed.
C) I have held a magnetic core memory "card" in my hands, about the size of a piece of paper (1k maybe?).
D) I used a keypunch to make the cards for my very first programming work
E) How can anyone call themselves an engineer if they don't know how to solder with acid-core lead?

Last edited by dcalki; 08-31-2007 at 12:46 PM.
 
Old 08-31-2007, 01:04 PM   #8
pixellany
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You can install any Linux into the existing partition(s)--it will simply overwrite whatever is already there.

Quote:
E) How can anyone call themselves an engineer if they don't know how to solder with acid-core lead?
This started as a bit of joke. Having been harrassed a bit, I now am thinking of where I might have actually used acid-core. How about soldering to galvanized cold-water pipes?
This whole thing started at work as a test of seniority--ie if you don't know what a vacuum tube is, you are not a member of the club....
 
Old 08-31-2007, 01:53 PM   #9
dcalki
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Have never worked with galvanized piping but have done many joints with copper pipe, starting around 1968 or so. We used to use that solder there too. It's easier to use than the silver based stuff.
 
Old 08-31-2007, 02:22 PM   #10
salasi
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Quote:
Can't get modem to connect to ISP in Linux. When I try, the modem starts dialing but after 10 seconds it reports that the connection failed (using dial-in modem). Problem is, at that point the ISP hasn't even answered the phone call yet. Also, the system continues to attempt a connection, every few minutes it dials out and fails and I can't figure out how to make it stop trying without rebooting.
It sounds to me (& this is a guess) as if you got the modem working, but you didn't get through the authentication with your ISP. This is sort of good news, as winmodems (mentioned elsewhere) can be a bit of a pain.

Quote:
Have done a smattering of research on modem stuff, poked around the linux config stuff, but can't seem to get anywhere. All online info keeps referring to KPPP, but I can't find any way to get to KPPP on my machine. As far as I know it's not there. Best I can do is from K button go to network configure stuff.
There are a few programs that might help you here; at times I've tried ddial (briefly) and wvdial. The advantages of this kind of program is that they have a simple bit of heuristics to try to do the auto-negotiation with the ISP. You still have to put the ISP details into the relevant .conf file, but not worry about exactly which of the various auth schemes they are using. I'm not sure how similar the programs you have tried is, but the major advantage of kppp is that you configure the settings in a GUI. I don't see that as a very major advantage, but YMMV. (There was also an alternative kde program to kppp at one time - your rather antiquated Mandrake may have had that, whatever it was called...you could try (at the command line) something like "apropos dial" or "apropos ppp", without the quotes, to see what programs you have which mention "dial" or "ppp" in their man page summary).

Quote:
Would greatly appreciate any help or hints as to how I should proceed. Again, I'm clueless in linux so please don't assume I know what you might think is basic stuff.
Well the advice given elsewhere to try something more modern is good. Over here (UK) a couple of the Linux magazines tend to have a distro DVD on the cover each month, and that can be a good source of something to try. Alternatively, there are people who will sell, for a nominal cost, a cd/dvd of your choice, which can also be good. At one point, Ubuntu would send you out a free CD, but I don't know whether they are still doing this, and the completely free route used to be time consuming.

The big thing when installing is to know which partitions are which, so which partitions you can overwrite. At this point you should remember, but the partition type (NTFS/FAT for Windows vs Ext2/3/Reiser/XFS/JFS/Swap... for Linux) should also be a give away.

If you were happy enough with the basic look and feel of Mandrake, try another KDE (GUI) distro. KDE and Gnome are the big two, here. They are both the high end in terms of features, but also high end in terms of need for computing power. Alternatives on a low spec machine are XFCE/Windowmaker/fluxbox (and others). But try something out for a while, see what you like and don't like and then maybe play with something else. You won't even know what questions to ask 'til you've had a play for a while.
 
Old 09-01-2007, 02:39 AM   #11
dcalki
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WOO HOOOO!

Got the modem working finally. I'm posting this message from CD booted PClinuxOS on my home machine.

A little digging turned up the fact that I'm using a US Robotics PCI FaxModem model 5610 and that linux kernel support is built in.

First couple tries still didn't work, so I fell back on the never-fails method of trial and error.

I just kept selecting all the possible ports for the modem location and eventually came across the one which worked.

Now I just have to work on getting the install on the hard drive and then update the configuration again so that the modem works without having to reconfig every time I boot up.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

The PClinuxOS distro seems pretty straightforward and the desktop is pretty intuitive for a windoze user. Now it's time to start exploring a bit.
 
  


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