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perso 10-01-2009 02:39 AM

Linux does not like my computer
 
I hope you have the stamina to read this thread all the way because it really is a matter that bothers me a lot. The fact that Win XP works flawlessly and Linux does not is not exactly fun to experience.

Some time ago I started my conversion from MS to the Linux world, and Iím now happily using Ubuntu 9.04 on my Desktop. I have however a problem when it comes to my sonís computer which runs perfectly ok on Win XP, but has problems with Linux.

To cut a long story short (well at least shorter), the computer Iím having problems with is:

Dell Dimension 4300
Intel P4 1,7 Ghz
512 MB RAM
GeForce 6200 graphics (256 MB)
OS today Ė Windows XP home
Total HD size 40 GB and almost half of this is available for Linux to use.

I have tried to install (via Live CD) Ubuntu 9.04 Xubuntu 8.10, Xubuntu 9.04, Linux Mint 7, openSUSE 11.1 and Fedora 11 without any luck whatsoever. The live CD starts, but everything freezes after a while (it differs a bit where from distro to distro). When it comes to Xubuntu 8.10 I have tried a direct install instead of starting Live, and the installation completes, but after reboot the system freezes just before the login window should appear. With Mint Iíve come even further. Sometimes the system starts and I can use the computer, but next two or three (or more) times it just freezes the same way as mentioned above. I have tried to run (both live CD:s and installed versions) with acpi=off and noapic, and sometimes it fells like this is working a little better Ė but not for long. Iíve also tried memtest, but it says nothing is wrong. The CD:s should be ok, since it runs on the other two computers we have.

The only bright side is that I can install Xubuntu 8.04 and Mandriva 2009.1. So whatís the problem you might say? Well first of all I donít want to use Xubuntu 8.04 all the time, and if I try an upgrade to 8.10 (yes Iíve tried that too) Iím back to major break down again. Mandriva is perhaps the most promising so far, but the big problem is the Netapplet. I have a belkin wireless card (and thankfully I also have the possibility to use wired Ethernet Ė but itís not ideal with a cable lying across the house), but if I so much as touches the Netapplet icon Ė guess what yes the system freezes.

Iím sorry for this long description, but since I am pretty new with Linux I have to describe it the way I see it Ė Iím not that familiar with the magic of the terminal commands.

Do you know whatís most annoying? That Win XP installs ant runs perfectly, and Linux does not.

Iím thankful for any suggestions

lutusp 10-01-2009 02:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by perso (Post 3703048)
Iím thankful for any suggestions

You need to either aggressively prevent a normal installation or get a larger hard drive. Most modern Linux distribution install the most-often-used applications, and these require a lot of drive space. Unless you explicitly avoid a full or default installation, chances are this drive is being filled up.

yehdev_cc 10-01-2009 02:58 AM

when do they freeze ? and what do you see just before a distro freezes ? and what is your harddisk layout ?

perso 10-01-2009 05:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lutusp (Post 3703072)
You need to either aggressively prevent a normal installation or get a larger hard drive. Most modern Linux distribution install the most-often-used applications, and these require a lot of drive space. Unless you explicitly avoid a full or default installation, chances are this drive is being filled up.

Honestly, shouldnít 18 GB (thatís about whatís left for Linux to use) be enough for all of the distros Iíve tried? I mean Iíve been running a Wubi install on another machine with about 10 GB and without any problems.

perso 10-01-2009 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yehdev_cc (Post 3703073)
when do they freeze ? and what do you see just before a distro freezes ? and what is your harddisk layout ?

It differs a bit, but mostly the system freezes sometimes during GUI loading (or at least thatís what I think the system is up to). Often I see the mouse cursor and the ďtime glassĒ circle, and almost immediately the circle stops spinning and I have no contact with the computer. The only thing I can do is to shut it off the hard way. When it came to Fedora however I didnít even get this far. I just saw the progression bar get filled with white and then Ė nothing.

The harddisk is 40 Gb, and about 18 is given to Linux to do what it wants with. That is to create a normal and a swap partition. When I get home I will boot via my Gparted live CD and check it out more properly. Maybe I have a problem there? If I should optimise this how should I do Ė if I make the partitions manually? The problem is of course that even the live CD:s does not start, and that should not be happening because of problems with the HD layout should it?

Of course it could be a graphical problem, but it does not make sense to me that Xubunut 8.04 works, but not 8.10 Ė shouldnít the hardware support get better with newer distros? Could it have something to do with different kernels (now Iím in a bit deep, because I donít know much about the difference between the kernels).

pixellany 10-01-2009 06:35 AM

Almost any distro will install in 10GB----18 is PLENTY. I'm pretty sure this is not the problem.

When running from Live CD, everything runs in RAM and so 512M of RAM could be an issue. (I've never run a live CD on anything less that 1GB.) I would either upgrade the RAM or install from an "install-only" CD.

yehdev_cc 10-01-2009 06:53 AM

As pixellany has said, 512 ram with no swap might not be enough for a live session, that's why I asked about your harddisk layout ...
Since you didn't install or partition your harddisk any further, you may just re-partition it to have a 1 GB of swap BEFORE you try to boot in a live session again ...
using Gparted CD or system rescue CD to so so is a wise solution indeed...
There's a way around to add swap after you'd already partitioned your disk, but since this isn't the case, do it the right way ....

malekmustaq 10-01-2009 08:03 AM

Quote:

Dell Dimension 4300
Intel P4 1,7 Ghz
512 MB RAM
GeForce 6200 graphics (256 MB)
OS today – Windows XP home
Total HD size 40 GB and almost half of this is available for Linux to use.
a) Ram is the least allowable for newer distros, but may still work;
b) I have no idea what motherboard houses Dimension 4300 but it should be compatible with a quite "older" distro version;
c) Geforce card has a linux driver, find it here.

When boot up hangs it could either be that--

1. a module is wanting, see the distro if it supports your hardware
2. xorg.conf must be properly configured

that's all for now since i do not get the problem

hope this helps.

good luck.

pierre2 10-01-2009 08:12 AM

Most laptops have a highly customized version of M$ windows on it - your Dell will be no different, which is why your Win XP installs and runs perfectly, and Linux does not...

So, try & install the linux in a lower screen resolution & also pre-partition your hdd & swap.

perso 10-01-2009 09:56 AM

Thanks all of you for your efforts to help me.

I will definitely check out the HD layout (I think I just start from scratch with my Linux partitions) . I also feel that your suggestions that the lack of RAM could be cause might be true. The only problem with this is that I get the same effect after I managed to install for instance Xubuntu 8.10 and should it be that much of a difference in the need of RAM between Xubuntu 8.04 and 8.10?

Unfortunately I canít take away XP:s good performance (whoa - did I just write that?) because my Dell (itís a desktop by the way) was delivered with Win Millennium, so the XP version is not customized for this machine.

I will try your suggestions and hopefully I will be back with a positive response.

ongte 10-01-2009 10:11 AM

I have used many Dell Dimensions before, one thing I learned is Dell's APIC fail. (Pun intended)

I've had many occasion of distros refusing to install or refusing to boot due to Dell's terribly broken ACPI BIOS. I've managed to coerce some of these systems to work by passing the 'noapic nolapic' kernel parameters.

johntait1 10-01-2009 11:41 AM

Hi the machine runs with ubuntu 8.04 but not 8.10 or 9.04 could be that it doesn't like the later kernel versions these use

linuxpokernut 10-01-2009 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johntait1 (Post 3703805)
Hi the machine runs with ubuntu 8.04 but not 8.10 or 9.04 could be that it doesn't like the later kernel versions these use

I would even go as far as to say try 7.04 or 7.10.

Xp works on that machine because the machine and the OS are old, and XP has been patched up. You wouldn't try to put vista on it, so expecting a post vista era linux distro to run is expecting a lot.

perso 10-01-2009 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ongte (Post 3703673)
I have used many Dell Dimensions before, one thing I learned is Dell's APIC fail. (Pun intended)

I've had many occasion of distros refusing to install or refusing to boot due to Dell's terribly broken ACPI BIOS. I've managed to coerce some of these systems to work by passing the 'noapic nolapic' kernel parameters.

I think you're right Ė sometimes I get Mint 7 to start if I use as many no no:s as possible when it comes to acpi and such. It doesn't work great but if I don't use them it wont start at all.

perso 10-01-2009 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by linuxpokernut (Post 3703815)
I would even go as far as to say try 7.04 or 7.10.

Xp works on that machine because the machine and the OS are old, and XP has been patched up. You wouldn't try to put vista on it, so expecting a post vista era linux distro to run is expecting a lot.

So it might have something to do with the kernel? I will try an even older version, but for now I think I run Mandriva 2009.1 for a while first though, since it runs fine (except for the Netapplet). And try to get rid of the terrible Belkin wireless card.

Of course you have a point regarding the age of XP, but since Vista is out of the question Ė XP is the closest thing if I don't install Windows 7. We don't compare with Vista do we? it's too easy =)


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