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Where to begin again?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
So, it's that time again where I'm getting the itch to give linux another go.

The first distro I ever tried was Slackware over a decade ago and despite it being a royal whore as far as learning curve goes, it was rather rewarding when things clicked. I ran it for a good year or so but moved on. Since then there's been dabbling with Redhat and Gentoo and Debian and so on...

Disclaimer: Yes, I know Ubuntu is probably going to be the recommendation but I've gone that route a little while back and felt like I was missing the point. I didn't learn anything about linux.

I guess what I'd really like to do is try to actually gain a solid understanding of running a box with this OS rather than just having it there as something to play with. As a novice, perhaps some books or documentation otherwise would help to add some semblance of structure to the process? If anybody has some thoughts on how to actually dive into this OS I'd appreciate it.
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post #2 of 32
Since you're not starting form square one, and want to learn Linux, I'd just like to say that all distros look pretty much the same form command line'. Unfortunately most distros these days are set by default to boot right to X GUI. As you must know Slackware did, and still does, default to console login. I think this is especially important for problematic hardware such as ATi video cards, but do what you will. In any case to learn Linux is essentially to learn the command line so check this out Linux in a Nutshell. Ideally buy the hard copy if you're really serious.

All the rest is mainly service configuration which is well documented in each distro, WM/DE choices, and package management. If you spent a year actually using Slackware I see no reason to step backwards but then I like royal whores . If you don't want to try Slackware's latest I'd go for OpenSuSe or Arch, but then I didn't like Gentoo since I found it to be a whole lot of squeeze for very little juice.

There are LiveCds and YouTube vids that can familiarize you with what to expect from various distros as well as a few threads here where different people tried out several distros over several months and reported their experiences.
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post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it definitely won't be completely from square one. It's been a while but with a refresher I think I most certainly have the patience and resourcefulness to get through most minor hurdles at least.

Download of Slackware 13.1 has begun. Let the swearing commence!
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post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tier View Post
Yeah, it definitely won't be completely from square one. It's been a while but with a refresher I think I most certainly have the patience and resourcefulness to get through most minor hurdles at least.

Download of Slackware 13.1 has begun. Let the swearing commence!
I think you are going to be disappointed how easy Slackware has become... heck, if I could get everything set up on my laptop (wireless, flash, multimedia) with my limited knowledge and understanding (and a lot of help from the master of the Slackware disaster, Enorbet2) then I am sure you will have it up and running in no time... Good luck with it
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
I hope so... I know a huge hurdle in the past was always my Linksys WMP11 v2.7 wifi card which will still be in the equation since I'm going to give Slack a go tonight on my old P4 box...

It's a broadcom chipset though, BCM4301, which apparently now has driver support from kernel 2.6.24 and forward. Does this give me a glimmer of hope of this thing actually working fresh out of the install or can I still expect to contend with this?
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post #6 of 32
I agree wholeheartedly with nlsthzn that tier will find the install and setup way too easy. Ten years ago was just shortly after I got started with Slackware and it took me days to get it installed with all my hardware working and that was on a box I knew was Linux compatible. Back then you had to setup all peripherals like sound card, modem, mouse, keyboard, video card and monitor all manually, I never actually got a decent setup until v8 came out but even then I spent a lot of time chatting on IRC from command line getting help creating a working xorg.conf file.

If you know how to partition v13 is a breeze to install. Setup only requires a little effort finding out where the config files are (/etc/rc.d will be your friend) but they are easy also because the documentation is so good and so little is needed anymore.

Please report back, tier, and let us know how it goes.

PS Thanks for the compliment, nlsthzn. I hope it is a great comfort already having the confidence that you'd be hard pressed to actually break your system now that you can say, "What dependencies?" .
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post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
I know exactly what you mean about the days of set up, enorbet2. I recall spending hours online from another PC reading countless how-to's trying to figure out how to configure each device one by one hoping to find drivers that might work. Lots of back to the drawing board moments and plenty of time spent IRC'ing via *****X and eventually XChat looking for more help.

Man, do people even still use IRC these days?
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post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tier View Post
I know exactly what you mean about the days of set up, enorbet2. I recall spending hours online from another PC reading countless how-to's trying to figure out how to configure each device one by one hoping to find drivers that might work. Lots of back to the drawing board moments and plenty of time spent IRC'ing via *****X and eventually XChat looking for more help.

Man, do people even still use IRC these days?
Yes. It isn't as popular as it once was and really I don't know why other than the same mentality that prefers texting to talking may apply. People manage time more tightly now and prefer getting around to messages in their own good time. Too bad because if you want to get the best answers you can chat right with developers on IRC and not have to wait for someone to sign back in to a forum,

How's 13.1 going?
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post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
So far it's been somewhat less than ideal.

Installing was no big deal as I just did the full install since I really have no clue what I need and don't need at this point but at the end lilo failed to install successfully saying video adapter does not support VESA BIOS needed for display of 256 colors.

Had to boot back in using the cd and the command it gives you there to use in a pinch; hugesmp.s root=/dev/sda1 rdinit= ro. Edited lilo.conf accordingly since there were some confused entries regarding another drive I have with ntfs partitions though none of it is bootable and had to set /dev/sda1 bootable in fdisk.

Now I can boot without issue but my resolution is incorrect and several characters are chopped off the left side of the console.

*edit* Got this working by switching to a vga setting in lilo.conf of 800x600 rather than 1024x768.

Tomorrow evening's goal will be to hopefully get the wifi going. Would be nice if I had a physical ethernet line in this room rather than just wireless.
Edited by tier - 1/5/11 at 8:10pm
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post #10 of 32
Let's work backwards from X. Get your monitor's specs because it is rather common especially these days where the lines between TVs and Monitors is beginning to blur (and prices are dropping like mad) that the self-identifying EDIDs sux. If you have the proprietary nVidia driver installed the easiest thing to do is to run "kdesu nvidia-settings" and on the 2nd line from the top is the XServer configuration. There you can set resolution and refresh, apply, and after you see it works, hit the button that says "Save to Xconfiguration". It doesn't become a persistent setting with every setup but it does more often than not so it's worth it to try it first.

BTW if you have more than one resolution listed for your monitor in "/etc/X11/xorg.conf" you can cycle through them with the keyboard combo "Ctrl - Alt - KP+" while in X.

As for the boot to console I tend to use "vga=normal" out of habit because nVidia pften experiences conflicts between their X driver and the framebuffer driver and I can live with the 640 x 480 to avoid any complexity. Plus if I see something really off I can call it up with "dmesg" later.

If the text goes off the screen during bootup, just use the monitor's own orientation controls. They are somewhat interactive with video source so it won't mess it up if you using your monitor for other purposes.
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