[mailto:owner-linrad@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of w3sz
Sent: 11 January 2005 12:16
Subject: [linrad] Fedora, mandrake, and debian
This is not a cry for help with Linux, as my RedHat 8.0 installation works
fine with Linrad, but just a description of events some may
find helpful in deciding which 'flavor' of Linux to get.
This all involves installing a new Linux Distribution on a new machine I
got a few weeks ago. Its a Dell Pentium 4 running at 3.0 GHz with
Hyperthreading Technology, 1G DDR SDRAM at 400 MHz, Intel Extreme
2, a 160 GB Ultra ATA 100 drive, Intel Pro 100M Integrated PCI NIC Card,
With AC97 integrated audio plus a Delta 44 sound card. It came installed
with Windows XP Pro and I repartitioned the hard drive with
to make room for Linux. With this system:
1. I was able to install Fedora Core 3 in about 30-40 minutes [timed from
sitting down with the CD's to start the installation to surfing the net],
on my first attempt. There was no need for me to manually configure any
hardware. Fedora even properly set up in the Linux partition on a disk
cohabiting with Windows XP which is using NTFS. I used SystemRescueCD to
shrink the NTFS partition first. Everything works except for svgalib, and
that doesn't have the drivers for my video hardware anyway.
2. Jeffrey Pawlan gave me a superb suggestion for further Linux
experimentation...Get another hard drive, and just unplug my XP/Fedora
drive and play with installations on the new drive. Best Buy right how
has [here, anyway] a 120 GB Western Digital drive for $49 after rebates.
So I got one and so even though I have been totally hosed [for the moment]
by Mandrake 10 and Debian 3.0 version 4 [neither runs properly],
my Fedora and XP are still working as well as ever on the original drive.
Thanks, Jeffrey, for a suggestion that preserved my sanity ;) I
MY WINDOWS XP AND FEDORA CORE 3 INTACT thanks to you!
3. I think I previously noted that Mandrake 10 would NOT install on my XP
drive which has both a Linux and an NTFS partition; it thinks the disk is
corrupt and wants to reformat the entire disk, because of the NTFS
On the new drive, which is dedicated to Linux, this is not a problem. So
the 3 Mandrake CD's installed without any apparent problems, but when
Mandrake attempted to start X-Windows it produced a screen that was
totally unreadable. I suspect it was not detecting the relatively new
onboard video properly. Fedora installed this with no problem, and also
found the network stuff and got it working. I don't know if Mandrake
found the network hardware or not since I couldn't get any useful
information on the screen. I didn't spend the time to figure out how to
get it to boot up in terminal mode. Time spent: at least twice as long as
installing Fedora Core 3. Result: a non-functioning system.
4. I decided to give Debian a try. After today I can say that Debian is
certainly not for a first time Linux user, or even someone like me who has
been thru RedHat 6.x, 7.x, 8.0, and Fedora over the past 4 years or so.
It has too many choices and not simple-enough instructions for a relative
newbie to install it easily. Of course, I didn't read the entire 120 PAGE
INSTALLATION MANUAL; shame on me ;). After several hours, it was finally
finished installing, and came up declaring that X-Windows wouldn't work.
I looked at the X11 directory and found that it had installed a version of
XFree86 from 2001. The list of video drivers that it included has been
for  years. Debian also didn't find my integrated network
list of network drivers was similarly obsolete. It also appears to have
installed a 2.2 vintage kernel. Given that I thought I was choosing the
defaults, which I would have thought were the most up to date options, i
was really surprised. Maybe the defaults are the most out-of-date
options, so those with old hardware can get a functioning system.
I am sure it explains it somewhere in the 120 page manual. Time
spent: about 4 hours, and just a terminal mode installation with no X
Windows, and no network, and no NASM...so no Linrad...
I will go back and see what I can do with Mandrake and Debian.
But I have
probably 10 times the time on them as on the Fedora install, and Fedora
[except for svgalib] worked perfectly out of the box with no tricks on
my part, and the others are not running at all satisfactorily, as noted
While all of this I am sure just shows that  I don't know Linux, really
and  I didn's spend enough time on it [only wasted an evening], what it
shows to me is that for someone like me who views these things as TOOLS to
get a job done, and not yet another way to spend hours of my time, RedHat
[and its successor in the 'free software' world, Fedora] have produced a
result than the other two choices I tried. Getting RedHat 6.x to work
years ago was easier than getting the current Mandrake or Debian releases
to work here.
While you could say that Fedora has failed me because with my limited
expertise I have to reinstall svgalib to get it working, I could reinstall
svgalib everytime I want to run it and still come out ahead compared with
my experiences thus far with Mandrake and Debian.
I am sure that for real computer gurus, those much smarter than I,
and those with lots of time to spend playing with the software, Mandrake
and Debian are superb. Maybe someone can put together a package of
each of these that will run for the majority of us without requiring
each one of us reinventing the wheel. I know a Knoppix effort was started
in this regard 1-2 years ago, but then kind of died ...
But if you are like me and just want to get Linrad running on Linux with a
minimal waste of time and effort, I would recommend that you try RedHat 8
or 9 or one of the Fedora versions.
And consider following Jeffrey Pawlan's sage advice: get an extra hard
when its on sale, and use it to get things working. Then you won't risk
wrecking your WORKING Linux and Windows Installations.
At some point I will go back to the Mandrake and Debian installs and get
them working, just for fun.
But right now I don't have the time to play with them. With Mandrake I
will just reconfigure to come up in terminal mode, so I can check
X11 is unhapppy. And with Debian I will try another install
reading more of the 120 page manual , and if that doesnt work I get the
network working so that I can download a newer version of X11.
I had to
configure X in the RedHat 6.x days; it wasn't necessary to do so with
either RedHat 8 or Fedora, but I will be able to manage it OK.
PS Fedora has a nice rpm that I installed that allows me to
access my NTFS
windows partition and directories from within Linux. As usual with
Fedora, it installed with no problem and works perfectly. The
instructions on installing it were complete, easy to understand, and to
Have a great week all, and