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Old 12-28-2006, 02:01 AM   #1
ecuas
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Two Questions


I am a total newbie and have managed to successfully install Mandrake 8.2 on my sytsem. There are a few questions I have:

1] This is an old version of mandrake. Can I update this version with the latest kernel release?

2] I tried installing a utility called tomboy. I unpacked the tar.gz file in a directory from the comand line. While in this directory, I typed './configure'. The msg I got was that there was no pkgconfig or that it was very old. Alternatively, it asked me to do somethin like setting the values of two environmental variables to override pkgconfig. I tried to figure it out by readin the manual entry (man configure) but didnt understand a thing. I even tried 'man pkgconfig' but there was no manual entry for pkgconfig. What is pkgconfig? Do I have to install it seperately or it is supposed to be installed with the rest of the OS?

3] I also want to know whether it is possible to install a particular distro and then keep updating it with the latest kernel releases as they come out. Is this as good as installing, say, suse10.2 after 10.1, ignoring the new packages ofcourse?

4] This may sound like a really dumb query...i request you to hear me out. What makes different distros 'different'? The kernel in all the distros is the same rite? So is it the packages that come with them that make the difference or there is something more to it?
 
Old 12-28-2006, 03:01 AM   #2
Samotnik
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1) You can do it, but this is a VERY old distro, and it will be better to update it. It will fix many errors you will get when working with new software and hardware.
2) See 1.
3) It's possible, and doable, and useful. You can update, or install any software beside your distro. In fact, linux distro is a usual set of software, collected to usefulness, it's not somehow restrict you to use or do anything you want.
4) http://distrowatch.org
 
Old 12-28-2006, 03:25 AM   #3
bigjohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecuas
I am a total newbie and have managed to successfully install Mandrake 8.2 on my sytsem. There are a few questions I have:

1] This is an old version of mandrake. Can I update this version with the latest kernel release?

2] I tried installing a utility called tomboy. I unpacked the tar.gz file in a directory from the comand line. While in this directory, I typed './configure'. The msg I got was that there was no pkgconfig or that it was very old. Alternatively, it asked me to do somethin like setting the values of two environmental variables to override pkgconfig. I tried to figure it out by readin the manual entry (man configure) but didnt understand a thing. I even tried 'man pkgconfig' but there was no manual entry for pkgconfig. What is pkgconfig? Do I have to install it seperately or it is supposed to be installed with the rest of the OS?

3] I also want to know whether it is possible to install a particular distro and then keep updating it with the latest kernel releases as they come out. Is this as good as installing, say, suse10.2 after 10.1, ignoring the new packages ofcourse?

4] This may sound like a really dumb query...i request you to hear me out. What makes different distros 'different'? The kernel in all the distros is the same rite? So is it the packages that come with them that make the difference or there is something more to it?
1 & 2 already answered clearly enough IMO by Samotnik.

3, well it depends on the distro. Some distros are known as "meta" distros and continuous updating is available. Though you will find that the two you mention i.e. Mandrake (now known as Mandriva, since the mandrake buy out of Connectiva) and SuSE aren't meta distros. Plus in some cases you also need to modify a file or two to make a distro update like that. The problem being, that IMO, distros that will just continuously update (ad-infinitum) can also be some of the more difficult ones to install (think Debian, Gentoo and the likes). The package manager for gentoo, is loosly based on the BSD ports (I think thats what it's called) system, it's called Portage. Debians APT is very good, IMO, Portage is better (but can take longer to install a package but thats hardly surprising when it's actually compiling the package according to certain criteria that you select for your specific hardware).

4, the main difference is the package management system. Theres the 2 main ones, rpm (which actually stands for "Redhat package manager" but happens to be the basis for mandrake/mandriva and SuSE) and apt (erm, I think thats "advanced packaging tool - might be wrong). Apt based systems are often termed "debian based" or debian derivative (the *buntus being a case in point here).

The one that I'm using, Sidux, uses apt, but is based almost entirely on "Debian Sid" (Debian Unstable) repositories. Which also highlights versioning. Debian runs basically 3 different versions i.e. stable, testing and unstable - all called something different (debian nomenclature is derived from the "Toy Story" films). The stable branch is just that, stable. Except Debian can take an incredible time to move packages from one branch to another, and are known for "testing everything to death". Policy seems to have good effect.

In reality, the software packages in stable, seem very much older than those found in unstable (actually IMO they could have used a better choice of words to describe the 3 branches - some newer users are frightened off by those terms).

Samotnik is correct IMO in suggesting that it's better for you too have current up to date versions of whatever you have installed. Though you should also know that both Mandrake/Mandriva and SuSE are considered by lots to be "easy" distros i.e. easy to install. If you really are determined to learn, then a distro with more manual input during install might actually teach you more e.g. "proper" (non-derivative) debian, gentoo, slackware or similar is what I'm thinking here.

Whatever you settle on, good luck with it. It can be a complete PITA, but is ultimately (IMO) worth it.

regards

John
 
Old 12-28-2006, 08:03 AM   #4
ecuas
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Thnx samotnik!

@bigjohn
Quote:
If you really are determined to learn, then a distro with more manual input during install might actually teach you more e.g. "proper" (non-derivative) debian, gentoo, slackware or similar is what I'm thinking here.
Yes I really want to learn and get 'comfortable' with linux. Out of the three distros you mentioned (debian, gentoo, slackware) which do u think I should go for? And should I get the stable version or the testing one? Just want to know what would you recommend. Thanks!
 
Old 12-28-2006, 08:18 AM   #5
pwc101
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Gentoo would be a lot of work - you have to compile everything yourself (which means you get a distro which is perfectly tailored to your hardware). The advantage of course is that you learn an enormous amount. Slackware is a little less work - you can install packages which have been precompiled, although there's no package management to speak of; if you install a package without some dependencies (other program or libraries which it needs in order to run correctly), you'll get no error message, but your program will not run. All the packages that come with Slackware are unaltered, that is to say they are in the same state as the developers left them; so the kernel you run in Slackware is one from kernel.org which has had no changes made by the Slackware team.

I've not used Debian, but it has a popular package management system used by a number of distros (as previously mentioned). I've tried Ubuntu and it seems the package management is comprehensive.

I'm a Slackware user personally - I find it's something of a middle ground between really easy (Ubuntu) and hard (Gentoo, LFS etc).

The best advice is try them and see. I recently put Ubuntu on my machine, and everything works from the start, which is fine, but I haven't really learnt much about the system as a result! I use Ubuntu to potter about, and Slackware when I've had enough of that!
 
Old 12-28-2006, 08:57 AM   #6
johnson_steve
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I found gentoo harder to install then slackware but easier in the long run because of portage. you don't have to compile everything yourself portage does it for you. it takes care of all the dependencies, downloads what you need from the internet, configures it, compiles it in a sandbox then installs it. Installing gentoo isn't much harder then some of the stuff your trying to do now. It is a rolling distro updated everyday. you could install it today or 3 years ago and sync today; you'd get the same result.

Last edited by johnson_steve; 12-28-2006 at 08:58 AM.
 
  


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