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Old 02-23-2002, 12:45 AM   #1
raid517
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Help! Totally confused windows convert.


Please help. I am a complete newbi to linux and have a Radeon 8500 Garphics card and a dual processor Asus Athlon 1800+ mobo, with 768 MB corsair PC2400 ram. I would like to exploit the full capabilities of my system, although this has not proved possible under Windows XP. I would particularly like to get my Radeon 8500 graphics card up and running. However to do this I need to install the new xfree86 4.2.0 kernel. I have Mandrake 8 and will upgrade to 8.1 but for the moment I just want to get my head round some of the basic stuff, so 8.0 is ok for a little while.
My problem is I have no idea how to compile the xfree86 kernel, having never had to write a line of code in my life. I have just about got my head round RPMs as they are the closest thing I have seen yet to a windows executable. I know how to use the software manager in Mandrake to install RPMs. But that's it. That's all I know. Is there such a thing as an RPM of the latest xfree86 modules and if so where can I get it? If this isn't possible would someone be kind enough to assume that I know nothing at all about Linux, barely know how to perform basic functions and provide me with very simple, very explicit instructions on how to install the new Xfree modules on my computer?
I don't think I have ever felt quite this dumb before, but maybe this is a good thing, as if you anyone can work out a way of explaining this to a true novice (2nd day using Linux), then I'm sure I will be a much more enlightent (and hopefully happier, Windows does make you miserable) computer user.
May I just pass on my gratitude in advance to anyone with the time and patience to reply.

Regards,

Q
 
Old 02-23-2002, 01:20 AM   #2
Malicious
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The best way to do this is to go to the horses mouth; http://www.xfree86.org and follow the links to the latest release (or take a short cut by using http://www.xfree86.org/4.2.0/Install.html).

You should find out about which files to download, how to extract what you need and how to use Xinstall. I'd probably try the binary first; much less pain.

Good luck...
 
Old 02-23-2002, 01:23 AM   #3
Malicious
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By the way, if you can't get that box to work, I'd be glad to trade you a couple of K6-500 boxes for it. :-)
 
Old 02-23-2002, 08:33 AM   #4
raid517
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Well thanks man, that was about as helpful as being slapped in the face with a wet fish!
Mmm well just so you know I did go there and I did read the intructions, I did that before asking for help. I even read their advice for newbies, which was that if you have trouble with installing you should ask for help in one of the many excellent Linux forums.
I know you were trying to be helpful, but to be honest the insructions that came for installing are virtually gobbldygook to me. They make no sense at all and make the assumption that you are at least familiar with SOME command line stuff. Being somewhat new to the concept of hitting keys in general, let alone writing command line stuff, this is an assumption that does not apply to me.
I need abc type help, 1 and 1 make two, click here, write that, click there, do this... I'm sorry if I seem dumb, but how else am I to learn if no one will teach me? If its any help I'm using the KDE desktop, at least until I learn my way around.
On a side note but no less significant, after putting Linux on my system my Widows XP refuses to boot (not sure if this is a bad thing, it was always an unstable SOB). Not only that, when I format my harddrive to delete any Linux partitions, then try to reinstall XP, my system freeks/freezes and refuses to install it. It just gets to the starting up Window and then stops.
I've tried about 4 times now but always with the same results. What is this? A conspiracy whereby each O/S tries to disable the other on start up? Luckly I have 120GB to play with, so I did do some back up, but now the only O/S that will install is Mandrake. Its Linux or nothing, so it would seem. While that may be no bad thing, much of my income is aquired using Windows based applications, and i need to be able to test new Windows applications for many of the clients I work for.
Has anyone any Idea what is going on? Will I have to buy another harddrive to resolve this issue? I hope not. This computer has already cost me big time.
Please do try to answer my first question, as I would like to see an effective Linux installation up and running as it should be. An advantage of this new Kernel is, as well as Radeon support, it offers inbuilt support for many of the fancy featutres of my mobo, like the USB 2 card it came with and the six channel sound. It also has some mobo specific drivers that XP didn't have and always bitched about. (And even AMD haven't released yet).
So I would very much like to see this thing working. And hey thanks for your offer. My computer is of the somewhat Phat variety. I don't know about swapping it for a couple of nice but gracefully dating PCs, but maybe I could sell you it if the price is right. Hell I could sell you fifty for the right price. Its not exactly rocket science to put together. Got a spare grand or two for a high powered workstation/server?
Anyway I hope I don't seem too much of a dumb ass. Your help would be gratly appreciated.

Best wishes.

Q
 
Old 02-23-2002, 10:36 AM   #5
neo77777
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Yeah, you're right, linux requires to be able at least understand on what's going on within the system; if you can get a linux book, something like "Linux Unleashed" and "Linux in Nutshell" it will help you, almost everything in linux requires your direct interference with the system if you want it to be the way you want it to be. Ok, let's start with XFree86 problem. The new version of XFree86 supports your Radeon 8500, and I believe with hardware acceleration by default. You can hunt down latest rpms in http://www.rpmfind.net, but before getting your hands dirty, do some homework, find out what packages installed already on your machine which are XFree relevent, to do so
open an Xterm window (lke MS-DOS command line) and type
rpm -qa | grep -i xfree > xfree.txt
it will search your rpm DB for XFree packages and put them in a file called xfree.txt
now use your favorite text viewer to view the file, and look for the packages on aforementioned website (note: there'll be tons of rpms, stick with Mandrake releases, with the same version number, don't mess the versions because you'll confuse the system and yourself), download the packages, and as you said you're familiar how to install rpms do so with confidence, if you are missing something let us know and we'll try to work it around. This was regarding XFree, now regarding kernel, as far as I know kernel upgrades on Mandrake systems are bitching, why? because it is the way Mandrake is built with its user-friendliess, it is user-friendless with kernel compilations, I would suggest to get the latest Mandrake release, the stable is 8.1 and beta 8.2, if you'll decide to go for a new distro you can forget the XFree nightmare mentioned above. Of course you can give it a shot., and compile the new kernel, but it'll be really hard for you. Anyway, the kernel source is available at http://kernel.org. The latest stable release is 2.4.17, grub the tar.gz file on their ftp server, don't download patches, then open an Xterm, type
/bin/su
enter password for root account,
cd /usr/src
tar xfvz /path/to/downloaded/kernel/source.tar.gz
cd linux

now type
make menuconfig
and now the adventure begins, I warn you you'll not be able to compile kernel from the first attempt if ever ( I am not being rude), there are different menues and options for kernel, you must know what you need and what you don't, you must know your hardware, and use a common sense in choosing either the option should be compiled as a module or should it be built-in into kernel, read kernel-howto available at http://www.linuxdoc.org
when you are done choosing options, save the changes and quit from menu, now type
make dep
after it finishes, type
make bzImage
it creates the compressed image of your new kernel, it takes time to compile, and at the end it will tell you where the image is stored
now you must copy the image into /boot directory
cp /directory/where/image/is/stored /boot/vmlinuz.new
afte it finishes, type
make modules
make modules_install
now if you use LILO bootloader, you nust edit the /etc/lilo.conf file
for it contact the how-to page
when it's done type
/sbin/lilo
and reboot
at boot time choose your new kernel, and if it fails, you can choose your old kernel to boot and do everything from scratch again.

Last edited by neo77777; 02-23-2002 at 11:00 AM.
 
Old 02-23-2002, 01:13 PM   #6
Elbolton
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raids517

you have a nice piece of kit there and I suggest you use some of that RAM to install one of the virtual machine managers like VirtualPC from Connectix or VMWare (VirtualPC is cheaper) and put a basic install of your chosen distribution into it - no X!

This will still allow you to play with a command line under linux and test its network capabilities by trying to get it to talk to your host system.

This will still mean that you have the comfort of your windows system while you explore the new OS.

I myself have only got into looking into Linux in any kind of serious way last week and I found this approach very helpful.

For documentation, the places I found most useful were:

www.linuxdoc.org - probably definitive

www.linuxnewbie.org - i found this site particulary helpful, especially their 'Newbieized Help Files' - NBFs. Although, a full range hasn't been written, but those that are are pretty helpful.

Finally, I will say decide something you want to do and do that - do not be distracted! For example, I want to serve up a single web page, then think about getting that up and running before worrying about being able to setup the ftp to it. Or I want to create 2 logins - one for me and one for the cat. This type of approach will mean there is some structure to how you learn and once your confidence builds then you can do more.

One other little note about using a virtual machine, you can copy it so you can create an install, take a copy and then break the installation to see what things do and then simply take another copy from your clean install.

Last edited by Elbolton; 02-23-2002 at 01:16 PM.
 
Old 02-23-2002, 08:06 PM   #7
raid517
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I have the precompiled binaries. Is the process the same for them? Man this sucks, Windows sucks KDE sucks, maybe all computers suck, that's how I'm beginning to feel. Even if I could work out how to do this the Xfree86 distibution only supports 2D for the Radeon 8500 (3D for 7500 though). WTF is the deal with that? This is the latest release, so when is the next one due? Is it months away? Anyway the latest relaes of Mandrake (8.2 Beta) is a good few releases behind this latest release, so upgrading to the newst edition is unlikely to be of any benefit.
Also I still can't get XP to install on this drive, due to previously having had a linux partition on it. No matter how many times I format, XP will just not take. As much as I hate Windows, its how I earn my living, as all my clients use it. My only option, one I have done before is to do an unconditional format in DOS of the entire disk, thereby deleting 10.000 worth of client files. Not such a graet prospect. My only other option is to buy a new hard disk, which although cheaper is still no small expense. At least then I can format it with XP, drag my fles over and then boot linux with floppies if I need to.
My inistial impression of Linux is mixed, I would like to like it, but to be frank a lot of it looks like it was made in some guys bedroom. KDE is a particularly useless GUI. Also my optical mouse is out of control. Is there any way I can stop pages scrolling 50 lines at a time for every twich I make of my mouse wheel? It is more than a tad over sensitive.
Any advice you can give me on how to deal with these precompiled binaries would be graetly appreciated.

Q

PS What does everyone make of this new WineX stuff in Mandrake? I know most people scorn Wine, but for me if I could satify my customers with a good Windows emulator (which apparently wine is not) then I genuinely wouldn't ever use Windows again. At this time I do not see how it is possible to earn money using Linux, as it does seem to be targeted more towards enthusiasts who like computers for computers sake. Made by programmers for programmers is still a rather sticky label.
 
Old 02-24-2002, 03:10 AM   #8
Elbolton
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I'm not able to help you directly with the install of your binaries or indeed with your WinXP problems. I did say that I had only been looking at Linux in a serious way for only a week!

If you can get to the disk at all then you need to get your client files backed up ASAP.

I'm afraid this also begs the question as to why your are experimenting on a machine that contains your only copy of valuable files

After getting the data safe, then clean your disk with a low-level format and get yourself a working windows system and, again, I will recommend that you use a virtual machine program as I mentioned in my previous post (VirtualPC is comparable in costs to that of a cheap hard drive). This makes even more sense if you have only the single machine to work with as the VM is insulated from the host OS.

I also hinted that you need to think to the reasons as to why you are doing all this in the first place. IMO, it is not really sensible to dive in and expect to have a full replacement for Windows overnight. I think this expectation is unrealistic.

You really need to think why you are doing this. Choose ONE distribution and then collect every bit of documentation you can and read, read, read, take notes and read some more - Neo77777 recommended some quality books so that you can have a grasp of the underlying architecture of the system - buy, beg, steal or borrow them and read them.

Concentrate on getting the basic system together and don't install everyting including the kitchen sink. Your objective should be to reduce the complexity that you have to deal with until you are confident that you know what you have installed is doing.

I don't think anyone here will disagree with me if I say that Linux is harder to deal with than Windows. That is the cost that you will have to pay if you want to have the flexibility that Linux will ultimately give you.

My reasons for going this route is that we are small hosting company and I just refuse to pay MS for the over-inflated prices for their new hosting s/w with the inevitable tie-in of ongoing costs. So rather than give MS the money, I will invest my time in getting a hosting platform working in Linux. Already, I have seen significant benefits in doing this. The power I have with Linux/Apache platform is awesome. The MS offering is looking very crippled by comparison. But, I suspect it will be sometime before I stop using my WinXP Pro workstation (And anyway, I am not going to throw away nearly 20 years of experience with MS platforms!).

I think there is a quite a lot of truth in the view that Linux is for enthusiasts, programmers, etc., but that is because those are people who have a thorough understanding of their computers and realise the superiority of the Linux platform.

I can understand the frustration you may be having, but it is unlikley, or probably even possible, to give you a step by step set of instructions for getting your system setup. That said, maybe someone here would do it for you for money and that is how people are, quite rightly, making money out of Linux.

The upshot of all this is I am trying to help you define a successful approach that will give you the most effective chances of getting the best out of your experience with Linux. You have to use the full range of tools open to you. This includes paper and pencil, your exisiting experience and your printer for all that documentation!
 
Old 02-24-2002, 01:37 PM   #9
raid517
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Thanks for the response. Ultimately I don't think I am likely to give up on Linux. if only because for certain day to day usage cenarios, I need stability in my sysstem. Howvever, as I said, most of the people I work for use MS products, so I am prety much stuck in that regard. The Reason I opted to experiment with Linux is that I could not achieve a stable Windows XP install on my machine, Manybe there is something about the motherboard it doesn't like, or maybe its the graphics card. I am unsure which. I think the old rule about never switching untill at least the first service pack definately applies here, otherwise you run the risk of just becomming a guinnie pig for MS.
However you have just confirmed what most people say Linux is best for, which is as a server in a server based environment. Isn't that what you plan to do with it?
Personally I can't see the facination of command line interaction with an O/S, as ultimately for me in an ideal world both the mouse and the keyboard would be obsolete. I am a long lived and prosperous star treck fan (well perhaps not so prosperous), so I live for the day I can talk to my computer and it can understand everything I say, within its proper context. I know the guys who might write the code to make this work would probably be more interested in the code behind it. However for others more interested in putting the full creative potential of these machines to use, it would be nothing short of a revolution.
In my opinion, the keyboard belongs in the stone age, and the faster its put there the better.
However I will as I said persist with Linux for now, and live in hope that it too will catch up with MS and Apple. I cannot see what on earth is wrong with having a system that offers all the ease of use that both these platforms do, as well as the stability and full control afforded to the user by Linux. It is just a shame that bo such O/S currently exists.

Kind regards,

Q
 
Old 02-24-2002, 02:49 PM   #10
Mara
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Coming back to your X, which files do you have? RPMs? Tgz? Other?
 
Old 02-24-2002, 04:36 PM   #11
raid517
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Well not being all that familiar with either of these file formats I have to say that I am not that confident in my answer. However I went to the official Xfree86 web site and got something called pre-compiled binaries, whatever they may be. I belive most of them were TGZ format, although one or two appeared to be uncompressed (asumming that TGZ is a compressed format) files.
As dumb as this may sound, and I'm sure to many of you it does, I just want a working system I can go on and learn Linux from. That means first and foremost having the small luxuary of seeing all my hardware functioning as it should. I have no idea what to do with these pre-compiled binaries, I tried typing some of the instruction in the x terminal that were posted earlier and usually I just got a response saying 'no such file' or 'unrecognised command' or whatever. Ideally what I would like a self installable package that would work for my machine, something as simple and straighforward as a Windows executable. Is this really too much to ask? I did try looking for this on RPM find and downloaded what I thought were likely canadates, however I think they were just the front end of the X windows system, like the GUIs etc, since they all said they needed Xfree86 4.2.0 before they would install. Basically they won't install until I can do this xfree86 upgrade, which means also that the extent to which I can update other features is also limited to the version of X I have on my system. As I said simply changing to the latest version of Mandrake will not resolve this as even their most recen 8.2 Beta release uses a now outdated version of X, and therefore offers no additional support for my hardware.
What would be very very nice, would be if I could have a self installable/executable package that would take care of all the difficult stuff for me. This would at least allow me to get on with learning and enjoying my Linux installation, rather than sressing out constantly because I can't get my harware working. I know the package/s I need may be system specific, so maybe if I listed my exact system specs, someone out there might be willing/kind enough/expert enough to put up and ftp, a web page or something containing the files I need, prefereably in a format, with an explanation of what order they should be installed in, that an ultra new newbie could understand. Is this asking for too much? Is this simply impossible to do? It isn't particularly fair for everyone to expect a non-programmer, or someone who just uses a computer as a tool, or as part of their job, to understand all the complexities of updating the O/S from scratch. If the Linux community do want everyone to switch to Linux as their main O/S, I think this will only ever be achieved by making it accessable to everyone and not regard it as though it were an exclusive club only for the elite. Once or twice now when I have asked a specific question about Linux on a couple of other forums, I have been told that if I couldn't figure it out for myself, then I was probably too dumb to use computers at all and should probably just go scr"w a pig or something. Well words to that effect at least. This is more than a little disheartening...
Although I'm not quite so easily put off, I have yet to see if the legendary helpfulness of the Linux community is a reality, or whether it is simply a falacy put up there to attract interest from windows users by overzelous Linux fans.
I understand the earlier post about doing my homework and I will I assure you. However let me get my system up and running fully fiirst and then I will explore what Linux is really capable of doing.

Regards,

Q

My system configuration is as follow.

Asus A7M266-D Motherboard With AMD MPX chip set
Dual Athlon 1800+ MP processors,
768MB PC2400 Corsair memory,
120 GB IBM Hardrive
C-media on board 6 channel dolby digital sound (I know on board sucks, but I gave my Audigy to my niece, as she listens to more music than me).
1 plug in USB 2 PCI card
2x 64 bit PCI slots (no idea what their for or what I could plug into them).
430W PSU
Lite on 24X CDRW,
Hitachi 16x DVD

There are a couple of things on my board that even Windows can't recognise, not sure what they are, but it always bitches about trying to install them and not having drivers for them. (can take 8 minutes on start up trying to load them). Hardrake seems to see them too and lists them as 'unknown', so I'm not at all sure what they are referring to. All the above stuff is listed, though the USB2 and my Radeon card show up as having no drivers. Apart from that there is nothing particularly special or unusual about my system. I tried to build something that would last a year or two, as things become obsolete so fast these days. In a little while no doubt my system will seem puny. But for now it should suffice.

If anyone of you out there can help (and undoubtedly there are some very bright sorts out there), please let me know.

Last edited by raid517; 02-24-2002 at 04:38 PM.
 
Old 02-24-2002, 06:09 PM   #12
raid517
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Oh by the way I have linux Mndrake 8.0, 8.2 gamers edition would be nice, but it still has an old Xfree release included with it...Which is a little odd.. and not a little surprising too. Why do this? Has it got something to do with testing before official releases? Anyway if I could do this thing, I could always do the smaller updates manually.
The guy who said I should write these instructions in the XTerminal, was quite helpful, but I tried writing the path and it just came up blank. The files I have are stored in my home directory in a file called XFree. There Is no file called src, which I assume means source, also I am logged in as root, which as I am only protecting myself from myself seems an easier way to do things. Most of the files I have are in TGZ format. Also the files are the precompiled files available from the Xfree86 web site. So assuming all this is true, maybe you could be more precise in your instructions, or better still maybe someone could point me to a single executable that will take care of all of this stuff for me.

Regards,

Q
 
Old 02-25-2002, 12:30 AM   #13
Mara
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Hi,
If it's binary tgz format, there should be Xinstall.sh file among other. That's installer. Try running it
sh Xinstaller.sh
(as root, so type su before, you'll be asked for root password, type it).
Now, if there is "no command found", or similar, it may mean that the installer file was not downloaded in binary mode. It must be in BINARY mode! Won't start without it. So the best way is to use ftp client. Most of them just turn on binary mode by default.
After installation is done (it will ask some questions) type
XFree86 -configure
and should configure your X installation (next questions).
NOTE: It's much better to run X installation after you close X (not from XTerm, but from console mode).

Mara
 
Old 02-25-2002, 12:32 AM   #14
Mara
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Forgot about one thing: you've got a cd burner. So why have you not burned your valuable files? You'd feel much more safe.
 
Old 02-25-2002, 03:41 PM   #15
raid517
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Hi, I screwed up a little and posted my reply in a new thred. (For reasons I make clear there). Please go to the new thread Help! total newbi installing kenel. I am not sure though if the Kernel and the Xfree86 modules are the same.. But that's another matter...

Regards,

Q
 
  


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