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View Poll Results: How long did you take to get Linux running so you could use it the first time?
3 hours or less 143 68.75%
3-10 hours 27 12.98%
10-20 hours 3 1.44%
more than 20 hours 35 16.83%
Voters: 208. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-28-2003, 08:24 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Denver
Distribution: RH9
Posts: 14

Rep: Reputation: 0
Angry That is it, I give up, Linux is truely not ready for prime time....

OK, that is all I can take. Documentation is non existent unless you already know what you are doing, driver updating is complicated, and all I was trying to do was learn this damn OS. Here is my story:

Been doing DOS and Windows for 13 years, not an expert per se, but I do know what I am doing. Decided 5 days ago to make the leap and install Linux. Got SuSE and installed on an old Dell P2 Latitude, everything went great but it ran slow. I was convinced that since it went so well on that computer, I could definitely install on a P4 dell inspiron 2650. Also decided to try Red Hat. BIG MISTAKE! Can anyone say NVIDIA HELL? Luckily, I found much help here updating the drivers for that card, but was still unable to login to console due to flickering screen. The book that I got to help with the learning curve "SAM"s Teach yourself Red Hat Linux 9 in 24 hours" is a very good book. One step at a time learning, but you have to be able to get to the console, and then back to x pretty easily. In order for me to do that I would have to reboot after getting in X, otherwise, no console. After installing and running the updates for the 12th time, I decided to do updates before updating NVIDIA. I updated NVIDIA and kept getting error regarding Kernel source and headers..... GUESS WHAT? No documentation on what the damn file is named that I am looking for, and when I finally figured out, with help from here, what the file name would be named (sort of)., I can not figure out where to get it. So, after 5 solid days of working on this computer, I give up and am going to go back to Windows XP. A computer is supposed to make life easier, and with windows, I can have things run and not worry about it....sure, there is no challenge but at least I can get information when I need it. Lets put it this way, I can install Windows XP, Office, Opera, Popup Blockers, Spam blockers, Money, and all in about 3 hours. I have been working on this for 10 times that long and can not even get the drivers on one piece of equipment installed. Hasta la vista Linux......come back and see me in a few years....
Old 09-28-2003, 08:38 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

Rep: Reputation: 256Reputation: 256Reputation: 256
Haha, I love reading these types of stories or posts. They make me laugh and feel all good and fuzzy inside. It makes me wonder how hard people really try.

I installed Linux about 5 or so years ago, on a cryptic text based install. I got my system to run on the first install, though it did take extra effort to get X running. But did I give up? No. Did I continue using Linux, trying to learn as much as possible? Yes.

It amazes me on how far Linux has come, many to me still give up way to quickly. Hell, I've lost all my Windows skills just cause I use Linux too much now. The ones that love a point and click to get things done, I tell them man I wish Windows had a command line cause what your doing I could do twice as fast in Linux at a console, than what your doing with your mouse and buttons.

Anyways, good luck using Windows. I think you gave up too easily.

The one thing I still tell poeple though when considering Linux, "Know your hardware!" or your going to have a hard time working with Linux and getting it going from the start. Its good to research something before just diving into it and just running into problems then only leading to frustration then to only quit altogether.

Oh well. I can install and get my Linux boxes up and running within 30 minutes in most cases, doesn't take hours any longer.
Old 09-28-2003, 08:48 PM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Apr 2001
Location: Plymouth, England.
Distribution: Mostly Debian based systems
Posts: 4,368

Rep: Reputation: 63
That is it, I give up, Linux is truely not ready for prime time....
Ok. Bye bye. Oh, and yes it is.
Old 09-28-2003, 08:49 PM   #4
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

Rep: Reputation: 256Reputation: 256Reputation: 256
Also, I'd have to disagree on the documentation. To me Linux has the bext documentation.

In windows can you simple type 'man' in front of a command and find a page full of details on how to use it.. nah.

What about howto's and millions of sites that mirror those howto's, guides, and so on.... Windows doesn't have that. The best thing in the Windows world is the MS Knowledge database which have the time you can't find crap.

Oh well.. just my other two cents on this. I usually don't mess with these, "Oh I'm giving up... Linux sucks.. I've been using Windows for decades.... Linux won't ever take over the desktop market..... " and so on.... I guess I'm just bored tonight.

Just for anyone's info who doesn't realize this. Linux wasn't or never intended to take over, to be easy to use and so on.... its simply put, "Linux is not Windows... "

Good luck once again in your Operating System endouvers... I think I spelled that right...
Old 09-28-2003, 08:55 PM   #5
Registered: Nov 2000
Posts: 368

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
i am sad your first experiences have not been good for you, i thought the same as you first time round with redhat 6.0.
after a couple of months it just sitting on my shelf i installed it on another harddisk and just let it sit there and do nothing and go back and learn something on very odd occations.

eventually i wanted to do something that windows could not do and i was off, i now look after nearly 10 servers and assist others, from fellow technical support ppl, to complete strangers from accross the world via this website ( if you had not noticed ) and i never look back, sure i have doubts now and then but there is always a solution to any problem.

my point being, and i am not giving you a flaming or anything like that, but you will eventually come accross Linux again later on in your life or career and you will make the switch to Linux and see the benefits availible to you.

if your still intrested in playing, i would advise keeping that little p2 laptop around with linux installed and have a play, break it, try and fix it, install new stuff, its how i learn

p.s. if you want to get in to a text mode insted of keep booting graphical mode you can put for example the number 3 after your boot image when booting, for more information lookup init modes and init numbers.
useful stuff when doing graphical display stuff.
Old 09-28-2003, 08:57 PM   #6
Senior Member
Registered: Apr 2001
Location: Perry, Iowa
Distribution: Mepis , Debian
Posts: 2,692

Rep: Reputation: 45
about an hour (redhat 6) most of the time waiting on my 4x cd drive. you should have put suse on the p4 machine. you would be using linux now instead of bailing back to windows. redhats good for servers, but they are inept when it comes to building a 'desktop distro'.
Old 09-28-2003, 09:25 PM   #7
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: USA
Distribution: Windows For now
Posts: 27

Rep: Reputation: 15
as a very much newbie and someone who will not give up easly i offer you what i have received here in a very short time.
Linux ISO
Distrobution Watch
Also Sourceforge
ibiblio More Linux Info
tinyminds More Linux Info
justlinux More Linux Info
linuxchix More Linux Info this one is directed towards women but that should not matter
mepis Linux
bloodshed Linux Software
if you need more info just read post from here down you can gather a very large collection of Information for Linux.

Last edited by paladins_r_1; 10-19-2003 at 01:01 PM.
Old 09-28-2003, 09:46 PM   #8
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: San Antonio
Distribution: Suse 9.0 Professional
Posts: 843

Rep: Reputation: 30
Sounds like you got it up and working in 3 hours or less. You installed, it went fine, it worked, you thought a little slow. 1 more hour to READ the manual on turning off services, and you would be flying. Oh!, you mean you had a great system, then decided to upgrade your drivers. So, you had it working in 3 hours or less, then decided to mess around with it.

As for the lack of documentation, the last time, the VERY last time I ever touched a Windows machine, re-installing the print drivers for my wife for the 14th time in a year (Windows would just 'forget' the printer existed), it hosed the system so that it would only boot into safe mode. Here was the instruction manual, point to which line would have helped me....

1) Put the CD in your drive. If it does not autostart, select 'run command' and enter /D:Setup
2) Follow the onscreen instructions.


Redhat 6.1. I hour
Redhat 7.0 1 hour
Redhat 8.0 20 minutes
Old 09-28-2003, 10:02 PM   #9
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Denver
Distribution: RH9
Posts: 14

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
In less than 2 hours from my last post, I am on the internet, printing, posting, emailing, etc. While I was doing that on this same machine with Linux, I was not able to go to console. As for all these sites that you nice people gave me, not a one of them tells me how to correct the NVIDIA problem. Your posts show how to correct the driver issue, but even after installing the driver correctly, my screen flickers incessently in console mode. I could settle for that, but why? As for giving up, nah, I am not giving up Linux at all. I just don't think I can get it up and running correctly on that damn laptop. NOT a linux problem, definately a PEBKAC issue. I know that if I continue with Linux I will be able to figure it out and eventually get it running. I guess I am a bit frustrated because I do not know what the acronyms mean, I don't know the arguments when you type a command and in order to find out, I have to look thru 1000 things that don't apply. You all don't seem to realize that all I wanted was the console to work correctly. Simple enough. I have some old dos disks that can do that! I could not get that working, so I could not continue on this machine. I will go back to the PII and see if I can learn a bit, but it is definately not going on my main machine for quite a while. BTW, those of you that said that I got the machine running in less than 3 hours... you are right, but with linux, I think that when you can not see the console, it can be a BIG issue....NOT LINUX's issue, the P4, specifically, NVIDIA even more specifically. If I ever get around to building my own machine, ANYTHING that NVIDIA builds will be not in that machine.
Old 09-28-2003, 10:32 PM   #10
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Victoria, BC
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
Posts: 13

Rep: Reputation: 0
mawipf I feel your pain .. coming from the same background, old school DOS user, then into windows .. had a spare box kickin around figured Id try Linux.. Redhat 9 first, up n running in short order but when I tried to install other packages (non-redhat modified KDE and others) ran into problems and was told I needed Redhat specific KDE .. fine.. forget that not going to be shoehorned into a corner..

Wiped Redhat and just finished a Mandrake 9.1 install tonight.. and now having problems with it.. no error messages etc.. just really really really frustrating issues.

I agree.. documentation on some things is kinda hurtin.. no matter what the others who replied may say .. They've already got experience and may have forgotten hiccups they hit.. but what the hey.. its a hell of a learning curve, and once you get functional its probably (hopefully) worth it.. and just think of the workout your brain is getting

And while Mandrake's support seems kinda poor, this place has done me fairly well... so stick around and stay at it.. at least until you see my "christ i give up" message in a few days

good luck..

Old 09-28-2003, 11:18 PM   #11
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Denver
Distribution: RH9
Posts: 14

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
thanks for the encouragement


I appreciate you words...., after reading what I posted, it looks like I am whining...didn't mean it to sound like that. I am just frustrated cause in my job I offer tech support to "normal" people, helping with windows and hardware issues, I speak in normal words, normal sentences, so normal people can understand. Most of the documentation I see is written for people that have been doing linux for years! How does that help me learn? It doesn't! That is why after 50 hours of trying to do one thing, get console working, I give up on this machine. I remember working hard like this for dos 13 years ago, but quite frankly, I don't have that amount of time to give to getting the basics going. I will continue, but I think I made a mistake in thinking that I could put it on my most used machine and get it going the way I needed immediately. The PII is sitting right next me ready for the reload of RH9, I can deal with slow, but cant deal with not seeing the console....

Old 09-28-2003, 11:36 PM   #12
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Victoria, BC
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
Posts: 13

Rep: Reputation: 0
Heh.. I think our Windows experience may come in handy man .. the old "what the hell.. I've tried everything else, lets wipe the drive and install fresh" that happens so often in Windows just worked great for Mandrake..

<shrug> dunno why it didnt work the first time for me heh.

Don't give up.. if nothing else this'll letcha add Linux experience to the resume.


Old 09-29-2003, 12:13 AM   #13
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: FreeBSD 8.2 RELEASE
Posts: 607

Rep: Reputation: 32
It amazes me that you give up on Linux after only a few hours. Consider how long it took you to get to the level of competency you have in windows - months or years. Linux is no different, pretty much every answer is out there, in man pages, at the tldp, google or here. No, linux isn't as transparent to the user as windows - but that's a good thing, because it encourages you to understand how and why your computer works, rather than just blindly following steps to solve problems.

I have an nvidia card and it has worked flawlessly under mandrake and slackware (as long as kernel sources are installed), either you've got some freaky hardware thing happening or it's operator error.
Old 09-29-2003, 12:22 AM   #14
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 4.10
Posts: 311

Rep: Reputation: 30
It took me about the same amount of time to intall Slackware 8.1 on my first go took me about as long as it took me to install Windows 2000, at which point I'd been using Windows for something like 5 years.

I should mention at this point, dear reader, that Win2k did not work properly, as my network card only functioned at 1/20th of the speed it should have. We tried everything to get it to work right, and it never did. It only got corrected much later by re-installing the entire system (which was needed because the first win2k installation had degraded to the point where it was to slow too be used at all).

In contrast, Slackware worked full-speed out of the box. So since it took two installs of win2k vs one of Slackware, it would be more accurate to say that Slackware took about half the time to install a satisfactory system as win2k did.

Of course then there was the little issue of win2k costing me an extra $120. See, despite the fact that my perfectly good 3d video card worked flawlessly under windows 95, it was not supported under win2k, so if I wanted to keep playing the same damn games I'd been playing for two years, I had to shell out for a new video card (which is what I did, as I knew of no alternative). And there is still the matter of a half dozen of my favorite win95 games that will not work under win2k or winXP at all, or even install. If I can't use a Windows OS to use Windows programs, then what the heck is the point?

Most people using Windows have never had to actually install it, it usually either came with their computer or someone installed it for them. So they don't know how much trouble it can actually be.

With distros now like Knoppix, Mepis, JAMD, Ark, Mandrake, etc, it's a simple matter to get a full system with office suite and everything installed in under a half hour or even twenty minutes. It took me about that long to set up WinXP on my laptop, and it was pre-installed!

I suppose I should also mention that Linux hasn't given me any trouble yet with either my Nvidia GeForce2 Ti or my GeForce4 420 Go.

Last edited by Greyweather; 09-29-2003 at 12:59 AM.
Old 09-29-2003, 01:31 AM   #15
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Australia
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 104

Rep: Reputation: 15
It took me well over 20 hours to set up Debian properly for the first time. I found it challenging since most propietry non-open source OS's have nice, well presented installation wizards to guide the user through an easy installation process. Once I was able to fix all the tweaks, I re-installed it because then I knew what I was doing, it installed in just about an hour, then I started apt-getting packages.

I appreciate the effort the people in MS do to make the installation as quick and painless as possible. Even if they hide all their code, they make it much much easier to install, especially for those who don't know their hardware.

I appreciate Linux equally, but in a different way. While I appreciate MS for making installation as simple as possible, I appreciate Linux for allowing me to learn exactly what goes on behind the scenes.

Microsoft has taught me how to work an OS while Linux has taught me how an OS works. I'll keep using both.

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