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Old 11-30-2004, 09:58 AM   #1
KlaymenDK
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Unhappy Help me, I'm falling off the wagon...


"Hi,
my name's Klay and I've been off of Windows for almost half a year now. But I feel I'm very close to succumbing, so I really need your help..." ( </aa spoof off> )

Seriously though,
I really *love* the concept of free software, and I'd truly hate going back to the MS chaingang. But the truth is, I'm finding it more and more difficult to maintain my zest -- so often am I hindered by lack of plug-and-play, access rights issues, and lack of software tools. It's a tour de force, not a helpful home information tool.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

I mean, I know that Linux isn't quite mature enough for Joe User or his granny, but it also seems to me that tons of people use it with great results. With my 20+ years of fairly hardcore computing experience, I consider myself knowledgeable enough to take on such a task. I've never been scared of "some assembly required".

I need to make sure my home IT situation is stable and usable, because I have a wife that has no intentions to become a pc-enthusiast. Her crummy laptop runs XP, and she can use it well enough for email and most paperwork. All I got to do is make sure she gets Internet access.
My own computing needs are far from bleeding edge; I use my computer mainly for email, web browsing, and storage for my digital photos and cd collection. I'm running Mandrake and KDE on fairly no-surprises hardware.

Problem #1: Removable storage
I can't seem to get USB plug-and-play to work, so I need to shut down and use the "disk wizard" during the reboot just to plug my camera in. Then, I'm really insecure about what happens when I need to unplug it again. So far, no pics lost though.

Problem #2: Speed
I know that a Linux box isn't supposed to be reboot all that often, but because of (#1) above and also due to fan noise I regularly reboot or power off the machine. It takes more than two minutes to start, and four to reboot! When I ran Windows I could reboot in 48 seconds clean on the same hardware. Surely, this can be improved upon?

Problem #3: Digital photos
Occasionally, my wife wants to transfer the photos from our digital camera, and even though the "repository" is on my computer, more often than not I tell her to just dump them on her laptop (I then transfer them to my pc later on). It's just not practical to teach her Digikam, partly because she's not very (skilled+courageous), and partly because I can't figure out how to set up common file/folder permissions (E.g. when she's created a picture folder I can't see it, and I need to use root to make sure we can both see all our pictures, surely this is overkill.)

Problem #4: Fun
Regardless of the huge number of multimedia apps out there, I still find it hard to find one that's as neat and smart as Windows Media Player (as much as I hate to say that).
Currently, I'm using Grip to rip to Ogg, and I've been trying out both SnackAmp and Juk as media library front-ends. Grip works well enough, but the players are not so good ... most are very folder-centric (if you know what I mean, like XMMS), and only SnackAmp can compete with Windows Media Player's ability to create dynamic playlists from the entire library, for instance based on play count or rating. Sadly, SnackAmp has a tendency to crash badly, needing a complete Linux reinstall to revive it (also, its UI is not very attractive). So I went to JuK, and while it's easy and stable it doesn't have any of the more dynamic features.

I know I should probably go seek out my local LUG, but I don't really want go into that ugly nest of cables that lives behind my computer; besides, I don't think I could get even some of my problems fixed properly in one half-evening.

Please, any words of encouragement are badly needed, and much appreciated.
 
Old 11-30-2004, 10:09 AM   #2
opjose
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1) You may be missing one of the hotplug packages for USB.... including the automount daemon.

I have no problems removing or inserting USB storage devices on the fly.

2) Cutting down the number of startup services in Linux will improve the boot speeds quite a bit...

This can be done via the MCC.


However comparing Linux to Windows is not fair...

Why?

To make it SEEM like Windows is booting faster (it's NOT!!!), XP resorted to a trick where-in it keeps loading background services AFTER the desktop is up.

You perceive it as being able to go to work right away... well, surprise, surprise, you can't!

Often if you have things like AV, SPAMFILTERING, etc. software installed, you'll find that you may have a lengthy delay before these services are loaded. In turn if you try to open an application you may find that you will have to wait until these services have started before you have control of your machine.

Even then performance will be slow until the swapper can throw out the sleeping processes to virtual ram.

If you think Linux is starting slow then there are a couple of things you need to do as well.

a) edit /etc/sysconfig/harddisks and uncomment the indicated lines
b) edit /etc/lilo.conf and add the word "compact" (no quotes) under prompt at the top of the file, then run the lilo command as root.

This will GREATLY speed up the initial kernel load.
3) Make sure that you set up your URPMI sources properly. There are a slew of Digital camera utilities and programs on the repositories.

You also want to install and configure SAMBA.

Then merely point the digicam software to a directory which you also share via samba.

Thereafter she can view and grab any pictures from your system.

It's also possible to often share the removable "device" itself if you want, so you can insert the card or camera as a USB device, and then retrieve the images directly over your network to your Windows machines.... even with Digikam software.

4) There are a slew of Media Players on the repositories you should check out.

They are extremely easy to install and configure, some even work much like Windows Media Center, even down to the user interface.

Most of your problems CAN be "fixed in one evening" by configuring your URPMI sources to pull from the repositories...

http://www.zebulon.org.uk/urpmi_en.html

Then pulling up the "install software" GUI and having fun looking through what is available to you.

Last edited by opjose; 11-30-2004 at 10:12 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2004, 01:57 PM   #3
rokka
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Hi Klay.
opjose put it pretty good, just wanted to share a few personal experiences with you.

1) Are you sure it's not mounting? did you go check the /mnt -directory after plugging it in? This is one thing that I've never had a problem with. I hook up my 20gig mp3-player regularly and use a 32Mb USB-stick almost daily. When unplugging - make sure no transfers are in progress. If not it is safe to unplug the USB-device.

2) I strongly encourage you to do the "/etc/sysconfig/harddisks"-trick opjose suggested, it's a real boost.

3) You might want to check out an application called GPhoto. It's, in my humble opinion, the best digi-cam software whatever operating system you use.

4) For ripping music - made simple, it's kaudiocreator all the way for me. Insert the CD, click "rip" and... ta-da it's on your hard drive. I've used grip mainly because by toying with the options you are actually able to rip copy-protected CDs. I still have not encountered a CD that grip couldn't rip. But for non-crippled CDs I like the simplicity of kaudiocreator.

Good luck!
And do configure the URPMI-sources
 
Old 11-30-2004, 02:13 PM   #4
Lakota
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Location: London, ON, Canada
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For your camera woes, this you may find more productive in Linux and your wifes windows laptop:
don't use software for accessing your camera in either operating system. Get a card reader if you have compact flash, or JumpDrive Trio drive if you use secure digital, sony mem stick, or xd card reader if you use that. All cost $20. I don't fuss with software for my camera at all. I use sd flash, so I just pull it out of my camera, stick it in the trio drive, stick it in a usb port. Voila, Linux under "mnt" I drag and drop my pics into my home folder. Same for windows, when connected simply shows up in my computer as a removable drive same as Linux. I did not need to reboot everytime I access my camera in Mandrake through camera software, but I did need to reconfig my camera link to the software every time I reopened the camera software. Makes my life way simpler.

Hope that may help with prob, #1 & #3.
 
Old 12-07-2004, 07:29 AM   #5
KlaymenDK
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Hi ... still here

Sorry, I suppose a reply is polite at this time, but I've been busy with my "real" life.

@opjose:
First of all, I am using URPMI sources -- that's the very first thing I set up, and I am madly in love with the idea. So much better than Windows Update.
I would like some of the items from URPMI to be newer though (such as Mozilla, and some games). If I'd insist to use the newest version I'd have to compile and install it myself, and that's still too difficult for me. Plus, I'd lose the advantage of having the whole package managed (with respect to upgrading and uninstalling).

Second, boot time. When I installed Linux, I took care to only install the stuff I need. This still leaves me with 20-some services. I've reviewed it, and as far as I can tell that's as low as I can get it.
Please know that I am full well aware that Windows only seems to boot faster, and that's exactly my point (ie. comparing Windows to Linux is fair) -- how can I make Linux load non-critical services later on? I really wouldn't mind if, when I gain access to my desktop, I can't use the LAN for another 10 seconds (I might just want to work locally). This is an area in which Linux could improve quite a lot.

I've tried to uncomment the lines in /etc/sysconfig/harddisks (which sounded VERY risky by the tone of the comments) and I've added "compact" to /etc/lilo.conf, but my boot speed is totally unchanged. Anyway, I thought the BIOS would handle disk IO modes?

You also say I should install Samba, but don't say what for. As I understand it, it enables Windows/Unix network file sharing, but how would that remedy my user rights problems? Wouldn't that just make my situation even more complicated?

@rokka:
I've installed the automount daemon (must have slipped during install, I thought I had it already). True enough, now I can access my camera (and my pendisk) shortly after plug-in. Any idea how I can tell when it's safe to remove it again (something akin to selecting "Safely Remove Hardware->Remove Pendisk"-->"It is now safe to remove your device" in Windows)?

Would it be possible to write a script (I'm not saying you or I should write it, just asking if it's possible) that could make sure the camera is plugged in, then create new folders on the local filesystem (based on date stamps of the photos), and sort the photos into the new folders, then unmount the camera? Is this sort of thing possible in Linux?

GPhoto ... i found a reference that it's been obsoleted by libgphoto2 and gtkam. Anyway, I'll give it a whack.

Regarding your kauidiocreator tip, I'm not really unhappy with Grip; it's more a decent player I'm looking for.

@Lakota:
Thanks for the suggestion, but I would prefer not to have another piece of middleware hardware to fiddle with. My camera has a USB docking cradle, might as well use that (in fact, your description sounds totally similar). Sorry.
 
Old 12-08-2004, 04:42 PM   #6
leadsling
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Re: Hi ... still here

Quote:
Originally posted by KlaymenDK


@rokka:
I've installed the automount daemon (must have slipped during install, I thought I had it already). True enough, now I can access my camera (and my pendisk) shortly after plug-in. Any idea how I can tell when it's safe to remove it again (something akin to selecting "Safely Remove Hardware->Remove Pendisk"-->"It is now safe to remove your device" in Windows)?
Linux doesn't make you do any kind of craziness like that. When you're done with the camera etc, take it out.

(In fact my son got messed up with that very thing last night. My desktop is MDK 10.1, but I have an XP laptop for my boy who is home schooled (win software) I was doing my bills last night so my other son in high school had to use the laptop to do some homework and then save it to a thumb drive to take to school. When he got done he just yanked the drive out and the laptop locked up on him. He was used to doing it the Linux Way TM)
 
Old 12-08-2004, 05:36 PM   #7
rokka
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The only thing you have to keep in mind when unplugging a USB device is that it is not currently in use. e.g. you are not copying files at this very moment. "Safe unplug" is a windows thingie - all it does is make sure there is no copy process in progress.
 
Old 12-09-2004, 04:32 AM   #8
KlaymenDK
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Great to hear it's that simple (as well it should be in this day and age) -- I was just worried about the system not having time to flush the write cache before I yank the drive.

Do I understand you correctly, then, in that write operations are instant, and the system can unmount "after the fact" ?
 
Old 06-11-2006, 04:14 PM   #9
KlaymenDK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlaymenDK
Would it be possible to write a script that could make sure the camera is plugged in, then create new folders on the local filesystem (based on date stamps of the photos), and sort the photos into the new folders, then unmount the camera? Is this sort of thing possible in Linux?
-- 'course it is, and I just found the solution. I thought I might share the script with you; it's available at this Slashdot post. Credit goes to Sam Holden.
 
Old 06-13-2006, 12:40 PM   #10
tkedwards
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Quote:
Problem #1: Removable storage
I can't seem to get USB plug-and-play to work, so I need to shut down and use the "disk wizard" during the reboot just to plug my camera in. Then, I'm really insecure about what happens when I need to unplug it again. So far, no pics lost though.
On all recent versions this has worked out of the box for me. Which version are you using? The newer versions use dbus/hal-daemon/gnome-volume-manager instead of supermount or anything like that and it works much better.

Quote:
Problem #2: Speed
I know that a Linux box isn't supposed to be reboot all that often, but because of (#1) above and also due to fan noise I regularly reboot or power off the machine. It takes more than two minutes to start, and four to reboot! When I ran Windows I could reboot in 48 seconds clean on the same hardware. Surely, this can be improved upon?
On all my computers Linux reboots slower than Windows, although not with as bigger difference as you seem to have. If you count the time it takes for Windows to actually load up after login, wait for all the virus checkers etc. to load and for the remainder of the services to start in the background there's not much between them.

Quote:
Problem #3: Digital photos
Occasionally, my wife wants to transfer the photos from our digital camera, and even though the "repository" is on my computer, more often than not I tell her to just dump them on her laptop (I then transfer them to my pc later on). It's just not practical to teach her Digikam, partly because she's not very (skilled+courageous), and partly because I can't figure out how to set up common file/folder permissions (E.g. when she's created a picture folder I can't see it, and I need to use root to make sure we can both see all our pictures, surely this is overkill.)
Create a directory in /home such as /home/shared or /home/photos or something. Create a group and put yourself and your wife's usernames in it. Change the group ownership on that directory to be that group you created and set full (rwx) permissions for the user and group on that directory. Also set the setgid permission on the directory.

Now any files/folders you create in the /home/share directory will have group ownership of that group. You could also setup ACLs if you want better control over this kind of thing:
1) Install acl with the Mandriva package manager
2) Add 'acl' to the options for your partition in /etc/fstab
3) Reboot or remount the partition

Quote:
Problem #4: Fun
Regardless of the huge number of multimedia apps out there, I still find it hard to find one that's as neat and smart as Windows Media Player (as much as I hate to say that).
Currently, I'm using Grip to rip to Ogg, and I've been trying out both SnackAmp and Juk as media library front-ends. Grip works well enough, but the players are not so good ... most are very folder-centric (if you know what I mean, like XMMS), and only SnackAmp can compete with Windows Media Player's ability to create dynamic playlists from the entire library, for instance based on play count or rating. Sadly, SnackAmp has a tendency to crash badly, needing a complete Linux reinstall to revive it (also, its UI is not very attractive). So I went to JuK, and while it's easy and stable it doesn't have any of the more dynamic features.
I think you must be using an old version or you did a fairly minimal install. All the recent Mandrake/driva versions install Amarok (a really good music player with dynamic playlists, built-in track info fetching etc.) and also with Sound Juicer and KAudioCreator - both of which can rip CDs to MP3 or Ogg.
 
Old 06-15-2006, 02:28 AM   #11
Emmanuel_uk
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Quote:
Create a directory in /home such as /home/shared or /home/photos
Yes, but do not forget to look in mandriva security:
depeding on the level of security it can reset writing rights to root only
if you do not had a rule to stop it doign so

It really sounds like you need to upgrade your mandriva version,
so this is why people are asking you which version you have

You could have thought of a better thread title

Re slow boot, you must have notice a slow step(s)? which one?

Quote:
Any idea how I can tell when it's safe to remove it again
If you are paranoid, you can click on usb device icon and unmount it before
unplugging it
 
  


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