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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: monoamine]
    #2831532 - 06/26/04 08:41 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

thanks. does one need to be proficient with the shell commands right away or is using a GUI ok? what GUI do you think is best?


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Invisiblenewuser1492
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2832812 - 06/27/04 10:36 AM (16 years, 10 months ago)

If you want to get a feel for Linux download the Knoppix iso and burn it to CD.

Knoppix is a Live Distro meaning you can run it completely from CD. Boot your computer from the Knoppix CD and you'll have a full working copy of Linux. Knoppix uses KDE for the desktop environment.

You really do need to learn shell commands pretty soon. That's also part of the power of Linux. There are command line web browsers, mail programs, file sharing programs, practically anything you can do from the GUI you can do from the command line.


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2833023 - 06/27/04 12:20 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

If you want to get a feel for Linux download the Knoppix iso and burn it to CD.

already done.  :thumbup:

i think i'm gonna give installing debian a go today.


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Offlinemonoamine
umask 077(nonefor you)

Registered: 09/07/02
Posts: 3,095
Loc: Jacksonville,FL
Last seen: 15 years, 7 months
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2833768 - 06/27/04 04:38 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

Well,if you're just running a basic desktop pc you don't really need to learn the shell (command line) right away just to get up and running (browse the web,email,wordprocessing,etc...),but after awhile,especially if you want to tinker with hardware or you want more configuration options and more power,you need to learn some Unix basics. For example,how the file system works is completely different from Windows and requires some basic Unix knowledge
If you want to learn some Linux,I recommend you download an easy to use distro like Mandrake with a simple GUI installer,install it on seperate partion and dual boot Windows,and mess around with it. To learn more and get more in tune with the Unix mindset,pick up Learning the Unix Operating System by O'Reilly publishing. (Linux is just a essentially a flavor of Unix. It's only about 150 pages. Anyway,you should probably start out with a general Unix book instead of a Linux one because some of the latter only cover very basic GUI stuff,or assume some Unix knowledge.
It's a fairly steep learning curve,but once you learn a Unix type system,you'll never want to touch Windows again. With dual booting,you could make the transition gradually-that way you can still use your Windows programs (you can emulate them under Linux,but it doesn't always work right depending on the program).

The two main desktop GUI systems are KDE and Gnome (most distros give you the optin of both),but there are many (I like KDE). There are actually three layers so to speak with a Linux/Unix gui you should understand. First,the most basic,is program called XFree86 (or X for short to refer to it and it's variants). X just adds basic GUI functionality to a Unix command line system by handling basic mouse instructions,Window locations,etc. On top of that,is the window manager. This adds more detail to how the windows look and work. On top of the window manager is the desktop itself if you decide to install one. A destkop manager adds specifics like "start buttons" and built in programs to manage how it works (kinda like the windows controll panel,minus the hardware/networking type stuff which is usually provided by programs specific for that distrobution. So essentially,unlike Windows,Linux itself is just the command line and programs on top of it handle the GUI. Part of the Unix philosphy is to have many small programs that do one or few things very well instead of having it all inclusive (every command is essentially a binary file found in the directory structure). Because of this,for example,if a program freezes in X,you can just kill the program or restart X without the whole system crashing (You won't have to reboot a Linux system for months if it's set up right). If that seem overly complicated,don't worry about it for now. The distro installer should handle all that. And the window manager,in the case of KDE (KWM),comes with the desktop system.


--------------------
People think that if you just say the word "hallucinations" it explains everything you want it to explain and eventually whatever it is you can't explain will just go away.It's just a word,it doesn't explain anything...
Douglas Adams


Edited by monoamine (06/27/04 04:50 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: monoamine]
    #2834337 - 06/27/04 08:36 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

well... it looks as though the XFree86 version that came with my linux distro is a little older and doesn't support my video card. therefore, the X window doesn't run properly, therefore, i gotta learn how to use the shell well enough to update to a newer XFree86 to make it run properly.

arrrrg! i was so close to having it all set up right and then there's this stupid little snag.  :mad2:


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Invisiblenewuser1492
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2834465 - 06/27/04 09:32 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

Are you using Debian?

If so do "apt-get update" "apt-get upgrade"

Also what video card are you using?


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2834542 - 06/27/04 10:03 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

yes, debian it is.

If so do "apt-get update" "apt-get upgrade"


huh?


Also what video card are you using?


it's an ATI Rage Ultra 128

it's not supported by the 4.1.0 version of XFree86 that comes with debian, but is supposed to be by the later versions. figures.  :mad2:


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2834560 - 06/27/04 10:10 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

the computer i'm putting debian isn't currently hooked up to the internet.

the problem is that i haven't a clue what i'm doing. this would probably be no problem for someone familiar with using linux.

the xfree86 v. 4.4.0 installation instructions are here:

here

but i can't seem to make sense of this part:

"In all case we recommend that you first download the Xinstall.sh
script, and run it as in the following example to find out which binary dis-
tribution you should download.

    sh Xinstall.sh -check

The output of this utility tells you which is the correct set of binaries for
you to download.  If you are careful with this step you will save yourself a
lot time and trouble from NOT downloading an incompatible distribution."

i download that. i put it on a floppy. i bring the floppy over to the debian machine. i put it in. i mount the floppy. i change the directory:

cd /floppy

then i type what those instructions tell me to type (they don't tell you WHERE to type them, only what to type.  :mad2:) and it spits out: cannot write to current directory. aborting.

wtf is that?

bah.

can somebody help a true linux noob upgrade xfree86?

EDIT: i think i'll upgrade to 4.3 instead. same procedure though.


Edited by mushmaster (06/27/04 10:41 PM)


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Invisiblenewuser1492
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2834677 - 06/27/04 10:50 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

"apt-get update" and "apt-get upgrade" are commands used from the shell to upgrade all the packages installed on your computer. My computer wouldn't load KDE before running the update. You do have to be connected to the internet for those to work though.

btw when installing updates and software you have to be root. So if you logged in to Debian with your normal user name and see a $ on the command line you're not root. You need to type "su" then enter and then enter the root password. Once you do that you'll see a # on the command line.

Heh yeah once working Debian is pretty easy but getting to that point took me quite a while.

You might want to try Slackware 10 that just came out. Or if you're just doing this to get a taste for Linux try doing a hard drive install of Knoppix.

Load up knoppix and then from a command line type "sudo knoppix-installer".

Knoppix is a highly customized linux distro based on Debian. It's nice to get a feel for things.


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2834689 - 06/27/04 10:54 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

thanks a lot for all the help. i think i need to put the XFree86 files on my comp to run them or something. i haven't a clue how to do that.

i neeeeeed a working X window to do anything at this point.


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Offlinemonoamine
umask 077(nonefor you)

Registered: 09/07/02
Posts: 3,095
Loc: Jacksonville,FL
Last seen: 15 years, 7 months
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2834730 - 06/27/04 11:13 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

Take a look at some linux distros and check their web pages. If you're new to the OS,messing around with X can really be a pain in the ass. And some distros are switching to X.org instead of XFree86 because of some copyright problems. I've heard X.org supports a few more drivers.
Try Suse live if you don't want to fuck with your hardrive.


--------------------
People think that if you just say the word "hallucinations" it explains everything you want it to explain and eventually whatever it is you can't explain will just go away.It's just a word,it doesn't explain anything...
Douglas Adams


Edited by monoamine (06/27/04 11:15 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: monoamine]
    #2834734 - 06/27/04 11:16 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

i've already got debian installed and running and if i could just clear this last hurdle, i'd be all set i think....


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Invisiblenewuser1492
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2834785 - 06/27/04 11:34 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

Well you cd into /etc/X11 then edit the XF86Config or XF86Config-4 file. Whichever exists for you.

Then get to the point where is says "Driver" for the display device.

Change the driver name to "ati". Remember you have to do this as root so "su" enter then password before you edit the file.

I'm not sure what editors you have installed. I use vim so from the command line in /etc/X11 you would "vim XF86Config-4". Then pgdown to the display line and change the input. Vim is a little different to use. The key x by itself deletes the character you're on and typing i puts you in insert mode where you can type text. Once the proper changes are made you can type ctrl-w then ctrl-q then enter to save the changes.

btw when you boot does X crash or what happens? Startx is the command to start your window manager or desktop environment.


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2834792 - 06/27/04 11:37 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

yeah, i've got it configured right, ATI and all... it just doesn't support my particular video card. i've looked around and i'm not the only person to have had this problem. it's supposed to be fixed in later releases of Xfree86.

when i type startx, i get an error message that says, "no screens found".


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Invisiblenewuser1492
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2834843 - 06/27/04 11:57 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

You could try using fbdev as the driver. I think that's a pretty generic one.


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2834855 - 06/28/04 12:02 AM (16 years, 10 months ago)

huh?

ohhhh. instead of ATI?


Edited by mushmaster (06/28/04 12:02 AM)


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Invisiblenewuser1492
Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 3,104
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2834863 - 06/28/04 12:06 AM (16 years, 10 months ago)

Yeah just put fbdev in their instead of ati.


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: newuser1492]
    #2834869 - 06/28/04 12:10 AM (16 years, 10 months ago)

if that works it'll be awesome. i'm going to bed.

thanks a lot for all the help.


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Offlinemonoamine
umask 077(nonefor you)

Registered: 09/07/02
Posts: 3,095
Loc: Jacksonville,FL
Last seen: 15 years, 7 months
Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: ]
    #2835473 - 06/28/04 04:52 AM (16 years, 10 months ago)

Besides X,there are certain problems with the 2.6.xx linux kernel where it won't handle video card modules properly or something like that,so a lot of distros are still using 2.4.xx. I don't know the specifics.

I highly suggest you get a distro you know supports your hardware and reinstall. Even if you get X working properly,you might run into problems later. Besides,using the config scrip programs really don't teach you all that much. You need to learn the nitty-gritty like changing /etc files and messing with daemons and stuff. (Not to mention installing and configuring Mesa,a free OpenGL implimentation,to get the most out of your card).

Do you know any Unix? If not,I'm not suprised if you don't understand half the stuff in this thread. You can probably get by just by tinkering with things as you go and reading help files and whatnot,but I highly suggest you pick up a basic Unix text to give you a solid foundation to put everything together.


--------------------
People think that if you just say the word "hallucinations" it explains everything you want it to explain and eventually whatever it is you can't explain will just go away.It's just a word,it doesn't explain anything...
Douglas Adams


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Anonymous

Re: Best Linux/Unix Distribution? [Re: monoamine]
    #2837077 - 06/28/04 06:51 PM (16 years, 10 months ago)

i changed the video card option to "VESA" and the X window is working.  :cool:

problems encountered so far:

1. the desktop display (KDE) is ugly as hell. it looks like something one would find on a computer in a second grade classroom. i gotta do something about that.

2. something ain't right with the sound (i think) and it hits me with an error message every time i start up.

3. it just started refusing to mount my floppy or CDROM, saying, "invalid block device".

4. it doesn't appear to have come with ANY software for playing media.

5. i logout of the X window and i'm returned to a screen where it asks me to choose an X window type (KDE, GNOME, etc.) and log in. i can log in and log out, but i cannot figure out how to shutdown the computer. obviously this is a problem.

wtf. :confused:

yeah, i'm definitely going to have to get reading. where do you suggest i start?


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