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Let me start by saying that I am writing this from OE on Win98, since I'm
having trouble installing RH (and I'm not at home so I don't have access to
my other computers). So no flames please.
I did have lots of questions, but a read through linux.redhat.install, RH
Bugzilla, and various Google searches has pretty much answered those
Since I'm going to be inflicting you with my opinions, I think it only fair
that I introduce myself (in an anonymous fashion!)
Systems used (chronological order 1970's - present day)
Commodore Amiga (500/Plus/4000T)
IBM AT/XT Compatibles (Various)
VAX (VMS/Berkley Unix)
BSc Comp.Sci (Hons)
Currently saving for RHCE course.
I'm a hoarder; I never throw anything away. This includes computer hardware.
When I upgrade, the old bits get "archived" in a cupboard for a rainy day.
When I collect enough old "bits" ... a new computer is born. So it goes with
my latest project.
Create a two-way multiboot system comprising:
Windows 3.11 For Workgroups (to play my huge collection of legacy games)
Linux (to fulfil whatever purpose is flavour of the month ... this month
its "Backup Server" using a combination of NovaNet for regular files and dd
+ NFS for imaging.)
I realise the hardware involved here is hardly "bleeding edge" - that's not
the point, the point is to recycle and "find a loving home for" unwanted
bits. Some of the following hardware was specifically bought (second hand
off eBay) just to complete the project (with Win311 compatibility / driver
availability in mind)
Mobo - PcChips M560 ALi Aladdin IV/IV+ Socket 7 (Yes, amazingly I actually
managed to correctly identify a PcChips mobo)
CPU - Classic Pentium 233 MX (586)
VGA - Diamond Stealth 64 (S3 Trio64V+ PCI )
Offboard IDE - Promise Ultra66
HD - IBM "DeathStar" 21Gb (boot) and 76Gb (storage) respectively on the
CD - TDK 16x10x40 CDRW on Ali M5229 IDE 0:0 Master
NIC - Netgear FA310TX
Tape - OnStream DI-30 on Ali M5229 IDE 0:1 Slave
Audio - Creative SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold
Mouse, Keyboard etc of no consequence.
Win311 - Smooth, no problems (Networked using TCP via router. File-sharing
etc no problem)
Win98SE - Ditto, only easier (all hardware enumerated straight out the box)
(Note - I don't want Win98SE on this box, its a temporary measure until I
find a resolution to the RH install problem)
Red Hat 8.0 - Install failure (Everything Install), Unstable (Minimum
My opinions are based on RH 8.0 installed on this system only. In a
different setup, it is natural to assume that some of the issues raised
would not exist at all/to the same extent.
I've been reading with interest about a lot of people having problems with
the install images. There's been a lot of talk about ftp corruption of ISOs
via asc Vs bin download method. I have to say that I am also a victim of
this, but not because I don't know how to type "bin" at the ftp> prompt.
There seems to be a conspiracy of circumstances at work here. I, like many
others, have been getting corrupt RH ISOs from many different servers. I
have downloaded these ISO's using tools such as ftp, wget, curl, GetRight,
WS_FTP and others, in different versions of different operating systems ...
and all with the same result. This, combined with the fact that I have
successfully downloaded many ISO's over the years (including RH ISO's) leads
me to suspect that something stinks in suburbia. I finally found a set of
ISO's that passed the md5 check, but the rest remains a mystery. To all
those who have wasted many hours downloading corrupted ISO's - my sympathy.
Unfortunately, it goes downhill from here.
RH 8.0 simply will not install on this computer. Not without some long
laborious effort - and even then it is not stable. The errors range from
system freezes to panics and are reproducible. When I am finally offered
some kind of core dump - it contains messages like "memory.c 117 bad pmd
<hex number>" and "invalid path". For the longest time I was convinced I had
a bad SDRAM, but it now turns out that its a problem with the CD itself. It
seems that even when it passes the md5 check and RH's "mediacheck" there is
still some obscure error on the disk that causes a lockup. I even considered
the possibility that the CDRom drive was faulty/overheating (a common
problem) but then I realised that surely it would have manifested during the
Win98 install. I have tried different media too (some drives balk with
certain media) ... but then so much of my other software (backups ... ahem)
are on the same media and read on the same drive - without problem. I'm
suspicious of isolinux. I'm also deeply suspicious of RH's "customised"
kernel. There is more than the passing possibility that gcc3.2 has something
to do with it (oh no not gcc problems again!). Whatever it is, all this is
mere speculation (FUD alert), but the undeniable fact is it is affecting a
huge number of people. So there.
I did finally manage to get RH 8.0 installed, by opting for a minimum
install then rpm'ing the remaining packages once logged on. Even then it
took several attempts, since rpm periodically froze at random points,
requiring a hard reset. I never did manage to verify all the packages since
"rpm -va" bombed every time, but I do know that I was left with a system
that was more unstable than Win98 on a very, very bad day.
Stability issues aside (its subjective/speculative anyway), what do I think
of RH 8.0?
Erik Troan, Red Hat's director of product marketing, has said that he is
"... waiting to see whether customers give [Bluecurve] a 'thumbs up,' or a
'thumbs down.'". Overall, I'd have to go with Caesar and give it a 'thumbs
down'. It isn't that I don't like the pretty colours, or even that we have
been stripped of freedom of choice in the name of "a consistent look and
feel [which is] 'polished' and more '3D.'" Its more that the whole thing
stinks to high Redmond.
Let me mix a little politics with some psychology and see what we come up
Microsoft. The Blue Team (the prevailing colour in their Operating Systems,
and generally recognised as their "Team Colour". I believe Microsoft once
tried to copyright the colour Blue, only to discover that Disney had beaten
them to it.). Blue as in "right wing" or "capitalist". Advocating the ideals
of Commerce; Profit; Greed; and Advancement through Corruption.
The champion of proprietary, closed source, bloatware.
Red Hat. The Red Team. Red as in "socialist" or even ... dare I say
"communist" (McCarthy alert). Advocating the ideals of Freedom; Openness;
Sharing; and Advancement through Co-operation. The champion of standards
based, opensource, software.
Bluecurve. Blue as in ... wait a minute ... blue? BLUE? Curve as in ...
Now look at the Bluecurve theme.
Scary, isn't it?
Now try to play an MP3 file, and after you've read the error message go over
to http://www.redhat.com/advice/speaks_80mm.html and gasp in disbelief.
Now ask Bernhard "bero" Rosenkraenzer why he resigned from Red Hat.
Red Hat and Bluecurve in the same sentence! For those of you in the UK,
you'll understand what I mean when I say "New Labour". See the connection.
Why don't Red Hat go all the way and just rename the company "Microsoft II"?
Ok, so I'm really, really reading between the lines now but ... I wonder.
Now that fact that certain packages have been dumped is not of great concern
to me. For example, gnorpm was always a dog, I don't think I ever managed to
get it to work. I always preferred KPackage anyway (oh no, I used the "K"
word, somebody call the RedHat police). And it makes me laugh how they refer
to the dumping of packages as "depreciated". Depreciated - there's a
euphemism if I ever heard one. It reminds me of the use of the word
"Retirement" in Blade Runner.
It isn't Bluecurve or the instability or even the bloat that worries me. It
isn't the breaking of backwards compatibility either (gcc, XFree86). It
isn't even the exclusion of certain packages.
Its the motive.
As that ancient Chinese philosopher, Garth Algar, once said, "We fear
I'm with Garth.
There's a part of me that respects Red Hat's desire to compete with
Microsoft. However, they've publicly stated that RH 8.0/Blucurve is *not* an
attempt to replace Windows on the desktop. So what *is* it then? Linux for
I think the MP3 "thing" is a bigger clue than Blucurve. Troan concedes that
"It may not have been the legally necessary decision."
"... may not ..." ?
So the legal situation becomes "muddier" and Red Hat sells out? Jesus wept.
Hey, maybe the MPAA; DVD-CCA; DMCA; and WIPO are right, and that
Linux users do not have the right to watch their legally purchased DVDs on
their computers. Lets "depreciate" xine.
Oh, and Evolution looks a lot like Outlook, let's "depreciate" that too.
Can't Red Hat see, that the only thing they are "depreciating" is their
I accept that Red Hat are probably only trying to fight Microsoft on their
own terms ("keep it legit"), but they could at least wait until they are in
the game before selling out to right-wing idealism.
Then again, how "legit" have Microsoft ever been? Ask RealNetworks,
Netscape or the US DOJ.
I'd love to see Linux triumph over Windows.
But at what price?