Taking Another Plunge

January 29, 2007

Or my life as a masochist…

I’m back into Linux mode, namely because I need a machine that can run some things that an old PII with 32 MB RAM can no longer handle.  And yes, this may involve running some Windows Apps.  In fact it most definitely will. So it was time to take an old 866 mhz PC with a 10 G hard drive and 320 Mb RAM and seeif I could get something installed.  Can you guess what my first choice was?  How about my second?  Which one actually ran?

Dreamlinux 2.2 was my first choice since it seemed to offer most of what I might want and need right out of the box.  However, perhaps because of the processor or the RAM it never got beyond the “Loading Thundar” screen.  I tried a couple of times to get it to load and behave, but nothing doing.  Dreamlinux 2.2 is brand spankin’ new and ran fine on my new laptop with the Intel Pentium D.  But languished mightily in the PIII environment.  Time to try something else…

Linspire 5.0 might be a possibility,  However that too got hung up twice and failed to boot on this machine.  It was looking like it was going to be a lousy day for Linux.  I wanted and needed a full distro for some potentially heavy lifting, so Puppy wasn’t going to fit the bill (although Puppy was able to play nicely on the old PII and was able to bring that dinosaur back to life).

So I went back to what I know.  And liked.  that would be Simply Mepis 6.0.  it is worth noting that for all the arrows and mud I have slung at Ubuntu, Mepis has so much in common with it as to simply be a more advance Kubuntu.  i read on reviewer who basically said Mepis was a better Kubuntu than Kubuntu.  So the live CD spooled up and I went ahead and committed the entire hard drive to Mepis.  I said goodbye to XP, at least on this machine, and in 30 minutes I had a new OS.

Nest, taking advantage of the high speed connection here, I downloaded several apps using the Synaptic Package manager.  Somewhere along the way, I heard about Automatix and thought I might like to give that a whirl.  And with that quest, I was plunging deeper into the land of the uber geeks.  For it was here that I began doing stuff with the (GASP!) Command Line.

Or at least that was my intent.  This foray was not without its adventures and frustrations.  The Automatix website was forever unavailable.  And then, using whatever voodoo mojo commands that I happened to copy and paste, I managed to get the thing installed.  At least to where it was in my K menu, which is better than I thought I would do.  However, I still get the ubiquitous “some keys could not be installed, try again later.”  I try again later and the same thing happens.  So much for that thing.

I’m eventually packing this machine up and toting it home to further test it out and possibly see what it does with a modem and a game or two.

But I’m back in the game for the time being.  We’ll see how long it lasts.




  1. Random item of curiosity – do you mind the command line when it is explained what/why the command does/works?

    Taking, for example, my post on:

    What would you do to make it more understandable?

  2. You’re clearly joking. Or out of your mind! The command line makes no sense to the average windows/Mac user. That would be pretty much anyone who is not a Unix person. Which would be most people.

    I looked at that example post and my eyes quickly glazed over. And this is someone who did fiddle with DOS in an earlier life. There’s a reason why I don’t do programming: because I don’t like having to worry about why or how stuff works!

    That’s not to say I don’t like learning about how stuff works. I do like fiddling with stuff. But I don’t like having to *worry* about it when I’m actually trying to get something accomplished. And this is why Linux remains a hobby rather than a serious working OS.

    If I can cut and paste the command line and the thing works I’m okay with it, but why can’t I just click somewhere to accomplish the same thing?

    The love of the command line is what will relegate Linux to geek-a-zoids only. That’s okay, but don’t then grouse about the lack of vendor and sdeveloper support.

  3. And the irony of it all is that [there’s a point at the end]:

    a) There are too many knobs and such for any GUI to work.

    b) The command line is just a way to be able to turn those knobs without creating a mindfuck of a situation.

    [Have you ever tried building a kernel with xconfig? Just cause it’s a GUI doesn’t mean anything – straight editting the config file, or using the text-mode ncurses program is vastly superior.]

    c) And the only reason we need all those knobs is because the vendors don’t support linux.

    [In my case, the Intel High-Def Audio, has 1001 various variants. Supporting the Intel one is easy – Intel released the specs. Supporting the 1000 other variants, that’s more complex, and requires knobs unless each of those 1000 other variants release how they changed things.]

    —-> So the irony is that you say things are difficult because geeks are obsessed with the command line, but they are obsessed with the command line because it’s the easiest way!


    It’s not fucking programming, it just enterring some lines of text. You use a KEYBOARD to do it, instead of a MOUSE. Where the hell do you see any logic control statements in there? For heavens sake, the command line IS NOT programming. And I don’t give a flying fuck if all neophytes would think it is, you know better.

    And you don’t have to worry about it, all you need is enough passing knowledge to survive! You say you’re trying to just “get something accomplished,” well what? If you get the base working what else needs the command line? And if getting the base working is the problem, man up and realize you don’t want to learn anything, you want someone else to handle everything for you. So go do what everyone else does, and get a technitian in.

    P.S. Nobody LIKES having to worry about how or why stuff works. But we all need to a little bit – want to use a cell phone? You learn that if the batteries die you need to charge it. You learn they don’t work with standard batteries. You learn that the lithium ion battery will explode if overheated. You learn that EM waves are influenced by the topography of the terrain. You learn that cell towers need to be near. You learn that cell towers have a 1:1 link with phones. You learn…
    Well, you want to use Ubuntu, you don’t need to learn that the system forks from a single init process. That the MBR can only hold a small program, so grub stage-boots. That Ubuntu uses a slightly BSD init. That X11 uses TCP sockets over a loopback address. That… It’s really amazing how LITTLE you need to learn to use Linux.

    The only thing I can think of that Linux needs you to learn is: “To do A, I require B.” Or, to listen to mp3’s I require gstreamer0.10-mad. To watch movies I require win32codecs and totem-xine. To install software I require Synaptic. To get those export-restricted softwares, I need to tell Synaptic about some alternate download places. Is that different from any other computer out there?

  4. Ha! This proves the point. Basically you know what you’re doing and know it so well that you get exasperated with those of us who don’t.

    Much of this is my own fault for wading in over my head with trying to get WINE to work. At the present time, it requires more voodoo than I know to get it to work. Some of *that* work is an attempt to get a touch screen and Intellikeys to work.

    I need to put a fresh post up here, since I have found something that Linux does exceedingly well.


  5. I get exasperated with people who call things by the wrong name when they know better. Hell, my Aunt, who calls me up every damn day to ask how to TURN OFF HER COMPUTER [really!] found Linux (Kubuntu and Puppy, both) easier than Windows! She just wanted to be able to run the latest Dragon NaturallySpeaking, so she went back to Windows. But at least she knows NOT to call things she doesn’t understand by the wrong name!

    And, yes, most of this is your fault for trying WINE. That’s a complicated task (for extremely obvious reasons), and one that if you really need WINE, you buy and install Crossover Office who make things easy. As long as it’s one of their official supported programs [the irony of it].

    As for touch screens, I can see that being a problem. But again, this is a hardware configuration, one at the base level. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty or learn anything get a technitian.

    If you don’t consider it a base level config worthy of a technitian, realize that a touch screen is an edge case – most uses don’t have them. On top of that, the manufacturer doesn’t support Linux. That makes it a corner case. You will have to learn something. Them’s the breaks. Voodoo magic be damned, get out the doll and start poking at it until you’ve mastered accupunture! [sure, it’ll be hard. Accupunture has nothing to do with voodoo dolls.]

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