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Old 05-09-2005, 06:14 AM   #1
Registered: May 2005
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installing stuff

Installing stuff on linux really frustrates me some times. I think it would help if I knew a little more about installing stuff on linux in general. One specific problem I often encounter is missing dependencies. Some times, the dependencies have their own dependencies; and at some point, I have trouble installing some lower level dependency, preventing me from getting the one program that I wanted in the first place!

Another problem I run into is having errors that say I need to set an environment variable. Can someone explain what some of the relevant variables for installing in linux are? Another question is how do I safely set environment variables in bash or other shells? I am using fedora core 3, but if anyone can recommend a distro that is easier to install on, I'd like to hear your opinions. Thanks!

Last edited by danielwong; 05-09-2005 at 06:16 AM.
Old 05-09-2005, 06:38 AM   #2
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For the 1st question on software dependancies. This is probably the biggest difference between distrobutions. Some want you to do all the work, some do all the work for you, and some have a middle ground of research they require you to do. If fedora or any RPM distro isn't cutting it for you, try a distrobution based on another method of package installation. Debain based using APT, Slackware using a few different tools, Gentoo with emerge/portage. They all have benifits and drawbacks. I've started recommending Ubuntu for beginner to novice linux users and Gentoo for the intermediate to experienced. Apt get is very good at dependancies and Ubuntu's update system is really slick. Gentoo is equally good about dependancies, but installing it can be frustrating.

Enviromental variables can be found at the link below. These would typically be set in your home folder in the file .bashrc Dont forget the leading dot.
Old 05-09-2005, 07:00 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2002
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Distribution: debian lenny
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I used to have many problems with dependancies when i was using redhat. years down the line, i'm using slackware 10.1 with swaret for keeping it up to date and dropline gnome to keep the gui up to date. problem solved, no worries with slackware.

Old 05-09-2005, 07:23 AM   #4
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The important question is: do you have a fast internet connection?
If so, I suggest installing apt4rpm and synaptic. apt handles all dependencies, synaptic is a gui-tool for apt.
If not, well...
Personally I've given up installing open-source apps not included on installation discs. On the other hand, fedora (like many other) supplies a thousand apps so you'll be able to do almost anything without extra installation.

Easy-to-use distros:
I find LormaLinux slightly easier than Fedora, some people like Mandrake and SuSe (I don't)
Debian-based are normally not good at handling hardware (that's a feature, not a bug!) but Debian definitely has better/larger repositories.
For Debian-based easy-to-use distro's go for Ubuntu, Mepis or Munjoy.
On the other hand, starting your Linux-life testing various distro's is no good - I say stick to what you have for now and learn to handle it. With more knowledge later on you can start trying out your next favvo.
Old 05-10-2005, 01:19 PM   #5
Registered: May 2005
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Thanks for the response guys. I really appreciate it.

After my original post, I thought of some more questions about installing in linux. Don't answer all of these if you don't want to:

(some install instructions say to do ./configure, make, make install. I call this the make install method)
Using the make install method compiles a program from source, right?
How do I generally interpret the messages I get using make install method? e.g. if the end of a line says "no" when I do ./configure, how do I know if I can do make?
How is this method different from an rpm install?
How does an rpm work?


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