Linux and a laptop story
I have a few linux servers that only run in cmd line at work so I'm somewhat familar with a few basics. So I decided I'd seriously try to get it to run successfully on a new machine. I've always cheated by using a machine that was one or two years old for linux so I never had any hardware issues except for video cards. Thats why all my servers are cmd line only, all the time.
So I picked up a Gateway 400sp splus, downloaded nero, downloaded the Redhat 9 iso files burn them to CD, made a 10 gig partition, and put disk 1 in followed by 2 more, choosing a server install, and Gnome as my gui.
After reboot grub came up with both OS's listed ( thank God) and I could boot to either OS.
What I've learned so far is the hardware campatibility lists are incomplete, so we all have to do is just guess if a distro is going to find and work with your hardare :? . Found my video, sound, NIC, touch pad but not my modem or wiresless NIC. According to the HCL it shouldn't have found anything. I have not tested my combo cd burner/dvd yet so well see.
I'll update this as each step I take is taken both the good and the bad.
whats cool about lazy hardware developers. and great about the keen driver developers is that.. they realize 80% of the hardware outt here is run on basically 3 or 4 drivers.. so on the list something like "IBM OPTICAL MOUSE" is linux compatable, but like "DELL WIRELESS MOUSE" is not.. they both may use the same driver.. and Linux finds that adn it works! :) I never trust the Hardware compatablity lists.. never.. just to prove my point.. look at how many NIC Cards use the tulip module!
And the story continues.
Well I've been spending most of my laptop time trying to get my linmodem working (lucenet inside). I've used the tut here and directions from responses to my post to no avail.
Then I got the feeling that a updated kernal may help with selected hardware issues. So I decided to download a updated but not a beta kernel which I did. I was then going to search here for updating the kernel tips/issues in a rpm format which is NBD).
Then since I revieved my laptop XP with ntfs, I'd create a new parition as fat 32 so I could mount it and transfer downloaded files performed in xp to linux. Sounds great.
So I used my current version of Partition Magic 8 (I've used PM maybe <10 times total). I applied my actions for a 1 gig partition. Processed by request with no errors and rebooted.
It booted straight into a grub cmd line. No dual boot which is where I create this disaster. I don't know anything about the grub cmd line but figured out via help and a listing of cmd's available. I played with the cmds for several hours but I knew before I started that my laptop was hosed.
Next day, reinstalleded xp, then the drivers from the mfg only to find out the restore disk was missing my wireless nic drv. So I I jumped on the net to Gateways site and entered my s/n which pulls up your config and all drivers for it. Except it was also missing my wirelss nic. I looked manually through the CD incase it was there but xp just couldn't find it. It was no where to be found.
So I made the dreaded help desk call. Spent 15 minutes on hold, then 45 with the tier 1 tech trying to prove my CD didn't have the driver for the wireless nic. He then gave up and passed me over to a tier 2 wireless tech. We repeated the dance for about 15 minutes since he wasn't convinced the restore cd didn't have the drv. Even though he was looking at the same online db that clearly didn't even list the wireless nic my system has.
He finally gave up looking for the drv that wasn't there, and wanted to send me a download link for the driver which was fine with me. I also requested the current restore cd since it seemed I didn't have the curent one for my system. This is the great part, my 7 month old restore disk was the current restore cd and there was no updated cd. They were all convinced that I was wrong, the restore cd had to be right, and the online sys info by s/n was just missing what had to be on the magical cd.
Current status is I have done a clean install of xp and choose fat32 and have all my hardare working again (with downloaded drv). I'm currently reinstalling my win apps and config. When finished with XP and apps, I'll be back to installing RH9 and start where I left off with the kernel update for any hope of ever getting my modem working.
Well I've reinstalled RH 9 and attempted to update my kernel with no success. So I'v decide to try another distro since I can't get anywhere without a linux OS that can't talk to the net. I've wasted over a week on one issue (my modem) and learned lttle to nothing in the process. (ok controller less modems suck in linux and linux never heard of wireless what ?) I'm here to learn about using linux in various ways, not to waste all of my limited time on a single issue.
So I looked at College Linux which has some interesting features but since I'll be starting a new distro very frustratred from the last distro, I decided to try College Linux some other time. Maybe when my skill level/confidence is higher and my frustration :evil: is lower.
So I continued my search for a distro for brand new laptop that might work out better with less work just to get started. After reviewing the spec's and marketing hype I decide to try Mandrake 9.1 A reference to having wi-fi support turned me on. I also see the beta of 9.2 is using the same kernel as 9.1 so there is no big upside for my issues. I'm curretly download it as I type and won't be burning the iso's for 24 to 72 hours so if someone has another idea's please let me know so I can check it out.
Thanks for any idea's
Well went to install Mandrake 9.1 over RH 9 and all was well. Till disk 2. I have a bad burn or bad download of disk2. So my dualboot laptop is completely hosed. I have to reinstall XP to get the iso file and nero to burn another copy of disk 2 and try again.
Suggestions on trying to verify my burns are good? I don't want to reinstall everything again if my downloaded iso is bad, so other than burning two copies of disk 2 and using a slow burn rate, is there anything I can do practically to ensure a good burn?
some distro's, like er, redhat allow you to verify your CD.
If you buring with Nero, i think you have an option to "Burn and verify", i dont know how well it will work in this situation though.
Well installed Mandrake 9.1 which didn't see my linmodem or wireless nic either. It did see the older 3Com Noteworth PCMCIA card I put in. So thought all was well.
I did have some video issues to resovle for Mandrake but I got past that. Then came the issue of root and regular issue. Over about 4 hours I tried and failed to login as root directly with no luck. So I logged in as a normal user and then in terminal window su - over to root. Which gave me root privleges only in terminal mode. When trying some of the gui tools I got mixed results. Some asked for roots pwd, which is fine. Others just refused and closed the window the because I was not logged in as root.
That last issue was the one I found most irratating. I'm fine with only using roots pwd when needed but to prompt for pwd with some apps and refuse on others is not acceptable to me. This hits on another issue here before. Distro's are a personal perference issue. I like things consistant. Mandrake lacked that aspect.
I reinstalled RH which has a very irrating aspect call "registration". But since it is a preference issue, I knew I hated :twisted: the inconsistancies in user level access in Mandrake 9.1
So I'm on RH 9.0 with PCMCIA modem running on a new laptop :D :D :D
Since I now official have a functional system this post has come to its end. All addtional issue/learning will be as individual posts. Thanks for listening :wink: