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Old 04-04-2004, 06:51 PM   #1
dialate
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Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Warty Warthog
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something that works?


Hello,

I'm brand spanking new to linux. I'm having lots of trouble. I'm curious, is there a linux distribution out there that tends to work, in general? It seems that so many things are broken the dists I have tried that is impossible to build a usable linux box.

I don't mind doing alot of crap to get the operating system to run, just as long as it is straightforward and it works. All I want to run is Firefox, word processor, Wolfenstein Enemy Territory.

My progress (err....) so far:

-checked out Knoppix to take a spin, worked and looked great.
-decided to try installing Debian, since thats what knoppix is based on
-net install failed cause theres no driver for Realtek 80xx cards (wtf? very common card!) score 1 for CD coasters stack
-downloaded Gentoo net install CD
-followed the ludicrously lenthy Gentoo online manual to the letter, was going fairly smoothly. Got to compiling the kernel by Chapter 143 Section 17V... Hours later, kernel compile failed (some orphaned function call or something) puh-lease, how unprofessional...too much menial labor for that one anyway, I was only halfway through the install manual... score 2 for CD coasters stack (also emerge doesn't seem to think "your mom" is a valid package..haha)
-downloaded Fedora Core 1 CD's, install crashed on graphical loadup
-text installed, went smoothly, booted up great with GNOME
-got firefox up and running
-tried putting ET on,which required Open GL, which required nvidia drivers, which required ld, which required downloading binutils, which required compiling, which required installing programming tools to compile, which upon trying to install said it required libxml2. Upon trying to install libxml2 said it requires itself to be installed in order to install itself
-reinstalled Fedora Core from scratch with programming tools checked
-binutils compile failed, bad calls or something
-dug around on the web, found precompiled binutils rpm
-got driver again, which now required being outside of GNOME, which required a change in cfg file and rebooting. Then it said I needed kernel source.
-couldn't figure out to edit that cfg file so I could get GNOME back. I tried gedit, edit, ed...no availible text editors with intuitive names....
-reinstalled Fedora Core from scratch again, with both programming tools and kernel stuff now checked
-I remembered from something buried in the knoppix docs you could use init 3 to dump you to the "linux DOS prompt" (for lack of a better term)
-did that, drivers installed fine.
-installed ET, came up great, but crashed when I went to server search. (retried several times, same thing) it worked when I hosted my own local game...alright, at least the OS lets me play with myself....boo
-tried installing some doom clone for linux...hey, its doom, its gotta work, right? came up with error, no wad file(oh come on... ). after ftp fishing for the wad file, the launcher told me that it couldn't find openGL (um its there dammit)
-tried downloading and compiling from source (after some time scouring the web for more info on how to do this) but was only able to obtain ludicrous amounts of compile errors. (I'm not a programmer, so no idea how to work around these)
-tried downloading quake 2, with an rpm that was specifically for Fedora Core 1(!). Wouldn't start, missing this and missing that.
-tried printing to my network printer. got the right drivers and stuff, and it made to the printer, but the printer rejected every print job I sent to it, no matter what settings I used, or what I tried to print.
-Had to put windows back on for now, everything works!
 
Old 04-04-2004, 06:57 PM   #2
J.W.
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, ID
Distribution: Mint
Posts: 6,642

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Two recommendations:

1. Set up your system as a dual boot machine rather than running a single OS. That makes the transition from Windows to Linux much easier and gradual, since you will be able to toggle between the two OS's at will.

2. Try a couple of other distros, such as Redhat 9 or Mandrake, or even Slackware. They are available for download here: www.linuxiso.org

I'm not a gamer, but be aware that attempting to run any Windows-based apps under Linux will definitely require some tweaking, as well as installing winex, etc. Good luck with the project and welcome to LQ. -- J.W.
 
Old 04-04-2004, 07:08 PM   #3
win32sux
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Los Angeles
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hmmm... debian, gentoo... whoa... interesting choices for a newbie... have you tried mandrake???

http://www.linuxmandrake.com


how about suse???

http://www.suse.com/us/index.html


if you want something debian-based (debian woody is NOT a great choice for a workstation IMHO), try libranet:

http://www.libranet.com/


or perhaps mepis:

http://www.mepis.org/


distros that are geared toward newbies are more likely to work out-of-the-box than distros geared toward techies...
 
Old 04-04-2004, 07:13 PM   #4
Mega Man X
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I second that with Libranet. 2.7 is free and good. A little dated though. But 2.8 and above is when things start getting cool. You get even nvidia drivers out of the box .
 
Old 04-04-2004, 08:08 PM   #5
dialate
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Warty Warthog
Posts: 29

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for suggestions.


btw J.W., ET does have a linux version, and is free. the learning curve is kinda steep cause no single player to practice on, but very fun when you get the hang of it.

I tend to jump in the deep end when I try stuff...check out my first webpage at http://www.sectormedical.com that I did for my dad's biz over a weekend. Konqueror under Knoppix doesn't seem to like the menus, but it works fine in IE/Mozilla/O.
 
Old 04-04-2004, 08:12 PM   #6
kev82
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Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Lancaster, England
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by dialate
-net install failed cause theres no driver for Realtek 80xx cards (wtf? very common card!) score 1 for CD coasters stack

according to the realtek website there are two nics that begin 80, theres an isa card the 8019 and a pci card the 8029, i dont know much about isa other than its not very common now, so i'll assume you have the 8029. according to realtek's website its an NE2000 clone so theres gotta be a driver for it, and sure enough a quick look at my kernel documentation tells me the module ne2k-pci fully supports the realtek 8029.

i can see that your having lots of problems but i feel this is due to the fact you have done no research and have just jumped in head first, i suggest you go to your local library and get an intro to linux book out before you choose your distribution, and once you do choose a suitable distribution follow J.W.'s advice and dual boot for a while.
 
Old 04-05-2004, 12:21 AM   #7
dialate
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Registered: Apr 2004
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Posts: 29

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I've been doing my research, just on the fly. Insert "reading linux blurbs on the web on my laptop profusely" in between each step I put up there. Most of the steps I took were confirmed in directions or an online manual somewhere. Although, these things were somewhat patchy/written with "rainy day" contingencies swept under the mat.

Its just there's so many things out of my control that go wrong, or deviate from the explanations...like the source compile on Gentoo using stock kernel source failing; using Fedora's "auto-add packages from the install CD's" app and having it tell me that I need to manually install libxml first, and libxml needs libxml to install, then later finding with the rpm program under the terminal that it really IS installed
...stuff that is automatically done for you and should be fire-and-forget no-brainer stuff, yet failing miserably.

Seriously, it seems unlikely that something like hand patching broken source code included with a distro or a program is something that even the most experienced linux users would be *expected* to do. Will that beginner's linux book from the library tell me, a non programmer, tell me how to do that?(not to mention, how to tell a confused installer that a package really is there) Are programs for linux of a different genre then other OSes, more along the line of starter kits to get you going somewhere near the right direction, and chalk one up for luck if you make it? Or is it just me?

Assuming now, that linux requires hacking skills, thats perfectly fine with me, just would be nice to know so I know to increase my prep time from minutes to months. I got the impression from various reviews of different flavors of linux that it would be "just so" with the occasional complication, such as needing a driver or a package here and there. There was no mention of unrelenting streams of messages detailing marginally correctable voodoo such as "function picknose undefined" "no method defined for this.h which is required by that.o" "X-server unexpected termination, 0 processes, with 0 this and 0 that", or my favorite error message, " ".

</vent>
 
Old 04-05-2004, 02:34 AM   #8
J.W.
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I definitely understand your frustration, but Gentoo and Debian are not what I would consider beginner-level distros. D/L the ISO's for Redhat or Slack, fire up the installation process, and I'd bet you'd be running Linux is almost no time at all. Save the complicated stuff for later. As you said yourself, hand patching a distro falls outside the typical user experience. -- J.W.
 
Old 04-05-2004, 07:07 AM   #9
kev82
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i think a beginners linux book would have(if nothing else) saved you some time, because it wouldnt have reccomended gentoo for a first time user, it would have told you that the programming tools are vital regardless of whether you wanted to program or not, and probably has a couple of chapters devoted to compiling from source and common errors.

by dialate
Seriously, it seems unlikely that something like hand patching broken source code included with a distro or a program is something that even the most experienced linux users would be *expected* to do.

maybe my opinion of the "average user" is wrong but i would consider patching a source tree to be quite a trivial task and something you should expect to do if you want to install new software.

by dialate
Are programs for linux of a different genre then other OSes, more along the line of starter kits to get you going somewhere near the right direction, and chalk one up for luck if you make it? Or is it just me?

lmao, thats probably quite an accurate description, the problem is linux allows choice, but the more choice you have the less standardisation you have, so its very difficult to produce a binary package that will run on more than a few systems. thats why the majority of stuff is distributed in source code(starter kit) because its the lowest common denominator ie everyone can use it.
 
Old 04-05-2004, 08:44 PM   #10
dialate
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Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Warty Warthog
Posts: 29

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
I downloaded Slack 9.1, and installed.

um....err.........I HAVE FOUND GOD

everything is just so! I don't think I'm putting windows back on now.

Thanks dudes!
 
Old 04-05-2004, 09:14 PM   #11
J.W.
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Sweet! You've made an excellent choice. You may find (as I did) that the more you use Slack, the more you like it, and at least in my case, it's the only thing I'd consider running now on my primary machine. Congratulations on the successful install -- J.W.
 
Old 04-05-2004, 09:29 PM   #12
win32sux
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slackware's awesome... no wonder it's the "distribution of the year" here at lq:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...hreadid=116355


i'm happy to see you found a distro you like!!!

=)


just curious: did you do a "full install"??? did you update it already??? let us know how it went, and if you need help with anything...


the slackware website has a very good guide to slackware configuration basics:

http://www.slackware.com/config/
 
Old 04-06-2004, 10:37 PM   #13
dialate
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Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Warty Warthog
Posts: 29

Original Poster
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yep full install! screenshot: http://lysol.8m.com . ET works, but I couldn't figure out how to get it in the screenshot, cause it jacks my mouse pointer even in non-fullscreen mode.

getting the nvidia drivers to install was a little tricky, cause if there's a XF86Config in /etc/X11, and another in /usr/X11R6/etc/X11, it will go for the one /usr/X11R6/etc/X11. Took me awhile to figure that one out

Still some polish left to do, like get mouse wheel to work, and try to customize the bootup look, but thats not a big deal.

The way slack handles X-server failures is really nice, spoon feeds you a simplified version of the error log, then to ALT-F6-land to go config diving. Very nice, I can do all kinds of crazy stuff and not worry about having to whip out a rescue disk.

Is it just me, or is emacs a virus? Its been awhile since I had to reboot a system because I couldn't figure out how to exit a program after 5 fraggin minutes! Pico is much more user friendly.
 
Old 04-06-2004, 11:12 PM   #14
win32sux
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jul 2003
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to get the mouse wheel working, try adding a line like this to the mouse section of your /etc/X11/XF86Config:

Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"


i've also noticed a possible bug in slackware's installer where sometimes even though one told the mouse configuration utility to use the IMPS/2 protocol it sets /etc/X11/XF86Config to the PS/2 protocol, and one has to adjust it after the install...

Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"


this may or may not apply to you, i'm just spit-balling here...

=)



Last edited by win32sux; 04-06-2004 at 11:22 PM.
 
Old 04-06-2004, 11:33 PM   #15
dialate
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Ubuntu Warty Warthog
Posts: 29

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Sweet! Mouse wheel works now. Thanks!

I saw that somewhere before, but the site just said something ambiguous like "set ZAxisMapping to 4 5", so my previous improperly formatted attempt made X go haywire
 
  


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