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First, I'm a complete newbie... I've been messing around with nix for about 2 months, and have "gotten my feet wet" so-to-speak... My problem is in this stupid microsoft intellimouse. Since the side buttons work just fine in windows (dual boot,) I'm leery of going out to purchase a logitech just to get the side buttons (I got used to the extra functions, and I don't want to loose it.) And since I know other people have gotten them to work, I'm starting to think the problem is some silly setting in Mandrake...
Since I've now "had a taste for Linux," and I'm pretty anal about having working hardware (I'll be damned if I paid $50 for a 3-button mouse! ) I'm thinking of starting to look at other distros. I have a copy of SuSE 8.2 on my shelf, but I'm also seeing alot of talk about Slackware being pretty powerfull, and not the most user friendly. The user-friendly part isn't going to bug me too much, I've seen a few people on here that did it as a first install, I suppose this would be my second.... Or 6th if you count all the times I did it with Mandrake
For the Slackware users, is it really that much of a bear to get on? My hardware:
ASUS p4s800 Mother with onboard SiS900 Network and 7012 Sound
1G DDRAM (2-2700 chips)
IOmega Zip drive
HiVal 52x24x52 CD/RW
NVIDIA GeForce4 440MX 8xAGP
Advansys 940 UltraWide SCSI card
Toshiba SCSI cdrom (??x)
This stupid ms intellimouse with the side buttons from hell
Generic PnP flat screen (non-lcd) monitor
So, think I should go for the Slackware (or Gentoo if it's somewhat easier - just as powerful) or try the SuSE until I get more comefortable in nix?
I tried Gentoo and found it to be a pain to install, so I gave up. I don't see the use in spending days compliling and trying to figure out how to set up every peripheral. What I wanted was a good desktop system with an easy way to keep packages up to date (portage was the reason I looked at Gentoo). For a long time, Mandrake was it. However, I always felt the need to re-install every 6 months because some new version had some new package that I wanted. What I chose is Debian. I used Knoppix to install. It is pain free and detects hardware great. It is also very easy to upgrade to a standard Debian testing/unstable or purely unstable branch. Now I can use apt-get to install just about everything and keep updated. I installed the entire the latest Gnome package by simply opening a terminal and typing "apt-get -t unstable install gnome". amazing! It is my goal to never install the operating system again until I buy a new PC.
Distribution: Mandrake 9.0 1st/9.1 2nd/Gentoo 1.4 now
The only thing I can say is go get Gentoo its the best you can get its fast, you can have up to date software by just doing a "emerge -U world" and if you read the manual of how to install it its pretty easy to install too and once ou have it running, its even more stable than other distros
Try it and you won't get back to any other linux distro.
hardware support depends on the kernel, not the other software and configuration-systems shipped with the distro. A distro could however, create an "initially easy to go" system, with everything available to make your hardware work. For example, SuSE 9.0 has support for the AMD64, and better ntfs support, because they use the 2.6.0-test kernel. afaik, they have also backported some features (like the improved ntfs) to the older kernels, so it doesn't depend on the kernel version only. imho, you shouldn't use a distro to solve these problems. A correctly set-up linux kernel will do fine. Choose a distro of your own liking and personal flavor. (but for example, choosing Slackware *could* be a good idea if you're better at configuring/fixing a system from the console)
Slackware is ment for people who aren't afraid of the console, and like to do everything themselves. (the /etc/, and /etc/rc.d/ is designed for this). I've heard that gentoo is hard to install/configure, because you need a lot of linux experience beforehand. But don't let this frighten you; you'll learn a lot by trying these kind of distro's.
About the mouse problem, try to configure your /etc/X11/XF86Config file. A kde control-center program (called kxconfig) could also do this for you. Some options configure the number of buttons, and you should choose the correct model too. (kxconfig could do this for you too) ...and have you tried to look for a similar problem/question at http://groups.google.com?
Well, since you have had a go at Mandrake and Mandrake is based of redhat (is basically redhat with a heap of "user friendly" packages installed), RedHat may be a good choice for you, it has it's own "user-friendly" setup programs/scripts that can guide you through the tough times and would be faster than mandrake (if you care about speed). Another option i would recommend if you don't care so much about "friendlyness" is to try Debian, Debian has one of the most advanced package management systems avaliable, many distrobutions try to copy it (like redhat), what i'm talking about is the system 'apt', Debian users joke that once their system is installed, they never have to configure anything again since apt does just about everything for them. It's not so much the case if you doon't want it to be, but debian has great matanance ability. Some people may say that Debian's packages are older than other distrobutions, this is because they are talking about the 'stable' release, the packages in the 'stable'
release have gone through regerous testing by many different 'branches' to make sure it is sa stable as possible and as secure as can be, the other branches that are avaliable with Debian are the 'testing' and 'unstable' branches (goes stable->testing->unstable), Debian is one of the few distrobutions that freely devulge their testing and unstable OSs. If you are one who likes new packages, don't be afraid to use the 'testing' branch, i would have to say that the 'testing' branch is more stable and secure than RedHat/mandrake/gentoo, i use testing myself and have had no issues at all, just means i get newer packages
It is a matter of personal preferance when looking for an OS to use, like looking for a car to drive, if you want performance, don't go with a bloated OS (Mandrake/RedHat). If you want eye candy and ease of use with GUI point-and-click, redhat or mandrake would be a good choice. Slackware is a great product, but can be quite hard for a new linux user to handle, can be a pain to keep upto date and well maintaned security and stability wise, but if you can handle it.. it can be a great distro.
So good luck, my recommendation is too try a few distro's and see what you personally prefer
As far as the "eye-candy" goes... Right now I'm using kde3.1.0 I figure once I get pretty comfortable working in here, I'll push on to gnome, enlightenment, etc... just to give them all a try. But, if I'm correct, no matter what distro I put on, I'm free to choose whatever GUI I want, correct? I'm thinking if I go with the "big boys" (looking for power) I can still cheese out with a bear of a GUI (kde) and switch as I want. Along those lines, I suppose I would want something like Debian for it's ease in upgrading (from what I'm reading.)
Wierd thing with the mouse... I yelled at it for a bit, slapped it around some (domestic-computer abuse) and let it dangle off the desk in the trash while I threatened it with the lawnmower, and it decided to work! Turns out, I'm such a newb that when I was told to restart the X server, I was thinking loging out/in would cover it. With nix's legacy of "never rebooting" I have had things running non-stop for over a week while I was working on the problem. I finally gave up, set the protocol to "PS/2" and turned the system off. When I restarted, I found the mouse wouldn't work at all. Little lightbulb went off in my head and.... volia` I feel like a moron!
I'm still having trouble with mapping the buttons, but they work for quake, and that's all I really wanted!
Since there is some wierd error with Mandrake9.1 and the alsa0.9.6/7 drivers (the bunch at mandrakeexpert told me to just wait for mandrake9.2, sorry...) I'm still using the old 0.9.0rc8 drivers and there are volume issues, I'm still seriously looking at switching distros, but I'm not in that big of a rush anymore....
I have a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer mouse hooked into the PS/2 port. The side buttons on mine do not do anything, but then they do not seem to do much of anything on my computer under Windows either. One nice thing that does work is how clicking the wheel once can be used to paste. Turning the wheel also works and the right and left buttons also work. I love how fast, steady and accurate the Intellimouse Explorer is under either Linux or Windows. I use Red Hat 9 and am happy with it. Below is a link to another recent discussion about the seven buttons.
At the moment I have both Red Hat 9 Linux and Windows 2K running at the same time. I am using VMWare to run Windows 2K in a window under Linux. So, I jumped over to Windows for a few seconds to see if I could get my side buttons to do anything but pushing them did not seem to do anything. What are they suposed to do under Windows? What are they supposed to do under Linux? Am I overlooking a useful feature? Is your mouse hooked into the PS/2 port or into a USB port?
Slackware is not difficult to install but it's not like a mandrake install and it will make very few default decisions. You will be asked what you want to do at certain points and then when it's all done you will be left with a shell as root and command line prompt.
YOU ARE NOW AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR VERY OWN LEARNING CURVE.
You want to add a user you type "adduser" press enter and follow the prompts. Type mc and you'll get midnight commander a very slick and useful file manager with limited mouse capability. Midnight commander has its own editor called mcedit, again with limited mouse capability and enough user friendliness to do the editing you need to do before you get your gui of choice up and running
If you want an Xsession you run "startx" and you'll get Gnome. If you edit /etc/inittab and change the run level from 3 to 4 you will always get a graphical login. If you comment out the three gdm lines in /etc/rc.d/rc.4 so that the kdm lines are read next then you will get kde instead of gnome when you boot. Do you want sound then first you need to go to /etc/rc.d/rc.modules and uncomment the line that will load your soundcard module. Then you add any user wanting sound to the "sys" group and your there except unless you want to play cd's in which case you will have to edit the fstab line for you /mnt/cdrom and maybe change permission (maybe not depending on how paranoid you are). etc.etc.etc. I know from experience that the XF86Config file that slack installs with will not work with my Daewoo 518B monitor and ATI Mach64 3D RAGE II video card so before I even go gui I run xf86config and make myself a new XF86Conig file that I know will suit my hardware.
But to do all that kind of stuff I need to know what I have and what it can do. There are no fancy wizards to do it for me.
Slackware is this way because it comes very basic, very, secure and very quick, Every service you run, every module you load, starts slowing you down. Changes to accommodate users can cause security deficiencies. Slackware comes capable of being a server, or workstation. Its what you make of it.
My 8 year old daughter had an account in mdk 8.1 but one day used my slack 8.1 when it was open and after that she bugged me to give her an account on the slack box cause it was faster. No need to have a mdk install at home now. If she can't find the icon she wants to play lbreakout2 she types it in at the command line.
It is quicker because mdk tries to be too many things and cover too many situations in it's setup. Consequently it installs being very resource intensive. Still it'll get someone up and running in linux with a minimum hassle.
Mdk is a good distro in it's market segment and Slackware is a good distro in it's market segment If you want it done for you and a lot of gui config tools use mdk. If you want to do it yourself and maintain a higher degree of choice/control use slack.
Slackware doesn't have an eyecandy default install but it's install is serviceable and to the point. If you read the Slackware-HOWTO on the first cd and can understand it, than you should be able to install slack and have lilo up, running, and giving you a dual boot box if you want.
It takes me 45 min for a "complete" install with slack-9.1 on a box with 533 Mhz CPU and 512 Mb RAM.
But the post install configuration will take a little longer. by the time I've got my X configured kde running with sound and my box on the network it will take me another 1 hour just taking my time and stopping to have a look along the way.
If you don't have the patience and want it all right away maybe you don't want slack but your box no matter what it is won't be as light and quick.
Last edited by justwantin; 10-07-2003 at 10:30 PM.
Originally posted by ravvar Slackware is a great product, but can be quite hard for a new linux user to handle, can be a pain to keep upto date and well maintaned security and stability wise, but if you can handle it.. it can be a great distro.
...yet I'd like to tell something about slackware upgrading:
swaret is a new tool that downloads a index from a slackware mirror, downloads the packages you need, and even checks dependencies with help of a master list, package contents list, and the 'ldd' tool. It upgraded my 9.0 system to 9.1 Slackware's simple package system still allows you to ignore a dependency, and do this yourself. I like this freedom of Slackware, but I understand this might be something that confuses new users as well.
imho, swaret is a little too interactive, (but it's shipped with slackware-9.1) I've found another tool called slapt-get, but I don't know yet what disadvantages that tool has. It seams to be some apt-get clone.
I can't say it was instant happyness for me, because I've been working through /etc/ to merge all the changes. (but the setups created /etc/????.new files for me, so it wasn't that hard) Just be carefull if you deside to upgrade your entire system
but I got quite happy when I discovered that my system was upgraded to slackware 9.1. I started to wonder already why there were so much upgraded packages (or just re-compiled for the i486)
Before I had swaret, I used to download all new packages from the nearest FTP mirror, and run "upgradepkg *.tgz". that is pretty neat too.