Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Linux Experiment 4.0

Yep, this will be my fourth try at Linux.
Every other installation was a failure for some reason.
More specifically, every other attempt at complete removal of Windows was a failure.
All of them installed more or less okay.
I have tried Red Hat 7.2, Xandros ?.?, and Suse (twice, 7.?, 9.2).

In each case, these were dual-boot configurations and all of them worked just fine at managing the dual boot process.

But in order for one to use (and fix) Linux, one has (HAZ!) to have access to the internet.
In every case, I could not connect to the internet for some reason.
Either Linux could not see my modem or it did not have the correct driver for the modem I had.
One time, I bought a new modem, advertised on a Linux website, just so I could have modem driver for Linux (or more correctly, so Linux could have the correct driver for the modem).
The modem arrived smashed in the box (which was also smashed).
I sent it back and they sent me another one.
Indeed, there was a Linux driver for the modem on the CD that came with the modem, but it did not load or work like the instructions said it would, and I could not figure out how to move the driver file into the file it needed to go in.
In fact, I could never figure what file the driver needed to go to.
Every site I went to either ignored my questions or gave me information that I could not understand.
Finally, I gave up.

On another installation, the modem connected to the internet - I could hear it train, handshake and lock – confirmed by a real-time status log utility, but my browser could not find the internet.
Since I had more than one web browser included with my distribution package, I tried another browser.
Still no internet.
And no help from the Linux “help” sites.

Now, in 2007, I will try again.
But now I will have two computers - one for Window$ and one for Linux.
They will be networked together using a new router and both will have access to the internet via my cable modem.
The router is not installed (or purchased) yet.

The plan is to get rid of Window$ forever.
Sort of my version of Vista.
The method for this is to get the router to work with the Window$ box first.
And to get Linux going on its new box.
I will be using a KVM switch (also not yet purchased) so that I can use the same keyboard, mouse and monitor on both systems.
That may present some issues also.
Wee shal see.
Then, when the two systems are up and running, I will set up the network so the Penguin machine can communicate with the Window$ box and (hopefully) the internet.

One consideration is which Linux distribution to get.
There are dozens of them to choose from.
But the top five are Fedora (Red Hat), Ubuntu, open Suse, Mepis, PCLinuxOS, not necessarily in that order.

I like Fedora because it is based in the USA, but have only installed it once, and had modem problems.
I am intrigued by Ubuntu because it very popular, so I want to see what all the fuss is about.
But it is based in South Africa, so it cuts against my national pride.
I have installed Suse two times before and had a good install experience both times (ignoring modem/internet issues).
But is it based in Germany, so it, too, goes against my USA prejudice.
I have investigated both Mepis and PCLinuxOS.
At this point, nether of them make me want to download them.
But I might, just to play with them.

The cool thing about Linux is you can have 14 versions of it on your computer at the same time.
It is not as territorial as Window$ (which does not like ANYTHING else on your computer with it).

If you compared the two operating systems to countries, Linux would be like the United States, it lets almost anyone in – even illegals.
Window$ is like the old East Germany – it will shoot anyone trying to get in or out.
(Apple OS X is like Window$ except more strict. It wants to run on only one machine – theirs. Oh, and their computers cost twice as much as the others. (TWICE!)

Anyway, I have not decided which disto to use this time around, but I am leaning toward open SUSE.

More to come.....

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