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Hello everyone, Last week I decided to get rid of my WinXP and Win2003 server. Why would I do that? Well besides the non-stop bantering of all my friends an ...
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  1. #1
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    To many problems getting off the ground


    Hello everyone,

    Last week I decided to get rid of my WinXP and Win2003 server.

    Why would I do that? Well besides the non-stop bantering of all my friends an a few co-workers about supporting a monopoly, I have actually been working in the computer industry for quite some time now, and would like to be better rounded in the area. However, I have only ever worked on Windows (what can I say its a big enough market is it not?)

    Now for the good stuff.

    I tried a live Linux live CD called, "KNOPPIX" and fell in love. The envroment was extremely pleasent, it recognized all of my drivers it even recognized all three of my monitors and setup extended desktops instantly. Since it is a Linux distribution I don't have to tell you how nice it was to actually have control of all the areas of my computer! I was set, I have to get a desktop version of Linux and if that works out replace my server with a Linux distribution as well.

    After looking around the net the name that kept popping up was Red Hat and Fedora. I downloaded Fedora core 4, went through the easy enough installation and booted up the mechine.

    This one seemed great at first as well. Sound, Disks everything automatically recognized. It only let me setup dual monitors to start off with but hey I'm sure someone has a fix for that. Well I did not really like the interface that much either, but that has never been a big thing to me anyway. Just put on a good looking woman on the background and your usually set

    Then the problems started. After looking around a little bit, I decided to pop in a DVD. Then I'm getting errors about having no decoder! Well coming from windows i thought this pretty strange, as there is a billion to choose from and all my drives can with disks and decoders someone should have one for Linux right?

    I tried numerious attemps to contact support. Pay for support? This one just kills me because over here in the boonys when you sell products, by law you have to support them! That does not really apply here as i got mine for free and they have to get money somewhere. However I would rather pay a higher dollar for good software, then ever pay a nickle for someone to explain there product. Anyway long story short they are not willing to answer any questions about decoders.

    I went to some forms and received a few replies. I have to admit Linux users are the best persons in the world for helping eachother out, but me just being me refuse to deal with a company that does not talk to their customers. Like I said i have no problem paying for the things i use but i cant stand ignorance.

    So i downloaded and installed Debian using their quick launch disk. It provides the very minimun that you need to boot up then connects you to servers to download the packages that you want.

    This was a complete disaster. I had no internet, no sound, and of course still could not watch my movies. And with this lovely peice of equiptment it would not even let me burn an iso image saying it could not find a decoder. The iso image i was trying to burn was for GoboLinux. Why? because what kind of a company ships a product that takes ten times longer than anyone elses to setup, asks **** loads of questions that even a developer couldn't answer without opening up his mechine or doing ten thousand searches online. Most users dont know actual models and they should not have to. Luckily i did now as i put all my computers together myself.

    To all the developers out there during the actual installation of an operating system the only questions that should be asked from the user is personal info for setting up accounts!

    Gobo same problems. No internet, no sound, and 5 TIMES TRYING TO INSTALL the OS with out piles of errors popping up.

    This one was a complete gem. I used all of their defaults for packages and formating and only specified my username and password. Their install enviroment was better than both RedHat and Debian, but its so riddled with bugs it wrecked the entire experience.

    The next one i tried downloading was SUSE. Installation was awesome! very slick indeed. However no sound, not allowed to watch DVD's, can't find the options anywhere for enabling multiple monitors and they refuse to answer emails of requests for help. Tried going to their portal for installation problems as suggested on the first boot, and their questionair kept asking for strange things i never heard of so i could never make an account or register.

    None of these companies seem to get it. I DONT MIND PAYING, just give me a system I can actually use.

    So now I am completely out done. The Linux users seem to be the best people in the world to work with and almost all willing to help, unfortunately the companies producing the software would not know professionalizm if it got up and kicked them in the ass. If these companies could ever agree to meeting certain standards no company in the world including Microsoft would have a prayer of competing with this market, unfortunately management does seem to be lacking.

    Below is a list of my equiptment that i have, along with what i would like on my mechine. Could someone please point me in the direction of a company that can supply what I am looking for, and if not tell me how i can put it together myself.

    What I'm looking for
    ----------------------------------
    One gui interface
    One command shell
    One Word application
    One Spread Sheet program
    One Tabbed internet browser
    One Jukebox (that can store my CD's)
    One Movie player if not included in the Jukebox
    One CD/DVD burning utility
    One application manager for installing and uninstalling applications and/or a document that clearly defines how to do it manually on the given system.
    One Email program (IMAP compatible)
    C programming utilities
    One compression and archive utility

    I do not want two or more applications that perform the same function.

    Since it seems to be a hit or miss on whether these guys find my drivers, I will state some specs from my computer.

    Motherboard : P4S533-MX with onboard sound, network, and display.

    Video Card: ATI Radeon dual monitor

    Ram: 1G

    Case: Cavalier Cooler Master
    Normaly would not mention the case but it seems some distributions recognize the extra features and some don't

    Keyboard & Mouse: Logitec cordless optical dual media edition

    DVD+-RW: Sony double layer dual drive

    Anyway I seemed to go on and on here but like i said I'm not looking for much just a stable system with the above features that will work with my hardware. Thanks to all reply's in advance, and i look forward to your feedback.

    Side Note: People keep saying that OS distros can't ship with certain decoders. I have asked a few lawyers about it and their answers were all the same. Disk drives ship with a decoder supplied by their manufactor, the customer has puchased the writes to use the device within legal means. If the OS distros simply put in a scanning device to scan for what hardware was installed, if the device ships with a decoder the distro may provide one that works with their system. However if the person does not have such a device they can't install the decoder.

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    Re: To many problems getting off the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by Banko
    I tried a live Linux live CD called, "KNOPPIX" and fell in love. The envroment was extremely pleasent, it recognized all of my drivers it even recognized all three of my monitors and setup extended desktops instantly.
    Have you tried using Mepis? It's Knoppix-based. It also comes with a lot of codecs out-of-the-box; though, you may have to install libdvdcss2 to be able to view DVDs (a matter of a few simple clicks)

    None of these companies seem to get it. I DONT MIND PAYING, just give me a system I can actually use.
    Try Linspire, then. You pay them $50 for a copy of the CD. You pay $20/year for ease-of-software-installation, and all the codecs are ready-to-go.

    Based on your stated requirements, I tried my best to take this quiz for you. It recommended Linspire and Xandros. You can take the quiz, too, yourself.

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    Thanks I will try both!

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Re: To many problems getting off the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by Banko
    Then the problems started. After looking around a little bit, I decided to pop in a DVD. Then I'm getting errors about having no decoder!
    Most Linux distributions do not come with the ability to decode DVDs out of the box because most Linux distributions are completely free (i.e. non profit) and to license these decoders costs money and in some parts of the world (the US in particular) it's illegal to just download a decoder for free.

    I tried numerious attemps to contact support. Pay for support? This one just kills me because over here in the boonys when you sell products, by law you have to support them! That does not really apply here as i got mine for free and they have to get money somewhere. However I would rather pay a higher dollar for good software, then ever pay a nickle for someone to explain there product. Anyway long story short they are not willing to answer any questions about decoders.
    The vast majority of Linux distributions are just hobbyist groups rather than companies, and very few of these offer any type of official "support". If that's what you're looking for, you're going to have to pay for a distro like SuSE, Mandriva, Linspire, or Xandros.

    I went to some forms and received a few replies. I have to admit Linux users are the best persons in the world for helping eachother out, but me just being me refuse to deal with a company that does not talk to their customers. Like I said i have no problem paying for the things i use but i cant stand ignorance.
    I don't quite understand what you're saying here. You downloaded Linux for free, so you're not a "paying customer." Not to mention that Knoppix is not a company at all, nor are the hundreds of other distributions out there. I understand that coming from a Microsoft-centric background you're used to all software being proprietary and put out by one company that sells it and offers "support". That's not the case for most things in Linux.

    Why? because what kind of a company ships a product that takes ten times longer than anyone elses to setup, asks **** loads of questions that even a developer couldn't answer without opening up his mechine or doing ten thousand searches online. Most users dont know actual models and they should not have to. Luckily i did now as i put all my computers together myself.
    There you've hit the crux that splits the Linux community at the moment. I am a developer, and I've never been unable to install and configure a Linux distribution, but I know that the average ex-MS Windows user does not have the patience, knowledge, or even motivation to jump through all the hoops I do to get it working. I for one do not believe Linux should try to appeal to the ex-Windows crowd. Some Linux supporters do, and that's why distributions like Linspire and Xandros exist.

    To all the developers out there during the actual installation of an operating system the only questions that should be asked from the user is personal info for setting up accounts!
    Again, that's your personal opinion and there are developers (as I mentioned above) that share that. I suggest you give their distributions a try.

    The next one i tried downloading was SUSE. Installation was awesome! very slick indeed. However no sound, not allowed to watch DVD's, can't find the options anywhere for enabling multiple monitors and they refuse to answer emails of requests for help.
    Unless you bought the boxed set of SuSE Linux, you do not qualify for the "support" either through email or phone that you would normally get. Downloaded versions of SuSE are not supported.

    None of these companies seem to get it. I DONT MIND PAYING, just give me a system I can actually use.
    Did you actually pay for these distributions though? I haven't heard you say once in this post that you actually bought any of these distributions. If you have bought them and THEN they didn't give you support that's one thing, but you can't exactly expect a company to offer the same support to someone who paid as someone who downloaded their product for free.

    So now I am completely out done. The Linux users seem to be the best people in the world to work with and almost all willing to help, unfortunately the companies producing the software would not know professionalizm if it got up and kicked them in the ass.
    Let me just dispel a myth right here: Linux is not a company, is not run by companies, and never will be. Linux is a kernel, written by a programmer who let the source code be used freely by anyone who wants it. No one company will ever have complete control over the Linux kernel or any of the GNU software that comes with the distribution. Perhaps Linux just isn't the OS that works best for you. There's no shame in that; every OS has a target audience, and for those folks that OS works well. Use whatever works for you rather than what might be the corporate buzzword of the moment.

    Below is a list of my equiptment that i have, along with what i would like on my mechine.

    What I'm looking for
    ----------------------------------
    . . .
    I do not want two or more applications that perform the same function.

    Motherboard : P4S533-MX with onboard sound, network, and display.

    Video Card: ATI Radeon dual monitor

    Ram: 1G
    ATI's Linux drivers are (to put not too fine a point on it) crap. Other than that, any of the major distributions of Linux, paid or otherwise, should work fine on your hardware, however you'll have to do some actual work to get it set up. The closest distributions I've found to "plug and play" are Linspire or Xandros. The rest will force you to learn a lot more than you seem to be willing to learn in order to get them working. It's up to you to decide how much your time is worth. No one said Linux was easy, and if they did they were lying.

    Side Note: People keep saying that OS distros can't ship with certain decoders. I have asked a few lawyers about it and their answers were all the same. Disk drives ship with a decoder supplied by their manufactor, the customer has puchased the writes to use the device within legal means. If the OS distros simply put in a scanning device to scan for what hardware was installed, if the device ships with a decoder the distro may provide one that works with their system. However if the person does not have such a device they can't install the decoder.
    Lawyers are not programmers. Here are the facts for DVD playback:

    1)DVDs sold in the USA are usually encrypted using the Content Scrambling System (CSS)(Definition)

    2)This system can be decoded by one of two methods: a hardware device (such as a home DVD player) or a software descrambler (which comes with DVD playback software).

    3)In both cases the ability to decode this media is dependent on a decryption algorithm that is not free, and must be licensed (i.e. paid for) before it can be used. Companies like Microsoft and the makers of DVD playback software (such as PowerDVD) pay royalties in order to use this.

    4)Since 98% of the Linux distributions in the world are non-profit and licensing DVD playback is not a priority, most distributions do not ship with this ability. (Linspire and TurboLinux have this ability, but only TurboLinux comes with it out of the box. Both of these are for-profit companies.)

    5)There is a freely available library that decodes DVD CSS called DeCSS (Definition, however in the United States it is illegal to obtain it (Link).
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  6. #5
    Linux Guru Cabhan's Avatar
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    To give a bit of an explanation:

    MP3 codecs are subject to some sort of licensing. Therefore, many distros require you to obtain them yourself.

    Also, DVD encryption is a foul thing. It can be undone with the libdvdcss library, but this is (I believe) illegal in the U.S. Though about 90% of people use it for legitamately watching DVD's in Linux, there are some who use it to copy DVD's to redistribute.

    Looking at your needs, that can easily be done with SuSE through YaST, their application-manager. Linspire may work, but I'm not really a big fan (never used it, admittedly, but doesn't appeal to me). In SuSE, you'd install, then setup YaST to use Internet sources:

    http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/11504.html

    SuSE comes with KDE by default. Another popular Desktop Environment is Gnome, which is also available.

    Command shell, again by default. KDE comes with konsole, Gnome with Gnome Terminal, and all X servers come with Xterm, I believe.

    Word apps? OpenOffice.org. I believe SuSE installs this by default.

    Spread sheets are also in OpenOffice.org

    Internet browser? Either Mozilla or Firefox.

    Jukebox? I know that KDE comes with one, I believe it's called Juk.

    Movie Player: MPlayer. If you're using KDE, get KMplayer. Also, if you want to watch DVD's, I recommend you get ogle, which supports DVD menus.

    CD/DVD Burning App: k3b. A WONDERFUL application.

    SuSE's app manager, as I said, is YaST. Very easy to use.

    E-Mail Program: Mozilla Thunderbird

    C Programming Utilities: Well, there are a number of Programmer's Editors, the most common being Vi and Emacs. KDE comes with something called Kate, which is also nice. In order to compile, use YaST to install gcc (GNU C Compiler) and make (allows use of Makefiles, which contain predefined compilation commands for applications).

    As far as a C editor goes, I've never used C, but I've heard of Cscope, and a frontend for it called [url=http://kscope.sourceforge.net/]Kscope[/code]. KDE also comes with KDevelop, which may have what you need.

    Compression and Archive: This can be done on commandline, using commands like "tar" and "gunzip", or can be done with an app. KDE's archiving app is called Ark, I believe.


    So I dunno if you want to give SuSE another shot. It was a great distro when I used it. The main thing I'm not sure about is your monitors, since I only have one. But I guess we'll find out...

    And for the record, all of the above, if they're not already instaleld, can be installed through YaST.

  7. #6
    Linux Guru anomie's Avatar
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    I think you'll find that if you ask your questions one at a time you can normally get some good help here.

    Everybody has a little drama getting up and running with Linux. Goes with the territory. Consider it growing pains.

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    Re: To many problems getting off the ground


    2)This system can be decoded by one of two methods: a hardware device (such as a home DVD player) or a software descrambler (which comes with DVD playback software).

    3)In both cases the ability to decode this media is dependent on a decryption algorithm that is not free, and must be licensed (i.e. paid for) before it can be used. Companies like Microsoft and the makers of DVD playback software (such as PowerDVD) pay royalties in order to use this.

    I have never tried yet, but is it possible to play a DVD movie with a windows (such as MS mediapleyer) application using wine or other emulators like crossover? And is that "legal"? thanks in advance!

  9. #8
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Re: To many problems getting off the ground

    Quote Originally Posted by jopo
    I have never tried yet, but is it possible to play a DVD movie with a windows (such as MS mediapleyer) application using wine or other emulators like crossover? And is that "legal"? thanks in advance!
    In theory, it might work. The decoders are part of the programs and are legally licensed, so provided you had a legitimate copy of, for instance, PowerDVD, you'd be fine. Running things in Wine can be a real pain though, just be forewarned.
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