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Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.

Geoff the Duck 12 Mar 08 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Jon 12 Mar 08 - 09:38 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Mar 08 - 09:52 AM
Geoff the Duck 12 Mar 08 - 09:53 AM
mack/misophist 12 Mar 08 - 10:32 AM
Bill D 12 Mar 08 - 11:42 AM
EBarnacle 12 Mar 08 - 11:53 AM
Geoff the Duck 12 Mar 08 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Jon 12 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Jon 12 Mar 08 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Jon 12 Mar 08 - 07:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Mar 08 - 12:15 AM
Geoff the Duck 13 Mar 08 - 10:09 AM
Amos 13 Mar 08 - 10:17 AM
Geoff the Duck 13 Mar 08 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Jon 13 Mar 08 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Jon 13 Mar 08 - 11:48 AM
Geoff the Duck 13 Mar 08 - 06:16 PM
treewind 13 Mar 08 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Jon 13 Mar 08 - 07:41 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Mar 08 - 12:45 AM
Geoff the Duck 14 Mar 08 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Jon 14 Mar 08 - 06:31 AM
treewind 14 Mar 08 - 06:52 AM
Geoff the Duck 14 Mar 08 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck 14 Mar 08 - 12:35 PM
Geoff the Duck 20 Mar 08 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Jon 21 Mar 08 - 07:18 AM
EBarnacle 14 Oct 08 - 09:59 PM
Geoff the Duck 15 Oct 08 - 04:37 AM
danensis 15 Oct 08 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck 19 Oct 08 - 12:36 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Oct 08 - 12:24 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Oct 08 - 12:42 AM
danensis 20 Oct 08 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck 20 Oct 08 - 10:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Oct 08 - 12:35 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Oct 08 - 12:49 PM
treewind 20 Oct 08 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck 20 Oct 08 - 06:15 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Oct 08 - 12:47 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 08 - 07:39 AM
treewind 21 Oct 08 - 09:10 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Oct 08 - 12:53 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 22 Oct 08 - 05:45 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Oct 08 - 07:35 PM
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Subject: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 09:26 AM

This is an offshoot from John in Kansas's recent thread about free software ( Tech: Free Software Selections ). That thread is mostly about Windows software, so I decided a new thread for Linux issues might be worth having.

I know there are a number of 'Catters who use Linux machines, so maybe you could give us advice.

As for myself, I've never actually installed Linux on a computer. I decided to have another look at the "live CD" versions (which I've done before, but never got any further). I burned to CD the latest downloads of Open SUSE, one with a Gnome desktop and one with a KDE desktop, and also Ubuntu.
Each of the CDs booted into their respective variant of Linux, but none of the three was fully useable.

Ubuntu
Plays music files.
It automatically recognises the Windows partitions on the computer and will read and write to them.
It recognises the computer's wireless network card and shows local wireless networks, but will not actually log onto the connection to my wireless router.

Open SUSE - Gnome
Connects to my wireless network and hence to the Internet.
It doesn't recognise (or I haven't worked out how) Windows partitions on the computer.
It will not recognise my sound card, so will not play music.

Open SUSE - KDE
Will not play music.
Does not recognise the wireless network card, so will not connect to anything.
Does not find windows partitions on the computer.

What I want to know is :-
Can I get the missing functions to work?
If so How?
Would it be possible to sort out with a real hard drive installation?
Would other Linux versions stand a better chance of full function?

Presumably, as each specific function works for one of the live CDs, it can't be that the hardware won't work with Linux in general. It must be that the software isn't performing with that piece of hardware. Any thoughts?

Quack!
(paddling water)
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 09:38 AM

I can't understand the Windows partitions on OpenSuse, you should be able to at least read ntfs and read/write fat.

I've got KDE installed on OpenSuse 10.3

From the menu in the bottom left, go Computer/Yast.
In Yast, go to System/Partitioner. (OK the warning you might see).

You should see the details of your drives partitions. Do these look correct? And if it shows any Windows (ntfs/fat), are there mount points assigned?

---
I'll leave it with that question/problem for now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 09:52 AM

Geoff

I've got Fedora installed as a dual boot on my system. That also wouldn't use my wireless card directly. I had to use ndiswrapper with the Windows drivers to get the card to work; do a search for ndiswrapper for info.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 09:53 AM

Jon - I'll try that and get back here later.
I don't know my way around Linux or what to try to find things out, but want to find out enough to give it a proper try-out.
With Ubuntu, I didn't have to look far, as the Winows partitions seemed to be listed somewhere fairly obvious. All I did was double click the names and they appeared as mounted partitions on my work space.
Back later.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: mack/misophist
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 10:32 AM

Proprietary file formats are a philosophical/political hurdle for several linux distros. This is a starting point for OpenSuse. You may have to do a fair amount of searching. And check the hardware compatability lists for sound card and wifi issues. Some manufacturers just don't give a damn about the linux market.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 11:42 AM

The Knoppix CD/DVD I burned 'seemed' to identify my hardware ok and play music...granted, I haven't tried everything yet.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 11:53 AM

I got a case copy of Ubuntu from the company and will be installing it on an old laptop fairly soon. No answers until then.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 12:02 PM

Ok! Next round.
Jon - I have followed your instructions, found Yast, ignored warnings and found a list of drive partitions. The partitions I expect to find on the drive are listed by "Windows" assigned names, plus a "hidden" one created by Acronis True Image backup software. It lists the Windows partitions as NTFS or Fat32 format. None of the Windows partitions are "mounted".
I have worked out that double clicking on a drive in the list brings up a "change settings" box with a blank setting for "Mount Point" that produces a drop down menu listing options (/home   /srv   /tmp   /local ). I presume I would select from this list if I wish to mount the partition. Am I correct, and if so, which option should I use?
I have also noted warnings that Linux can be allowed to read AND write to Fat32 partitions, but should only be alllowed to "read" from NTFS as writing files could damage the NTFS file system.

Mick - I've downloaded the ndiswrapper-1.52.tar.tar file, but haven't tried to do anything with it yet.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM

You are unlikely to want to use any of the mount points suggested in the list box - they are sort of "special meaning" ones, eg. /srv is where OpenSuse would put your web pages for an Apache install, /home you will already have as a directory - it's the root for the users' home folders,tc.. Enter your own instead, eg. /windows/c.

---
On to the network, given that you say it is working in OpenSuse Gnome, I can't see you are looking at ndiswrapper or other drivers being needed. Are the versions of OpenSuse the same, eg. 10.3? I'm pretty sure the base install would be the same for both varients?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 12:24 PM

I think if you are using openSuse KDE, maybe try this first. On the bottom bar towards the right, (probably near the clock), there should be some icons. If you right click, on them do you see one that is KNetworkManager. If so, does it show any devices?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 07:59 PM

btw, with regards to partitions and their mount points, it's worth being aware of the file /etc/fstab


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 12:15 AM

Jon,
the problem with the latest distros is that now drives are mounted with a mixture of HAL, udev, and god know what else (I keep running flat out just to watch things disappear over the horizon more slowly!), and fstab and automount are not as important as they used to be.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 10:09 AM

Jon - ( Open SUSE - KDE live disc)
I've followed your instructions about using Yast to find the partitions and to mount them (on the Desktop). I've also checked the file /etc/fstab an the mount points are listed there as you predicted.
Of course, I am running from a "Live CD", so when I shut down the computer it forgets it all, but I am trying to learn basic principles at the moment rather than set up a permanent working system.

The tuXfiles link has some useful information which is fairly understandable. I'll do some more reading there.

I have been playing around with Yast and found sections for configuring sound cards and network cards. The system seems to be recognising and identify the cards. I haven't got things working yet, though. The sound card made noises when tested, but the music players bundled in the package aren't playing files.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Amos
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 10:17 AM

Geoff:

IF you really want all the benefits of a good UNIX system with the additional benefits of ease-of-use and a friendly interface, may I suggest you just get a Mac?



A


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 10:43 AM

Unfortunately not an option. Haven't got money to buy a new computer of any flavour.
Linux is free and should work on hardware we already own.
Some people seem to think it is worth using. I would like to find out, but want to know more about different variants before installing as a dual boot alongside Windoze.
For ease of use, sensible layout and pleasure, I used to like my Amiga 1200. It was faster and did a heck of a lot more than Windows 3.0 for a fraction of the price. Ace on graphics, sound files and games, although it lacked the office software. Unfortunately Commodore went bust and subsequent buyers of the company assets never came up with a viable replacement. As for my old machine, a "gigantic" 80MB hard drive and 16MB ram doesn't go very far these days.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 11:12 AM

Sounds as if these bits should be reasonably easy to set up then Geoff.

I like Yast, IMO, none of the other configration tools on other systems I've tried are as easy to use or as easy to find (ie. with Yast you have a central control panel). Some tasks that you might think complicated are quite easy with it, eg. through the software management and some system service and firewall settings, I could have a functional Apache/Php/MySQL server running without too much effort. Some things though do take more time and/or need actions that Yast can't manage.

If it is possible, I'd suggest you are at a point where it would be nice to try a hard disk install. Apart from having to set the items mentioned up each time when you load the live CD, there are additional software packages you would probably want to install for an extended trial.

On OpenSuse, you would probably want to go to Software/Community Repositories and add Packman, VideoLan and possibly some repositories for proprietry drivers, eg. nVidia graphics drivers.

The ones I mentioned all have items not included in the main repository for licensing reasons. VidoeLan contains libdvdcss - needed for playing many dvds. Packman, amongst other things has support for mp3 and different versions of programs like K3b (cd/dvd burner) and media players which are not as restricted as the std OpenSuse ones.

---
Re Amos' comments, it's horses for courses but Mac isnt for me - it's like having to buy a MS computer as well of a MS OS. It probably is a great machine and OS but it's a move further from the freedom I want.

Linux once set up is pretty good. Once things are set up, they tend to stay that way - you don't usually get the "this was working yesterday, it's broke now and I didn't do anything/nothing happened to account for it" that seemed to happen to me a few times with Win.

After a couple of installs, setting up your own PCs with Linux gets easier.

Personally I think it's worth the extra effort it can take to get started.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 11:48 AM

OH and Geoff, re-reading the thread and re the distributions, I think it really comes down to you deciding which you like the look and feel of best.

On OpenSuse, unless disk space is an issue, I would suggest having both KDE and Gnome desktops available on the install and playing with both. XFCE is also a possibility that might be worth a look if running on an older/slower machine.

I've never tried Gnome and KDE together with a Ubuntu type installation so I don't know if they work together easily or not but if your impressions led you to believe you like the KDE desktop and want to try it on Ubuntu, there is Kubuntu. There is also Xubuntu which has XFCE.

I try to avoid using "The best Linux" as I don't believe there is one. There is just the distribution that suits you the best (for me, clearly OpenSuse/KDE and I find Yast a strong "selling point" - for someone else maybe Fedora, etc.).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 06:16 PM

Well.I've finally configured the wireless connection for the KDE -SUSE live cd. It helped when I managed to find the right combination of encryption, network name and password.
This is being posted via the Linux set-up.
Still haven't sorted the music playing though.
Thanks for the help so far. It's no too bad if you get the right clues.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: treewind
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 06:32 PM

"the right combination of encryption, network name and password."
[giggle] yes, that would help, and isn't exactly a Linux-specific issue!

What sort of sound card is it?
There's a huge list of soundcard support info on the ALSA project soundcard matrix (I assume your system uses ALSA, not OSS for sound) so worth checking there.
Can you run alsaconf from a command line? (probably need to say sudo alsaconf)
Does it recognise any sound hardware when you do that?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 07:41 PM

Geoff has said the test sound on Yast works. So the hardware should be OK. Maybe mixer settings or there is more than one sound device in the system - I've had a tv card place itself as soundcard #1 for example.

OpenSuse does use ALSA.

The output from the command

cat /proc/asound/cards

might be useful as might a lspci.

A good resource for sorting out soundcard problems on OpenSuse is at http://en.opensuse.org/AudioTroubleshooting


---
Treewind, Out of curiosity, what is your personal pick of the distributions?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 12:45 AM

I don't really know if it might be helpful for anyone here, but an advertising email recently received from Hewlett-Packard (I have a couple of their printers) touts their "Free Courses," one of which is:

Linux 101: a beginner's guide.

Disclaimers

1. I know nothing about their courses except that the ad email says they're free.

2. The course description says something about a Linux version that doesn't appear to be widely used by any of our people, but may have enough in common with other versions to be useful.

3. A login and enrollment appears to be required.

4. There's a link at the bottom of the description page that you can use to "Bookmark the HP Learning Center" where you might find other things of (more?) interest.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 05:59 AM

Jik - Thanks for the link. I may check it out if I can't sort out my issues by asking the right question.
The tutorial is for Fedora Linux , which is a well known distribution. It developed from Red Hat Linux after Red Hat became a commercial product - you pay to have professional technical support (and probably "commercial" licenced software budled in the package). Fedora is the non-commercial version, and you have to sort out your own problems.

The reason I am asking about other speific versions is because they can be run as a bootable Live CD, which allows you to see what it can do and get a feel for it without committing to actually installing on your computer. You can work out if your hardware will support it and any other issues. You can also decide if you like or hate the "feel" of the operating system. For instance, with the three I have been looking at, one automatically makes "Windows" partitions visible on the work space, another has an efficient graphic control interface which will configure so I can get the same result, the third has a different interface which I have yet to find. All three can be made to show Windows Drives, but some make it simpler than others. It can be small factors which make you prefer one over another. Then again, it might be something more complex, such as Jon configuring and running a web server.
As yet, I don't know exactly what I am looking for, or even if I will find much reason (other than curiousity and a dislike of the way Microsoft do things) to move away from Windows (although a lot of people seem to think Vista is a good reason - I don't know, I haven't got it).

Treewind - Yes, I know that setting up wireless connections is dependent on the right combinations. What I mean is that I have set up connections manually on about three PCs running different versions of Windows, for two different wireless routers, and using different USB plugged wireless adaptors plus one inbuilt wireless network card. Despite this, I couldn't tell you if they were set up with WEP, WPA-PSK, 64 or 128 bit password or whatever. I am sure the oldest wireless stick describes it as WEP and the later one as WPA-PSK, but they both work. The linux configuration utility offered these plus a few other options. I just had to find which combination logged into my existing wireless network. With the SUSE-Gnome, all I needed to do was select rom a list of networks detected, and type in my password.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 06:31 AM

Geoff, With the Gnome version of OpenSuse, open the menu at the bottom left and go to control center. You will find Yast at the bottom of the control center page.

The layout of the Yast main page is different in Gnome but you will find a system section and the partitioner in this section. Not all the Gnome set up interfaces are the same (eg. the software manager is different) but the partitioner is identical to the KDE Yast one (as of course is /etc/fstab - that would be the same with ubuntu and fedora too).


---
From your previous post it seems you might have more than PC running Windows. You might like to look at Samba at some point.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: treewind
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 06:52 AM

"the oldest wireless stick describes it as WEP and the later one as "
That's odd - they can't be both and talking to each other. WPA is far more secure if you have a choice.
Anyway, I take your point that it would be good if (a) the Linux wireless software detected the encryption system automatically and (b) when the Windows software did the same thing, it told you which one it was using instead of just asking for a password.

On the sound: another idea - disable desktop system sounds.
How you do that varies with desktop systems. On this one (Gnome) I selected System ->preferences -> sound and turned off "Enable software sound mixing (ESD)" and the result was that all my sound applications started working. What seems to happen is that your desktop software grabs the sound card and locks out anything else that wants to use it.
I suppose that I could enable ESD and somehow tell all the other sound-producing programs to send their sound to ESD but I don't really want that; I don't need beeps, boings and twangs when I'm doing desktop stuff anyway.

Somebody asked what distro I use. Debian 64 bit "testing" with Gnome desktop on my main system, Debian (32 bit) on a server that's on all the time and handles mail and databases (no desktop at all); Ubuntu (64 bit) + Gnome on another PC that lives in the studio and might one day be used for sound mixing, but it's dual boot and actually mostly get used with Windows XP for typesetting Mardles magazine, as that needs Page Plus. And Mary's on Debian with KDE.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 10:56 AM

Probably bad memory on my part. One wireless configuration utility is very obvious about the settings WPA etc. and the other doesn't put the info up front. I suspect that the old dead wireless router used WEP and I know the current one is WPA.
The config on the SUSE wireless makes you enter all the details on one page, then when you click on NEXT it says they don't match. I had to go back and try a few times until I got the setings it liked.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 12:35 PM

This is posting from a live CD of Fedora Linux.
The Windows drives mounted easily by clicking on them in "Computer".
Music players played happily.
I was able to connect to the internet via the wireless network to make this connection.
I haven't worked out a route to the other Windows computers on my wireless link.

Unfortunately I don't particularly like the look and feel of this particular version.
They also have a KDE live CD, so I may try that one later.

Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Mar 08 - 10:49 AM

WELL!
I finally took the plunge.
I tried installing Edubuntu on the PC as it has a selection of educational packages that I thought the kids might find useful.
The initial bit went okay, but then I could not persuade it to connect to my wireless router. It didn't seem to matter what I tried. It recognised the network was there and allowed me to enter passwords, but then it simply wouldn't log onto the network.
Finally I gave up on it and deleted the partition.

Following that limited success, I went back to the other live distros and decided that since the Open SUSE with a KDE desktop worked on the wireless router, it might be a better option.

It installed very easily and allowed me to make sensible decisions during the process, such as setting the dual boot to load Windows by default, so other users wouldn't be inconvenienced by finding this alien workspace instead of what they are used to.

Once installed, I got the wireless connection configured (I still haven't managed to get it to log on without it asking me for the encryption password each time, and then having to open the KDE Wallet - any advice?). As soon as I was connected to the internet, it automatically downloaded a bunch of updates.

The sound players still didn't play all the files thrown at them, but told me what add on bits were missing and linked me to where to look for them. Downloading them was a doddle, and once they had installed themselves, the sound files played perfectly. I'm iistening now.

Printer installation was a damn sight easier than on Windoze. It was already connected via USB. Just turn it on and the system detected new hardware, identified manufacturer and model and opened a box for configuring it. Once installed, it then went on to do the same for the scanner, downloading any extra files it needed.

All this setting up took time, and I suspect that I will find other stuff to set up in days to come, but it was mostly pretty straightforward compared with installing on Windows using discs that come with hardware.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 07:18 AM

Glad that install went pretty well.

I don't know about KWallet. Perhaps on of the Linux forums can help.

Re Education. I don't know what's in it or if it's of use but you might try (Yast/Software/SoftwareManagement) installing kdeedu3 and seeing what that gives. Also try a couple of searches in the package manager for appropriate key words.

Re printers. I use the CUPS management to view print queues, set some things up, etc.. Try http://localhost:631/


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: EBarnacle
Date: 14 Oct 08 - 09:59 PM

OK, I tried installing UBUNTU. The Firefox installed and then tried to upgrade but was refused as not matching my laptop system. Nothing else progressed.

I have been given a clean copy of SUSE professional 9.0 which similarly does not wish to install on the laptop.

I believe I will try the course linked above.

Keep you posted.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 04:37 AM

EBarnacle - as mentioned above, I downloaded a number of different varieties of Linux as ".iso" disc images which burn to either Writable CD or DVD, then run in a PC. Some of them ran as a "Live CD" which will boot to Linux without installing on the actual PC. Very useful for trying it out to see what works on your computer before you make a decision about what suits you.
I found that as a newcomer, some parts of the system worked perfectly (not the same things with different variants of linux) and others didn't. Some I couldn't use because I couldn't work out how to connect them to our wireless router. They probably would have been fine with a hard wired broadband connection. Others had different things, such as the music players not working.
The one I finally installed was fine with the wireless connection, and once it was connected to the internet, it downloaded what it needed to make the music players work properly.
All I can say is that it is worth trying a few different different variants as you may get one which does fit your computer hardware, and if you find one, you get a very good operating system and powerful programmes for free.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: danensis
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 08:22 AM

Geoff, have you tried Mandriva. I've always found it very straight forward to install with the minimum of tweaking. I started with RedHat many years ago, and have tried various *buntu flavours, but never seem to get very far with them. Debian seemed OK but very basic, and I always seem to end up returning to Mandriva.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 12:36 PM

I didn't find a "Live" CD version of Mandriva to test out, so ended up with SUSE installed as a dual boot with Windows.
Currently there isn't much serious computer work on my agenda, I mostly just use the internet, so haven't had a good reason to try out the Linux to see what it is capable of. Most things on it seem to work smoothly, but I haven't needed to seriously test it.
A lot of stuff I have been up to are Windows Only, so the SUSE wasn't an option.

This weekend I have been trying to access our Windows computers, and as a result am playing with SAMBA networking. I have hit a couple of brick wallls in the process. Despite finding some useful descriptions via the web, I can't get it to work properly.
I initially set up Samba using the SUSE configuration utility, YAST. It read my network settings and I found that the LINUX box would read the shared directories on on the Windows computer. Once I put in the correct Workgroup Name, the Windows box recognised that there was a computer named Linux on the network.
My latest problem is that it will not access the folders without a user name and a password. I cannot find anything in the YAST setup for SAMBA which will allow me to define a password or username.

The alternative method of setting up SAMBA recommended by Linux Geeks is to edit the samb configuration text file. I have tried this, but I am not allowed to overwrite the file with the one I have edited. Can anybody suggest how I can access the permissions to do this?

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 12:24 AM

"not allowed to overwrite the file with the one I have edited. Can anybody suggest how I can access the permissions to do this?"

You will probably need the 'root' permissions to write to those files. While this can be a complicated answer, I'll try to be simple...

You can 'su' and run the YAST that way - then the YAST program will be able to write with the corrst file access permissions.

You can log out as your common user and log in as an 'admin' type user, hopefully that will have sufficient 'root' powers to do the task, usually it will be members of the correct 'user groups' to have the correct powers.

You can log in as 'root', and do it that way but that is not recommended, especially for beginners, as unless you REALLY know what you are doing, you can screw things up real bad, even kill the whole system and wipe your files, and if you run trojaned-viral SW while as root, it WILL get in to your system.

If you want to just "edit the samb configuration text file" directly, you will have to be running as a user with sufficient powers to access and write to (under the write permissions of that user) the config file, so some of the above will apply as relevant.

You may not understand all of this answer, I suppose... :-) you can try looking up with the help system the words that don't make sense - that's the way us old hackers had to learn, but you can just ask here again... :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 12:42 AM

BTW, most 'system programs' that write to important system files will not work from a 'normal user', so sometimes you can find an icon that will temporarily give you 'su' powers - then all the system programs will then work 'normally', but you should never forget what powers you have.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: danensis
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 06:16 AM

Here y'are:

Mandriva live CD

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 10:55 AM

Foolestroupe - Thanks for the info and the warnings. In the meantime, last night, I remembered about the Sudo thing, but haven't got very far yet.
I used to know how to move files around with MSDos at the time of Windoze 3.1 as it was often quicker than trying to use the file manager. Haven't done any of that for about 10 years though!
I am currently looking on the web for info on the LINUX command line and shell and examples of how to use them (the sods keep wanting to show me how to write programmes though!). I need to sort out what the commands are for this system. Hopefully I will then be able to do what I need, either by copying a file in Superuser Mode, or by editing the text of the file in situ.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 12:35 PM

GtD

Open Terminal (depends on your system - there's probably an icon somewhere!)

Type Help

then help shell, or whatever, and go from there

You may need to know the exact name of what shell you are using, csh etc...

I can only do so much thru the power of psychosis, er, whatever... :-P


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 12:49 PM

GtD

Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Shell

for a start ... then just follow your nose...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: treewind
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:06 PM

One of the problems and (and joys!) of the command line is that there are so many things you can do with it. The shell has many built-in commands ("help" lists these) and there are hundreds of programs you can run from the command line. Unlike DOS (and all flavours of UNIX are very unlike DOS!) the command line language can be used to write useful programs: the Unix/Linux shell script is equivalent of DOS batch file except it's far more powerful, but there's a lot to learn and the syntax is arcane to say the least.

For all the commands that aren't built in, you need man (display manual pages) and apropos (find what commands apply to a topic, e.g. "apropos printer" will list dozens of commands that do things related to printing)

Getting used to your package manager is also worthwhile. You can search that for programs and install (or remove) stuff quickly, easily and safely.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 06:15 PM

I am getting things bit by bit. I found this site -tuXfiles - useful for explaining the basic file manipulation commands and how to use them.
I have used a combination of the graphical file manager and the command line to make copies of the file I am trying to replace. I have gone into SUDO super-user mode and replaced the old file with my edited version.

.....time passes....

I finally got things to work.
I can read a directory on the Linux box using the Windows computer.
Not exactly sure which of the changes I made did the job - I may look in daylight. Also not sure about the security of the changes, but it'll do for now.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 12:47 AM

See, it's not all that hard, it's just like climbing an ice wall with without crampons... you can learn to be very good at it.... if you survive :-)

Win 3.1 grew from DOS which sorta grew out of another OS - MPM (multiuser), which sorta grew from CPM (single user) - but got inspiration from main frame and mini OSes. MS is just one big set of hacks built on top of the previous set of hacks...

UNIX was an attempt to do from the beginning all the big boxes could do (timshare and multi user and multi program) with the minimum resources - which is why the shell and the tiny little utils that are linked with pipes and redirects. Very powerful once you begin to understand. The old tale was that you can write a spell checker in the shell script with about a dozen lines of code... :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:39 AM

Actually the main problem with doing this sort of stuff on computers isn't that any of it is difficult. It's finding out WHAT very simple thing you are supposed to be doing.
When you search online, you tend to find acouple of things.
One is explanations from geeks who KNOW how to do things - the problem there is that they assume you already know stuff, so don't explain the basic details.
A second category is the people who have "fixed" the problem on their computer, but don't really know how - they give you printouts of their configuration file and say "If you paste this into your file, it should work...". Some times it does work, but it doesn't give you ANY understanding or insight into what bit of it did the job, and more importantly, why it worked. You also don't know how much of it was relevant, and how many parts of it were just unnecessary code which (luckily) didn't do any harm by being there.

In general, what I really want to know is what each line of a configuration file does and why I need it, which is not necessarily the same as copying somone else's configuration. Once I have that information I can make sensible decisions about what lines MUST be there, which are options I might find useful, and what lines are not needed for my system.

Latest update - I managed to get the Windows box to read some Linux folders. I have worked out how to set permissions to allow Windows to access a folder without needing a password.
I HAVEN'T worked out how to access a Linux folder which DOES ask for a password.
I haven't figured out how to set a password for Samba Shares. Don't know what utility to use, or configuration line to edit.

Any thoughts, anyone?
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: treewind
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 09:10 AM

what I really want to know is what each line of a configuration file does and why I need it
You're well on you way to becoming a Linux hacker!
Many config files are well self-documented.
man command-name works for many others

Also look in your system documentation files. They'll be somewhere like /usr/share/doc and some of them are in html, others in plain text.

Samba share passwords: smbpasswd
(man smbpasswd for how to use it)

Another thing about Linux is that the internet has been a useful source of help right from the beginning. Google search for help on anything to do with Linux and you'll usually find something useful. This is and always has been a legitimate way of finding stuff out.
Also subscribe to uk.comp.os.linux if you do newsgroups. I've had excellent help from people there. Don't use Google groups, get a good newsreader like pan (it'll be in your packages repository...)

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 12:53 PM

Since I don't use Linux, I can't really tell whether it's something that would be interesting here; but a recent newsletter linked to:

Four top tips for installing software on to Linux PCs

My quick-look suggests it's pretty basic info, like what some have requested. This link is from a UK publisher, and I probably just don't understand their sense of humo(u)r; but occasionally I've found some useful info at their links.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 05:45 AM

As far as trying out different distros, why not use on of the virtualization systems.

I used to have Fedora as a dual boot on my XP system, but have dropped that completely and now have several virtual Linux systems which I can run under Windows. You can install VMWare player and download ready-made appliances (read: systems in this case) or use Sun's VirtualBox and install from iso files on the Windows hd without having to burn discs. (You can do this with VMWare player too, but you need some utilities to set up the iso virtual drive - VMWare Workstation can do that directly, but you only get 30 days free, then it's about $200 to buy. The free VMWare Server program can also do that directly).

I've run the trial of VMWare Workstation for a month and used VirtualBox too (I gave up on Windows VirtualPC - too much trouble to install Linux on it). Both were really easy to use (I may well buy Workstation even!). I was able to install (literally) dozens of distros to see what they were like, with virtually (pehaps not the right word in the circumstances!) no effort apart from downloading the iso files. You can check them out and if you trash them while trying to sort out how to do something there's no harm done apart from reloading the machine. The virtual machines are slower than the real thing of course, but let you try things in a safe environment, and since my main use is software testing it's speed is not usually a problem. (I finally setteled on Kubuntu distro, though Open Suse 11 was a close second - the virtual machine was just a bit too slow on my hardware - 1333 Athlon - with KDE4).

Even if you have a live Linux box it might be worth keeping a virtual copy about to do experimentation with - you can edit files and settings to your hearts content without worrying you'll end up with a reinstall.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux in 2008? Advice please.
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:35 PM

Mick - I'm fairly happy with what I've got installed, so I'm not too bothered about playing with the virtual machine thing.
Treewind - I will have a look for the suggestions you made.

I still haven't sussed out the password thing, but the folders asking for one are ones that YAST set up without me asking it to. The shared folder from the Windows partition on the Linux/Win box worked fine across the network. The Linux share test I set up allowed me to read the files, but when I tried to save something from the Windows 'puter onto the linux share, it didn't let me do so.
I then went back to basics and looked at file permissions on the linux drive. I found a couple of different ways (graphic interface and command line) which I can use to make the folder or files therein read/write/executable. Once I sussed that, I changed permissions on my Share Test folder and once I did that, the Windows box could write and save files on the Linux folder.
I don't know if it makes things less secure, as I think I have given open permission to change the shared files, but the wireless network is encrypted, so it should only be me (mostly) acessing any of it, so it's probably okay... ?
Quack!
GtD.


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