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Old 01-02-2004, 05:06 PM   #1
Sociologo
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Registered: Oct 2003
Distribution: Slackware
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I'm at the end of my rope!


I hate to sound so down. I have been trying to get a semblance of a decent experience from Mandrake and Red Hat (and Fedora) for a couple of years now. And, you know what? Nothing. No sound. Difficult file searches. Difficult file installations. Less than adequate antivirus software. Simple, rudimentary functions are difficult. I think I'm just fed up!

Don't get me wrong. I value the philosophy and the concept of collaboratively "free" software and the freedom from MS. But, why is this so difficult, so hard. I can't even get sound, even though I have a "supported" sound card. It's like watching silent movies. Is there a middle of the road to all of this? I've read the books, used the tutorials, joined the fora, struggled through the night.

Is there some way that we can collectively find to make things easier? I'm tired, and I know that many others like me are too.
 
Old 01-02-2004, 05:35 PM   #2
Bruce Hill
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Registered: Jun 2003
Location: McCalla, AL, USA
Distribution: Gentoo (all servers at work are openSUSE)
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Tie a knot in the rope and hang on!

Quote:
Originally posted by Sociologo
I hate to sound so down. I have been trying to get a semblance of a decent experience from Mandrake and Red Hat (and Fedora) for a couple of years now. And, you know what? Nothing. No sound. Difficult file searches. Difficult file installations. Less than adequate antivirus software. Simple, rudimentary functions are difficult. I think I'm just fed up!

Don't get me wrong. I value the philosophy and the concept of collaboratively "free" software and the freedom from MS. But, why is this so difficult, so hard. I can't even get sound, even though I have a "supported" sound card. It's like watching silent movies. Is there a middle of the road to all of this? I've read the books, used the tutorials, joined the fora, struggled through the night.

Is there some way that we can collectively find to make things easier? I'm tired, and I know that many others like me are too.
A few questions, if you will.

What are you using your system for?

What sound card do you have?

Have you tried Slackware?

And an observation.

I value the philosophy of "free" software, also. But no freedom ever comes without a price. Most of the documentation that comes with this "free" software is so esoteric that a newbie will have a very, very difficult time getting his system comparable to a well-installed and configured M$ system without some help along the way.

I've been ready to throw my computers into the village street behind me, on more than one occasion, since installing a *nix distro in June. But, like you, apparently, I am desiring to be free from M$.

In 1999 I tried RedHat, and found it too much to take. So I quit. In June of this past year I installed RedHat again, and in July I formatted that stuff right out of my computer. Some of the things I dislike so much about M$, I found in RedHat. It is a commercial distribution, you understand, and therefore they are out to attract the masses - not the few eccentric gurus who will jump to a distro like Debian, Gentoo, or LFS. I next tried Debian. It's a very fast and efficient system, but the packages that are written for Debian have tons of people working on them, and often one package's dependencies conflict with others. When I tried for 2 weeks to add KDE, and one couldn't because of conflicts between needed parts, I got rid of Debian.

I switched to Slackware because of this - the people in LQ whose posts are the most helpful seem to use Slackware. I think the majority of the mods use Slackware. The forum with the best support for the distro seemed to be Slackware. Now that I've been using Slackware for a couple of months, I think those things are true. Comparatively, most of my posts for help when I used Debian were answered by people who didn't use Debian, and what worked on their system, a lot of times, wasn't the way things work on Debian.

It's not easy to use open source software, and almost everyone writing documentation for it has been using *nix since the early 90's. They've forgotten most of what you and I need to learn just to install a proper system.

I have decided to stop complaining about the esoteric documentation, and write some that is so verbose, if you can't follow it, you should return to the "don't think just point and click" world of Micro$loth. I'll post it on my website, as I rebuild it from within Slack.

So, tie a knot in the end of your rope and hang on! What have you got to lose, except time? So, give it no more time than you can afford to give away, and you won't be as disappointed when you've spent a lot of time to learn something that doesn't work - yet.

If you are a quitter, then quit! If you want to be free from Micro$loth's demonic cluthces, just keep plugging away.

A couple of things I've done is to start a list. I enter things that I need to fix in Slack, things that I would like to be able to do in Slack, and things that I want to learn. And then I try to work on only one at a time, until it's either fixed, or my frustration level gets too high - at which time I switch to something else.

And maybe you should get away from the commercial Linux distributions. Try Slackware - you'll learn more about Linux, and how your computer works, and compiling from source is so much more dependable than the RPM system! Like has been said before, "If you use RedHat, you learn about RedHat. If you use Slack, you learn Linux." Something like that, but it's true.

Now, if you want some actual help with something, what is the one thing you'd like to get working right now?
 
Old 01-02-2004, 07:23 PM   #3
AdnyB
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Braintree, MA
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 16

Rep: Reputation: 0
Unhappy I feel your pain

I have tried to install Mandrake and RedHat Linux several times. I am installing on a separate hard drive on a system that supports Win 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT4 and presumably XP (although I'm not about to try XP). No matter what I do, I cannot get ANY GUI system to come up and run. If I boot in Fail Safe mode, I get to the text prompt - which does me absolutley no good since I'm not a Unix geek. It seems to me if this whole "free" software thing is going to fly, it HAS to be made much more installable by a neophyte.
 
Old 01-02-2004, 07:36 PM   #4
Bruce Hill
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Registered: Jun 2003
Location: McCalla, AL, USA
Distribution: Gentoo (all servers at work are openSUSE)
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Re: I feel your pain

Quote:
Originally posted by AdnyB
I have tried to install Mandrake and RedHat Linux several times. I am installing on a separate hard drive on a system that supports Win 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT4 and presumably XP (although I'm not about to try XP). No matter what I do, I cannot get ANY GUI system to come up and run. If I boot in Fail Safe mode, I get to the text prompt - which does me absolutley no good since I'm not a Unix geek. It seems to me if this whole "free" software thing is going to fly, it HAS to be made much more installable by a neophyte.
Try Slackware.

When you get to the "text prompt" have you tried to login and type startx

I'm not a Linux geek but a long stretch of the imagination, but I've almost got Slackware doing everything I need that I used Windoze for, so that soon I can format c:/q Windoze right off my hard drive. Actually, I only have to have Windoze for PGP and to print from PageMaker. I got PageMaker working under Wine in Slack, but I haven't figured out the printing yet. But...I will
 
Old 01-02-2004, 08:13 PM   #5
AdnyB
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Braintree, MA
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 16

Rep: Reputation: 0
Ok - you just exceeded my level of expertise - I can type 'startx' but why do I have to login? (And how do I?)
 
Old 01-02-2004, 08:33 PM   #6
Valael
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Registered: Oct 2002
Posts: 44

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^^^ This person sounds like me ^^^


Give him answers


Because I need them, too.
 
Old 01-02-2004, 09:03 PM   #7
Mugatu
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Registered: Dec 2003
Location: VA
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 193

Rep: Reputation: 30
i'm surprised you guys have had problems with mandrake. i've installed it on a wide variety of systems, from low end machines with really old video cards nobody's ever heard of, to high-end P4 laptops with GeForce4 video card to older desktops with onboard video/sound and i've only had problems with sound one one of them (it is an AMD 500 on a motherboard which used to be running a Cyrix M-2 and has integrated sound). antivirus software shouldn't be that big of a deal, i read that there are something like 5 viruses for linux (compared to the zillions for windoze). file searches don't seem to be too difficult (except for the fact that you have to run them as root if you want to actually search every directory).

i'm playing with slackware now, and it is nice and stable, but much more complicated in that it seems you must to everything from the command line. i had to even get my mouse wheel working in the command line, which seems ridiculous. not only that, but all of the configuration files and everything else i'm always looking for isn't in the same place as many of the other linux distributions, so i have to relearn everything over again. slackware runs great, but i wouldn't say it's the greatest in terms of ease of use.

it seems to me that there need to be specific standards for linux that most of the major distributions should comply with, so at least if you learn something in one distro it will hold true for them all. i think it's retarded that people are so hard-core that unless something is done via the command line then it's stupid. i'm all for the command line, but i think it's nice every once in a while to have a GUI to do stuff when i get tired of typing tar -zxvf or whatever. things like this make the OS more "user-friendly" as well for people who have never used them. i think it's great that we can compile everything, but i don't think we should have to. anyway, back to the point. i would recommend trying mandrake 9.2 or 9.1 (which is supposed to be more stable). if you've tried one and not the other, i would recommend trying them both. they at least seem easier to use than all the other distros. linux still has a long way to go before it will ever be "user-friendly" though. until then, don't give up, and don't get frustrated when you find a really kewl software package and then discover the only way to get it working is to compile the entire thing from the command line
 
Old 01-02-2004, 10:21 PM   #8
Goeland86
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: california - but I'm in school in Maine
Distribution: Gentoo Linux
Posts: 36

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My advice is : get help from documentation, or books. I am a senior in high-school, and my school offers linux classes, because the school uses a server-terminal interface with redhat 7.3. I was always interested in linux, since I've heard of it at least, and thus signed up for the course. We learned most of what we had to from a text book. It's simple, easy to read and it's called : "Linux, the textbook". If you want to learn about the text mode user interface, then that's the book to read. You'll understand most of what is forgotten in nowadays documentation, the essential part that won't make you a linux guru, but at least a linux user that understands what's going on. Even now, after having fiddled around with linux for a big bit I keep banging my head on my keyboard because of other issues. And you know what? once the pain fades away, I continue from where I stopped, and everytime I understand more about linux, and more of what's going on.
My first successdful kernel compilation took me almost three years to get it working! Still, I often have trouble getting a successful kernel installation once the compilation is done!
It's because I'm stubborn, because I can't afford to pay for additional software, because I'm curious that I keep on with every problem that comes into my way! I don't let myself go down for more than 2 hours. After that, I get back to work where I stopped, and I'm often very close to the solution when I give up! So hold on, read more, and work on your problems bit by bit.
Now if you need help, I'll help. Just give me problems, data about your hardware and configuration, and I'll try and walk you through the steps to understand how it works, and why it didn't work so you learn the method rather than just getting an answer.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 08:52 AM   #9
AdnyB
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Braintree, MA
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 16

Rep: Reputation: 0
But - back to my earlier statement - if Linux is EVERY going to be the os of choice for the masses, it HAS to be more ::shudder:: 'User Friendly'. I have been programming computers for 43 years, including Windows Apps in C, and if I have to go learn another esoteric os JUST to get a GUI interface installed and running, then what do the newbies do? Answer: They buy and use WINDOWS! If MS can build a seamless install CD why can't someone do the same with Linux!
 
Old 01-04-2004, 09:07 AM   #10
carlywarly
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sunny Southport, again.
Distribution: PCLinuxOS 0.93 and 0.92, Vector sometimes
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Rep: Reputation: 30
Windows does not install seamlessly on all combinations of hardware - that is a fallacy. Just search for windows help forums and see how much hassle some hardware combinations can produce under Windows.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 09:41 AM   #11
Bruce Hill
HCL Maintainer
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: McCalla, AL, USA
Distribution: Gentoo (all servers at work are openSUSE)
Posts: 6,937

Rep: Reputation: 128Reputation: 128
Quote:
Originally posted by AdnyB
But - back to my earlier statement - if Linux is EVERY going to be the os of choice for the masses, it HAS to be more ::shudder:: 'User Friendly'. I have been programming computers for 43 years, including Windows Apps in C, and if I have to go learn another esoteric os JUST to get a GUI interface installed and running, then what do the newbies do? Answer: They buy and use WINDOWS! If MS can build a seamless install CD why can't someone do the same with Linux!
Surely you must realize that many of the people here trying to use a Linux distribution have never installed a Windows OS in their lives. Most of them bought a computer with the OS installed for them, and don't have a clue what went into configuring the system, installing the different hardware, or maintaining it afterwards.

The purpose of LQ is to offer a platform where people can share their knowledge. And it is, by Jeremy's defintion, "where Linux newbies come for help." The purpose of Linux, as stated by Linus Torvalds, was and is not to replace Windows, or any other operating system. It is an alternative choice. We are all free to choose it, and use it. Most of the Linux distributions are almost entirely supported and maintained by people whose sole interest has nothing whatsoever to do with making money from their work.

Linux (the kernel) is actually very user friendly when compared to Microsoft's Windows operating systems - or Apple's Mac OS. The linux kernel source is open for each and every user to compile so that it becomes a perfect fit for his particular computer. This is impossible with every Windows platform on the market.

Linux isn't designed to "be the OS of choice for the masses." Neither is Mac OS. That is the market strategy of Microsoft Windows. Open source software, such as the linux kernel, is designed for those computer enthusiasts who want to tune and tweak their systems to meet their peculiar and unique desires and requirements. It is not designed to please and placate the masses of users who want to simply pay some money and buy something that's already put together and works virtually the same for everyone.

Just as there is a market for a tailor made suit, there is also a market for an off-the-rack department store brand.

People have different tastes, and "Linux" is for the person of informed and discriminating taste: a connoisseur. Windows, on the other hand, is designed for the masses. Let them have it, and let us have Slackware Linux, or whatever our choice.

So, you don't have to learn another esoteric OS - you are offered the option and afforded the privilege to do so. May we all do it graciously, and with gratitude.

You ask us in this forum
Quote:
Originally posted by AdnyB
If MS can build a seamless install CD why can't someone do the same with Linux!
And so I pose this question to you. Andy, you claim to have been programming computers for 43 years - why don't YOU build a seamless install CD with Linux?

Hat's off to Linus Torvalds, and all those who've contributed since!
 
Old 01-04-2004, 01:09 PM   #12
wrc1944
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Location: Gainesville, Florida
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I find it impossible to believe any windows or Mac user can't boot from a Mandrake (or similar rpm distro) 9.2 cd, and with a few mouse clicks follow the gui install prompts, and wind up with a perfectly functioning system, with a nice kde desktop, many sophisicated apps, and complete control, that any windows user could navigate with no problem. The only possible problem must stem from a weird hardware conflict, which I also find virtually impossible to believe. Any recent rpm distro autodetects and configures everything effortlessly, on virtually any hardware combo out there. In fact, installing and configuring these distros is easier than any windows install I ever did. It's basically point and click usage, with the option to use the command line at any time. If you want to install Gentoo, that's another story, but if you can't install and use Mandrake, it's hard to believe you could even use a Mac. Even without understanding anything (as in "average windows/Mac user), Mandrake is perfectly accessable "as is."

If Sociologo will post a detailed list of the hardware, and what the specific problems are, I'm sure they can be fixed.

wrc1944
 
Old 01-04-2004, 03:56 PM   #13
Sociologo
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Registered: Oct 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 21

Original Poster
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Pardon the litany that follows in the next paragraph, but it may address some of the questions several of you have had.

P4, 2.80 GHz, 800 frontside bus, 512 MHz mem., 80Gig HD partitioned (Win XP Pro; Mandrake 9.2; Fedora; Sound: SoundMax Integrated Digital Audio i810 AC97. Have been using computers, both PC and Mainframe since 1982 (I used punch cards, card readers, and a mainframe to manipulate the data for my dissertation) . I use my system a very large amount of the time: for business, writing, statistical data analysis, no games, email, and have an avid interest in Linux. I read much of what is out there on Linux and specific distros and have used tutorials to supplement the reading. Moreover, I have installed and reinstalled operating systems more times than I wish to count or remember. I have used several versions of Mandrake and Red Hat and now I'm using what RH calls their "new" product, since they have abandoned Red Hat proper and moved their focus to the enterprise market. I've used DOS based computers with 5.25" discs, and Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000, XP Home and Pro. I also have a P3, 500 MHz system that is similarly partitioned. Well, I think that might be all.

I think that both Mandrake and Fedora are installed properly on my system, as is WinXP Pro. What I am referring to in my initial posting is a feeling that, after 3 years, I have come to forgive myself for having. Please help me to explore this. I keep feeling like a brave maverick who has joined a liberating movement to challenge the Establishment, has become part of a community of believers and who has learned a lot in the process. Simultaneously, I find myself entrapped and struggling with minute "pick-sh-t" things like trying to get sound to come out of my system, trying to install a file, or some other minor matter, and spending hours, days, or weeks (by now years) doing it. This, only to feel both disappointed and discouraged and hopeful that in the next distro my problems will be solved. And what? Not! And, yes, I'm not one to think that Wins are problem-free or conflict free.

I'm really pleased that people in the forum were willing to respond and showed interest in my concerns. I had the fantasy that there would be pursist who would put me down for feeling this way for offending Linuxism. But, none of that happened.

I think, however, that there may be something for us to learn in paradox. I think that many of us have divided the world into Linux and MS. I also believe that this is counter-productive and that there may be something to learn from MS--even if it is how to improve on what they produce. Yes. This will require less stereotyping and less bifurcation, but I think that it will make for a better Linux product. I also think that bringing together the best of many distros with the best that Windows has to offer (and it does have some good features--despite what some may feel) may result in a true alternative to Windows that becomes available to the layperson. I agree with those of you who have said that later distros have enhanced and made easier such processes as installation, configuration, etc. My question is why are we still so "manual" in so many of our most basic functions? Software for the common user should be the vehicle to work and not the work itself. For others who are interested in innovation and development both the end and the means are different.
I'll stop for now.

P.S. By the way, because of the encouragement of some of you, I downloaded and am now using the Slax Live CD 3.024 (new 2004). It's really terrific and clearly more of what I'm thinking about (of, course I prefer a HD installation, but this is fine for learning right now). I've downloaded Slackware 9.1 and will try it out soon. Oh yes. I do have sound on Slax.

Last edited by Sociologo; 01-04-2004 at 04:11 PM.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 04:21 PM   #14
ehawk
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,257

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Suggestions

Try knoppix or MEPIS, or PCLinuxOS, or whatever that Mandrake live evaluation spin-off is called (look at distrowatch.com). If it autodetects everything as you'd like, install it to the hard drive. Nice test drive.

Another suggestion is to find a Linux User Group in your area, hook up with them, find out if they have an installfest, and bring your computer there and have them get you started.

You can also install linux as a windows app using a loopback filesystem installation...look at WinLinux2000. This way, all your hardware is already set up. Build up your confidence, then go for the more involved stuff.

When your hardware gets old enough that you're looking for a new computer, look for pre-installed setups.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 05:11 PM   #15
AdnyB
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Braintree, MA
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 16

Rep: Reputation: 0
And so I pose this question to you. Andy, you claim to have been programming computers for 43 years - why don't YOU build a seamless install CD with Linux?

I would LOVE to do this - now where do I start if I can't get Linux to install on my system? One of the reasons I'm even CONSIDERING Linux is so I can do things like that! BUT - with no Linux running in any mode that I can understand, I haven't a clue where to start.
 
  


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