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The linux experience, part 1

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Muhammad Haggag

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Note: Last post I said I'd edit it and write about my experience with FC3. I decided it deserved a separate post

Like you, I love computers. I love trying out new software. I have a passion for all things cool, or potentially cool. A couple of years ago, this passion drove me to try out linux - I've seen it praised so many times, and sworn by so many times that I thought: "Hey, maybe I'm missing a lot of fun. Maybe I ought to try it". So I did.

And it turned out that I haven't missed any fun.

Redhat 9
Back then, I installed Redhat linux 9, which was supposed to be user-friendly, full-featured, secure and stable. Put a 100 lines under 'stable'. It was anything but stable - and it was loaded with silly bugs and decisions. I mean, not being able to switch the resolution on the fly on gnome 2.4? Have to restart X? Why?
For God's sake, the 1st freaking 30 minutes of running gnome, I stumbled upon 3 bugs. And that's version 2.4. Amazing!

It took me 7 hours to set the thing up correctly; hardware drivers and all. SEVEN. And during those 7 hours, X crashed 5 times. That simply beats WinMe hands down.



Oh, and when it installed, X used a default 2D driver for my card - fine. Whenever I tried to run a 3D game (e.g. Maelstrom), it wouldn't quit with an error or anything; it either freezed, or freezed the system and I had to reboot. Tell me about stability.

Meh. When I was exploring and opened the /etc/lib folder (IIRC), Nautilus gave me an error message saying "Too many files"!! We're talking about a fresh install here, I've not touched anything!

One thing that sticks to my mind as the most dumb, dimwitted, unquestionably retarded decision/design I've ever seen, is how XFree86 configured the video card and input devices. You see, the configuration was stored in the same file. So, when I installed the ATi driver, it required me to reconfigure the mouse and keyboard during installation. And then when I altered the mouse settings from one of gnome's settings panels, it overwrote the configurations written by the ATi driver. LOL. So I had to take a copy of the file, configure the mouse from X, then copy the video stuff from the copy I've taken. LOL2.



And hardware support was a joke. It still is, but to a much lesser extent.

Fedora Core 3
It was such a catastrophic experience (RH9) that I frowned upon linux and its distros for a long time, until recently, when I again heard: "Fedora Core 3 0wnz0rz!!11!!".
Now, I've grown very cautious when it comes to any linux praise, especially when it's accompanied by dumb windows criticism (and I honestly consider WinXP the best desktop/workstation OS in existence so far, overall. And I don't care about your opinion, you're simply WRONG) coming from retarded fanboys and open-source fanatics, but I thought they must've improved a lot in the last 2 years. I was wrong again.

Teh Anaconda
It all started with Anaconda, their visual installer. When launching, it said it detected a 2-button serial mouse. Awesome. The mouse didn't work in the installer at all. Not until I installed, rebooted, and was configuring sound. They took 2 years to remove mouse support from their Anaconda installer (The mouse worked fine in Anaconda when I was installing RH9). Don't ask!



I could've managed to install without the mouse anyway. After all, dude, I've played Dune 2 with the keyboard back in the early nineties. Yes, a strategy game with the keyboard. It was possible back then.
I was saying, I could've managed to install, if it weren't for the retarded partition manager, Disk Druid. Naturally, I chose auto-partitioning, and told it to format the existing linux partitions and use them (I still had RH9 dead on one of my partitions, and another ext2 swap partition). It gave me this error dialog, titled "Error Partitioning":

Unsatisfied partition request
New part request. Mountpoint: None UniqueID: 9
Type: physical volume (LVM) format: 1 badlock: None
Device: None drive: ['hda'] primary: None
Size: 0 grow: 1 maxsize: None
Start: None end: None migrate: None origfstype: None

[Ok]


The dialog was formatted as shown above. Exactly.

No comment.

I pressed Ok, and it gave me yet another retarded dialog saying I've not defined a root partition, and that this can happen if I don't have enough space. Cool. Except that I have 6 GB of free space, which are MOST DEFINITELY more than enough. Which brings another issue, the retarded thing installs - after I cut most of the optional packages - on like 2.3 GBs. I don't know why, does it come with pr0n movies or what??!! Cause 2.7 GBs is too much.

So, I just went back and chose manual partitioning, set it up and installed. After rebooting, I found out the GRUB wasn't installed correctly. It was freezing at stage 2. Now I can't even boot windows. Not good.

Microsoft Windows Repair to the rescue, I entered the CD, booted from it, pressed 'R', typed 'fixmbr' and voila!
Of course, fixmbr fixes things for windows only. There'd be no GRUB no more.

I reinstalled FC3. This time it worked fine, until I got to the point where I got this 'Sound Test' screen.

Here you get to press this button, and hear some soothing 'brim brim brim' tone from the speakers. Why am I mentioning this? Simple. Turns out the sound driver was running in RETARDED mode, where it can't play more than one sound simultaneously. Basically, my hardware doesn't do mixing, and the driver didn't bother doint it either. And what's more annoying, is that I discovered this the hard way, I wasn't warned...(below)

Bottom-line: Anaconda sucks. Rated 'D', for dimwit.

I was chatting with my boss and a friend on gaim (which is a nice application, save for the retarded interface - both in terms of usability and taste), and then I switched to something else, expecting to be notified of any incoming messages by some 'berling' voice. Being the dumb retard that I am, I also played cryosleep by Machinae Supremacy (which is, by the way, one of the best bands I've come across so far - Thanks to Superpig and Rob Loach for bringing them to my attention, indirectly).

Well, after 4 minutes or so, after cryosleep was done, I got a stream of "berling berling berling brom brom brom berling berling berling" for like 30 seconds. Turns out both my buddies (one of which is the BOSS) were sending messages, but the audio notifications were being buffered because it can't play 2 simultaneous sounds. After 5 minutes of cussing like a pirate, I began searching the net for a solution. I came across people saying I have to get ALSA, and recompile the kernel and similar nonesense - basically, I didn't find what I'm looking for: An rpm to fix the issue. So I let it go.

Bottom-line: Hardware support is still retarded, but not as it once was - Honestly, it's much better. But, I'd have been totally Ok if it told me that "Excuse me, AOpen haven't provided a linux driver for their soundcard, so we're using a homebrew one instead, which can't do software mixing". But it didn't.

Next comes up2date. I can't believe how they shipped FC3 with such a shoddy beast. For the 1st 2 days, I had no luck running the thing - It always kept crashing. And when it finally ran, it took like 20 minutes to get 'rpm headers', and practically wouldn't even update its progress bar near the end, making me think it's frozen. After it got the headers, it told me there are ~200 updates available - I was amazed. This was awesome. It tracked all the apps installed, and looked for newer versions from some redhat repository. Cool.

I selected what I wanted to update, and it said the total size was 16Kb. I smelled rats. Lots of rats. Zombie rats. Stinky ones at that, too.

I elected to go 'Forward' anyway. It finished downloading about 4 hours later...
What was I thinking, I said to myself. They'd not take the chance to ruin what would've been a totally awesome piece of software? O'course not!
I'm officially retarded to think otherwise.



After the update, I wanted to install some developer tools. The reason I tried linux this time actually, was that I needed it in a project - an OS project (More on that later). I launched the package manager (or whatever it's called), and selected the packages to install. It complained about missing packages - dependencies.

At this point, that was it for me. I decided to try another distro, Ubuntu. I've heard good things about it. Very good things. And once again I proved to myself that I'm retarded. There's no such thing as a good linux distro, that's what I'm sure of now. Ubuntu turned out to be one of the shoddiest piles of goo I've ever seen. So shoddy that I actually reverted to FC3 after trying it and another debian-based distro.

But I've written long enough for this time. Next time, I'll talk about warty warthogs, haunted mice, retarded frontends and more.

See ya!
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18 Comments


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Killswitch Engage > Machinae Supremacy > Linux. They should include hardware with Linux distros to save on the confusion. My only linux is PS2 and it sucks but at least it works perfect with the hardware.

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One word, SuSe, new version comes out soon, with all updated drivers, KDE, the works.

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Have you ever stopped to ponder: maybe it's not Linux that has the problem; maybe the problem is YOU!

This from the madman running winME. You should know by now to ignore anything I post. But I'm pretty sure any shoddy thing would beat the living hell out of this OS.

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Quote:
Original post by noaktree
Killswitch Engage > Machinae Supremacy > Linux.

Checking Killswitch Engage right now, thanks for the heads up!

Quote:
Original post by noaktree
They should include hardware with Linux distros to save on the confusion. My only linux is PS2 and it sucks but at least it works perfect with the hardware.

Well, lack of hardware support is definitely not good, but what I'm more enraged about is the "Discover it yourself, dude!" or "By default, things don't work. If they do, they do it retardedly. If they do it well, there's a catch. If there's no catch, then you've installed Windows by mistake!" mentality.

Quote:
Original post by DerAnged
One word, SuSe, new version comes out soon, with all updated drivers, KDE, the works.

Ok, thanks DerAnged. I'll definitely check this out as soon as a new version comes out. I still have my passion for linux (and I'm still working on this project that's much easier to develop on linux).

But if it doesn't work, I AM BE KILLING YOU ALL MUCHLY.

Quote:
Original post by good-old, lovely Mushu
Have you ever stopped to ponder: maybe it's not Linux that has the problem; maybe the problem is YOU!

Thought of it a billion times. Wait until you see part 2 of the installation, where I talk about Ubuntu and some seriously mind-blowing messups that it did with me.

In short, me and linux don't work well together, it seems. I believe pinguins stink, and they obviously think I'm a baldy long-bearded gorilla. Maybe both of us are right.

Quote:
Original post by good-old, lovely Mushu
This from the madman running winME. You should know by now to ignore anything I post. But I'm pretty sure any shoddy thing would beat the living hell out of this OS.

Well, I truly <3 your posts. You own! And you're kinda retarded too. I can't think of a good reason to run WinME. Unless, of course, you're training to be Mr Batman. I mean, if you're into that kind of stuff, try 98 - a great OS for its time. It has its share of troubles, but it works pretty well.

Still, WinME has the benefit of predictability. You know you're going to reboot every 3 hours, lest you run out of memory [grin]. You expect BSODs, every now and then - they're part of the experience. Linux, on the other hand, keeps you on-guard. It always comes up with something new [smile]

Seriously, man, if you need a newer OS, we can make a campaign on GDNet and gather some $$$ to save your soul.

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Meh, Linux isn't for everyone. It also hates some hardware, especially if the vendor won't release device information. I'm glad it works well with all of my hardware.

I suggest that if you decide to try Linux again, try Mepis. The installer is also a liveCD so you can see if it works with your hardware. It's Debian-based, so you have apt-get and the Debian repositories. You also have almost everything autoconfigured in the graphical installer, which uses QTPartEd for partitioning instead of Debian's overly complicated text-based installer. It also includes Java and Flash Mozilla plugins out of the box. I did have to turn up the volume and turn off the mute to get sound to work, which seems like dumb defaults, but that's easy enough to fix.

I personally love Linux. When I use Windows (which doesn't work on my machine, so I miss my games) I keep missing little things about Linux. It has a long way to go, but it's also come a long way.

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Quote:
Meh, Linux isn't for everyone. It also hates some hardware, especially if the vendor won't release device information. I'm glad it works well with all of my hardware.

As I said, I totally understand the situation - and I sympathize. Supporting hardware that the lazy bum vendor didn't release drivers for is hard. But that's no excuse for shipping a shoddy driver without proper warning.

Quote:
I suggest that if you decide to try Linux again, try Mepis. The installer is also a liveCD so you can see if it works with your hardware.

Did it. It was the distro I tried right after Ubuntu, and let's just say that it's so...unique...that it deserves its very own installment - most probably the third one, God-willing.

Quote:
You also have almost everything autoconfigured in the graphical installer, which uses QTPartEd for partitioning instead of Debian's overly complicated text-based installer. It also includes Java and Flash Mozilla plugins out of the box.

I can't help but smile reading this. I'll be talking an awful LOT about these when I write on Mepis.

Quote:
I personally love Linux. When I use Windows (which doesn't work on my machine, so I miss my games) I keep missing little things about Linux. It has a long way to go, but it's also come a long way.

Sure it's come a long way, and it's got a long way to go. But what I'm afraid of is that it'll never 'get there' because of some weird attitude that results in taking some extremely weird design decisions.

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for linux being a good OS. So far, it's only succeeded in being a good kernel. And a server. But as an end-user OS, it's not just missing a couple of thing, a whole "attitude" and methodology needs to be changed.

Anyway, I won't be drawing conclusions right now, I'll probably be writing conclusions in the 4th installment or so, God-willing.

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I feel for you man, regarding hardware and drivers at least [smile] Drivers are my own personal hell, 5 times out of 6, a simpel video card driver update borks and makes me not only reinstall the original video card drivers, but also take out the card, boot, turn off the computer, put the card in again, before doing it. And don't even get me started on how things got seriously f***ed when I managed to uninstall the MOTHERBOARD drivers.. I *still* don't know how I managed to do that.

Anyway, I feel for you.

BTW, another music heads up, this might not be your type, but:
Fear Factory >= Lamb of God > Killswitch Engage > Machinae Supremacy

If you want the two best disks by those bands, check out:
Obsolete -- Fear Factory
As the Palaces Burn -- Lamb of God

Cheers, and hurray for another user who is convinved that Windows is best! I guess that makes 2 of us [sad]

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I see what you were thinking, I'll just through a new linux distro on my old 486 computer. WRONG

If you don't have at least a 10gig harddrive, 256mb of ram, and a decently fast processor, go with a minimalistic distro like Damn Small Linux.

I love SuSE but it has more requirements than winblowz.

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Quote:
I see what you were thinking, I'll just through a new linux distro on my old 486 computer. WRONG

If you don't have at least a 10gig harddrive, 256mb of ram, and a decently fast processor, go with a minimalistic distro like Damn Small Linux.

Except, of course, that my system specs are:
2.0 GHZ AthlonXP
512 MB DDR RAM
80 GB HD
Radeon 8500 LE
AOpen Motherboard AK77-333, with built-in VIA soundcard
A4Tech 3-Button+Wheel serial mouse
A4Tech PS2 multimedia keyboard

It's not super-recent, but it's pretty decent.

EDIT: I wanted to thank you for your OSDev library, by the way. It turned out to be pretty useful in a project I'm doing for college. Thanks [smile]

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Quote:
I feel for you man, regarding hardware and drivers at least Drivers are my own personal hell, 5 times out of 6, a simpel video card driver update borks and makes me not only reinstall the original video card drivers, but also take out the card, boot, turn off the computer, put the card in again, before doing it. And don't even get me started on how things got seriously f***ed when I managed to uninstall the MOTHERBOARD drivers.. I *still* don't know how I managed to do that.

Anyway, I feel for you.

Haha, thanks. Much appreciated [smile]
Glad you worked it out!

Quote:
BTW, another music heads up, this might not be your type, but:
Fear Factory >= Lamb of God > Killswitch Engage > Machinae Supremacy

If you want the two best disks by those bands, check out:
Obsolete -- Fear Factory
As the Palaces Burn -- Lamb of God

Cool, I'll be checking them - I've already listened to a couple of songs by Killswitch Engage, but I'll post my comments next time, God-willing. Thanks again [smile]

Quote:
Cheers, and hurray for another user who is convinved that Windows is best! I guess that makes 2 of us

Hurray!

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Did someone forget to take the test before jumping head first into a distribution?

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Quote:
I wanted to thank you for your OSDev library, by the way. It turned out to be pretty useful in a project I'm doing for college. Thanks


No problem. I have to redo the design, but it still has the good info :).

I am actually merging the site with osdever.net, osdev.org(all the data they had before the hackings, nothing there now, and the osdev wiki). It will be the largest operating system design website on the internet that I know of.

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lol, your linux experience sounds pretty much exactly like mine, I'm currently on my third distro where almost nothing works...

I started with Mandrake because it was "easy", well, it was the most unstable piece of crap ever to see my hard drive.

Then I tried Debian because it was "easy" and "stable", well, it didn't like any of my hardware...

Now I have SuSE, well, it really is stable, I just apparently know nothing about setting up Linux to be usefull...that will be my summer project.

Good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by eedok
Did someone forget to take the test before jumping head first into a distribution?

No. I did take the test you link before, I knew about it a long time ago. For every distro I download, I read an awful lot about. Both from sites like distrowatch.com and from the mouths of long-time users.

With the aforementioned test, for my purposes, Ark comes first. By the time I checked, a while ago, it was still beta. I had enough bad experiences with real linux releases that I wouldn't be willing to try a beta one, unless there's a really good reason to do. However, among the top matches are these:
Ubuntu 90%
Fedora 81%
MEPIS 90%

And I've tried the three. And they're all bollocks, as I will show later. The 3 of them are said to be easy to setup, and good with hardware detection. As I've said above, the FC3 installer is simply retarded. Hardware drivers are equally retarded. And as I will show later, Ubuntu and MEPIS aren't better.

I'm officially impressed that after all what I've mentioned, you've come to the conclusion that "I've chosen the wrong distro". No, I didn't. I knew RPMs don't auto-resolve dependencies, but I was relying on the fact that I'm installing RPMs that are available on the FC3 CDs. How is up2date's behavior indicating the choice of a 'wrong distro'? Or 'Anaconda'?

There are mistakes and bugs that are unacceptable with any distribution. You can't have a distrubtion that's described as having the feature "Lame auto-partitioner", "Retarded sound drivers that pretend they aren't", or "An updater with a 5:1 crash rate".

Please.

Quote:
Original post by jumpjumpjump
No problem. I have to redo the design, but it still has the good info :).

I am actually merging the site with osdever.net, osdev.org(all the data they had before the hackings, nothing there now, and the osdev wiki). It will be the largest operating system design website on the internet that I know of.

Cool, good luck with it!

Quote:
Original post by Rixter
lol, your linux experience sounds pretty much exactly like mine, I'm currently on my third distro where almost nothing works...

I started with Mandrake because it was "easy", well, it was the most unstable piece of crap ever to see my hard drive.

Then I tried Debian because it was "easy" and "stable", well, it didn't like any of my hardware...

Good, so I'm not alone here [smile]

Quote:
Original post by Rixter
Now I have SuSE, well, it really is stable, I just apparently know nothing about setting up Linux to be usefull...that will be my summer project.

SuSE is on my todo list, guess I'll try it out sometime. Currently, I've managed to adapt myself to FC3 - I just ditched the whole "an alternative desktop/workstation OS" perspective and am now looking from the "right tool for the job" perspective. I work from terminals most of the time, with nasm, vi and good old gcc.

Quote:
Original post by Rixter
Good luck!

Thanks!

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While you're at it, Coder, please try FreeBSD. I want to know all the dirty details! [grin]

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Just to say, I couldn't agree more that Disk Druid is a very bad joke indeed.

I just installed Windows on my whole drive, and used Partition Magic to do it. No problems.

Disk Druid basically told me I couldn't have a Linux partition because I didn't have one already. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions there.

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Guest Anonymous Poster

Posted

what I loved about the Anaconda in FC3 install program most was the partitioning. On the left side were instructions for dual boot scenarios if you have 98 or NT. N fucking T ? What a crock, these punks could at least incorporate OPERATING SYSTEMS THAT ARE IN USE TODAY. Like you, I tried automatic partioning, since i had about 7 GB of free space, and got the dumbass 'unfulfilled partioning request'. I didn't specify a root partition huh? That's why i chose AUTOMATIC FUCKING PARTITIONING. Like you I went the manual route, installed, got Linux working, and it broke XP. (missing hal.dll) Reinstall XP, gone goes GRUB (which btw is impossible to install via Knoppix or rescue mode, I just got 'invalid device' and other useless error messages (naturally the device i specified was completely valid)).

So this was the crux of my 3rd go with LInux. Years ago I installed DeadHat Linux 7.2, spent hours and hours getting my USB modem to work, but it couldn't make my soundcard work. I ended up not using it forever then erasing it. I need my fucking soundcard to work to be productive in an OS.

Second time was a year ago or so. Fedora Core 3, 4 shiny burned cd-r's. Install went PERFECTLY - except it couldn't bring up eth0. If you need ONE damn thing to work, it's the internet, to google for all the other bullshit that you will be trying to fix. Searches on my ethernet card found like one dude who gave instructions for recompiling the kernel or some shit. But by this point I was too smart to try such a jackass solution, as I knew it wouldn't work anyway.

So once again I have no Linux working, as FC 3 can't even partition my free space and freakin' install, and manual partitioning breaks Windows. Knoppix has been the best experience i've had with Linux. Too bad it's roughly useless for anything but trying to fix something another LInux distro fucked up. Hell maybe i'll try Suse, but I know deep in my heart that it sucks. Call it pessimism, but I think my partitioning requests will forever go unsatisfied.

--psych0_aktive

orbweaver2112 at hotmail dot com

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