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Old 05-31-2004, 12:25 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2004
Posts: 38

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Newb questions regarding USB, modem, and general FC1 Linux help

I recently installed Fedora Core 1 on a Latitude C840 Laptop (which also boots WinXP). I'm a complete newbie to the Linux would, but I ma eager to learn Linux and I would appreciate some help and advice that I might not be able to get from Reading The Fine Manual (or, in many cases, lack thereof).

1.) How might I go about getting the computer to recognize and mount devices such as my USB storage keychain? I've tried editing and saving /etc/fstab with the required data (/dev/sda1, setting the mount point in /mnt, setting filesytem type and permissions and all that), and that works. However, fstab always reverts to its initial state (pre-USB additions) on a reboot. In fact (and this part doesn't even make sense to me), I've watched fstab revert to its initial state even without rebooting after the computer was left idle for some time. What could be going on here, and how can I make the fstab changes stick?

2.) I also have a PCtel Winmodem in this machine which I have not been able to get working under Linux. I downloaded the tarballed pctel driver that has been posted on the web, and I've followed the instructions from this site:

(sorry, the forum won't let me post the url yet)

exactly, but there is a problem during the compilation phase. My only lead as to what the problem might be comes from one of the web page author's comments:

"If you got errors while configuring or compiling the source, you'll need to resolve those before you can go any further. If you're using a non-Gentoo distro, a common problem is not having the kernel source headers installed. I know this is common with RedHat."

Has anyone else been able to get this modem working under Fedora Core 1? If so, how?

Is there a way for me to configure Fedora Core 1 to automount/unmount filesystems and autodetect network connections? If so, could you give me newbie-friendly instructions on how to do this? Excuse me for only recently migrating from Windows, but I did appreciate XP's capacity to "hot"-detect and run with anything (CD, floppy, USB device, network cable, even new harware, etc) in a matter of seconds without any commands from me, and I was hoping to duplicate this feature in Linux if possible.

One of the most debated Linux questions: GNOME or KDE? In my personal experience, I saw KDE first (in a Knoppix disto). When I tried out GNOME in FC1, I have to admit that out-of-the-box it looks, well, plain and occasionally ugly (like the primitive file selection menu--not Nautilus--I'm talking about the GUI file selection menu that might appear if you were to open a file from gedit or something like that). In contrast, KDE looks a lot more like it's actually trying to be a desktop (though I do think that Konqueror may be trying to squeeze just a bit too much into a single application). I find the menus a bit more intuitive, the customiztion level and ease of use higher, and a bit more attention to graphical polish and eye candy (not that the eye candy is necessary, but a GUI by definition shouldn't be as visually sparse as a CLI.

But that's just an inexperienced newbie's take on the matter. Compounding this problem is the apparent crippling that KDE has received on FC1. I know, I'm only repeating a statement I've read on forums. That statement may or may not be true, but even a newbie like me could tell a different when I played around on both sides for a few minutes. Although I think KDE hands-down has the prettier, flashier interface, it just felt like GNOME somehow recieved more attention from whoever packaged-together the FC1 distro. Again, I'm not experienced enough to know much about that.

So, rambling aside, what advice can anyone give me on the GNOME/KDE decision? If I sound like I'm biased toward KDE, it's only because I have more experience with it. I'm willing to give GNOME a chance, but how do I make it look pretty enough to take the paper bag off it's head? (don't take too much offense, GNOME fans--that's only a newb's opinion, and I'd like to hear your tips, suggestions, reasons why I should choose GNOME over KDE, etc.) Basically, what can I expect from each desktop environment, why might I want to choose one over the other, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each desktop, what can I do to customize, enhance, etc. each desktop, and which environment do you think is best overall. I'm not trying to start a flame war, I just want to get input from experienced Linux users in both camps to help me make my decision.

5.) Is there anyway to silence the beeping when Linux starts up? (Two beeps while the text startup screen hums along, then one beep when the login screen appears.) Sticking a headphone cable in during the boot up process is one way to solve the problem, but isn't there a config file somewhere that I can edit to just turn off the beeping altogether?

Thank you. I appreciate any help that more experienced and skilled users can give me.
Old 05-31-2004, 02:29 AM   #2
bruno buys
Senior Member
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Rio
Distribution: Debian
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4 - On choosing desktops, the best advice is: Know thyself. Have a good idea what use you will do with your computer, and which apps are available to it.

Gnome has two key apps for me, that made me install it, though I'm a kde user: Evolution and Gimp. I can't use Kmail, and if there is any image editing software for kde, I don't even know which one is.

Of course, you don't have to be running gnome, to run any one of these, but you do have to have the proper libs installed. As I'm not a hardcore user (and kinda lazy...) I decided to install the entire Gnome in the system installation, to have all apps running correctly. Alternatively, you would want to install libs manually.
Anyway, I use kde, but I use evolution and gimp daily.

If you are concerned on hw resources, this isn't good, cause you load different libs to do the job. The best would be to stick to one desktop and have a more economic RAM usage. If resources aren't the problem, you can safely install both desktops and use kde (if you wish) without actually having to not use gnome apps.

Was I clear? Hope it helps!
Old 05-31-2004, 01:44 PM   #3
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Greater London
Distribution: SuSE 9.1 Pro, Linux XP Pro (based on Fedora Core 1), Knoppix, DeMuDi (Agnula Project)
Posts: 80

Rep: Reputation: 15
Why automounting drives on Linux isn't such a great idea...


In answer to your question about automounting devices such as CD and floppy drives, generally on Linux this is NOT a good idea! The reason behind this is that Linux sees all these devices as file systems. If you use automount and then start up your system with an empty CD-ROM and floppy drive, your system will moan because it can't see any file system to be mounted!
Believe me, once you get into the routine of using the mount / umount commands, you'll hardly notice you're doing it - it becomes second nature!

Incidentally, SuSE have worked out a way of partially automounting CD-ROM and floppy drives for their new 9.1 release - however, I had already become quite accustomed to mounting/unmounting drives that it confused me at first that SuSE 9.1 decided to do it on its own!

On your question about using KDE or GNOME - it's up to you to find which one you prefer. Most Linux users prefer KDE, which in its new release looks now really smooth and polished. I did install all of KDE and GNOME, but then I have the luxury of a lot of HD space. If you're just starting out and want to find out what you prefer, install both and have a look what desktop system performs more to your requirements.

As I'm still a newbie myself, answering your questins regarding saving configurations for your USB device would take me some research, too - so hopefully someone more experienced can help you out on those.



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