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Looking at the thing philosophically I can understand the point of compilation. To make the OS endlessly perfectable, and open to messing about from anybody, and useable on as many platforms as possible, it makes sense that you'd download a blizzard of modules, then compile an OS as trim and fast as possible configured to just your computer. But in my several attempts to use Linux distros I have never been able to get far enough along in the compilation process even to see very much of it - usually because of some obscure yet tiny data point incorrect or because of RAM or hard disk limitations. The reason I'm giving SuSE a try is that several revues I read online presented SuSE as the most idiot-proof. My impression so far is that there's still much to be done to bring Linux into the world of the technologically bedazzled.
So my guess is that if I ever manage to get through compilation, I'll still be on a slow system with lots and lots of swapping on this Celeron with (I think) 64m RAM.
Do any of you know how to explain to someone who's seen much Linux but none compiled how much faster it might be when compiled? It is worth all the alchemy and hair loss, isn't it?
Distribution: gentoo from stage3 with 2.6.7 development kernel
what do you mean compiled? Do you mean configured the modules? Well, it depends of the kernel you will use.
I can giarantee you that the 2.6.7 kernel is much faster and more silid than the 2.4.22( i had them both and compiled myself the 2.6.7) I would say 2 times faster in all the ways. Moreover the sens of satisfaction you will have later make the thing worth. However you seem to be a newbie. Wait some more before recompiling your kernel, moreover, to do that you must know each chip in your PC. Therefore WAIT a litle more and for the moment take precompiled ditros.
If you mean compile the whole thing, then its not gonna make a big difference. I chose Gentoo for reasons other than speed. I chose this source-based distro for the tools it has. i also use it because compiled apps seem to crash less for me. It has little to do with speed. If you want speed, use reiserfs instead of ext. The only things that affect speed when compiled (to any measurable degree) would be the kernel and Glibc. I'd sugget you try Debian on that machine. Its stable, the package manager is easy, and its got a lot of packages in the repository. Debian and Slack are always my suggestions for older machines with little ram (but ram is cheap - get some more - cheapest upgrade on a computer).
I don't want to steer you away from source. Don't get me wrong. There are a few things you'll want to have if compiling from source. One being sufficient ram. Another being sufficient space on the hard drive for the giant temp file the compiler will be making/using. If no ram, a huge swap space and more money down the road for the prematurely dead HD (if you hear it, the heads are moving - wearing out faster than necessary).
Processor is less important depending on your patience level. If you can bear to wait for your compile to finish, then a fast processor is more of a luxury. For example, on my Duron 800, a 10 meg package would take about 45min-1h to compile. I can wait for that. i did give up on the old p-133 I had though. i ran FreeBSD on it for a bit. The OS was great, responsive and fast but compiling from the ports (which was the only option for many apps at the time) took for ever. Qt took about 14 hours (12 megs, I think at the time). Up to you.
Well, now I am confused. From my (unsuccessful) RH attempts, I thought I'd need to recompile this SuSE version once I had all the .rpm's I needed and other stuff set up, which I think I got. Having some trouble locating a CD copy of 9.1, so I'm still working from the free version - which, again perhaps mistakenly, I thought you couldn't compile from. Is this not so?
I hope it is, cuz, believe me, if the clutsiness of this setup ain't because I'm running an uncompiled OS, Linux is going out the door pretty damn fast. It takes Windows about 30 seconds to get Netscape up and running on this slow old (Celeron 566) computer; but in Linux, the Konqueror browser takes at least 7 or 8 minutes. And while it's getting its act together, the computer becomes so unresponsive that it is useless for anything else - at least on the hideous Windows(98 yet!) I can play solitaire.
And I tried out the Knode newsreader - it started loading a list of groups at about 8pm, took 45 minutes to get the list, and then after the download was complete, the hard drive started running - and running - and running - while KDE became less and less responsive and finally completely unresponsive to mouse movement or keyboard actions -
So I, curious, and sensing it was caught in some endless recursive swapping activity, just waited -
Until finally, at a little after 11, I just shut the thing down. Hard drive never did stop for so much as a breath the whole time. Well, I wasn't concerned - I'd got the idea there was bucketfuls of unneccessary overhead associated with it being an uncompiled setup. But you suggest that compilation is an optional step? Wha?
Point is, if this setup is as good as it gets, this is ridiculous; as things are now, though the environment is much more pleasant to use than Windows, the lengthy waits for it to do things Windows would do immediately is just not worth it.
Red Hat and Suse have left the slower machines behind. Please don't judge Linux by the most bloated and top heavy distros out there. What you need is a happy medium. Why don't you find either a Knoppix or Mepis live cd and try using it. I'd lean towards Mepis, if I were you. Its package management (and all the underlying system) is Debian (and apt-get). You'll have a full and relatively trouble freee install. If you like what the live-cd does, multiply the speed by 10 and you have the hard drive version - so install it with the 3 or 4 mouse clicks required. You'll feel better.
This is a cool place - wish I'd found it before when I was wrestling with RH6,7 and 8 and Debian, trying unsuccessfully to get online; of course, the reason I didn't was I was trying unsuccessfully to get online!
So if I understand what youse guys is saying is:
*More memory. Here I must admit embarassedly that I hadn't realized how cheap PC100 DIMMs have gotten; the last foray I had into memory upgrades involved an early Pentium which, it took me months to discover, had a prob about metalic deposition on the contacts, and thus needed gold leads; a 32M chip would have cost $160 even four years after the thing was new. Found a place I can get 128M for $25. Way cool!
*Get the real thing, not the live eval version. Kinda cute, that; do they call it a 'live' copy just so they can make a palindrome with 'eval'? Dat's my guess an I's stickin' to it.
About the bloated, top-heavy part; you know, that's what I'm looking for. Every time I've tried to solve some prob from the command line, endless mayhem has ensued. You have, say, A Problem; you search and search for answers, usually not knowing which of the many levels of the system your problem is with, and encounter A Solution: "Simply call up the Gnawingatmyguts program, click this button; then all you have to do is enter your risible tileizing compendiums, invoke the blitherizer, poke .whatever into .wherever using your plasmadidle setting, and you're set to go!" So you spend hours researching the tileizers, only to find that the 'risible' term was replaced by 'rustable'and the compendiums were replaced by iptables and uptables and overtables and outtables, and to find out which it is you have to know your goobledooble ipswiches -
For the feckless, it becomes an endlessly recurse task; every explanation requires you to understand some other part of the system, and that knowledge only comes once you become conversant with a third part, and that part requires another, and on and on and on. This is fine if that's what you like doing. I don't. Most people who simply want to use, not worship, their computer feel the same.
SuSE's live eval is the closest I've gotten to a working version. I understand that you guys are absolutely correct, you can get everything you need for a good, solid system free, and for you the task is doable. Lunkheads like me gotta stick with the bloated and top-heavy.
Besides, I'm pretty bloated and top-heavy myself, so it ain't for me to carp.
Not at all what I meant. Bloated means more slow and cumbersome. Mepis, Mandrake, PCLinuxOS, and many others have all the goodies (and better, easier tools - like Mandrake's Control center, for ex) and they boot and run with much more enthusiasm. Thats one reason I sugested Mepis right now. It has the best hardware detection out there and it has all the nice tools. It includes little godies you won't find on RH, Fedora, Suse, like flashplayer (otherwise get out the command prompt) and java (otherwise get out the command prompt again). It also has an easy network configurator, the first and best wireless tools, and a slick hard drive install -1/2 hour and you're installed online and lovin' it). Bloat is always bad. Choices and features are always good. You may notice I run Gentoo, the lean fast distro. Well, my computer has a small amount of bloat because I need to clean house again, but for the most part, its just like anyone else's. I've got several choices of many apps, as that's what I like too (as in 100+ games, 3 browsers, 2 email proggies, an office suite I hardly use, 4 or 5 editors, 2 web editors, etc...). Load on the proggies! Just consider that there are better ways to do things sometimes. Not all gloves fit the same hand.
I can only partly agree on that.
I don't see any reason to consider Yast and Sax as bloat.
(They can be used from a command line as well.)
Same thing for optimizing a system for i686.
These systems just have different hardware.
Not doing this would give a performance loss(on i686) and make it less easy for newbies.
People should just pick a ditro that suits their hardware.
Man I am so impressed with how helpful people here are.
Well, I now have 192 megs of memory, and the difference is startling. I had not realized just how much of the activity of the hard drive was due to swapping. Things move very fast now. Way, way, way cool.
But listen, guys, stick around, will ya? I just sent off for the full version, and dammit I'm gonna recompile the thing; I figure that's got to help on a small, slow, old machine. A strong pot of coffee, something to throw against the wall, and a spotless soul - I march bravely into hell.