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Old 03-14-2004, 03:15 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Albuquerque
Distribution: RedHat 9, Mandrake 9.2
Posts: 3

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Spoiled by Windows, total Linux newbie discussion please

Hi all!

Been skimming for several days now. Awesome site!

I've also been looking for particular how-to's here and elsewhere and haven't run into stuff yet... Probably because my hurdles are so basic at this stage.

Intalled RH9 on dual P3 1.0GHz/Asus cuv4x-dls to 36GB SCSI U/160 drive. Installation smooth after disabling MP1.4 support in BIOS. Was able to configure 2 NICs (one outside facing and one internal facing - I hope the default firewall works), and set up an HP JetDirect network printer. So far so good...

Current problems:

1. Maybe I'm spoiled by Windows' simple software installation procedures. I am totally frustrated just trying to install the simplest little program like Acrobat Reader. What in the world is .TAR, .GZ, .<nothing>? What's the easiest way to go about installing? The help and readme files sound good but following the instructions just generates error messages (my fault, I'm sure). Is it really supposed to be this hard to navigate and figure stuff out on Linux? Yikes, I feel lost!

2. After installation, added 60GB IDE drive master on primary controller. Can't seem to find where to go to get the drive set up for use. I would prefer using GUI app if there is such a utility built in...

3. SoundBlaster PCI 128 is incorrectly recognized as Ensoniq es1370 and no surprise it doesn't work at all. Couldn't find anywhere in the GUI to specify different sound card. I downloaded alsa driver (based on recommendations on this forum) but again have no idea what to do with it now to get it installed, configured/how to use it.

4. How can I benchmark to check this system's performance and compare against others?

5. Is there somewhere I can check to be sure RH9 is seeing/using both processors?

6. This is a networked system. I'd like to be able to access shares on XP machines and vice versa.

7. Any additional advice, recommended newbie sources, etc. is greatly appreciated!!!

Old 03-14-2004, 03:31 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2004
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Well for number 3, a soundblaster 128 does indeed contain an Ensoniq ES1371 chipset (possibly an ES1370 depending on version). Chances are your volume is just turned all the way down. Try running aumix.

For number 6 your best bet is to install Samba. It will be included on the RH install disks.

If your new hard disk is completely blank you might like to format it to whichever format you chose on installing RedHat (probably ext3). If it's the primary master then it will be located at /dev/hda1 (hda being the master controller first disk and 1 being the primary partition). If you need to format it use the command 'mke2fs -j /dev/hda1'.
For your hard disk first create a mount point (i.e. a blank directory) somewhere on your disk. Next use the command:
mount /dev/hda1 <your mount point, as above>
Now if you change directory to the mount point you can access the drive.
Old 03-14-2004, 03:46 PM   #3
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Meersburg (GER)
Distribution: Cygwin,RH 7.2 7.3, SuSe 6.4 8.2 9.1,TinyLinux, Debian Sarge, Knoppix 3.*, Knoppicilin, Knoppix STD
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OK- here we go

Installing stuff under Linux can be rather irritating.
Well .tar .gz or tar.gz are packt files
tar is simply several files packt into 1 (to unpack tar -xf "filename" )
gz is a compressed file like zip use ' gunzip "filename" (i think)
and tar.gz is a compressed tar file best use it with 'tar -xzf "filename"'
you can read up on this stuff with "man tar" and "man gunzip"
files w/out ending are mostly plain text try opening with cat or more

to install something which is in a tar you either have to untar it into the dir you want it to be installed to or into a tmp dir and then run a installer.
For newbies it mostly is best to use rpms and simply install them with the GUI installer or rpm -i "filename"

Concerning your network shares
use LinNeighbourhood a good simple to use front end which allows you to connect to win and sambas shares. It often comes as a part of the distribution.


Last edited by Gibsonist; 03-14-2004 at 04:35 PM.
Old 03-14-2004, 03:55 PM   #4
Registered: Mar 2004
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Do you know what RPM is? RPM is a way to get applications in ready to install format. Each distro has its own RPMs available for it. Forget the tar and gz stuff for now. Go instead and look around. Most distros come with a lot of app already included on the CDs. You sure RH doesn't have Aacrobat included somewhere?
RH is NOT for total newbies like you. They are NOT newbie friendly, their distro is geared toward the server and not destop. Try Mandrake instead. Get the Cds from if you dont wanna spend the money to buy the box version. You are falling into the trap a lot of newbies fall and trying to run before you can crawl. Take it easy and first begin by getting familiar with your system. I didnt' even think of installing appls for a while because I KNEW how difficult it would be. I tried to install XINE and ended up yelling at one guy on the XINE mailing list who was just being nice and trying to help me. Just because I couldn't find where the darn thing got installed. Silly me...
Anyway, before you begin a Linux project of ANY kind, make sure you read up the How-Tos and to goggle any info relevant to it. Don't just jump at it.
Old 03-14-2004, 04:15 PM   #5
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for Q #4 do this......
in a term window type
hdparm -Tt /dev/hdx
where x is the hard drive designation.......hda, hdb, hdd, etc
this will tell you if DMA is enabled, and what the IO is......16 bit, 32 bit....etc
see-- man hdparm --for more info...
Old 03-14-2004, 04:34 PM   #6
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Question 5 is unanswered for now: look into /proc/cpuinfo file. You can also check if you're using *-smp kernel. Kernel file is in /boot. You should have a file with 'vmlinuz' and 'smp' in its name.
Old 03-14-2004, 04:35 PM   #7
Marc A
Registered: Mar 2004
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Distribution: Debian/Ubuntu
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first steps...

As someone said take it easy.
I think the easiest distribution is Mandrake for install but you've got red hat it's okay.
Try the linux devellopement project for general infos and many guides HOWTO do things:
For question, first try google linux with the key words. If you don't find or doesn't understand put a question with your findings and the parts you still need.

Have a good time with GNU/linux : )

Marc A newbie too
Old 03-14-2004, 05:25 PM   #8
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Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Albuquerque
Distribution: RedHat 9, Mandrake 9.2
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Thanks everyone for your generous time and input.

I'm currently installing Mandrake 9.2 on the system to see if navigation is a little easier than it is in RedHat 9.

I will check out some of your suggestions when I have the system back up and running.

If there's anything else that anyone would care to add, I would greatly appreciate it! Some times, direct feedback is more intuitive than Google searches, which tend to return gazzilions of results that are in no way shape or form related to the information I'm seeking... particularly at this basic level.

In return, I am more than happy to share my expertise in beyond-extreme electric/brushless radio controlled land vehicles and applications. !
Old 03-14-2004, 06:02 PM   #9
Gentoo Developer
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Rep: Reputation: 56 this will help you out with rpm's and then get Synaptic and yum and you will have more programs to chose form than you know what to do with,also I use google all the time.david
Old 03-14-2004, 08:16 PM   #10
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and concerning .TAR, .GZ u could extract them with ark its a program like winzip.
or if ur using kde then u simply double click on the file then copy the folder thats in the .tar to another location .
Old 03-15-2004, 09:13 AM   #11
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Xubuntu Dapper - Debian Etch - Puppy Linux
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you can practise tar and gunzip if you download and install Mozilla 1.6 for instance: the installation notes are very clear. They show you how to unpack in one command and it's even faster than ark (or winzip).
Terminal commands may look daunting but it's amazing how fast they work.

Packages like rpm (or deb for Debian-based distros) are easier to manage and install the libraries for the whole system and not just for one app but the drawback is they seem to lag behind the lastest stable release of your favourite program.

Good luck!

A newbie too
Old 05-02-2004, 12:46 AM   #12
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Registered: Jan 2004
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I saw some videos somewhere, perhaps on ZDNET that claimed that the only linuxes that come with Windows like desktop GUIs are Redhat and Suse.
Here is the article.,00.htm
The blurb says "Microsoft and the two-horse race with Red Hat to blaze the open-source trail from servers to desktops"
So I am surprised that you are recommending Mandrake to someone that linkes GUIs. Did I misunderstand?
I just loaded RH9 which works okay but it has just reached its end of life.

Last edited by timtak; 05-02-2004 at 12:48 AM.
Old 05-02-2004, 01:07 AM   #13
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That ZDNet article isn't telling the truth. The KDE and Gnome desktop environments (arguable the most Windows like desktop environments) can be installed on most all Linux distros and even the BSDs (the are developed independently of the distributions). They may be talking about the distro specific tools available for Red Hat and SUSE that handle system configuration and the like.
Old 05-02-2004, 01:27 AM   #14
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Thanks....I guess that means that Mandrake and others may also be distributed with KDE and or Gnome rpms. Redhat 9 had the GUIS in the set up disks.
Old 05-02-2004, 03:42 PM   #15
LQ Newbie
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Albuquerque
Distribution: RedHat 9, Mandrake 9.2
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After messing around with several different distros, I'm leaning toward RedHat as my preference at the moment. I actually wish I didn't wipe out the RH installation to play with Mandrake. I really like the look and feel (particularly during installation) of Mandrake, but once I got into the GUI, I found it much more difficult to get certain types of network stuff accomplished, in comparison to RedHat. Mandrake, although seemingly more user friendly as a desktop OS, appears to be more stripped down in the way of easy advanced options n' stuff. Now, I could be completely wrong, being that I'm still a total Linux beginner, but that's just my simple take on it so far.


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