Originally Published: Saturday, 11 March 2000 Author: Thomas B. Wilson
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Fear and Cocktails in Manhattan

The coolest thing that I have noticed about being a Linux Newbie is the amount of readily available help from others online. One of my original fears of becoming a Newbie was having to ask "stupid" questions and then getting flamed for not reading the manual or just being plain dumb. Just the opposite has occurred. There is an incredible amount of patience and willingness to help from all over the world.

   Page 1 of 1  

Last week I wrote about my continuing travails as a Linux Newbie. I have to admit that one of my special gifts is creating undue hardship whenever unnecessary. Specifically, I had two problems: downloading 190 MB of PhatLinux 3.2 on a 56k modem, and finding a Linux friendly ISP.

The coolest thing that I have noticed about being a Linux Newbie is the amount of readily available help from others online. One of my original fears of becoming a Newbie was having to ask "stupid" questions and then getting flamed for not reading the manual or just being plain dumb. Just the opposite has occurred. There is an incredible amount of patience and willingness to help from all over the world.

For example, my new buddy Dennis replied to my article last week and offered to burn some CDs for me to help with the cause. I have two hard drives, one with Win 98 and the other with Mandrake 6.0. I don't like my Mandrake hard drive. It's loud and has only 3 gigs compared to 15 on my Windows drive. I asked whether he thought I should just partition the 15 gig hard drive and install Mandrake 7.0 on it. I also offered to write him a check for any expenses that he might incur. Here's the response I got:

"Don't worry about sending a check, just get it to work and add to the number of users. I'd just go ahead and do the recommended install on the Linux drive and let it partition and format. This way you get a fresh install and you'll know there won't be any file dependency or incompatibility problems.

"Plus, it won't use up your Windows 98 disk space and will run a lot faster. You'd have to use LNX4WIN on the 98 drive or use FIPS to make the DOS partition smaller to do a true Linux install. I've done it, but it's difficult and it's less scary not to mess with the DOS partitions like that.

"It might seem to be easier to update the current Red Hat, since Mandrake 7 is based on Red Hat 6.1 and you wouldn't have to repartition and format the drive. It even has an upgrade button in the install GUI. But I don't know if it will erase the old password and let you use a new one. It probably will, since the kernel and LILO will get replaced."

"I made a CD for a friend who wanted to install WinLinux 2000 that also has Armed Linux, PhatLinux, StarOffice for Linux, Java Developers Kit, and Java Runtime (they're the SuSE versions). He decided to use his DEC Alpha machine for Linux though, so he couldn't use it. I also put Lesstif on because Java Development Kit (Java.rpm) might show dependencies when you try to install it and most of the files it might ask for are in Lesstif. StarOffice for Linux doesn't have Java Runtimes with it like the Windows version does. If you have the CD, they're supposed to be on it, but I downloaded and had the SuSE packages Java.rpm and Javarunt.rpm. I've had to install both to get SO5 to work as a Web browser.

"Anyway, I'll throw that in since I have no use for it and you might want to play with PhatLinux, though comparing it to Mandrake or Red Hat is like comparing toast to Philly Cheese Steak.

"You'd want to do your install on `hdb,' which is what the Redhat drive will be. Windows doesn't see it. Mandrake will see the DOS drive and give you a desktop icon called `Hard drive DOS.' You can see the DOS files and read and write to it. So it's easy to download Windows stuff and Linux stuff or work in Linux and save to the DOS drive to work with it in Windows. I just make folders called `share' and `downloads' on the DOS drive and share them between Windows and Linux."

Is that cool or what? I guarantee you that if I called Microsoft they would charge me $35 for one-time support and they wouldn't let us share cds. So, in the spirit of camaraderie I was thinking of sponsoring a Linux cocktail event in Manhattan. I am curious to hear whether there might be any interest from the local community. Let me know, and thanks again for all the help over the last several weeks.

Thomas B. Wilson, tbw@linux.com





   Page 1 of 1