Need some advice on a couple of things
I need a little advice and a little help. It's a little long, so I apologize in advance.
Here's my situation: I've used various flavors of linux since 1998; started off with RH 5.2 and onward. Used Slack a little back around 2000, got wooed by Suse 6.1 and stayed until recently, when I realized that Novell now had them and only offered the 100.00 variety, which I wasn't going to pay. I decided to play around and see what the new offerings were. I d/l'd the Slack 10.1 set, the FC4 set, and even tried Mepis. I'm running a 600 mhz box with 2 hd (win 2000 on one, linux on the other, dual booting with the bootsect.lnx procedure), 512 megs ram.
Slack: Jumped in, got it installed no problem. Glad to see LILO, since that's EASY to work with on bootsect.lnx. Decided to upgrade to the 2.6 kernel, got that ok, then something went wrong with the kdm (crashed), and it would click on and off until it finally brought up gdm. I never figured out how to force it to use gdm or something else for the login screen from the getgo.
FC4: display kind of dodgy, but it works, I'm just not big on it.
Mepis: never could figure out how to make the bootsect.lnx trick work. It would get to grub, then stop at "grub_" with a flashing cursor (but no input allowed).
NOW...I've got an external USB modem (a BestData 56USBSL). FC4, and Mepis, don't seem to want to play. I know it does work, at least with the 2.4 kernel, because it's own cd actually has the drivers for it. But those 2 I never could figure out how to make it work.
I'm considering doing slack now as my installation; however, I can't figure out how to keep kdm from dying and how to pick something else; I don't know how to make the modem work, and the final questions are: it's stock with the 2.4 kernel; should I use the 2.6 kernel, and why? Will the 2.6 kernel support that modem? I don't run servers or anything, but I don't want to get stuck with an old kernel, either (i.e., I'm not bleeding edge bent, but at the same time, I like new stuff!).
Any advice and how to do its you guys can help with would be appreciated. I've used Suse for so long that I've forgotten how to do a lot of stuff. But if you can tell me what I need to do in what order, I'm comfortable doing it.
I guess it comes down to: Should I use a 2.6 kernel, and will it work with my system; is something wrong with KDM, and how to choose a different one, and how to make the modem talk. And finally, I have a feeling that the next release won't be far off...should I wait?
Thanks so much, and sorry for rambling. Im' just kind of discombobulated right now...