I had some extra days to take off from work before the new year so I
finally bit the bullet and started my SuSE 5.3 install. I kept
somewhat sketchy notes but after a full week of Linux installs,
re-compiles and general trying to make things work, my eyes are sore
and my wife is about to leave me....
First off, I'm an old DOS command line junkie and although I am not a
programmer, I do know how to use edlin and would be considered a DOS
"power user", a phrase I hate, but anyhow.....
System is a Pentium 166, 64 mb, Adaptec 2940UW, 2 UW drives with 1
VFAT partition on each (C: and D:), Cirrus 5446 PCI video,
SoundBlaster Clone (Intel variety, with real CL chipset), USR
V.Everything internal modem with latest upgrades and a generic 8x
ATAPI CDROM drive on the secondary controller as master. Printer is a
Canon BJ 4300 color inkjet printer.
- Booted up Win98 and printed out the Readme's and
other potentially useful information from the SuSE cd's. Read through
the install chapter and despite it being a little fragmented
(confusing?) I got the gist of it and proceeded to install.
Changed my BIOS to boot off CDROM.
Didn't work for some reason. Funny since I have several other bootable
CD's and they all work?
No problem though as SuSE included a boot diskette and I was on my
way. Loaded the Adaptec module and within minutes I was selecting
packages. I used the default package and added what I thought I needed
(a real guessing game at best) to my configuration. I can't believe
PPP, SLIP and SVGA as well as sound and other useful things aren't in
the default package. Anyway, install went clean and I created a boot
disk as I didn't want to*up my mbr.
I was quite impressed with the install, and in honesty it brought back
memories of some of the finer DOS based programs I had installed over
I played around with the command line a little going through my "Linux
in a Nutshell" book and trying various options.
I decided to make Tuesday my X windows install day so I read the
HowTo's and the excellent SuSE handbook sections.
Ran XF86Setup and within a few minutes I had X-Windows up and
running which was a pleasant surprise considering all the messages in
the linux groups concerning X-Windows. I made some adjustments to the
monitor frequencies as things looked a little blurry and I got "hash
noise" when I moved windows around the desktop. All fixed by a little
tinkering with some settings. I played around with the various Window
managers and finally decided that kde and WindowMaker offered the best
possibilities for me. One disturbing thing was that under WindowMaker
many of the items in the menu's didn't do anything when clicked on.
Most worked under fvwm though so I figured this was some kind of a
configuration problem. I couldn't get the CD Player or Xmixer to work
under any WM so I did some research and found that sound was not
working. Time for the dreaded kernel compile and on to un-charted
Following the procedure in the SuSe handbook I actually was able to
re-compile a custom kernel with sound, PPP and other essentials.
Actually it too 3 tries as my kernel was too big, but again the book
helped. I was able to update my bootdisk and was on my way.
At last sound!!!!
The CD player applications work but I find that the KDE CD player is a
little flakey in that it sometimes hangs and sometimes I have to load
an Audio CD 3 times or more before it gets recognized. Also how the
hell do you remove the CD player from the lower right hand corner of
the task bar? It gets started every time I start KDE.
Now it's time to get my printer working.
I setup the appsfilter as per the SuSE book and everything worked but
the output fonts were way too small and the printer kept printing in
landscape mode. I still have not solved this one. Mybe I should try
Time to get my dial up working so I can get on the net
with Linux. Looking around it seems that kpp is my best bet as it
looks for the most part pretty much like Windows dun. I plug in my
values and away I go. Well actually I am going nowhere because after
the modem connects ppd will not start. After yet some more reading I
discover I have to set the suid bit. Ok no sweat I do this and try
some more. Still no luck, I connect and then 60 seconds or so after
ppd is started it gets a ppd daemon failure message. /var/log/messages
shows that it is trying to send a config but nothing gets sent back.
To this day I have not solved this problem. Major problem :(
I Download the latest version of WindowMaker and followed the
directions to the letter. Everything works until I get to the "run
wmaker.inst" section. I don't have this file anywhere on my disk. I
have a wmaker.inst.in file but executing that (a script) does nothing.
More frustration. BTW I de-installed the older, SuSE version of Wmaker
as per the instructions.
At this point I am noticing that KDE is quite sluggish compared to
Windows. The KDE Control panel appears in chunks on the screen and I
seem to be getting a lot of hangs and just generally poor performance.
The interface needs some refinement also. Example find files:type in
filename with / as path and no files are found. Use the drop down menu
and select the same / and it works.
Off to sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..
Screwed around all day reading literally thousands of messages
in the various Linux groups concerning ppp and all I have learned is
that there are quite a few people with the same troubles.
The How-To's are either outdated or are way too general (ie:try
something like.......) to be helpful.
At this point I am getting very discouraged because some seemingly
easy tasks are becoming nightmares for me under Linux. I mean I can
set up DUN on WIN98 in 5 minutes or less and it works every time.
I am not talking about arcane grep commands or Emacs here I am talking
about a GUI with tools that half work.
I'm seriously considering going back to Win98 as my productivity has
dropped 100 percent in the last week.
As a Linux community, we need to address these problems instead of
saying "I installed PPP in 2 minutes under RedHat". This may work for
some but based on the groups it does not work for many. This needs to
In short I have a six inch stack of printouts, 2 books and sore eyes
not to mention a weeks worth of wasted time and Linux still does not
work properly. I also have a wife who wants her Windows PC back!!
If the Linux advocates want to see Linux compete withWindows on the
desktop, a lot, and I mean a lot, of work needs to be done.
I am willing to learn but this is becoming idiotic. All this work just
to run an OS? I mean honestly , on the desktop, it is really about
applications and Windows has quite a lot of good ones.
P.S. I left out a lot of details but you get the gist of it.
I am also not whining about "difficult" unix commands etc. I realize
that that is a result of the power of unix and I am willing to learn.
My concern is with the install, configuration process. Basic stuff.
Stuff that is easily accomplished under Windows.