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By briandonohue111 at 2006-09-01 23:18
I thought that the tale of my experiences in Linux would make a good tale.

cd /home/brian/background

Since I have been able to understand anything about computers I have dabbled in and out of Linux.

The first time I ever attempted an install was of Mandrake in 2000. It didn't go so well: X wouldn't recognize my video card and I couldn't get it running, to top it off I installed LILO on the MBR and could no longer access my recovery partition. The recovery CD's for my IBM computer wouldn't work either as something corrupted the MBR and it wouldn't fix. I ended up using an IBM utility called zero or something like that to fix it and I got in a load of trouble with my dad. I was never allowed to install linux again on a computer I didn't own. That didn't stop me and, after the heat had passed and a little while later, I tried Slackware and it worked!

I had everything, sound, etc but I couldn't install things because I didn't know how and I got frustrated. So back to windows it was. I started to learn a little more and tried out live CDs and the like and installed Mandrake 9... It worked but just barely, it seemed like half the stuff didn't install and so I went back to Windows again.

I tried Debian after that and it worked really well but then I installed the latest KDE and boom! broke it... I got frustrated again and back to Windows!

In December of 2005 I bought a computer with money I had got for Christmas and money of my own. First thing I did was install SimplyMepis and I ran that for about 2 weeks with no problems or anything and then switched to SuSe 10 and was amazed! I stuck with SuSe until my parents decided to upgrade the network in my house to wireless. Need I say more? For the life of me I couldn't get it to work so I was about to switch back when I found out about Ndiswrapper (which didn't work) so I went to DriverLoader and got 30 days out of that. Then back to Windows.

I eventually sold that machine and bought my current laptop this spring... I didn't even THINK of installing linux for the longest time because I knew what happened with recovery partitions and I knew I couldn't get wireless working. I had figured this was the end of my Linux Career.

cd /home/brian/current

This summer I went away for my pilots license and brought my laptop. I used Windows all summer but nearing the end I acquired the wireless network password at the hangar where I was learning. Cool! I had also brought a Vista beta disk with me. Before I tested it I wanted to find a live CD so I could fix things if I messed up. I decided to try PCLinuxOS as I had never tried it and heard good things about it.

I proceeded to install Vista and bam! the installer broke! So I was screwed and I couldn't access my recovery partition because the factory had messed up my machine and there was no prompt at boot up (ever since I got it) to recover the system. So I installed PCLinuxOS to the harddrive so I could at least use the machine. I attempted a few times to set the bootable flag to the partition and it worked but something was messed up with my MBR! OH NO! and I couldn't get it to boot after it had installed. So I was stuck with PCLinuxOS and no wireless because I couldn't get it to work and the Junior edition I had didn't include anything like ndiswrapper or madwifi.

My laptop usage for the rest of the summer ended up being as an mp3 player as I had backed up some of my data beforehand. I got home and asked a friend of mine, Joe, to help me out, you guys from other forums and stuff may know him as tk. This guy is amazing at everything computer, he is a programmer and has been doing computer stuff since he was right young.

I downloaded Fedora to try it out because I got bored of PCLinuxOS but I couldn't get wireless working. I went to Joe's house and instead of trying Fedora I allowed him to go with what he works best with and hit Slackware again. We got everything but the wireless working because he had this strange idea that my card had an athereos chipset but I knew it was broadcom... My other thought was that the power for the card was hardwired to the button and that the button needed drivers to work but it turns out I was wrong.

We installed Slackware as I said and it worked fine but was very slow, so the next day we agreed I would install slack 10.2 instead of the 10.1 disks he had and I did as such, except it wouldn't boot for some strange reason. No Biggie, I'll just install SuSe that seems to work for everything! No Dice. So when I got home from work I downloaded PCLinuxOS again this time the Big Daddy version as everything seems to work other than the wireless right out of the box. Neat! I found the Windows drivers for the Broadcom card... yes that Broadcom card bcm43xx series... and loaded them into Ndiswrapper... FINALLY!!!! The first break in a long time!!! I guess I don't have to order those recovery disks and pay 35 dollars!!!! It worked in other words.

PCLinuxOS was the only one that I could get Ndiswrapper to work correctly on and here I am today typing to you on a fully working Linux installation on a laptop that isn't supposed to work with Linux. I have it looking the way I want, with the packages the way I want and I figured it out by myself. I am no stranger to Linux as you can tell and I can get around quite well I think but this stumped me forever. Ask MarkJensen how many times I have talked to him about it, and told him about my problems and successes...

cd /home/brian/conclusion

PCLinuxOS is a great piece of work and I find it hard to believe that it is Mandrake based. I am very happy with my setup, it is responsive (unlike normal Mandrake) and package management and even source installs are a breeze. I am thoroughly impressed. I thought I should let you all know this and I hope this boosts your spirits and to sum it up: Linux has come along way and for all the new ones, if you stick with it, it is definately worth it!

(This was originally posted on Neowin)

by dogged28 on Sat, 2006-09-30 20:33
very good story. i've been there and done that with an old toshiba laptop and 16 megs of ram. for me though, after a week it just become "the point of the thing". i wanted linux on there with a gui and i got one. dsl will run just really really slow. good job and good lesson on the fruits of trial and error.


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