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Old 09-03-2006, 11:06 AM   #1
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Registered: Sep 2006
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Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux
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Question Newbie to Linux

Hi Everyone

I've been a windows user for many years, but due to a hardware failure in my home server box I now have everything i need to keep running on my main pc. So I thought that now I have resurrected my server, I have the option of playing around a little, and I thought I'd take the opportunity to try out Linux... so here I am

I've downloaded knoppix, which is really what got me started on this path as I was amazed that just booting from the cd got me into the full windowed environment.

So I had a look around at what distributions are available and downloaded Debian 3.1r2. This is where things started to get more interesting.

I am using a P4/celeron socket 775 motherboard that has an integrated video and sound card. The video card is an ATI radeon express 200. I am also using a usb keyboard and mouse. The mobo is new as it was the thing I had to replace to get my pc back up and running.

Debian installs fine, and i have been messing around with the shell, and going through tutorials, but then i move onto x-windows and things stop working.

I get the no screen attached error after installing the x-window-system-core and x-window-system packages, i guess because it doesn't have my video card drivers.

Looking at the ATI website for the drivers for linux looks a little daunting, and I also looked on the packages site for debian for ati drivers, which there is a package, but it's not in the stable release. Also the ATI drivers require a specific version of XFree86 and XOrg, and I understand that XOrg is not in the stable release of Debian.

My starting questions about all this are:

1) Is there anywhere that explains the difference between all these bits of x-windows, what's xfree86 and xorg, and what they all do?

2) What would you recommend I do about getting x-windows going with my card and I guess also the mouse and keyboard? Most tutorials I have looked at seem to talk about serial or ps2 mice and keyboards... should I go dig out some old ones?

3) Have I made the right choice with debian? I've been browsing some of the other distributions, and starting to wonder if I should try a different one...

Sorry about the length of this post...


Old 09-03-2006, 11:13 AM   #2
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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Don't install Sarge. Get the Etch Beta3 Netinstall .iso, about 100 MB. It will install xorg with suitable ati drivers to get you going. I also recommend that, as a newbie, you do a fresh reinstall rather than trying to upgrade from Sarge to Etch.

Last edited by rickh; 09-03-2006 at 11:15 AM.
Old 09-03-2006, 11:17 AM   #3
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Registered: Sep 2006
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux
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Hi Rick

Thanks for that, i'll give it a go. As the machine isn't being used for anything other than me playing around at the moment I've just been doing complete re-installs. Hehe, done about 5 installs of sarge already, its getting as familiar as the blue windows installer

Old 09-04-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
Registered: Mar 2006
Location: belguim
Distribution: fedora, mandriva, suse
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maybe debian is to hard for you if you just started out with linux. try fedora of mandriva (server, look to fedora). there a bit easyer and i've had no problems with ati cards starting.
Old 09-04-2006, 12:49 PM   #5
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Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux
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Thanks for the advice, last night I downloaded the net installer for Etch, and got it installed.

I chose a windowed environment when installing and it detected all my hardware ok and I had a system up and running with GNOME in a real short time

So now I know it will work ok with my hardware (had a few issues with my usb mouse and my kvm switch, but solved that with a mouse plugged directly into the server) I will have a play with installing it from scratch and using apt to install the bits I want installed!




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