i am ready to ditch mf windows (err... ms) and switch to linux for our next home computer (which i'm about to build). i have dabbled with redhat 6.1 on an old system for a while, but not for any productive purpose. my fiance has no experience with linux other than me telling her she should. i would like to address two topics to help me get going:
1) which distro? a tired question i'm sure. something friendly for her but won't dissapoint feature/performance-wise. i am thinking mandrake 9.1, but maybe suse 8.2.
2) hardware compatibility. i'm having particular trouble picking a socket a mobo from the compatibility lists. should i try and stick to the recommended hardware, or should i just avoid the parts with 'known issues' and get what i want? also, would a previous version of a distro generally be more compatible (suse 8.1 for example)?
thanks for any and all help.
1. RedHat or Mandrake. RedHat is very well documented and probably the most popular distro. Mandrake is also easy to use. Both are easy to install
2. Hardware... you can always see the compatible lists at the websites. I've never really ran into a problem with hardware problems. Printer drivers on the other hand are a different story.
redhat is popular and more stable though I believe mandrake provides a wide variety of compatible driver options.
My vote is for Red Hat 9. It's a great distro, free (unlike SuSE unless you do ftp) and I find it works better than MDK.
To find out more info on your hardware, you can check out the hardware compatibility list on Red Hat's site.
Also, see my guide, there is lots of info there. I even have a page dedicated specifically to Red Hat 9.
The link to my guide is below in my signature.
thanks guys. i'm looking into redhat further, but a lot of what i've read indicates mandrake is the easiest 'out of the box' experience. the hardware is bothering me still... all the distro's hardware compatibility lists seem kind of scant in the motherboard section. am i just being paranoid? anyone with mandrake/suse/redhat want to share what mobo is in their box?
hey yowww, thanx for the site. as a humble 56k user, i enjoy a site that lacks bells and whistles. it makes me think i have more bandwidth! :wink: i'll be referring to it a lot in the near future.
Yeah, they say that Mandrake is much better at autodetecting your hardware. I don't know, since I haven't tried Mandrake. Many people reporting stability problems use Mandrake, however, so it would seem that it isn't too stable.
I don't think that you will have to worry about the mobo. There are only very few mobos which use strange features that aren't Linux-ready. The greater problems lie with external peripherals and internal modems. Why don't you post a list of what you've been planning on, and we can share our experience with you?
the mobo will likely have a nforce2 chipset (asus a7n8x or msi k7n2) with integrated sound, athlon xp (barton), and a radeon 9500 pro will be the meat. a wd hard drive and probably a lite-on cd burner will take care of storage. i have a few controllerless 56k modems, but i'll probably swap out the usrobotics modem in this machine (i'm not sure of the model#, but it is controller based). i may put in a nic eventually (either a Realtek RTL8139(A) or a belkin F5D5000). and i have a lexmark x73 all in one printer. im also curious how my lexar usb thumbdrive will work, but its not that important.
thanks for the help!
I have heard of people having issues getting boards with the nforce chipset to work, but there are workarounds.
generally speaking ati and linux are not a good combo but there are usually drivers available, nvidia seems to have better drivers for linux.
controllerless modems are supposed to work alright, but red hat only offically supports haynes controllerless modems, but that doesn't mean that yours won't work. However, ethernet works great in linux including realtek in my experience.
having said that, I don't see any reason why you couldn't use Red Hat 9.
There is a lot of great support for it too.
I would just say to install it and then go from there, I would be willing as much as my knowledge allows me :)
Actually, controllerless modems are _not_ supposed to work in Linux. The available drivers are absolutely not in the official kernel tree, and in my experience they are often rather ugly solutions (what else can there be for an ugly problem...). If you can, use an external modem. If you must use an internal one, make absolutely sure that it works like a serial port. If at all possible, see if the salesman can give you the PCI hardware class hexadecimal number of the modem and make sure absolutely sure that it's either $0700 or $0703. $0702 _could_ work as well, but I wouldn't bet on it. It can absolutely not be $0780, at least.
Except for that I agree with yowwww, though.
nForce chipsets have proved to be problematic to many, due to the lack of good drivers. All AMD and Intel processors work flawlessly, though.
Radeon cards are supposed to work in Linux, at least with ATi's own drivers, but they often don't anyway. We get many problems with radeon cards here, and the people who use them are often forced to used the VESA driver, which, as you probably understand, isn't too well optimized even for 2D graphics, and not at all for 3D graphics. If you can, choose an nVidia-based card instead. Due to nVidia's licensing, their drivers usually don't come with many distributions, but you can use the replacement drivers until you get nVidia's drivers installed. They work very well for almost everyone, although they can be a bit unstable at times (I have experienced several times that the hardware has locked up completely at screen mode changes and so, but it's pretty rare anyway).
As for the HD, it will work as long as it's IDE, SCSI, hardware RAID or virtually anything, so, yes, that hard drive will definitely work as long as you have a working IDE chipset on the mobo. Almost all modern IDE chipsets are very well supported, as well. People with newer mobos almost never get problems with their IDE, except at rare occations when they're using an additional controller card. That is because they haven't the right drivers, though.
Be sure to configure ide-scsi for the burner. Or probably, RedHat will configure it for you.
I know for sure that the RTL8139 will work, since I'm using it, but the other one will most probably work as well. Like yowwww says, ethernet support is pretty good in Linux.
I really don't know about that lexmark printer. What kind of printer is it? Is it connected via the parallel port or via USB?
I'm pretty sure that that thumbdrive (it's one of those memory sticks, right?) will work. Almost all of those things use the USB Mass Storage protocol, which is well supported under Linux, as well as all the other standardized USB protocols.
I checked about the lexmark x73 and it is listed right in the printer configuration of red hat 9 so that should be no problem.
And yes, modems in general can be a pita with linux, partly due to winmodems and partly due to bad support. Overall it is really worth it to go with high speed ethernet.
I am just saying that if someone only has a controllerless modem that is *possible* to get it working depending on which one it is and which driver is needed. Personally, I would never use one, but that's me.