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Wow, Linux has certainly come a long way...

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
Just for giggles, I resized one of the partitions on my hard drive yesterday morning and decided to install Ubuntu linux on it. I don't have a lot of motivation to be fighting with my computer on a daily basis to get it set up for mundane tasks like playing videos and MP3s, so I haven't run linux in 4 or 5 years. I mean, let's face it, even for geeks, linux is a bear to get set up properly.

I figured I'd just start the install and work on it over the course of a day or two to get everything configured right.

When it popped up the screen asking what partition I wanted to install to, I was pleasantly suprised to see a "guided install" entry that kept the user from having to type things like "makepar /dev/sba1" and "setpar /dev/sba1 ext3" as many of the old partitioning programs did.

It asked me a handful of easy-to-answer questions (such as: "The system clock says it's 11:15. Is this GMT or is it set to your local time zone?" and "What is your desired screen resolution?").

Then, it installed itself.

No, really.

Everything.

It set up my network... automatically. My mouse and keyboard... automatically. My video card and sound card... automatically.

I couldn't believe it. I left for work while it was installing, and when I came back there was a nice graphical logon screen, which took me to a fresh Xwindows installation, with the typical-linux very complete suite of applications.

But the best part was, everything worked. There was no recompiling of the kernel to provide sound card support. No editing of the xwin.conf file to provide video card settings. No typing of bizarre foreign phrases like "mount /dev/hdc -t iso9660 -r /media/cdrom" to make your CD drive show up. Is that stuff all doable? Sure, I ran linux for years. But this is so much better.

It's still not a newbie's operating system. I still had to muck about in my xwindows config file to get my forward and back buttons on the mouse to work. Installation of new software still isn't a point-and-click process. And with all of the software that it comes with, you have to go get codecs for MP3s (?!?) and any video files you may wish to play.

I just couldn't believe how far it has come. so, if anyone is considering getting their feet wet with linux - or just doesn't have the time to do hand-to-hand combat with their computer for a week to get it running - Ubuntu sure makes it easy.
 

Ciaran

Fear my banana
Apr 5, 2004
9,844
11
So Cal
Methinks it's time to give Linux a whirl again.

Last time I tried Linux it was Mandrake 10 and SuSE. Both had nice GUI install screens, but I still had to install drivers and the like which is what usually stops me on a Linux box.

I have a friend who is a Linux geek. He convinced his wife to use it by saying that he could set up so that she would hardly notice the difference. If she didn't like it he would go back to Windows for her. She's still running Linux today. Of course he's a Linux/Unix geek so he knows how to set it up.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
Ubantu comes with a really awesome package manager that makes it really, really easy to install and uninstall packages/drivers. The software repository is great, too - just punch the software into the search box and it'll give you a place to download it and install it for you.

Again, it's still not a newbie O/S by any stretch. You still need to use the command line to install system packages like updated drivers. You still need to edit config files sometimes. But the basic operation of installing the O/S and coming out the other side with a fully usable, working operating system was amazingly simple.

If I weren't someone who likes to tweak my computer, I could have left it like that and not touched it again except to install audio/video stuff.

I've got no doubt that if I showed my girlfriend the locations of the new icons, she could easily use it with no questions or problems whatsoever.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
Ubuntu has a Live CD which is the equivalent of the Knoppix CD, but I had the disk space and really wanted to refresh my knowledge of the OS so I just went ahead and did the install.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,965
35
Tenchiro said:
Every once in a while I get the urge to play with Linux, but usually my Knoppix CD quells it.
Word.

I used Mandrake for about a year, but it was like pulling teeth to get my kid or my wife to use it. I had a dual boot machine but eventually gave it up after the install of Mandrake 9 went BAD.


I may look at it again when I have time to fvck everything up. (never)
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
So, last night I went through installation of some video software + codecs, and MP3 codecs.

In order to accomplish this, I had to go through the onerous task of opening the package manager, and searching for "video player" and "mp3 codec". Then I was forced to check off a box next to the software I wanted and click the apply button. Then the movies and MP3s played.

In some ways, this is far easier than Windows. Widespread software support is a problem (for my installation, I chose the x64 version of Ubuntu which has no easy flash support at the moment), but sheesh... there are some things that are done really well.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
Ubuntu and Suse are both pretty good, but Suse is a bit more polished (only a notch or so below OSX or Windows installation process I'd say) and has commercial software like flash, adobe acrobat reader, realplayer, etc installed by default.

On the otherhand, Ubuntu distro is like a 500MB and fits on one CD. SUSE is 5 CDs or 1 DVD - about 3.5 GB :dead:

Drivers (particularly when its a new product or if supported often don't support all the features) and software with proprietary technologies that require non-open source software (which may or may not be eventually reserve engineered) are a major obstacle for use by the masses.

I think most people will still be sticking with Windows and OSX for now...
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
From an enterprise standpoint, I didn't care for the amount of simple trip-ups which delayed my installs. The biggest delay was putting Red Hat on a very old PC, with all kinds of screw-ups for nics and hbas.

In the coming months, I plan on customizing our installs so they go much quicker. But I do enjoy Solaris installs, which are very easy considering the limited hardware options (i.e. Sun systems and Sun approved cards).
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
sanjuro said:
In the coming months, I plan on customizing our installs so they go much quicker. But I do enjoy Solaris installs, which are very easy considering the limited hardware options (i.e. Sun systems and Sun approved cards).
Same reason OSX is so easy :D
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
syadasti said:
I think most people will still be sticking with Windows and OSX for now...
Well, it ain't gonna change the world, I'm just letting people know that if they're interested, Ubuntu has made it a hell of a lot easier to get their feet wet with Linux.

As far as SUSE vs. Ubuntu, I don't know about the polished install, but the online software repositories combined with the great package manager make software installation as easy as you could ever want. Makes it a lot easier for me to not deal with a DVD worth of install and just install the things I want.

I may try a SUSE install one of these days just to see. My linux partition is nothing but a sandbox for me to experiment. Maybe my next project will be an OSX install ;)
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
binary visions said:
I may try a SUSE install one of these days just to see. My linux partition is nothing but a sandbox for me to experiment. Maybe my next project will be an OSX install ;)
You can get OSX 10.4.6 from the right torrent file if you know where to look. It isn't user friendly to get the hacked version up and running well and it doesn't run as well if you have the wrong hardware and you can't use the software update feature if you don't want to break things. It runs on both Intel and AMD CPUs though.

My 20 Mb/s FiOS connection pulled the 3.5 GB SUSE ISO off the San Fransciso mirror in about an hour :D
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
Silver said:
I use Knoppix to recover data from screwed up Windows machines. Much simpler than mucking around in the recovery console.
Lots of great live linux CDs out there like that - Knoppix (and other distros), Boot and Nuke (to prevent espionage when getting rid of old computers HDDs), Gparted (to repartition HDD - better cause its FREE!), etc...
 

Tenchiro

Attention K Mart Shoppers
Jul 19, 2002
5,407
0
New England
I d/l'd and burned the Live CD, I am logged in on that now. The only thing the OS didn't get right so far is it set my resolution to 1680x1200 instead of 1680x1050.

Looks good so far though.
 

Tenchiro

Attention K Mart Shoppers
Jul 19, 2002
5,407
0
New England
I don't know what the frick happened but after rebooting, the DVI port on my video card no longer works.

Nada, nothing, zip... :mumble:

F*cking Linux screwed me again...
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
Tenchiro said:
F*cking Linux screwed me again...
When I was playing around with SUSE and Ubuntu, one of their built-in partition managers (forget which) toasted my data HDD partition. Luckily I had it backed up on external HDD but 35.4 GB takes awhile to copy back :mumble:

I'll stick with Gparted for partition management, thanks :redhot:
 

Tenchiro

Attention K Mart Shoppers
Jul 19, 2002
5,407
0
New England
Right now I get absolutely no signal from my DVI port, not on post and not in Windows. I reinstalled the drivers and flashed the BIOS and still it doesn't recognize the port...

All I did was boot off the Live CD, play with it for 5 minutes then reboot and BAM, dead.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
Wow, that blows. But the fact that it happened on reboot, leads me to think it's a freakish coincidence that it happened after playing with the Live CD, and that your video card is simply toast (or at least the DVI port is, do you have a VGA output too?), and would have been equally dead had you rebooted from Windows.

:dead:

Warranty?
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,701
290
VT
Nah Linux can drive hardware outside of safe parameters on occasion and physically damage the videocard or monitor. I've gotten a warning while adjusting the video in Linux something to that effect...
 

Tenchiro

Attention K Mart Shoppers
Jul 19, 2002
5,407
0
New England
The VGA port seems to be fine and it could just be a coincidence. But I was running (in Linux) 1680x1050 @ 60Hz which is native for this display and a fraction of what the video card will support.

It may be under warranty I will have to look up when I bought it.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,700
506
NC
syadasti said:
Nah Linux can drive hardware outside of safe parameters on occasion and physically damage the videocard or monitor. I've gotten a warning while adjusting the video in Linux something to that effect...
I understand that Linux can force unsupported modes on the video card (since it will drive the hardware to whatever settings you tell it to, regardless of what is "safe"), but he said it worked fine, then went dead on reboot.

I can't see anything in the reboot sequence causing the video card to toast itself somewhere between the last line of the shutdown sequence and the reboot signal being sent. At that point it's not even using any kind of strenuous video modes.

The fact that it was dead on bootup suggests that the act of the power being killed to the card and starting it back up again toasted something.
 

Tenchiro

Attention K Mart Shoppers
Jul 19, 2002
5,407
0
New England
Apperantly there are issues with the Viewsonic VA2012wb and the DVI input. I did a search in Google and found a couple people with the same issue.