Originally Published: Wednesday, 22 December 1999 Author: Rob Thomas
Published to: news_learn_firststep/Firststep News Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

The Linux Diaries, Entry 3

Today Jumpstart's very own Jay Pasco sets up a sound card and gets his Iomega Zip drive working. He also reflects on why it is he runs linux, and why you should too.

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Allan Jason Pasco

Hey readers. Welcome back. Yesterday I attempted to get my sound card and IOMEGA Zip-Plus drive working under Slackware 7.0. Enabling my sound card was not as difficult as I thought it was. All I had to do was build sound support into my kernel. This was easily done by enabling Y in sound card support, OSS sound modules, and 100% sound blaster compatible support. Then I had to input some sound card features such as the I/O port, IRQ number, and DMA channels. My input was:

	 I/O Base for SB check from manual of card:  220
	 Sound Blaster IRQ check from manual of card:  5
         Sound Blaster DMA 0, 1, or 3:  1
         Sound Blaster 16bit DMA 5, 6, or 7:  5

I decided to also enable a few other features before compiling a new kernel. To allow my Zip-Plus external drive to work under Linux I had to build other features into the kernel. First, I enabled SCSI support and SCSI disk support to be built into the kernel. Then I set IOMEGA Parallel Port support (imm newer drives) to M under SCSI low-level drivers. Zip-Plus drives can not work with the ppa module, only imm. Finally I enable Parallel Printer support to M under Character Devices. Next I built the new kernel, built the new modules, and configured lilo.conf. Then I rebooted and waited. After I logged in, I started X, put a cd in, and executed my CD player. I pressed play and heard music. Then just to make sure my sound card was built into the kernel. I typed "cat /dev/sndstat". I was able to see all the information about my sound card. I was very happy that I finally had sounds.

The next obstacle I had to overcome, was getting my external zip drive to work. I decided to start safe and shutdown my computer. While the computer was off, I attached my zip drive and made sure that it was not powered on. Then I started Linux up and logged on as root. From reading the Zip drive HOWTO, I was advised to remove lp, if it was running. By using "lsmod", I was able to see that the lp was running. Then I typed "rmmod lp" to remove the lp module from memory. I then turned on my Zip-Plus drive and typed "insmod imm" at the command line. Before I mounted the zip drive, I had to make a directory under /mnt. I called it zip. Then I typed "mount -t /dev/sda4 /mnt/zip" to mount the zip drive. I heard the drive make a noise and light up. I changed directory into /mnt/zip and then typed "ls". I was then able to see all the files that were in my zip disk. Now I am able to use my zip drive on Linux.

For the past two months many people have seen my laptop and questioned me about my use of Linux. I received questions such as "Why do you use Linux instead of windows?" or "How can you use an operating system that is not as simple as windows?". I was also given opinions on how linux will never compete with windows as a home operating systems. Since many hardcore windows users do not approve of Linux and would never try to install it, I am going to give my version of the "ten David Letterman reasons" for converting to Linux.

10. Linux is free. I can download Linux and install it on any PC without worrying about a license.
9. Linux comes with a variety of free software. I do not remember having any compiler for C or C++ installed with windows.
8. There are many choices of desktop environments. If I am bored with my desktop, I can change to KDE, Enlightenment, Sawmill, WindowMaker, Afterstep, and many more.
7. I was tired of seeing Microsoft. Whenever I started windows I would see the Microsoft logo. Even though I took it off, I still saw Microsoft Office, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Wordpad, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Explorer.... Sometimes I thought that I bought a Microsoft Presario instead of a Compaq.
6. Security is great on Linux. There is no cancel button to bypass the password.
5. Even though I removed a vast amount of items to make windows boot up quicker, It still is no faster than Linux.
4. I can run many programs at once without my system slowing down. Ever try running AOL, Microsoft IE, Winamp, and Visual C++ at the same time? Not a good thing.
3. Blue is cool but not in windows. I must have seen the blue screen of death as much as I see the command line in Linux.
2. The Linux community. When I have problems or just want to chat about Linux there are many people I can talk to.
1. Linux is challenging and educational. Everyday is a learning experience with Linux. Through windows I learned how to use the mouse. Installing software and hardware is not challenging in windows. In Linux there is no limit. There are just so many things to learn in Linux. I have never had so much control over my computer until now.

I believe that if a person wants to learn more about their computer, then they should install Linux. Windows limits one's freedom and stability. Fellow newbies, do not give up on Linux! The only way to learn is to keep using it. Until next time, have fun and don't give up on Linux.

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