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Old 05-12-2007, 02:43 PM   #1
subigo
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Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: simplyMEPIS 6.5
Posts: 11

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Help me pick a distro that works.


Years ago I tried Redhat (see my reg. date) on an old PC and it worked fine, but it had it's problems, so I went back to windows. Fast forward 5 years and here I am again wanting to try linux. But I have a problem, nothing wants to work with my pc.

Let me break down the distros that I have tried this week:

SLAX: Ran fine but would not detect my ethernet card, no matter what I did.

PCLinuxOS: Would only work in safe mode. Edited the xorg.conf file manually and it still wouldn't let me have anything better than 800x600. Ethernet would drop at random times.

Ubuntu: It would give me the boot screen and once it loaded to 100% the screen would go blank, I would hear the start up music, and nothing would happen. I could alt+ctrl+f1 to a command line and I tried sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg, but not a single setting would work. After two days of trying, I couldn't get X up.

Freespire (the one that's supposed to "just work"): I never got past the splash screen here either. It froze at 100% and I would get a command line, but unlike Ubuntu, I couldn't even type, I just got this error: rescue% s[17179660.044000] atkbd.c: unknown key released (translated set 2, code 0x81 on isa0060/serio0). [17179660.044000] atkbd.c: Use 'setkeycodes e001 <keycode>' to make it known.

Knoppix: Well, it works, but damn it's ugly. Ethernet keeps a connection with 0% packet loss. KDE loads in any res. I want... but I'm having a bitch of a time getting it to see my video card...

Mandriva: I actually have this on my PC now. I dual boot it and windows XP... it looks wonderful, but like knoppix I'm having issues installing the driver for my geforce4 card. The mandriva forum is still trying to help me figure that one out... but mandriva has other issues, I can't stay connected to the internet. eth0 drops packets like crazy until it eventually drops. I have to totally take down the card, bring it back up, and reconfigure it to get back online... normally about every 10 minutes. I have found no answers for that yet.

Sheesh... and that's just THIS week. All I want is a distro that will let me use my video card and keep a constant connection to the internet... oh, and will actually load KDE.

I'm about to just give up. Let me give you my setup and let's see if someone can recommend something to me.

I have this motherboard: MSI K8NGM-V http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-MSI-MSI-...-Audio-LAN-Ser

I have a Nvidia Geforce MX 4000 PCI card.

I have a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse combo.

I have a Westinghouse 17 inch LCD monitor.

All the distros have a nice sales pitch, but I have been pretty bummed by the fact that Linux seems no easier to get working today than it did for me 5 years ago... hell, 10 years ago.

Last edited by subigo; 05-12-2007 at 02:44 PM.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
bogzab
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Registered: Mar 2006
Location: Dyserth, Wales
Distribution: Slackware 14.0, Slackware 14.1, Slackware-current
Posts: 306

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A distro that works

I have got both Suse 10.1 and Slackware 11 working with minimal problems on self-assembled PCs. My PCs always have less than state of the art motherbaords and AMD processors. Most recent one that has Slackware on it also has an NVIDIA graphics card and you might want to note that to get X up and running I did have to download the NVIDIA linux driver from nvidia.com. Once I had that up and running most things worked very quick and easy.

Bogus
 
Old 05-12-2007, 03:25 PM   #3
masonm
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Following the white rabbit
Distribution: Solus
Posts: 2,254

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As I recall at the bottom of the Ubuntu boot screen are some options you can select. one of them is for video. Select "vesa" and it will run. Vesa is a safe basic video driver for just about any video card made.

Once you get the system installed, make sure that /etc/X11/xorg.conf is still using the vesa driver. Once you get it up and running you can easily install the correct NVidia driver for your card using one of several tools including Envy (my choice), Automatix, or EasyUbuntu.

Last edited by masonm; 05-12-2007 at 05:23 PM.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 04:29 PM   #4
Zmyrgel
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Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Finland
Distribution: Slackware, CentOS, RHEL, OpenBSD
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I've had least hardware problems with Gentoo but it requires a little knowledge to get working. As soon as I get my Thinkpad T60 I'm going to install Gentoo on it.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 05:51 PM   #5
oskar
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Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Austria
Distribution: Ubuntu 12.10
Posts: 1,142

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Have you checked the cd's before installing? (both md5 and integrity check)
Is this a new pc? There is a small possibility that it has a chipset that is not yet supported.
Did you run memcheck? I once had the problem that linux kept crashing, but windows worked... Turned out to be a bad stick of ram.

Did you install ubuntu with the alternate install cd? If you used the live cd, that would be weired. Why should it be able to load gnome on the live cd, but not after the installation. This really sounds like something went wrong during install. Maybe a bad cd drive.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 07:07 PM   #6
darrelljon
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Perhaps you could try SimplyMEPIS or Fedora.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 07:28 PM   #7
subigo
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Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: simplyMEPIS 6.5
Posts: 11

Original Poster
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Well, to answer some questions...

bogzab: I'm thinking about trying out Slackware, as SLAX works for the most part, but it doesn't recognize my ethernet card. I'm guessing if SLAX can't see it, neither will Slackware.

masonm: I've tried the VESA option... and it's a no go. Same thing.

Zmyrgel: Gentoo is on the "next distro to try" list.

oskar: My PC specs are listed above, it's a few years old. Yes I do the md5sum check and I did use the livecd.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 08:25 PM   #8
saikee
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Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
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subigo,

I would be pretty relax if I were you having found Knoppix that works on all your hardware. I would print the /etc/X11/xorg.conf out and apply to all other distros. Usually one setting of xorg in one Linux will work for all Linux.

Think I use "nv" for my Nvidia FX 5200 card.

If you have a problem with the graphic installation choose text mode to install.

Your problem may due to Linux assuming you have a CRT monitor and offering a high scanning frequencies. You can always override it with those supplied by the monitor manufacturer. LCD monitors operate at a low range of frequencies.

On the network card if you buy the established and so the cheapest you will every Linux will fire it up.

Last edited by saikee; 05-12-2007 at 08:26 PM.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 08:50 PM   #9
subigo
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Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: simplyMEPIS 6.5
Posts: 11

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Well, I think I may have found a working "out of the box" distro...

SimplyMEPIS, which I am online with now, is working perfectly. No dropped packets, no hiccups, and it even gives me a GUI for installing the correct Nvidia driver..... nice.

If nothing goes wrong (knock on wood) with SimplyMEPIS in the next 30 minutes, I am installing it over Mandriva.

Finally.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 09:01 PM   #10
masonm
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Following the white rabbit
Distribution: Solus
Posts: 2,254

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Warren does a very good job with Mepis. I've never had anything against it and always keep one of his LiveCDs around. Glad you found something you can start with.
 
Old 05-12-2007, 09:36 PM   #11
subigo
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Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: simplyMEPIS 6.5
Posts: 11

Original Poster
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Well, that was the fastest install ever.

Done and done.

Thanks for all the help.
 
Old 06-16-2007, 05:18 PM   #12
frenchn00b
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Registered: Jun 2007
Location: E.U., Mountains :-)
Distribution: Debian, Etch, the greatest
Posts: 2,546

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Quote:
Originally Posted by subigo
Years ago I tried Redhat (see my reg. date) on an old PC and it worked fine, but it had it's problems, so I went back to windows. Fast forward 5 years and here I am again wanting to try linux. But I have a problem, nothing wants to work with my pc.

Let me break down the distros that I have tried this week:

SLAX: Ran fine but would not detect my ethernet card, no matter what I did.

PCLinuxOS: Would only work in safe mode. Edited the xorg.conf file manually and it still wouldn't let me have anything better than 800x600. Ethernet would drop at random times.

Ubuntu: It would give me the boot screen and once it loaded to 100% the screen would go blank, I would hear the start up music, and nothing would happen. I could alt+ctrl+f1 to a command line and I tried sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg, but not a single setting would work. After two days of trying, I couldn't get X up.

Freespire (the one that's supposed to "just work"): I never got past the splash screen here either. It froze at 100% and I would get a command line, but unlike Ubuntu, I couldn't even type, I just got this error: rescue% s[17179660.044000] atkbd.c: unknown key released (translated set 2, code 0x81 on isa0060/serio0). [17179660.044000] atkbd.c: Use 'setkeycodes e001 <keycode>' to make it known.

Knoppix: Well, it works, but damn it's ugly. Ethernet keeps a connection with 0% packet loss. KDE loads in any res. I want... but I'm having a bitch of a time getting it to see my video card...

Mandriva: I actually have this on my PC now. I dual boot it and windows XP... it looks wonderful, but like knoppix I'm having issues installing the driver for my geforce4 card. The mandriva forum is still trying to help me figure that one out... but mandriva has other issues, I can't stay connected to the internet. eth0 drops packets like crazy until it eventually drops. I have to totally take down the card, bring it back up, and reconfigure it to get back online... normally about every 10 minutes. I have found no answers for that yet.

Sheesh... and that's just THIS week. All I want is a distro that will let me use my video card and keep a constant connection to the internet... oh, and will actually load KDE.

I'm about to just give up. Let me give you my setup and let's see if someone can recommend something to me.

I have this motherboard: MSI K8NGM-V http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-MSI-MSI-...-Audio-LAN-Ser

I have a Nvidia Geforce MX 4000 PCI card.

I have a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse combo.

I have a Westinghouse 17 inch LCD monitor.

All the distros have a nice sales pitch, but I have been pretty bummed by the fact that Linux seems no easier to get working today than it did for me 5 years ago... hell, 10 years ago.
too:
Maybe this:
http://kmuto.jp/debian/d-i/
(for a debian sarge to etch)

I am
 
Old 06-16-2007, 06:15 PM   #13
alexander_bosakov
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2006
Location: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Distribution: OpenSuse 11.3
Posts: 55

Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
I'm having issues installing the driver for my geforce4 card.
I'm using Mandriva, and also have GeForce 4. I downloaded the drivers from the nVidia web-site. The driver have to be compiled, so you need the kernel source (header actually) files installed. Go to www.nvidia.com, select "Download drivers", etc. ..., and look for the "Legacy drivers". Download, and follow the instructions.
 
  


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