Linked by John Collins on Wed 4th Jun 2003 15:23 UTC
Red Hat There seem to be many reviews on Red Hat 9.0, but all seem to be written by Linux junkies who really know their stuff. What about the MS Windows Convert? They say people like the first thing they use (i.e. if you learn to drive a manual transmission, you prefer it over automatic). If this is true, how does Red Hat 9.0 introduce a novice pc user to the world of computers? I hope to answer some of those questions in this tiny review.
Order by: Score:
Kill the redhat auto updater!
by Brian on Wed 4th Jun 2003 15:37 UTC

Sadly this item is something Redhat MUST fix. They wrote it in python and it sucks in excess of 40MB while running. Add that in plus all the KDE bloat already there, and well, I wonder if RedHat9 isn't surpassing the M$ bloat.

installation isn't the problem
by steve on Wed 4th Jun 2003 15:41 UTC

This sentiment might have been expressed before. Installation isn't the problem with linux. Some distros make it ugly, some make it beautiful. All of the ones I have seen make it pretty much a matter of clicking next a few dozen times and waiting, unless you want to do something tricky like a dual boot system.

The hard part is installing applications that require anything other than what comes with the default distro.

Good review but...
by Jeff on Wed 4th Jun 2003 15:46 UTC

It doesn't reflect RedHat IMHO

The problem with OpenOffice is surely due to a bad CD or a corrupt ISO.

After that, the updater long time is surely due to a slow FTP server. Or, if you have listed here the package to update, we can view if there is big package like KDE or Gnome...

And I agree RedHat must rewrite tha updater. And add urpmi too, or work on apt-get for RPM to integrate this in the distro

Re: Brian
by me on Wed 4th Jun 2003 15:48 UTC

Thank$ for your comment$ It$ hard to under$tand bloat $ometime$ i$n't it. Out of curi$ity, why do you $witch your S's and $'s

another install done.
by Michael on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:04 UTC

My linux experience is rather limited, but it just so happens that I just installed Red hat 9 last night… The one problem I had was the fact that it would have been helpful to have some idea as to what size to make the partitions. (No I didn’t RTFM either) I think this could have been made easier if the install was in a different order. First Choose your install type, then customize your specific packages to install, then use disk druid, and THEN have the install check to make sure that your partitions are large enough to support what you are asking it to do. Instead you now have to create partitions, customize your packages and when the install begins it checks to see if your partitions are large enough. Doing it in this order makes it a little late when you learn that one of your partitions is too small, because you can not go back to disk druid to change them. Your only option is to restart the entire install…

Other then that – So far, so good…

Downloading updates
by Jim Smith on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:10 UTC

More than likely, you were downloading KDE updates. They are pretty hefty. I'd like to see the file size you were downloading. Still on a T1 line it should be pretty quick.

I'd also recommend apt for RPM.

Ahh... I remember CTRL-ALT-DEL
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:11 UTC

That takes me back...

Anyway... some helpful keyboard shortcuts that come default with Redhat9 and KDE...

CTRL-ESC yeilds similar a similar function to the CTR-ALT-DEL "functionality" of Win2k.

CTRL-ALT-ESC is better yet... kill that window! This function pops up a skull and crossbones cursor that you can move anywhere over the offending application's window and with one click, it's gone. Very nice.

There are lot's more keyboard shortcuts to be found on KDE. Just check out the KDE "Control Center" and look in the "Regional & Accessibility" section. There is a "Keyboard Shortcuts section there where you can view and customize shortcuts to your liking.

Of course it never hurts to read the Help files in the KDE Help Center either ;-)

Hope this helps.

Reason for $, s switch
by Shatai on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:11 UTC

They are immature fools who believe that using '$' in place of 's' in spelling Microsoft will give them at least a little bit of acceptance in the Linux crowd (one consisting majorly of zealous children, the true intellectuals tend to pipe down).

I've had similar errors
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:11 UTC

When i put Redhat 8.0 on my laptop, it took me at least 8 attempts before it would install correctly.

Seems to be either a problem with IDE drivers, the hardware in the laptop, out of memory errors or something, but the installer would seem to bail out, often on the same package.

The CDs had no errors, as it is now installed and running well.

The lack of the ability to simply continue a partial install, or a reliable way to skip a package is pretty poor. Error recovery is one area that most distros installers are rather poor in.

Interesting problem
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:12 UTC

Hmm. I've installed two copies of RedHat 9 so far, and neither caused problems with OpenOffice. My guess is that you got a bad disk. As for the error message, I must say I prefer the Linux ones. In the face of an I/O error, Windows gives you a bluescreen with some generic "Stop" message, and a hex dump. This error screen proves to be utterly useless to the advanced user (no info in the message, the hex dump doesn't help unless you have are familier with the source code, and there is no kernel debugger) and at the same time be frightening to the newbie (hex-dumps are *not* friendly). As for the update, I must say I hate RedHat 9's updater as well. Never had the patience to wait for it to go all the way through. It should by Python's fault (many more complex apps than an auto-updater have been written in Python, like Zope), though. Of course, Windws Update isn't exactly that great either. I just Windows updated one of my machines today, and I had to sit through a couple of "exlusive" updates (ones that must be installed individually) and several reboots. My Gentoo updates may take hours to compile, but only take 10 seconds (literally) of my personal time.

Red Hat ok? How about debian?
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:18 UTC

Interesting. it's good to see how windows user managed to get through linux installation. Next, i'd like to see how this fellow is succeeding with debian or gentoo :-)

installation isn't the problem
by Chris on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:22 UTC

A gift from the Debian camp is that someone took the Debian package manager and converted it to work with RPMs.

Check out this site:

apt-rpm is beginning to gain a lot of popularity among people who use RPM based distros. It isn't perfect, but its a huge step forward toward simplifying life.

There is a GUI frontend for apt called "Synaptic."

One of the best things about Linux is that you can often take what is best from all different Distros and make then work for you.

Its a big world out there.

Um, no
by jtkooch on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:22 UTC

I hope most people who come across this acrticle realize that it's a troll, and the author intentionally painted Linux in a poor light.

First, if you had really scanned all the CD's, you would not have gotten the copy problem with Open Office UNLESS the problem was not with the source, but with the destination. In other words, your hardrive was having issues. Switching to the console would have given you a very technical, but easily interpreted error.

Second, you chose 250MB of SWAP. YOU chose it, not the installer. Which implies you went to a custom disk partitioning scheme rather than allowing the installer to do it for you. This implies two things: 1) You know more than you are letting on, and 2) You were handicapping Linux from the start with a paltry amount of SWAP.

Third, while no software is flawless, 20 minutes into the software update you should have known there was a problem and restarted it. Also, the RH update software does time out if nothing is happening, so maybe it was working, but you don't know how much bandwidth you really have (the RH network has mechanisms built in to preserve bandwidth, not the least of which is keeping those out with only demo accounts.).

Sigh, if you're going to troll, atleast make a good go if it.

Re: another install done
by sympose on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:23 UTC

"The one problem I had was the fact that it would have been helpful to have some idea as to what size to make the partitions. (No I didn’t RTFM either)"

Am I ever with you on that one. This should be prominent information and yet hardly any of the distros list it in their requirements even. Good info to have when you don't have a 100 GB disk. And does anyone have the *time* to read the flipping manual? Really. I sleep enough.

RE: Um, no
by John Collins on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:32 UTC

Actually, I'm mostly impressed with linux. I said I was an experienced Windows user, and that's true. But I'm not an experienced Linux user. I know how to setup partitions, and I knew that linux required a swap partition. That's about it.

It's completely possible I had a hardware error regarding the Open Office thing. My gripe was more with the error messages presented then the fact I received an error.

And that was the first time I'd ever run the RH update. I had no idea how long it was supposed to take. I'd never updated anything on linux before, or even installed an application. I had no clue.

I may try another linux distribution later, but only after I'm done playing around with RH 9.0. My favorite part thus far - the nifty screensavers. ;)

Very good for a Windoze user. Now why not give Ecommstation by Serenity Systems a weekend test drive. You may not want to go back to your Windoze desktop.

by John Collins on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:33 UTC

250 MB of ANYTHING is considered PALTRY? Geez. I really do know less than I thought...

"MS Windows Convert"
by wiggly-wiggly on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:34 UTC

Hardly the average MS Windows Convert. For example, he has the following experience (although not much) in:

Linux (since Kernel 2.0)

re: Chris - Debian package manager
by pi on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:38 UTC

Chris is right. Apt-get for Redhat is GREAT. The main thing that it does it have packages that Redhat doesn't provide. You can upgrade the base media player to do mp3 playback (something RH doesn't do by default) and provides a TON of other software...

re: apt-get for red hat
by sympose on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:50 UTC

A good source for implementation of apt-get and more:

by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:51 UTC

And does anyone have the *time* to read the flipping manual? >>>>>>>>>>>>
I'd honestly hate to see what kind of shape your car is in...

this "Installation Experience" is bad
by SteveB on Wed 4th Jun 2003 16:52 UTC

sorry to write that. but this article is very bad written. it has absolute no real content and value. what is the point of this article?

somehow i have the feeling, no matter how easy linux is getting, ppl always complain.

give them something wich is just copying a image to their hard disc (something like lindows) and they complain about the apps wich are not installed.

give them something so easy like suse, mandrake, redhat.... and they find some stupid stuff to complain about. (if you realy want to break something, then you can break it. no matter if windows, linux, os x, bsd, bla bla bla... every os can be fooled)

or give them something where they have full controll (gentoo, sorcerer, sourcemage, lunar, rock, etc) and they start complain about long compile time, cryptic things there and there...

or give them something wich boots up from a livecd and does not need a installation (knoppix, demo linux, etc) and they will find another reason to complain.

i can give you all just 2 advices:

advice 1)
you are serious about using one linux distro:
install the thing and use it. and if you find errors or something you don't like, then post/write/whatever a message/mail/whatever to the developer and tell him/her what you want changed. or change it yourself and submit the changes you made to them.

advice 2)
if you don't want to invest time in your os (wich is absolutly okay):
a computer is not a toy. if you see your computer as a tool wich enables you to do some things faster and better, compared to a manual task. then get something wich is easy as 1-2-3. get mac os x or windows and be happy with it.

why the hell is everyone trying to be a specialist in the it area? it is amazing me.
if i go to a big shop mall and go there to by a magazine, you see 10'000 magazines about computers and 10'000 magazines about finantial stuff. and those 2 areas are exactly the areas where everyone thinks he is the best of the best and understands everything.
after work, siting in a train back to home, you will NEVER ever hear some brokers, insurance workers, etc talk about a very difficult heart operation or about how to produce cheep enery or how to make a new drug or etc.
but you hear all the time stuff about computers. and all of them are experts! so i must be a idiot! i spend serval years in education about it technology and that kind of things! i am stupid! why did i wasted my time! gee... give me a break!

if you are a user you are a user! point!
if you want to be able to install and switch from one os to the other and know the deepest of the deepest inside a computer: sit down and invest time. and start to become a system admin, developer or something like this. but don't expect as a user to be able to do everything with a computer!

as a car driver you are not changing your motor engine and you are not changing the color of your car and all that kind of things! you go to a specialist to do that!
why do you expect a computer (wich is in some way much more complex then a car) to be any diffrend?



RE: SteveB
by John Collins on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:05 UTC

Allow me to expound upon my "background"....

I've been a computer tech for 5 years, Windows and Mac. I can write code in about 6 or 7 different languages and can do graphic design/website creation. But I know Windows and Mac.

I'm a "USER" when it comes to Linux. I never said I was a computer idiot or a computer genius. What I *did* say is that some simple things could be avoided in RH 9.0 to make the novice Linux (former Windows) user more comfortable with the installation process.

I don't expect anything. What this article is about is the pitfalls experienced when a Windows user installed Linux and how the Windows user is going to deal with them.

I know more than most about Windows. I never said I was a novice Windows/pc user. I said I was experienced. That doesn't mean I can't evaluate an OS I'm installing, and see what makes it more difficult for the average linux newbie (which I consider myself).

The point of the article? There are some things RH 9.0 still needs to do before a Windows user is going to feel relatively comfortable switching.

I'm a 20 year UNIX SysAdmin that has installed a number Linux systems over the years. Each year the state of the art gets better and it's /almost/ ready for the proverbial "Granny" user.

I mostly agree with the original poster's comments. My experience was slightly different.

The platform : Compaq Presario 4504 48MB, 2GB diskdrive, DEC NIC.
The distro : from ISO, CD's burned and validated.

The short story : it took 4 attempts to get a working installation. The first 2 failed due to lack of space, even though I allowed the Anaconda installer to autopartition the disk (/boot, /swap, /). The 3rd attempt had enough space but Anaconda crashed 7/8's of the way through package installation, leaving the system unusable.
The 4th attempt I installed a "Minimal" system, basically a firewall, dns server, printing and mail.

The installer correctly detected and configured the graphics card and monitor for X on the first attempts- this is a first for /any/ Linux installation I've done on this system.

The NIC wasn't autodetected but, after an hour of searching through the RH9 docs, I finally found all the bits that allowed my to configure the modules.conf and network-scripts properly. This is the first time I've ever gotten this particular system on the network under Linux.

My thoughts on the process are, in no particular order :

Points for getting the X autoconfiguration right.
Points for getting the NIC driver working.
I like the idea of "packaging" the installation by target use.

The installer should know the package sizes and be able to /quickly/ determine disk space requirements. Partitioning should done after package selection. The authors might gain useful insights by installing the latest versions of Solaris, HP/UX or Tru64 UNIX.

Error handling needs to be improved in Anaconda.

The documentation is almost silent on configuring hardware that isn't autodetected at boot/install time. System management and configuration documentation is heavily slanted towards the GUI tools. This leaves the user/admin completely vulnerable in diagnosing and resolving system problems that preclude the use of the GUI or on server systems with no graphics head.

re: Egads!
by sympose on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:09 UTC

"I'd honestly hate to see what kind of shape your car is in..."

You're not alone. In hating to see the shape my car is in, that is. My neighbours are plotting to destroy it.

Computers work fine though.

I had major problems with RH 9 myself
by Jack on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:09 UTC

I bought a Red Hat Network subscription naively, so I could download the Red Hat 9 ISOs when they were first released, before they were put on FTP servers. I downloaded and burned the ISOs on CDs without a problem. When I began installing Red Hat 9, as soon as the installer kicked into X, I would get no video signal. This is due to a X 4.3.0 and nVidia drivers bug. So I was told to try installing it in text mode. So I did... except as soon as it was finished partitioning my hard drive, Anaconda crashed and told me I had to reboot my computer.

After that, I said "Screw this, and screw Red Hat." I re-formated my hard drive, re-installed Windows 2000, and canceled my Red Hat Network subscription. Too bad I was out $60.

I've been using Linux (Debian, Slackware, Mandrake, Red Hat) for 3 years now, and Windows for the 10 years before that. The truth of the matter is that the "average" computer user still can't even install Windows, much less Linux. They use whatever came on their computer (Windows) and if something goes wrong, they go for the System Restore function, or the System Restore CD.

So, given the way things really are, it appears that Windows isn't exactly really for prime time, either. The truth of the matter is that most computer users are too lazy to learn about any OS.

RH Network & conclusion
by Ced on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:17 UTC

There's something I don't get about the RedHat Network troubles.

Which RedHat Network offerings did he apply to? Basic, Enterprise, Demo ? I wouldn't be surprised the free offering (demo) only provides a restricted shared bandwidth that would make downloads very slow.

More generally speaking, there's a big problem with the conclusion of the review. As I read it, he only got 2 major troubles; the OpenOffice install bug and the RH network speed. That's two RedHat specific bugs, so the conclusion should not claim that "Linux" is not ready for desktop world, but rather that "RedHat Linux 9" is still perfectible.

What I think...
by Maynard on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:18 UTC that rpm needs to be modified to enable incremental updates. I am sure there is a lot of redundancy in downloading entire packages for upgrading.

And also that Redhat needs to arrange their updates in RHN so that a user can choose between system packages and other packages. Stuff like KDE should not be made available for normal updates. Its too big for that. As a rule, 20MB of updates should be pushing it already. 250MB should be unhear of. I am supposed to have a fast connection but am in Africa here, and that makes things particularly slow. Add the fact that it downloads one package at a time, things become unbearably slow.

Main point is, make rpm good for incremental updates, or make a new format that handles incremental updates which is also rpm compatible. 99% of the stuff we download we already have.

by Nautilus on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:23 UTC

I remember Bill Gates saying that the "real usable" pc isn't here for the coming 15 years. And with "real usable", he probably means a totally self healing pc, with no weird error messages.

I haven't tried redhat lately, since I'm currently hooked on Gentoo. I have a political love for choice, and gentoo represents choice imo. If the windows users would known what choice was, we shouldn't have to tell them about linux. But the words: PC and Windows currently walk hand in hand, unfortunatly ;) .


re: I had major problems with RH 9 myself
by sympose on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:27 UTC

"After that, I said "Screw this, and screw Red Hat." I re-formated my hard drive, re- installed Windows 2000, and canceled my Red Hat Network subscription. Too bad I was out $60."

The hat has chosen, Jack. You are Slytherin. :-)

regarding this review -
by dave clark on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:27 UTC

Interesting review - right on the mark. It's refreshing to see someone look at a linux desktop product as a "fresh" windows convert would.

Basically, (this may be oversimplified) a user want to

a) surf the web
b) set up their email
c) set up their dial-up account - if on cable...dhcp is pretty straightforward so they shouldn't notice any issues.
d) INSTANT MESSAGE - whether they use Kopete, gAIM, or Kit the user wants to instant message - they especially want to CAM conference as well. Just like they do in yahoo messenger and msn messenger - they will be disappointed when they find out that in most cases they'll not be able to cam with their yahoo, kopete and kit open-source counterparts. THIS IS A KILLER. You're welcome to try to convince them to using I've used it and liked it. But good luck trying to get someone to convince their msn buddies to convert to it...anyways....
e) Finally, IMHO, users want to be able to not get a migraine when installing software. I'm a debian user all the way and I've turned a lot of folks onto the apt-get way of doing things. I love it. Should people be able to unpack a tarball, probably, should we expect they ever learn it ? (ABSOLUTELY NOT), and they shouldn't have to.

By a fantastically huge margin, Knoppix has been the most user-friendly distro I've seen that a windows convert would take to. It's great. These live-eval cd's coming from the major distros are also the right direction. This is truly the best way to expose linux to the masses. You may not care personally whether the masses use linux or not. I personally do.

good day-

Dave Clark

re: Linux will always be high end users
by varmint on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:29 UTC

Linux will always be hard to use for people who don't know how to use it. I would never expect my mother, who still asks me how to double space in word, to be able to use Linux.

I have even had trouble getting into linux. I had upgraded my video card to an ati 7500 back when RedHat was 7.2, and I didn't know how to get KDE or Gnome to come up. Due to the fact that Xfree86 wasn't up-to-date with the video drivers, I wouldn't. But I waited, and when RedHat came out with 7.3, it had the drivers for my card for installation. With it booting right to gnome, I did not look back. Sure, I dual boot, because I still like to game and windows is best for that. That is the only thing I think Windows is good for, games.

With the long download, must have been a new release of one of the packages that you were downloading, RedHat gets congested at times, especially new releases, along with a big download of 30 some packages. But what I like about Linux, Kernel updates. And Linux gets them every week to every month. And the Updater might have stayed in your window asking for a reboot, might have done a Kernel update.

I have had install errors, and most times a reboot and retry works, something I don't know how to explain but I have also had that problem loading X.2 on my mac. Yellow Dog on my mac too since I like Linux so much.

Why don't you try Mandrake, I think their install is easier, and you get some different things that RedHat doesn't have. You don't need just one Linux "flavor" to ruin your day, try another if you don't like the first.

Oh yeah, Bluecurve, or the RedHat's GNOME is the default install for Redhat, not KDE.

To finish, Linux is not ready for the normal user who will install it, but is getting close for the normal user to use, just not my mother (56 year old english teacher).

Been there!
by Chris D.Emery on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:36 UTC

Did this install myself 4 weeks ago

I used a genuine RedHat disk set bought at a local PCWorld ( British computer superstore chain ) and had no issues with file copying during the install - in fact it was markedly easier than any Windows install, and I've installed every version of Windows since 3.0 in both the NT-based and the DOS-based series.

Perhaps this is just evolution, and the next version of Windows will install as sweetly....... I hope so.

Crashy applications ( redhat network was PARTICULARLY bad at this ) and misconfigured stuff ( sound only worked from some apps, I have 2 mice ( rollerball and radio mouse ) and attempting to use both at once crashed X every single time.

Trying to add the 2nd, undetected, mouse, also crashed the system with monotonous regularity.

Still got some way to go, Linux. I'm back on Win2K

Further to the above....
by Chris D.Emery on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:37 UTC

.....RH9 is still the best experience I've had with Linux. I DID manage a week without Windows without excess pain. I used several earlier distros ( SuSE 7.x, Mandrake 8.0, 8.1 ) and none came close to the quality of the stuff that did work in RH9

Can't install any *nix OS
by Walt on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:41 UTC

I've tried to install various Linux distros and FreeBSD and all of them crash during the initial kernel boot. I think it could be my chipset. I have a Super Socket 7 with Aladdin 5 (1543) chipset. I poked around the 'Net and there are a few postings regarding this issue, but I cannot seem to get these distros to even boot.

However, all versions of Windows from 95 to XP work perfectly.

Does anyone out there have any experience with this issue?

My motherboard is a BCM VP1543 socket 7 with an AMD K6-2 350 w/128 MB of RAM. ATI Rage Pro AGP video and a Vortex 1 sound card.


"Perhaps I'm giving Linux a somewhat unfair review..."
Thats a accurate statement because you where reviewing Red Hat, not Linux.
I'd be interested to see how you faired with a distribution geared more specifically for desktop users, like Mandrake. While its not perfect (I don't believe any Linux distro is, yet) I've never had any of the troubles you mentioned in this article and on more then one occasion I've been a little taken by surprize by just how good some of it works.
New users shouldn't install Red Hat any more then they should have installed Windows NT.

by steve on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:45 UTC

Everytime anyone mentions installing applications in linux there is undoubtedly a comment along the lines of, "Use apt-get. Its super", usually followed by, "and install the synaptic front end". I've used apt in debian and I currently use the apt4rpm port to SuSE. It's good, but I would hardly say spectacular. I would say the results I have seen with it are slightly below those of using rpmfind or rpmseek. It solves dependency problems about 95% of the time. On monday I performed an apt-get upgrade which put in some non-standard truetype fonts that caused
a) kde to look terrible
b) an error message to popup when I opened a terminal.
I use terminal a lot. I saw many error messages before fixing this by reinstalling the default KDE rpms that came with my distro. My comments here might be biased by having an "upgrade" make my computer's performance noticeably poorer. I will say that my usual process for installing applications is to do an apt-cache search for it, and install if the results look good. If that doesn't work I usually fall back to source.

by Quag7 on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:54 UTC

Whatever the situation, there should never be a situation where you cannot abort out of something. That's just nasty design.

I don't know, I think this was a fair enough review. I always tell people that if they want to run Linux, there's a chance that the install will go perfectly but probably they're going to have to invest some time, and be ready to troubleshoot. Between Mandrake, Debian, and Gentoo, and FreeBSD, no installation has ever gone perfectly, beginning-to-end. There's no substitute for familiarity and experience; knowing where things are in the OS and so forth. I think sometimes experienced Linux users forget that.

The difference is, I was interested enough to stick with it. Not everyone is going to be. The proper response to experiences like the one descibed by the author is either, fix it so Windows users aren't turned off, or just make clear you're not interested in courting Windows users. The idea that you're going to get people interested in reading pages and pages of documentation is kind of absurd.

I read docs. People who say this read docs. That's fine, we're into computers. Not everyone's that into computers. I still find that almost all of my Windows 2000 installations have been more hassle free than any Linux distro I've tried; people say that they've had just as difficult experiences with Windows, and maybe so, but I never have - I've worked tech support on phones doing Windows support, internal helpdesk, and the local geek who everyone calls for help. In most cases where I've had to reinstall, it's been a brainless experience with Windows. If I need the drivers, I know they're going to be out on the web. Can't say the same for Linux.

I just think the hassle is worth it,. for me, for Linux. I think the difficulty of Linux is overstated - it looks way more complicated than it is when you've never used it, but I certainly find it's generally more difficult than Windows. Even in the cases where installers are designed similarly (like Mandrake), they seem less reliable. Could just be my experience.

by dangermaus on Wed 4th Jun 2003 17:56 UTC

I wish someone would have thier parents, (brother, sister, grandmother, anyone with *no* Linux experience, etc...) install a Linux variant and take notes on the progress without offering assistance. I don't consider this a valid Windows "convert" article, since the author had previous experience with Linux and OSX and didn't mention that he isn't using Windows anymore, which doesn't make him a "convert". I feel that even though the author's experience is minimal, he *did* have previous experience with Linux and therefore probably had a bias towards or away from using Linux.

Hell, if I can talk my mom into installing redhat on her machine, I'll write the article.

RE: frustrating.
by fux0r on Wed 4th Jun 2003 18:23 UTC

Well, I don't think your brother, sister or grandmother can install Windows, can they?

Always the same...
by marc on Wed 4th Jun 2003 18:24 UTC

I always see the same problem: Linux not ready for the desktop!
-Well, in fact it is, but not having allot of commercial apps and giving the UNIX legacy makes it harder for the average Windows user to understand diferent concepts. I like Linux, and in fact I can get my work done with it, even far better than with Windows. It has its issues, and the another major problem is the different Linux distros who make each and apply diferent patches or make modifications to programs, and the end result is incopatibility. But in the end all this will be fixed. I use Mandrake 9.1 right now (gone away for a while from Slackware). Wish you all best luck, and don't be discouraged by Linux, because it is great for work, office, and programming, especialy that everyone gets great dev tools for free, and they help learn.

by AdamW on Wed 4th Jun 2003 18:25 UTC

"apt-rpm is beginning to gain a lot of popularity among people who use RPM based distros."

Well, mainly just Red Hat. I haven't seen a SuSE version, and there's no need for it on Mandrake.

re: re: frustrating
by dangermaus on Wed 4th Jun 2003 18:44 UTC

hehe, nice try, but that's my point.

RE: Always the same...
by Michael on Wed 4th Jun 2003 18:52 UTC

"I always see the same problem: Linux not ready for the desktop! -Well, in fact it is, but not having allot of commercial apps and giving the UNIX legacy makes it harder for the average Windows user to understand different concepts."

You almost had me there.
I also think that Linux is ready for the desktop, but I am tired of their argument that there are not enough apps. That really is so true as it was some years ago. There might be a few Windows programs out there that you can't find an alternative for, but that list has been growing very short. It is true that some of those alternatives create work files that are not compatible with windows software and then it is hard to share your files with a windows users and *that* might be your reason, but it only creates a vicious cycle. Maybe your Widows counterpart is waiting to try Linux after you do so that your files will be compatible with them?

If someone wants M$ Windoze like Linux distribution, the best way is to get one copy of XP, if u want a real Linux distribution, simply goto and get the latest Debian. Debian is the only one Linux distribution that cover security, easy to use and maintain package managment system, and have pre-built optimized packages for over 10 differnt archs like x86, ia-64, Alpha, Sparc etc.

RPM will be nver usefull as DPKG, and never ever can make RH, MDK or whatever RH based distro, simple, stable, secure and easy to use, for any level users or admins.

To RH fans, the better way to see the difference between DPK and RPM is to try Debian, Libranet, Xandros or Lindows


I'm glad to read you're still tinkering with RH9, and haven't given up to reinstall windows like in the past. I found that RH9 is really close to 'Mom-Ready', in my books, and provides most of the other qualities for which I'm looking right now before I switch over to linux. I think that I may be the last to actually run linux on the desktop, which is ironic because I'm the guy who works on linux all day and I only use windows as a stable ssh/moz/mp3 platform. Silly me.

We found that most of the installer issues, especially those that gripe about mounting and unmounting, are really low-memory issues. I'm serious. UnitedLinux, which is really SuSE's linux-like product with a name change, requires a boatload of RAM, for instance. I chant the "Linux works on older hardware" mantra myself, but it seems I can't get this 20Mb laptop moved from win98 to any more recent OS - and Linux SHOULD be the obvious choice here. RH9 has a nifty profile for really small installs, and I'm hoping that may help, but I think the non-intuitive errors occuring in low RAM situations, as well as the recent demand for lots of RAM for the shiny GUI installers (AND their text equivalents, for no reason), is a serious problem for me .. and it may have affected you in your install.

Two new policies in really concern me. Since my day-to-day (well-paid) work shows that the market for the super-stable RH62 is very much alive, I'm concerned about's newest plan to support only a year worth of any of their distro versions that actually get any updates. One seems to now need to choose between Rarely Updated and having to upgrade the entire distro every year. This is NOT acceptable for any markets in which RH is being used extensively, and forces me, a lazy user who manages a series of Soho samba/http/firewall/imap/ldap/smtp boxes, to consier moving all my boxes to another distro that offers both a longer support window and updates as frequently as pre-9 RH offers.

Secondly, the idea that RH will offer nothing but dot-zero releases suggests that they really are not concerned with letting any of their distros 'cook' to the tasty pefection as was allowed with RH52, RH62 and RH73.'s dot-zero releases are avoided for a reason, and it's the same reason that RH's terminal minor-releases are so popular: because the terminal minor releases been tested in the field and FIXED to the point where they can be relied upon. We NEED RH 8.2 or RH 9.2 as a well-cooked platform on which we can actually install something mission-critical.

Don't you dare ask one of my SoHo clients to pay a kilobuck for the Advanced offering. They'll toss another distro back in my face, one that still uses minor-releases, or ask me about regular kilobuck Unix instead. (Who does Unix on Intel with any kind of clue? Thanks RH, you may push my SoHos to SCO. Did Ransom Love put you up to this cruel no-minor-releases joke?) The problem is, SoHos are where it's at right now.

While you may think I'm bashing RH, don't assume that. I've looked at all the major Linux distros out there - including one that's so over-complicated with krud that it's now incompatible and I refer to it as 'Linux-Like' - and can only conclude that RH is still the king, still, this year. I'd list the differences, but nationalistic linux-like distros seems to have the most rabid supporters in their own blissfully ignorant countrymen. The short of it is, RH is about the least-worst there is, despite the problems I claim and forecast. Once PLD gets moving, or CL start making a distro of their own again <sniff>, or MDK stop arbitrarily renaming packages and making life difficult for package porters, it may be anyone's game again. I hope RH fixes the policy mistakes I've seen other companies make, but only so I don't have to reinstall my main development machines.

Stay with it. I'm sure it gets easier once the eerie similarities to windows are dismissed and one learns what is really a different way of thinking and working. Next, please try the new Ximian stuff on top of RH9, and tell me if it is as gorgeous as I want it to be in the hands of a windows user. Who knows? I may yet take the plunge myself, one day, install my one MS machine as Linux, and finally homogenize my office.


Your Problem
by XulChris on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:12 UTC

You failed to mention, that when you inserted the RedHat CD, it asked you to do a verification check on your CDs, which I'm sure you just blindly ignored and skipped. Then when one of your CDs had problems reading open office, you ignorantly blamed Redhat instead of your bad CDs. I am an experienced user, and I know from experience that you should always check your CDs before installing. Here is something you can think about. Back when I upgraded to Redhat 8.0, I myself skipped the CD check, and one of my CDs was bad 1/2 way through the install process. Fortunately, I was able to reboot back into my 1/2 redhat 7.3 - 1/2 redhat 8.0 system and reburn my bad CD. Try rebooting Windows after the install fails 1/2 through the install when upgrading to XP from 2k, your system would be hosed!

to right about the screensavers!
by Matt Newstead on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:13 UTC

yes, X matrix is cool

recently installed RH 8.0 from the SAMS teach yerself manual onto a 2nd user totally blank compaq deskpro (pII 233 mhz with 280 odd Mb RAM).... hehe - i had a lot of fun trying to get it to load up from either a boot floppy or the cd (getting kernel panic errors all over the shop- man - that made ME panic!) untill i tripped to compaq's pages and made a set of diagnostic floppies. Once i'd figured out i needed to diable translation on the HDD's, Bob was my uncle,and it installed fine, apart from my monitor wasn't listed and generic just made my screen go funny (opted for a more specific 600x400 res svga monitor in the end) - i chose the auto settings during partition setup, coz i have no idea whatsoever ;)

now it's all working lovely apart from a few gripes.
why do i have such a cluttered start menu thing when i click the red hat??
fair enough i loaded some kde apps, gnome apps aswell and use the gnome desktop (bluecurved of course) but when i have some audio players in my sound n vid menu (xmms for example), and then ANOTHER aound and vid menu hidden away in extra's or something, which has more players (like noatun)... well, it begs the question, why aren't all the similar apps under the same menu? ok, linux heads out there will tell me that i can reconfigure it all, but to a windows user it's all a little confusing and frustrating looking for an app in an obvious place for it not to be there.

anyway, it's not crashed on me yet, xmatrix is a superb screensaver and gnuchess on xboard is stonking!

all in all miles better than win 95 - i wonder what RH 9.0 is like


RE: dangermaus
by BR on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:15 UTC

Why not put out a request for experience out on usenet? There's quite a few people out there who's "switch" stories haven't been told (both corporate and individual). Makes for interesting reading.

by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:15 UTC

Yet Another Installation Review


another worthless review
by john on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:22 UTC

These light 'almost there' reviews are getting tedious.

One Good Point
by XulChris on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:25 UTC

I think the author makes one good point, that the Redhat installer should have a skip this package button if a package fails to load. The author should go to and make this suggestion to the redhat bugs page, becuase that is the PROPER way to get things fixed (not writing paltry reviews for osnews).

RE: this "Installation Experience" is bad
by George on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:25 UTC

SteveB I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately it seems that people who sit down on a computer for 5 mins to install a new operating system consider themselfs experts. Even worse they write reviews about it. I personaly thing the review or whatever this thing called, is bad, useless and there is no point reading it. Now the author claims that he is a tech for 5 years and he writes code on 7 languages, which proves the point that he is just a "jack of all trades and master of none." Author tech skills proven. I rest my case.

Install done, Now Work It!!
by Michael on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:29 UTC

...By the way, now that I have my trusty Linux box up and running, I am looking forward to putting it to the REAL test… Using it!! There are more then enough articles about installing Linux that give some opinion as to how easy or hard it was, but you don’t install your OS every day, (or maybe some people do) Lets get past the install and prove that this is a platform that can be put to work.

I already have several tasks that Ill be putting my new install to use for. For the TRUE windows converts, here are a few of them to give you some idea as to what Red Hat 9 (and any other Linux distro) should be able to do:

As an active member of the Lions Club, I need to be able to do the following kinds of stuff (and what I plan to use to do it with), If anyone else has suggestions on other software to use, please feel free to drop me a line.

Lions Club Tasks:
Website/IT development: Our site is PHP (specifically we use PHPWebsite) so simple ssh and vi will to the trick. But Ill also need to use Gimp to deal with graphics, and there are plenty of options for web browsing to test our site, and e-mail other club members.

Publicity: Once again Ill need to call on Gimp to help me out with the graphics, but then Ill need to call on OpenOffice Write and Present, to create flyers, newsletters, press releases, letters, presentations, and who knows what else! (This is a good place to offer any suggestions for a Linux replacement for MS Publisher)

Project Management: We have some very ambitions project this year and we will need to make sure that no one drops the ball, MrProject looks like it will be well suited for keeping us organized and on schedule.

And work too!
Ill also need to be able to complete job duties if I wish to stay employed. As an Oracle DBA, Ill need VPN client, Oracle client, telnet, ssh, some cool Oracle tools and access to e-mail. Yep, that is all available for Linux.

Does Lunux have the applications and stability to keep up with a user from day to day? Is all of these apps going to serve my needs? I guess Ill find out from this partial task list I have made from myself. That is what needs to be reviewed (many times over).

v How did that article make it here?
by anonymous coward on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:30 UTC
Most people can't and shouldn't install Windows either
by Bill on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:30 UTC

I've been doing desktop support for a long time now, and from my experience, I would have to say that most people shouldn't configure an OS much less install one. I enjoyed tweaking Windows, and when I felt I had learned as much as I could, I decided to try Linux. My first experience was with Red Hat 7.2, after much research on Linux. I had a good idea what I was getting myself into before the first cd slid into the drive.
By trial and error, here I am almost 2 years later, now running Mandrake 9.1, and fairly confident in my skills. I can do everything that I could and couldn't do in Windows. But it came at a price...that price was a lot of cursing and pulling my hair out. You will get nowhere if you are unwilling to read the documentation, and reinstall, reinstall, reinstall, until you get it right.
People shouldn't install Linux as a way to get back at Microsoft, that's not why it exists. It exists for the people who want to get their hands dirty, and learn about how an OS works. You can't do that in Windows.
As far as Linux on the desktop. It is ready. All of the applications are there to be productive. In fact it excels as a home OS (with the exception of off the shelf software, of course.) But, just like Windows it should be installed by someone with experience, and configured for the user.
Supporting Linux desktops is no harder than Windows and with the programs that are on the horizon, it's going to be even easier.
Enjoy your experiences. I am.

by wiretripps on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:31 UTC

Yezz what kind of person would miz represent hiz credentials to get an article published in osnews ?

A stinking goat homper thats who!

Just kidding, at least its better than getting involved
in office intrigue all day long.


Re: frustrating
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:35 UTC

I gave my dad a linux system (redhat 8), he had no linux experience.
I set it up as dual boot with his old familiar Windows, so he always had something to fall back on. I thaught him the basic stuff (took screenshots of certain applications, and wrote some comments on it). I transfered all his favorites to galeon, put a link in his home folder to his Windows documents, cleaned out the menus a little bit, transfered his e-mail contacts to Evolution, made his mp3 music available and put them in xmms,...

If someone is looking for a good idea for an opensource project: make an application that makes switching easier. (email contacts, bookmarks, documents, music, preferences,..)

He had no problem e-mailing with Evolution, surfing with Galeon, listening to music with Xmms. He was able to burn data cd's and music cd's. He recoreded music from the stereo, to later on burn it on cd. (it was one big long track tough, but still).

He liked the look, and he liked the feel. He liked the main menu better than the windows-start menu. The windows start menu groups the applications by company, and adds another level of indirection with the Programs menu. I noticed he didn't stuff his linux desktop with icons for all the applications, but used the menu instead, or the quicklaunch buttons on the gnome panel.

There were, and still are some problems:

It uses non-standard controls. There is a toolbar on the left, which can popup menus to reveal more controls. Openoffice is pretty much the only application that does that under Gnome and under the Windows environment he worked on. It was unintuitive and didn't know where to find specific controls.

Generally, Openoffice has a very bloated GUI (in menubar, preferences, controls,..), where MSWord is alot more cleaner.

The icons are not really great, and openoffice lacks integration with the desktop. (e-mail links that don't work as expected)
I'm looking forward to see what Ximian did to openoffice.

X11's copy/paste
My dad does the following on Windows: Search on Google for an image of a bird, mushroom, flower, whatever. He then right-clicks on the image, selects "Copy image". He switches to MS Word, and then does "Edit - Paste". This doesn't work on linux. X11 only support copying text apparently.

Font handling
My dad doesn't have great eyesight, so I wanted to set the fonts a little bit bigger. It was easy to do with a preference application in a Redhat menu. It only worked for GTK2 programs though. I had to write some .gtkrc file to modify the fonts of GTK1 programs. Evolution used another way to set the fonts of the message-pane. Openoffice also has other settings. XMMS was also too small. It has some sort of zoom option, but it looks ugly as hell.

The Gimp
It has some of the same GUI problems as OpenOffice. Non standard controls (right click to get the full menu), and was generally confusing (organisation of the menus). But then my dad doesn't have much experience with photo-editors in general like Photoshop.

A better and consistent printing panel for Gnome2, Gnome1 and Openoffice would be nice. Set quality of printing, reverse printing, ..

A lack of applications
A good alternative to Corel Draw is missing (he likes to mess arround in it), and a graphical application to create Websites. Openoffice can export to html files, but it lacks website management features. A good kazaa alternative would be nice too. Something better than gthumb to manage and edit scanned photos would be nice too, altough I was able to add some scripts to the nautilus script menu that used imagemagick to rotate and mirror any image. All those applications should be nicely integrated offcourse.

A lack of documentation
There is a serious lack of books that is geared toward normal desktop usage and it's applications. My dad has books on Windows, Office, Corel Draw,.. I just took some screenshots and put comments on them, but that isn't enough. I guess it is pretty hard to write documentation if you have a suse desktop, mandrake desktop, redhat desktop, lycoris, lindows,.. To top it off, it should be translated in the native language of the user :-)

Let's all pat the American on the back. He made a real effort and tried to learn something.

We can ignore the gripes and complaints. This is the normal sound track for the American learning process.

At least we don't need to wonder why all the tech jobs are being offshored from the US. There are people in other countries that actually like learning new things.

Whild old American companies used to embrace a "THINK" culture, the modern American company and culture is all about "STEAL".

So when an American tries to install something new, let us all give him or her a big Hurrah! They need the encouragement as their society and culture is anti-learning.

Redhat 8.0/9 updates/RPM installing
by Aaron on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:35 UTC

The reason with the locked up updates on Redhat are
a RPM 4.1/4.2 bug. Rpm dose not delete the _lock files after you
have used it.
Run this command in root before doing an update or installing
a big rpm e.g KDE, GNOME, WINE, KERNEL ect.

rm -f /var/lib/rpm/__db*

info on this command is at

Only run this if you know what you are doing <-:

Ahh... I remember CTRL-ALT-DEL
by JK on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:40 UTC

Does anyone else find that CTRL-ESC & CTRL-ALT-ESC sometimes simply don't work in Linux? I often find that I have to open a virtual console and use the CLI tools to kill apps. Especially when full screen apps such as games crash, or when something has made X unresponsive.

Also I find that alt+tab equivalents in KDE and GNOME don't work consistently. Full screen games and media players often don't allow me to switch to another app with the keyboard shortcuts. While in Windows I don't think alt+tab or the task manager have ever failed, even when apps are totally unresponsive.

These are fairly minor nitpicks compared with the main reasons why I don't use Linux. But they're part of the reason why I find even the latest Linux GUIs feel much less professional and elegant than Windows.

Re: Apt-Get
by Chris on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:52 UTC

I said, "a lot Of...." SuSi and Mandrake are not the only RPM based Distros. I also said, "It isn't perfect, but its a huge step forward toward simplifying life."

I might ad: "It isn't perfect, but its a huge step forward toward simplifying life."

I personally am just coming off the HBD* thing, and have switched to doing Debian with a minamal install, then upgrading the kernel to a more modern one, and then only installing the packages I actually use.

* = HUGELY over BLOATED DISTROS with everything you don't need and then some. (e.g. Red Hat, SuSi, Mandrake)

A minimum install can also be accomplished by simply doing a Morphix-Lite hdinstall, which gives you Debian with a modern kernel and X with IceWM. All for just under two-hundred meg.

At the command line type: apt-get install KDE

That gives you the latest KDE. It all went down without a hitch for me.

PS: I said apt was "not perfect." I have never tried a distribution upgrade with out a hitch, and why would you allow anything to take over and install anything you "didn't know was going to be installed. I suggest simply using apt to HELP you install only what you KNOW you want installed or upgraded. Also, always look at the packages it proposes to install and un-install. atp can bite you if your're not careful. USE COMMON SENSE read the man pages.

good luck, Chris

americans learning
by wiretripps on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:53 UTC

Yezz we prefer to blow things up

RE: Re: frustrating
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:57 UTC

I gave my dad a linux system (redhat 8), he had no linux experience.

To follow up on that, I set it all up for him. I didn't let him do the setup and configuration. He wouldn't be able to. He is not able to install and setup windows either. I didn't let him do system administration (installing programs, printers, ..) on linux. He doesn't do system adminstration on windows. I just don't believe he should be bothered with those sort of details. I setup and explain some stuff, he uses.

If you wonder about the current situation: He now uses windows 2000. He previously used Windows 98. His windows 98 setup got really unstable, and was infested by spyware and popups. That's why I first put Linux on his system, (but also for the experimental value of it offcourse). He liked the stability and the lack of popups on Linux. I liked it, because I much prefer administrating a linux box over a windows box. But my dad still had to use Windows 98 because of the disadvantages I discussed, which means crashes and confusing popups (even when not browsing)
So I eventually put a Windows 2000 system with Adaware, Antivirus, a popup blocker on it. It works great, but maybe one day I will again set up a dual boot, when Ximian Desktop 3 comes out :-)

by John Collins on Wed 4th Jun 2003 19:59 UTC

Isn't it amazing, what one little article can do? hehe.
I'll submit the "no skip" to the list.

what does everyone think about this:
Install 4 or 5 different distros using the latest everything on the same hardware (not at once). Then compare each and decide which seems to be the most "Switch Friendly" (not "user friendly" or "linux friendly", but "Windows->Linux Friendly").

Sound off.

ps. Jack of All Trades, show me 1 person who is master of all, especially in the tech world.

by Jay on Wed 4th Jun 2003 20:02 UTC

John, I don't understand your approach to this. I was quite like you in knowing Windows and Mac before Linux. You really do have to read the installation instructions...distros have different installers, etc. I can't imagine not taking the time to do that when I'm unsure. And now I've installed so many versions of Linux that I've lost count. But, I still read at least the installation instructions.

This is also true in the sense that you, as a newbie, were doing things you were not sure of (swap space, not letting Red Hat partition as a newbie would most likely do, etc.). This, unfortunately, pretty much negates your point, that Linux is more complicated to install. If you had just gone along with anaconda, let it partition, clicked on the choices it gave you, that is what a newbie should do. Red Hat 9 iss no harder to install than OSX or XP. It's just that you're in a different situation than you usually are - you're in foreign territory, so to speak.

As for the errors you got, that is hard to say, except downloaded iso's are more likely to have those kinds of problems than if you buy it from Red Hat or at a store.

Dependency Hell
by Egil on Wed 4th Jun 2003 20:19 UTC

I'm a regualr Windows-user and have just installed RedHat9. It is great, but the dependecies drives me mad. ./configure script cannot even detect X....

RE: Dependency Hell
by Chris on Wed 4th Jun 2003 20:28 UTC

Check out this site:

Off topic
by Err on Wed 4th Jun 2003 20:49 UTC


"I've tried to install various Linux distros and FreeBSD and all of them crash during the initial kernel boot. I think it could be my chipset. I have a Super Socket 7 with Aladdin 5 (1543) chipset. I poked around the 'Net and there are a few postings regarding this issue, but I cannot seem to get these distros to even boot."

It's the Ali 5 chipset, depending on version it has some serious screwups with everything from DMA to AGP. I have one myself on an older comp, complete with an opl3sa2 soundcard (Now there's a combination made in hell :>). Haven't tried installing a new Linux distro on that comp for a while because LFS is working fine, but it took a little effort to fix up the first time I did it. Ever wonder why the kernel has specific patches for that chipset? Well now you do :>.

Not much help I know, but sometimes it's nice not to be the only one who has had the problems.

The hardest part: partitioning
by nestordiaz on Wed 4th Jun 2003 20:56 UTC

Yes, I always think that is the hardest part: Partitioning the harddisk. Several point has to be taken into account like:
size, a swap, / only or / and /home, (I'm talking about a desktop installation)
Well, this "was" the hardest part, as mostly all distributions include the automatic partitioning. Why not choosing that option? because you may loose the windows partition (mandrake automatically resize the windows partition and installs in the rest).
To sum up, again, is partitioning the hardest part? no, it's hard if installing with windows.
Now, upside-down. You've got linux, and you want to install windows because you got a new job and need to use a tool not available in linux, let's say...and antivirus (okay okay there are antivirus for linux but they are for checking windows networks).
You put in the XP cd, and fill in with the information required, number, name, and so on. Then you choose the programs (packages?), users, etc And after that there is an interminable amount of time to copy the stuff of the cd to the harddisk. Wait, wait, wait, where is the partition step? there is no partition step. windows and only windows may live in you pc, for your joy and productivity. Okay, let's finnish with this. No, there is no end because the installation is trying to find all the pnp devices. And after a reboot the installation haven't finished yet, is still looking for devices, you may think the computer is locked. And after the next reboot, good one, there are still devices not recognised that need the manufacturers cd.
I don't know what is harder, if converting to linux or converting to windows. I wonder what will happen with next generations of children that will learn with Linux and later on may need to use Windows for proffesional purposes.

You hold that much hatred towards us? Man, you need to get a life. I'm proud to be an american. I don't lie, cheat, or steal, and I consider myself a normal american (normal for an american geek that is).

We can ignore the gripes and complaints. This is the normal sound track for the American learning pr

I don't know what the fuck you're talking about there, because us americans also like to learn new things. We're all people, but me and you have 1 big difference: I don't blindly hate people because of propaganda.

RE: Amazing
by George on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:08 UTC

>ps. Jack of All Trades, show me 1 person who is master of all, especially in the tech world.

That is my point. You just pick one or two skills and master them. You can not master 7 computer languages and you can not master 5 different OSs.

by jimbo on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:12 UTC

...all those features AND it's i686 and fits on just 1 CD!

by Dan on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:15 UTC

A review of WHAT?
So the guy couldn't even download an ISO correctly.
He used RedHat for a total of what, 5 minutes, until he realised that it wasn't Windows, got pissed, and wrote a review (in Wordpad I assume).
WTF sort of a review is that. Surely anyone considering installing Linux realises that it is not Windows and will behave differently and may even look different.
Then he put in the obligatory "Linux will not succeed until I can figure out WTF is going on, possibly by first pulling my head out of my arse and looking around"

by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:16 UTC

Perhaps I'm giving Linux a somewhat unfair review by not purchasing documentation and RTFM before I do the install, but the problems I experienced were something quite possibly not covered in the manual.

Pretty much sums things up right there!

RE: John Collins [RE: SteveB]
by SteveB on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:19 UTC

First of all:
Sorry John, my intention was not to attack you personaly.

I'm a "USER" when it comes to Linux. I never said I was a computer idiot or a computer genius.
i hope you did not think, that i said that about you!

That doesn't mean I can't evaluate an OS I'm installing, and see what makes it more difficult for the average linux newbie (which I consider myself).
you did not evaluate a OS! you just installed red hat 9.0 and you are pointing out some troubles with the installation. or maybe we don't have the same meaning for the word "evaluation"? i expect a evaluation to be more then just the installer and some day's of testing this or that.

The point of the article? There are some things RH 9.0 still needs to do before a Windows user is going to feel relatively comfortable switching.
i can tell you one thing: no user will feel relatively comfortable switching to any os. no matter if you change just only the version (for example from winnt to winxp) or if you do a complete platform switch.
i have switched serval users from windows to linux. and my advantage is, that i am their boss! whatever i say it is their law (somehow). and when i switched them, i promissed them, that everything they did bevore they can still do. and that i will organize and provide them the support for all their problems or questions. and i can tell you, that none of them are missing windows. but they don't love linux as well. they don't care about the os. for them the computer is the computer and as long they can type their letters/invoices/offers/etc, do bookkeeping, surf the web, print, etc.... they are happy.

and yes! rh 9.0 needs alot of things to be done for a windows user. but i don't see why red hat has to be like windows. it is diffrend and the way it is is absolutly okay. and since linux is getting better and better and easyer and easyer and since no one said, that linux is so easy to install like windows, i don't understand the point of your article.



My RH9 install
by chip on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:26 UTC

I've been using redhat for years, my RH9 install went just fine. My brother tried to install RH9 on his laptop but it would not work. Finally he found that he had to type "linux nofirewire" at the install prompt to get it to install. Until he did this it would not go past the first install screen. He still cannot get online with it, but that's because he has a winmodem.
It seems to me that RedHat, and linux in general, still has a ways to go for the average user. I think RedHat could gain quite a bit by doing some focus group testing with regular users (Moms, Dad's, kids...), ask the people to install and use redhat on various assortments of hardware and see what happens. It would be a real learning experience and an opportunity for improvement. If you really want to find problems with your system let some young kids have a go at it.

RE: RE: this "Installation Experience" is bad
by SteveB on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:36 UTC

SteveB I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately it seems that people who sit down on a computer for 5 mins to install a new operating system consider themselfs experts.
that's it! and the reason why they thing they are experts, is because the advertisement tells that to them. you can see in any of the magazines articles on how to write office-automatisation in word/excel/etc in less then 15 minutes and with the help of vba.

or you see articles (in the german press you see that alot): all the hidden tricks and tips of the cracker/hacker/warez people. buy and read or magazine and become a ultra-super-geek. and learn how to get keygens/cracks/illigal videos/mp3/etc off the web/irc/ftp/p2p/etc.

or you see things like: this magazine included the full and licence free version of red hat 9.0. buy our magazine and get microsoft free! we show you how to get linux up and runing and how you can be the geeks of the geeks.

at the end, all of those people think that all this is easy as 1-2-3. and this is not true!

Even worse they write reviews about it. I personaly thing the review or whatever this thing called, is bad, useless and there is no point reading it.
well... i don't learned or read anything new in this review. but i readed it completly!
for me this article has just one opinion and it looses it's value, because i don't see any positive happening after the article. i would expect the author to write to red hat and help them to understand his point. i would expect him to show workarounds for the problems he found and document them to the public, to help new people to avoid that problems. etc... but just a naked review without meat on the bones is nothing special.

Now the author claims that he is a tech for 5 years and he writes code on 7 languages, which proves the point that he is just a "jack of all trades and master of none." Author tech skills proven. I rest my case.
hmmm... you are getting very personal now.



Re: dangermaus
by Darius on Wed 4th Jun 2003 21:43 UTC

I wish someone would have thier parents, (brother, sister, grandmother, anyone with *no* Linux experience, etc...) install a Linux variant and take notes on the progress without offering assistance.

The only way that would work is if you made the person install every distro under the sun, because that would be the only way to satisfy these freaks who are absolutely convinced that the quality (or lack thereof) you find in Linux soley depends on which distro you are using.

Accurate review, needs depth
by salvarsan on Wed 4th Jun 2003 22:08 UTC

RH9 can be a problem to install if your cdrom or memory
are prone to 'soft' errors -- where Windows is uncomplaining, RH9 installation becomes problematic and fragile.

Though the kernel is efficient in it's resource usage, the prettier linux desktops are fat and hungry. Getting timely behavior from the KDE or Gnome desktop requires at least 40% more CPU speed and double the memory of an equivalently performing Wintel box.

The X11 font rendering is as not well-smoothed as with Windows desktops back as far as Win95, although it has improved with TrueType functionality added into the xfs font server (Ximian's XD2 desktop may make this an irrelevant point).

Finally, for setup and day-to-day use, Linux requires more technical expertise than Windows. Although it is more configurable, you are obligated to a myriad of small configuration issues.

In summary, Linux is not for the casual user...not yet.


RE: Swap Size
by Derek Kraan on Wed 4th Jun 2003 22:09 UTC

It's been mostly recommended to me to use the same amount of swap as I have RAM. It has worked best for me, so in this case, you did use an appropriate size for the swap.

If you want a truly desktop ready distro to try out, you should give Lycoris, Xandros, and Suse a try. I've heard that Lycoris and Xandros have 'screwup-proof' installations. I've never tried either of them, however.

So what's my point here? There's a linux distro for everything. Gentoo is for full optimization. Debian for stability(although out of date) and it's wonderful apt-get system. Slackware(my next install, later on tonight, moving on from Debian to Slackware) is well, for stability and user friendliness. It's also the longest lasting distro out there.

Anyways, about the next article: I feel that it would be cool if you compared the installation, further program installation, customization, and other attributes between Lycoris, Xandros, Windows, and a couple other distros. Although Debian doesn't configure XFree(your windowing system) correctly most of the time, it would be cool if you would install it and comment on apt-get. I would be interested to know what you have to say about it. I'm far too biased to believe my own opinion. heh. ;^)

Re: Frustating
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 4th Jun 2003 22:10 UTC

Anonymous --- your comments are right on. You hit Linux's main weakness right on. Although, I'd like to add a few things:

1) KDE handles copying images just fine. There isn't a right-click menu, you have you click and drag. I just tried it with the Yoper logo on the side and KWord.

2) KPrinter has no problem detecting my printers, even my SMB Windows print servers. I hear GNOME is getting something similar in 2.4 or XD2

PS> Interesting thing, image placement in KWord is awesome. The picture goes right where you put it. Much less convoluted than Word.

RE: salvarsan
by BR on Wed 4th Jun 2003 22:15 UTC

"In summary, Linux is not for the casual user...not yet. "

When it comes to Operating Systems. Can anyone be said to be a "casual user"?

I have to say a few thngs here.

First, John's article was excellent. It is written from the point of view of an above average computer user's attempt to try the Linux experience. It is VERY typical of the people the linux community should be working with to expand the adoptionof the OS. Most people, when they think of Linux (in the US) think of RedHat and IBM. that's it. So to go from a Mac or Windows (ANY WINDOWS) to that distro is a valid selection. RTFM is NOT a valid response to these folks. It should be used as an exampe of what hurdles need to be overcome.

2)SteveB, I disagree with your negative assessment of the article. I think if you realize the point John was trying to express in his own context (How a typical user branching out to something new would experience the most recent RedHat distro) rather than your own you might appreciate the article more. Other than that, however, I fully agree with your advice and post-advice rant.

My Background:

I am what you would call a "user" ( a well chose term BTW) who is bored with his monotonous job as a mail order pharmacist who just barely knew the 6 unix commands to get his HTML home page up on the web in 1994 on Mosaic. I went from Win98SE to RedHat 6.2 to Suse 8.0. I have considered switching back to Windows because certain apps and games I enjoy only run on that platform, but I stick with Linux to learn the system and to rationalize all the time I spent learning UNIX commands in college:-).

Lets look at the positive side of this article and nix the negative *NIX talk, can we folks?

RE: Re: frustrating
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 22:37 UTC

X11's copy/paste
My dad does the following on Windows: Search on Google for an image of a bird, mushroom, flower, whatever. He then right-clicks on the image, selects "Copy image". He switches to MS Word, and then does "Edit - Paste". This doesn't work on linux. X11 only support copying text apparently.
If you use KDE, you can just drag and drop things like pictures to a folder, then load the picture from the folder into Open Office.

Re: Frustating
by JK on Wed 4th Jun 2003 23:10 UTC

"1) KDE handles copying images just fine. There isn't a right-click menu, you have you click and drag. I just tried it with the Yoper logo on the side and KWord."

Try that between apps written with different toolkits. Can you drag and drop or copy an image from Mozilla straight into KWord, or from Konqueror into OpenOffice?

If you use nothing but KDE apps on KDE you get a consistent and well designed GUI, GNOME and it's apps aren't too bad either. But mix KDE, GNOME and other apps and the consistency of basic features like cut/copy/paste and drag and drop are a total mess.

The Windows UI is bad enough with it's ugly mix of SDI and MDI apps. But at least cut/copy/paste works consistently between almost every app and drag and drop works between most. For me the lack of basic GUI consistency is a big Linux disadvantage and I doubt it will get fixed any time soon.

RE: Re: frustrating
by Anonymous on Wed 4th Jun 2003 23:14 UTC

If you use KDE, you can just drag and drop things like pictures to a folder, then load the picture from the folder into Open Office.

Well yeah, he did something like that. (in Gnome). But he really wanted to be able to copy/paste images. You easily forget those downloaded files after a long editing session. A couple of days later you have a folder with 40 images, and you don't know which ones to keep and which ones to delete. It would be alot nicer if there was a more powerfull clipboard in X11, so you can copy an image in a KDE application, and paste it in a Gnome or OpenOffice application.

But maybe in the future I'll give him a KDE desktop. Although I'm a bit worried about GUI clutter (lot's of buttons and settings, which I saw in openoffice were confusing my dad and/or was slowing him down).

Hmm, it would be a nice article for in the future. Let a normal user work with Ximian Desktop 2 and the latest KDE version. See what the disadvantages and advantages are for each desktop environment. (and what are the common problems).
At the very least it should start a nice flamewar between KDE and Gnome people :-)

Oh, and when I say "normal user" I really mean "normal user". No linux experience what so ever, and no windows power users. Those "complete newbie reviews" of linux that are actually done by Windows Powerusers are starting to get on my nerves.

re: re: frustrating
by dangermaus on Wed 4th Jun 2003 23:14 UTC

I wish someone would have thier parents, (brother, sister, grandmother, anyone with *no* Linux experience, etc...) install a Linux variant and take notes on the progress without offering assistance.

The only way that would work is if you made the person install every distro under the sun, because that would be the only way to satisfy these freaks who are absolutely convinced that the quality (or lack thereof) you find in Linux soley depends on which distro you are using.

My point was, pick a distro. Redhat, Mandrake, Suse, Gentoo, etc... That's kinda the point of doing a review. Based on what you said, every article about Linux should review every distribution.

Bad Review
by JohnAllen on Wed 4th Jun 2003 23:20 UTC

I think this was a horrible review. The editor should have reburned the CDs.

--- Quote ---
Pentium II, 466 with 256 MB RAM system and booting
--- /Quote --

Linux may not like your hardware or have crappy drivers for your hardware. From my expirence in the past. I've installed redhat 8 on a pentium 2 dell laptop and it ran lousy compared to WindowsXP. I had no trouble with the install.

I now use a p4 toshiba laptop w/ 512 ram and RedHat9 runs great on it. I installed KDE and Gnome and running up2date took maybe 20-30 minutes updating all the software on a cable connection.

RE: RE:John Collin's Article and SteveB's response
by SteveB on Wed 4th Jun 2003 23:50 UTC

i don't want my postst or my statement to be reduced to the point, where every one now posts his background!

i would be very happy now, if i could write my post the same way fluent as my german is. but i can't write that well in english! and my mind is thinking in german and i feel very limited in the way of expressing my self. so maybe my german to english translation is not so helpfull to me now. but i try....

the article is okay. but i don't see the benefit of it for the osnews reader (especially for me).

i am since long time a osnews reader and i have seen so manny good articles, that this one does not fit on osnews.

i am in no way in the position to judge about the article for all the osnews reader. but after i have readed the article i feelt like: what? what is the point? what this author is writing there is just very very bad luck (the thing with the burned iso image having a error) and some other common known issues with red hat and other linux distros normal windows user have, when they try to install the os.
and i feelt like there is missing something. something more then just the average statements: "linux is not there" or "still not the same as windows"

the reviews about installing distro xyz on computer abc is getting pointless. we all know that installing a normal distro is no way compareable with the install of windows.

heck! last weekend i was installing open darwin 6.6.1 on my ibm thinkpad a22p. just for the fun to see how it is working (after i have readed the news on osnews about it).
gee... this was a experiance. and the net is empty about any issues with it or how-to for open darwin. why is no1 writing a review about that? that could help others. but writing another "how to install linux" or "my personal problems with installing xyz linux distro" is getting realy pointless.

i don't want to point at the author of the red hat article and say: you are a idiot!
this is not my way of solving a problem or looking at the article. i can full understand his problems and i can feel how frustraded he was, after getting the problems he got. but none of those issues are new. and i am 100% shure that he could find answers to all of his mentioned problems, by just reading the manual for the installation or using google or or by searching the red hat discussion list.
i just miss some qualitative input from his part. his conclusion is just so general, that it distroys the article. and this makes the article pointless. funn to read, but not "bringing things ahead". it does not change anything.

maybe i am just to hard or maybe i don't see the point. in german there is an expression: "Den Wald vor lauter Bäume nicht sehen."
this means: "Not beeing able to see the forest, because of all of the trees infront of you".

maybe i see to manny trees and so am i missing the forest? i don't know. but i realy don't see the real point of the article.



What you have to remember ..
by AnonaMoose on Thu 5th Jun 2003 00:31 UTC

is that sometimes it`s very handy to have someone with no clue handle your app or in this case OS.
You`d probably be surprised at the way they use things or think about how things should work !
This is very much like in software design, who cares if it meets the specs if the client doesn`t like it or uses it in some wierd way that wasn`t thought of, it`s our fault not theirs, you can`t tell them how to think/act.
Why can`t people get past this zealotry thats seems to be mostly l337 h4x0r5 and other assorted pre-pubesent teen agers, i mean linux has some damn great points and as much as i hate microsoft and windoze they do too.
We should be reading things like this and thinking .o0(hmm how can i make that better or clearer for him) and not .o0(damn newbie if he only knew the power of the ewok themed l337 CLI) err command line interface.
Life is about learning from others guys, maybe we should start now ?

RE: What you have to remember ..
by SteveB on Thu 5th Jun 2003 00:45 UTC

We should be reading things like this and thinking .o0(hmm how can i make that better or clearer for him) and not .o0(damn newbie if he only knew the power of the ewok themed l337 CLI) err command line interface.
i get your point. and i like it. but are we the right audience or target people for it?



Several Points
by Jay on Thu 5th Jun 2003 00:49 UTC

Well, John's review has been a discussion starter, that's for sure. So, maybe it was the right review at the right time :-)

I still do think - and I'm not going after John here, it's more of a general thing, that people should at least read the instructions for installation. Or, go to the distros web site. Oh, a good example - remember the post up there where the guy's brother couldn't install because it turned out he had to type in a command on the first screen? With Yellow Dog Linux for Macs, if you have a certain type of display, you have to do that too. And it's not in the manual, I don't think, but in the Support area of the web site. Why, the first time I installed it, I'd have given up and thrown the CD's and manual away in frusration. But there it was. I think still with Linux, you have to check out these things before installing in many cases.

This doesn't apply to John at all, but the vast majority of PC users have never installed their OS, unless maybe with those Restore CD's perhaps. On the other side of the coin, there must be some, but very few people who are used to buying computers with Linux pre-installed. That area is growing, but by and large, we still have to install it. And the range there is vast. I can see a person who installed Lycoris, Xandros, SuSE and Lindows succesfully being absolutely clueless if presented with gentoo. Anyway, it's a mixed bag and a person has to check things out first.

Cut Copy & Paste myths dispelled
by briber on Thu 5th Jun 2003 00:52 UTC

If I had a nickle for every time I've encountered misbegotten statements regarding the limitations of the design of the X window system clipboard... I'd have a staff to make these replys.

Seriously, I'm not sure which is worse, those who refuse to admit to the existence of a select number of IMPLEMENTATION errors(KDE 2, QT 2, emacs 20), or those who sell Unix, Linux or BSD short by disregarding the existence of funtionalities specified in the ICCCM other than middle mouse button paste.

All of this is quite thoroughly explained at
Additionally, information on the X Drag-and-Drop protocol can be found here:

Remember, Google is your friend!
remove caps to email me

This is ridiculous
by Anonymous on Thu 5th Jun 2003 02:01 UTC

1. Bad CD image - Like another poster said, the ISO was most definately bad.
2. Slow updates - The OS you just downloaded was free, the update service you are using is free. What's the problem again?
3. Linux is NOT Windows and I wish everyone would accept that! It seems the more of these I read, the more it becomes evident that one of the main gripes about Linux on the desktop is because it "doesn't work like Windows". sheesh. Come on people, use your imaginiation a little. Embrace change. Change is good. ;)

RE: RE: What you have to remember ..
by AnonaMoose on Thu 5th Jun 2003 02:04 UTC

"i get your point. and i like it. but are we the right audience or target people for it? "

Yup, well no one else will listen to me ;0)
But seriously my point was there is a place for reviews like this, it`s like the other side of the coin, the "uninformed user" so to speak.
Oh and i agree about reading the manual, i like how on redhat it has the help pane you read about what the things are while you go (atleast they did on redhat 7.x).

Try Mandrake
by xedx on Thu 5th Jun 2003 02:06 UTC

IMHO the best linux distro for a desktop is Mandrake, but i exclusively use gentoo ;)

RE:Cut Copy & Paste myths dispelled
by BR on Thu 5th Jun 2003 02:49 UTC

"If I had a nickle for every time I've encountered misbegotten statements regarding the limitations of the design of the X window system clipboard... I'd have a staff to make these replys. "

Let alone all the other aspects. Raise that to a dime, and your a millionaire.

RE The Windows User's Installation Experience
by Rob P on Thu 5th Jun 2003 03:38 UTC

Hi I have been using SuSe 8.2 I like it.
"Installing Linux is like eating a new food for the first time, if it tasted bad in the first bite people will avoid it, if it installs with little trouble, it is like eating ice cream on a hot day, you will put up with it melting over your hand for the enjoyment of the taste".
All Linux distros are getting better, I recently installed RH9 on my Dell Inspiron laptop for a trial, and it actually installed OK, mainly the nVidia drivers and display( I spent hours adjusting the x86config files with RH7.3 untill it eventually worked),However it did not recognise my FAT32 partitions and some hardware, unlike SuSe8.2.
All Linux OS's are like different model cars they all do the same thing some better than others, but for a lower overall COST to the end user.
Stick with Linux any version and grow.

Update issue...
by CooCooCaChoo on Thu 5th Jun 2003 05:38 UTC

I found this on a number of accasions, however, if you buy the pocket book edition, once you activate, you will get priority when downloading. I know it sounds like a marketing gimic, however, once activated I was able to download without a hitch. If you are technically inclined, goto /var/spool/up2date and simply download what is required off a local mirror. In my case I use which sped things up.

If I was going to have one whinge and that would be for Redhat to setup local mirrors of their RedHat network. What would be so hard to set up atleast ONE server in the Asia/Pacific region for those who want to update at a reasonable speed?

by CooCooCaChoo on Thu 5th Jun 2003 05:43 UTC


Select -> point -> click middle button

Blooming heck! I almost got arthritis from all that WORK! Please, stop me from suffering this immense pain and suffering at the hands of this "evil X"!

Just one last thing....
by CooCooCaChoo on Thu 5th Jun 2003 05:46 UTC

RedHat should chose ONE desktop and completely and utterly embrace it in every possible area. Why include three news readers and numerous mail readers? Evolution for Mail, Mozilla for webbrowsing (using GTK2 + Xft) and Pan for newsreading, why would anyone need anything more than that?

By slimming back to something like 2 CD's, it would make life alot easier, especially for those confused to which one they should use. Yes, I know it is a personal preference, however, most simply want to use what everyone else is using. Evolution 1.4 will arriving soon along with Ximian Desktop. Maybe Redhat should dump its own desktop and simply work with Ximian and use Ximian GNOME as the default desktop?

A few things to consider...
by bonehead on Thu 5th Jun 2003 06:40 UTC

I'll not complain about the review, since it does take guts to post a review and wait for the avalanche of flames. While others get mad about the review, I just chuckle, because I was right there myself back in '97. RedHat 4.7. I must have installed and reinstalled a hundred times. Just when I got it working, I'd break something. Reinstall because I didn't know how to fix it. But I stuck with it. That's the key right there. I wanted to know what this Linux thing was, and I was determined to keep at it. Tried almost every distribution out there at one time or another. Every weekend I'd give it another go. After years of learning, I feel I've barely scrached the surface, but now I'm mostly MS free (one machine dual boots for gaming, and office when I'm forced into it). It was a long and frustrating climb, but it's paying off big time now because I'm not constantly paying Uncle Bill.<BR>Hardware compatibility is extremely important, after all, most people go out of their way to insure their hardware is compatible with windows, the same applies to Linux. A quick trip to's HCL does wonders. Turn off your bios PNP control. If you're a novice, go out and buy and boxed set for, if nothing else, the manuals (SuSE had the best docs back around the version six days) and cruise through them. It won't kill you, and may even GASP help you. Google is your friend. Usenet is your friend. The Linux community is your friend (when was the last time Billg was your friend?). If you download the ISOs at least learn how to run MD5SUM. That way you'll know if your burn was good BEFORE you start installation. Burning an ISO on windows leaves a lot to be desired and I made many a coaster until I started burning them on Linux, haven't had a problem since. With Windows, I was limited as to what I could do by the amount of money in my wallet, with Linux everything you can think of is just a browse away. In my experience, RedHat likes RedHat RPMs, Mandrake's urpmi will take just about anything, compiling from source may take some reading and configuration to get right, but once you get it right, its too cool and optimized to boot. Configuration files are great once you learn where they reside and what to use for an editor (gedit has worked for me). I've learned how to hack themes and make icons and I will guarantee you that no one has a desktop that looks like mine. I paid dearly for Photoshop but I find Gimp easier to use.<BR>All in all, I think Linux is ready for prime time. The question is, are you?

Re: Accurate review, needs depth
by A C on Thu 5th Jun 2003 07:18 UTC

>Though the kernel is efficient in it's resource usage, the prettier linux desktops are fat and hungry. Getting timely behavior from the KDE or Gnome desktop requires at least 40% more CPU speed and double the memory of an equivalently performing Wintel box.

Windows takes <insert_random_percentage_here> less resources.
Do resources really matter much of the time? If so, why can my PII Linux box allow me to safely burn CDs, write email and browse the web and play Ogg files without skipping in XMMS--all in the resource monster that is KDE? Or, why is it that turning off swap does not affect the stability of my Linux box--even after ripping several CDs and then leaving the box on for the next week? With normal usage (i.e. constant XMMS playing, GAIM, KMail, Mozilla-Firebird and KDE3 running 24/7), my PII450 stays around 10 - 14% usage (thanks, top). There are issues with Linux, but, by far, resource usage is not a very big one. (E.g., application startup times and UI usability are two issues that come to mind as being closer to the top for the average user.) But, yeah, there is a dropoff in response below the P200 range with KDE3.

>The X11 font rendering is as not well-smoothed as with Windows desktops back as far as Win95, although it has improved with TrueType functionality added into the xfs font server (Ximian's XD2 desktop may make this an irrelevant point).

For the past 4 months or so, the font rendering in Linux has been very good. Xft2 and freetype make windows fonts look ugly. Those, coupled with the Bitstream Vera True Type fonts, make many of my screens look close to printed text. Imagine, even my Debian desktop (oxymoron?) has this font setup.

I just wanted to address those two myths about Linux. The latest and greatest apps do not kill your 4 year old machines, and fonts do not look bad in Linux anymore. (Of course, one can always argue that it does not matter at all until 'my one-click-installable distro Foobar' can do everything described.) There are problems, but those are not two of them.

Not necessarily the CDs
by Blah on Thu 5th Jun 2003 07:19 UTC

>>You failed to mention, that when you inserted the RedHat CD, it asked you to do a verification check on your CDs, which I'm sure you just blindly ignored and skipped. Then when one of your CDs had problems reading open office, you ignorantly blamed Redhat instead of your bad CDs. I am an experienced user, and I know from experience that you should always check your CDs before installing. <<

Dude ! Did you READ the article?

Quote: " I did a scan of my cd to make sure it didn't contain any errors."

Kinda blows your theory as well as others who posted before you the same thing.

FWIW, I have a machine (i810) that most distros will install on without an issue. I can take CDs of one particular distro that install perfectly fine on other machines and it will fail when trying to install Does this mean there is a problem with the CDs? The install is fine on other equipment. BTW: The CDs are MDK 9.1 and have worked flawlessly on about 8 other machines ;)

Just a coincidence that it fails on OOo.

Now, the author should take his CDs to another machine (with different hardware) and try the install. If it is fine then would you state it was the CDs or his hardware?

just a thought
by jon on Thu 5th Jun 2003 09:10 UTC

just one thought i don't understand what the author didn't like about the error maybe he preffered the microsoft way error 11102230 in hex code the no one can understand cause no one got the source code maybe for noobie it's hard to understand the error but again a little search and u found the error message very informetive.

by Joe Dydula on Thu 5th Jun 2003 10:24 UTC

I beleive the author is a little off on the update part. First of all I work on Windows machines on a dailey basis and I also have a full T1 line and it can take up to 1 to 2 hours to fully patch a machine. You can not compare how fast Microsoft updates are to Redhat unless you truley benchmark them. Another thing do you even have a full T1 or is less than a T1 speed and is it being policed by the ISP. Another thing due to network traffic on that line and during certain times of the day can slow this process down.
I've been using Redhat 8.0 and have downloaded udates w/no problems as far as how long it takes to update my system. Let us not forget that we all tend to get a little impatient and windows users tend to be more so. And we all know the sayin patients is like a virtue, haste makes waste!

redhat is meh
by burntash on Thu 5th Jun 2003 11:54 UTC

I haven't had the chance to try the latest Suse, but I have tried Mandrake 9.1 and Redhat 9. The installs were equally easy but I would Mandrake the cup for newbie distro right now. Mandrake was a little faster than redhat, the install is better and partitioning is so much better in Mandrake. Redhat was also annoying the hell out of me with its update program. One thing I experienced in both distros was the first time I booted KDE, I would be opening an application and the computer would just freeze, I don't know what the hell was up with that. But if I were a newbie, despite Redhat having a bigger reputation, I think props should be handed to Mandrake. Mandrake is for the desktop, Redhat is for the server.

My thoughts as a recent Linux convert
by Justin on Thu 5th Jun 2003 12:28 UTC

I do feel the author of this articles pain in regard to ISOs and burning. I have had some errors. Just go to ebay and you can get any distro for about $10 delivered. So far I have been using RH 8. I had no problems with anything. It recognised my sound, video, external modem, mouse, you name it. Mandrake i have tried and didn't like (it wouldn't recognise the modem even after I tried assigning the port to each COM port). I have Suse on order, hopefully arriving today. I would tell the author don't give up. I am trying to get deeper into linux and understand how it works. I will never go back to Windows because with OpenOffice you can work on things at home, save them in Word format and them work on them at work. Plus Linux just works better.

A nice first effort
by James on Thu 5th Jun 2003 16:30 UTC

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say, "Nice try on your first review." It must be a first try since it contains several obvious rookie mistakes.

One: You didn't say how many megabytes were in your updates. That leaves us with no way to evaluate what you say.

Two: You call yours a "standard install" but give us no explanation. We're left to deduce whether it's stand-alone or dual boot, for instance.

Three: In a review, you really can't indulge in unsupported speculation. For example, it's unfair to excuse your ignorance by saying, ". . . quite possibly not covered in the manual." You must be able to tell us for sure whether it is or not.

After such mistakes it seems unjustified for you to presume to judge the software. Who can give your opinions any weight when you don't do what's required to back them up?

Still, nice try. Your style and your use of language are adequate. You just need to do more preparation.


A nice first effort
by James on Thu 5th Jun 2003 16:31 UTC

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say, "Nice try on your first review." It must be a first try since it contains several obvious rookie mistakes.

One: You didn't say how many megabytes were in your updates. That leaves us with no way to evaluate what you say.

Two: You call yours a "standard install" but give us no explanation. We're left to deduce whether it's stand-alone or dual boot, for instance.

Three: In a review, you really can't indulge in unsupported speculation. For example, it's unfair to excuse your ignorance by saying, ". . . quite possibly not covered in the manual." You must be able to tell us for sure whether it is or not.

After such mistakes it seems unjustified for you to presume to judge the software. Who can give your opinions any weight when you don't do what's required to back them up?

Still, nice try. Your style and your use of language are adequate. You just need to do more preparation.


Re: Jeff and Jtkooch
by Jon Fitzg on Thu 5th Jun 2003 16:38 UTC

I actually had the same issue when install RH 9 when it comes to OpenOffice. When I discovered the problem, I downloaded the ISO for disc 1 from a different FTP and the issue did not occure again. Probably just an issue with the ISO from that FTP (we may have used the same, but alass, I have forgotten which one I used.)

OK, how many people here have had problems installing ANY OS? Wow, that's a lot. I have had my share of problems with Linux, as well as with Windows. But you know what? That doesn't tell you much about a system. You install once, for the most part. How is the system when you use it? Sure, Linux installers have gotten a lot better than they used to be, and that is important. But let's get real for a second. How many people go out and purchase a Windows OS and install it? (note I said purchase) Not many. You get it pre-installed on your machine when you buy it, MS has made sure of that. If you have a copy to install yourself, it is probably a copy you borrowed or got elsewhere. I know a guy who builds PCs, and he always has one problem or another with Windows (2000 and XP). It is part of the game.

So you want to rag on Linux installers, go ahead. All installers have issues at one time or another, they have to deal with so many different components. That is such a small piece of the big picture when it comes to an OS. Want to check out Linux without installing it? Get the latest version of Knoppix, and use it. You can even install it to your hard drive if you like it enough, which I am sure you will.

iso download
by SteveB on Thu 5th Jun 2003 18:05 UTC

something i don't understand is: when you download the iso, why did you not check the md5 sum of the iso? normaly there is a md5sum file in each red hat iso download location.



The author of this review is an ignorant
by tego on Thu 5th Jun 2003 18:16 UTC

The author of this review is an ignorant
“I'm an experienced Windows / OS X user who has dabbled with Linux here and there since the kernel was at about version 2.0.”
You know how to click --- BRAVO--- Stay with windows then. I have had it just enough by reading the second paragraph.

And what is this
"Perhaps I'm giving Linux a somewhat unfair review by not purchasing documentation and RTFM before I do the install, but the problems I experienced were something quite possibly not covered in the manual.
“Somewhat unfair “do not explain yourself, this review is plain and stupid and that’s end of it.
I am not going to waste my time and teach you how review should look like.

Red Hat 9 ready for desktop
by Dan on Thu 5th Jun 2003 18:52 UTC

I don't believe Red Hat 9 is or it will be ready for the desktop in the near future. Look at its multimedia capabilities: it can't play anything because of the patents and stuff. Unless they address these issues no newbie will ever use RedHat on their desktop. For a user coming from windows it offers nothing other than an easy installer. Mandrake and Suse are getting much closer to conquer the desktop market. Suse also has some multimedia problems due to same patents. From all distros I tried the only one that does everything for me is Mandrake. It's possible that other newbie distributions like Lindows, Xandros and Lycoris may do the same thing. I haven't tried them yet. In conclusion i see no point of such a review since RedHat it just ain't there.

my two cents
by Arial Olivier on Thu 5th Jun 2003 18:59 UTC

you guys are morons ... you should all reread the article cuz obviously you aren't reading correctly. The author has made it quite clear that this is about the AVERAGE Windows user SHIFTING over to Linux, and just some of the problems that they might encounter. Instead all the Linux know it alls pounce with all their "devs" and KDE's and what-nots, and still not get the message. Here let me explain it for you, the average Windows user doesn't know what the hell dev means, won't know how to compile, and sure as hell won't know how to partition a harddrive to set up a swap partition, and doesn't know KDE and GNOME are desktop enviroments. You all attack cuz someone is slandering your beloved OS, and then you go for the big sell. Linux is free ... apps are free ... this and that are free, and M$ is all about taking your money, and it's M$'s fault that every hackercracker etc. etc. in world love to search for holes in M$ software just cuz right now ... in their small minds, it's fun to kick Gate's in the balls. In other words, they don't have a life, they like to bully people hidden away behind the .net, and enjoy making people as miserable as they are. Linus is God ... Gates is the devil cuz he is making billions off of unsuspecting users. Funny ... how everyone is making money on Linux except Linus, and no one flames the distros for being unfair to the guy, and other than RedHat ... give the poor guy some of the money for all his hard work. It's free, and that's all that matters ... in saying so ... how many of you are working for free? I'm sure your boss' would really appreciate it if you all go in tomorrow, and insist that from now on ... you're no longer accepting a paycheck ... you're working for free. Live up to your Linux motto ... live the paupers life, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Nevertheless, I've seen Red Hat selling Linux at $60 up to $120 CDN ... that pretty damned expensive considering that your mostly paying for the the documents that are included. Oh sure the AVERAGE Window user can d/l it for free but here's the unfortunate part ... most ppl don't have broadband. Those that do have broadbanf don't have hours or days to figure out all these intricacies about Linux, that you have all made quite clear, you already know or have taken the time to learn. Strangely enough, the AVERAGE user has more cumbersome things to worry about ... say mortgages, children, bills etc. etc. No one wants to sit by a computer for hours or even days trying to figure out configurations ... which packages to install, and everything else that is needed to make Linux work. Most people have a life, and that means they want to enjoy their free time doing things other than trying to figure out Linux or Windows for that matter, and by the way ... if you really want people to switch to Linux ... get rid of all these distros cuz again, most people don't have the bandwith to d/l every distro, just to figure out which one is the best for them. Plus just by reading this, I now know that there is a Redhat distro along with Mandrake, Knoppix, SUSE, and Gentoo, and then if you do a Google search ... i've come across another dozen of so distros. Here's the funny part, none of you hard core Linux users can agree to which is the best. If the average user were to listen to any of you ... they would have to buy each distro at $60 CDN a pop just to get the documents to help in set up. Or they can download each distro and then spend hours on the .net emailing all of you for pointers just to figure out the ins and out of installation. They have to give up hours of their free time ... forget about traveling ... just to learn Linux, and then somehow its the AVERAGE users fault for being impatient cuz all they really want is IM, EMAIL and an OFFICE app that works. In the end, the AVERAGE user is better off buying a system that is already configured. Buying all these distros, that you all profess is the best package to install, is far more expensive than Windows Home or Pro and Office put together. Like i said ... you can't even agree to which is the best, and in the end the AVERAGE user can just buy Win XP knowing that everything will install and in the end it will run even though once in a while, just like Linux ... something will go wrong with the OS. It's life, and life sometimes throws you a curve ball ... ya just have to learn to accept it.

P.S. regardless of whether you pay for something or get it free ... in the end either will have its own particular pitfalls. You make the best of it, and most certainly you don't whine like a baby just cuz your offended by what people say. If you like Linux ... good for you ... if you like Windows ... good for you.

BTW ... i use a Mac OSX cuz i'm sure some of you will accuse me of being a Windows loyalist, and as you may have noticed this is the only time i've mentioned the Mac. Whether it's better or worse than Linux or Windows or whatever OS any of you prefer ... i really don't care.

by Nemi on Thu 5th Jun 2003 19:10 UTC

I am also an experienced windows user who has thought about installing linux several times (I have installed several distros in the past, only to uninstall them after a short time). I am patiently waiting for the time when I feel linux is "ready" (always a subjective term) for the desktop and I appreciate articles like yours. Thanks.

Ahhh well, I understand your frustration and know exactly where you're coming from. Red Hat 9.0 really needs some work. I've installed both Red Hat 9.0 and Mandrake 9.1, let me tell you first hand Mandrake is a lot more user friendly during and after the install. It also has more current releases of OpenOffice and Mozilla and the system utilities are far superior.

RE: tego
by John Collins on Thu 5th Jun 2003 20:26 UTC

How about you do show me how to write? Please being by using complete sentences with proper grammar. Please define "an ignorant" for me as well. I was unable to find where the noun form of the adjective "ignorant" was in fact, "ignorant." You could also try leaving personal attacks out of this.

Sheesh. Some people.

And muchos thanks to everyone who appreciated what I tried to do and said so.

PII 466MHz?
by Tommy Coolman on Thu 5th Jun 2003 20:48 UTC

There is no Pentium II 466. PII's stopped at 450MHz, right where PIII's picked up.

Red Hat Woes
by Steven Fricke on Thu 5th Jun 2003 20:49 UTC

I have not read the other 250 replies. I will add this: Ihad problems installing RedHat 8 on my laptop, and I have done many, many linux installs. After trying a few times, I tried a copy of Mandrake 9

That was all it took. After running that for two days on my laptop I swtichde both my destkops to Mandrake 9.

I think that it is a little unfair to judge Linux on one install of one distro. In particular RedHat. This may be the most popular, but it is really only popular in the server market. Mandrake, SuSE and Debian really have the desktop market in mind. I recently updagraded to Madrake 9.1 frmo 9.0, and from what I have seen, on my desktops, there is no turning back.

Want to give Linux a try without all the fear of partitioning? Try Knoppix. Runs beautifully booted off a CD. No install needed. Want Windows back? Reboot without the CD in the tray. How easy is that for an install?

Re: Redhat woes
by Anonymous on Thu 5th Jun 2003 21:30 UTC

Debian for the desktop?


Redhat install _IS PATHETIC_
by Jarek Luberek on Thu 5th Jun 2003 22:04 UTC

I have not been able to install any redhat version on my computer since 7.3. Anaconda crashes every time. This time it was sig11. Other times it's something else.
Gentoo 1.2 was no problem, Suse 8.2, no problem. It's a sad state of affairs that the largest distributor of linux can not write an installer that doesn't crash 1 minute into the install process.


author of this article cant even use windows
by Anonymous on Fri 6th Jun 2003 01:01 UTC

firstly get used of the fact that redhat isnt windows ;D

secondly red hat installs fine if you have non corrupted iso images and cd's

thirdly the redhat network isnt that slow, because here in ozland we have 512K dsl and updates dont take that long

and with m$ windowz u cant upgrade your whole system so, u cant compare windows update to redhat network update

fithly cds unmount fine in redhat with the standard automounter unless your cds are broken, like yours are

sixthly redhat redraws windows fine, if your be your hardware setup or the way its configured

you create a 8gig / partition yet a 250meg swap file, in the manuals and even during the installing it would bitch and tell you to make it twice that of your ram atleast

you cant burn proper cds or do some light reading of manuals/howtos/faqs yet u sit in your chair and bitch about the redhat installer

atleast know your linux stuff before you write reviews, that dont make sense

you should be using gnu/linux neways what the hell is wrong with you ;)


Re: Rad Hat 9 Linux User Review
by Keith George on Fri 6th Jun 2003 02:24 UTC

The first time I tried to install an OS (Windows 98), I screwed it up pretty good, but eventually, I got so that I knew what I was doing, and my opinion is that Red Hat is far easier to install than Windows. (Well 98 anyway... still the only Windows I've ever installed, and probably always will be.)

Both Installs are pretty straightforward, but Red Hat has the advantage of no propriety hoops to jump through. With 98, there was a long serial number to type it (which I don't think I ever got right on the first try) and because it was an upgrade, I had to supply proof that I owned a previous edition of Windows. With Xp, I am given understand that an online (or telephone) registration is required, and all future reinstalls (you're only allowed a certain number) must be approved by somebody in Redmond.

Also, I think that nowadays, you're going to want to actually understand the End User Liscence Agreement before you install. The EULAs are getting longer and longer these days. For example, the RealONE player now comes with a 9100 word EULA (I counted them with MS Word), This is slightly longer than "Macbeth"-- and you don't get a chance to see it until AFTER you've downloaded that particular bloated abomination. I've read that the XP EULA involves giving Microsoft the right to check and update your system at will, without ever telling you. I would certainly want to know everything that's in there before I signed the keys to my hard drive over to Microsoft. So you're going to need to factor in some extra study time. In fact, you might want to show the agreement to your lawyer.

Also, this may no longer apply, but unlike any version of Red Hat I've every used, Windows 98 won't boot off the CD ROM. In order to install it you need a floppy startup disk, and then you have to type a couple of commands to really get the ball rolling. With most computers in Red Hat, or any of the more desktop oriented versions of Linux, you set the boot sequence, put in the CD, and from that point on you the process is pretty self explantory.

Second that one
by cybrjackle on Fri 6th Jun 2003 02:40 UTC

I've installed RH9+sgiXFS just the other day and everything went fine. I've installed every version of RH since 6.2, same with SuSE 6.x-8.2, Mandrake 7.x-9.1, Slackware 7-9, Debian, Gentoo & blah blah blah the list goes on. If you get a bad CD, there's nothing you can do about it excepct get another one. You downloaded it for FREE, do it again and check the CD. RH even has a check program when you first boot up. Not to hard to use, (click here, stick CD here, click.........) Do it!

I've had Windows 2k & XP not want to install on hardware, when it does, I had to end up loading drivers from 10 CD's and rebooting 13 times! (you get the point) Let me guess, when Winblows said this driver wont work, did you shut it down and go back to Atari 2600? No, you READ the doc's and had to figure it out. Oh, maybe you didn't, maybe you just called your friend who knew what he or she was doing. If that's the case, stick to Win and leave GNU/Linux alone. Buy your prefab box with Windows on it and when it crashes in a month or two, bring it back to the store and get a new one.

RE: Second that one
by John Collins on Fri 6th Jun 2003 03:11 UTC

I knew there was a reason I didn't like fanatics of OSes. Mac fanatics have always come across like "Apple will own the world" kinda thing, but some of the hardcore linux users are so uber elitist that they forget about the NORMAL people.

I understand that problems happen. Problems happen with Windows installs too. I get that. I get the fact that most Windows users never installed their OS, it came pre-loaded with tons of AOL and other junk when they bought their pc.

But let's say that user is given a second box by some relative, and that relative says "I'm keeping my license for Windows 95. You'll have to buy your own" and then this user remembers "Hey...what about that Linux thing I read about...."

So said user then downloads a copy of RH 9 (cuz it's free, and they've actually heard of Red Hat). Said user then attempts to do an install, including checking the cd for errors. <insert rest of article here>

The whole point of the article IS NOT TO COMPLAIN. Some *nix people get so defensive about their precious GNUed open-sourced multiple-dotted version-numbered kerneled out operating systems that when someone tries to write a fairly objective article about above said user, they go ballistic.

Get this folks: I like linux. Linux *does* have many points where it needs improvement. It *also* has many places where it far surpasses the Microsoft alternative.

The point of the article, as previously mentioned, is not to say "Read all of the Linux documentation out there, become an alpha geek, and then you can try to install RH 9.0." No, the point of the article was to simply display some of the issues *I* encountered while installing RH 9.0. It's quite possible that above said user will encounter similar problems, is it not? Who knows. There are too many things that could happen. The install could go smooth as silk with every package under the sun and said user would never have a single problem. WONDERFUL!

The average newbie is *not* going to even KNOW WHERE TO LOOK for documentation, until they get the stinkin OS installed. Heh. I've seen "" mentioned on tv shows before that NON-TECHNICAL, NON-LINUX people watch. How would they know anything more than to download the isos? Heck, they might not even know how to do that much. It's ENTIRELY possible.

No OS is perfect. No OS does it all. I like linux. I like windows for some things. (games). I'm more comfy with 'doze, but that isn't going to stop me from trying every positive suggestion you guys have given me: try < insert distro >, submit < insert bug > , etc.

I don't even expect the average windows user to give up after the first failed attempt at *ANY* install. I just think more articles need to make aware some of the pitfalls users could encounter.

For all this is worth, how about if some Linux fanatic (who is a Windows newbie, if that's possible), write an article on some of the problems that particular type of user might encounter installing and using Windows for the first time. I'm completely open to that.

Constructive awareness is all I'm aiming at. Thanks so much for all of you who recognized that, and have given such great advice.

ps. My machine specs are close to that...will double check cpu speed. Also, I was using the 'demo' RHN account, so RH may have throttled my bandwidth. And yes folks, it *did* take that long...and other downloads on other machines went blazin my external connection was runnin fine. Maybe just a fluke? I dunno. Won't stop me from doin it again! ;)

::is off to try Knoppix on another machine::

It *was* an unfair article!
by Yochanon on Fri 6th Jun 2003 03:32 UTC

To keep it simple, all one has to do is lurk a few days in these NG's: microsoft.public.windows98.general and microsoft.public.windowsxp.general , once there a day or two, one will see that there's just as many *installation* problems/questions with those OS's.
Another unfair statement, about the 'updating' long does it take a dial-up user to download even the 'mini' version of SP1? Too long! Then, there's all the other 'hotfixes' one has to wander through, and take a *lot* of time just deciding which ones to trust enough to even download at all. Then comes the time to download them.
Now I'm willing to bet, that the Mandrake update thing that showed up, gave the user the *choice* of what to download and what not to download (or download some things later). Also, if it was a desktop environment, like KDE that needed the 'updating', then that should have been left started right before one goes to sleep for the night. It's simple common sense.
All in all, I've noticed just as many 'install' problems/questions for Linux, as I have for windoze, and if a windows user is too afraid to say they're 'too dumb' to want to try and get past installation problems, then why do they put up with the same crud with their *windoze* installation problems? It's *all* BS, and Linux is ready for *anyone* who has the use of more than .005% of their brain, thing is, I don't think sheep use but .00005 of their brain, there's where any *real* problems lie...not with any 'installation' of an OS.

RE: Second that one
by james on Fri 6th Jun 2003 03:34 UTC

Two points:

One: Regardless of your protestations, you did not write an objective review.

Two: Among the prople going ballistic here, you rate near the top.

As slapdash as your review was, your ranting after getting a few criticisms is worse. I doubt that you have actually examined the responses with an eye to learning anything. It's disingenuous to pretend that you were just trying to help. If that were the case you would have put in a little more effort in the first place.

Still, as I said earlier, it was fair for a first attempt at writing a review. Pay attention to the response and try to make your next one better.


Okay so what you guys are saying is that linux just isnt as good as windows..Heres my recap

4 years ago i hear about linux. I go buy redhat 6.? put in in the cd and do a workstation class install. I have no sound, my hard drive will not work, and my win modem will not work.
I take my cheap e machines box to a local computer store and get it online. My wife was pissed because I totally delted windows and had no backup. My wife of 6 months lost her resume etc....Then i get my box back and begin to explore linux. I loved it. I couldn't do jack with it, but i loved it. I then realized that problem wasnt with linux but with the strangle hold microsoft had on the hradware manufacturers. So I did a duel boot then the hardware started coming along and I quit windows and my wife stayed with it. After two years she quit windows entirly too.

Numerous continuous upgrades and various flavors and we are now on a Box I built by hand

80 gb hard drv
soundblaster live!
GeForce 4 Graphics Card
Amd 2400+ Processor
etc....etc... belss whistles w00t!

It runs solely on RedHat 9 and my wife and i are VERY happy with it! Also my dad now runs linux, my sister, and everyone else i can convince to switch over. Easy or not I leraned a lot. If it were easy it wouldnt be worth it. I think actually Linux is easier now than windows. At least i can do what I want with my os. I use my box for gaming and browing, photos, writhing, etc.. Its productive. Not free but free from microsoft. Amen. Good luck and keep pluging away.

partitioning etc.
by James Jones on Fri 6th Jun 2003 04:18 UTC

Why didn't Mr. Collins let the RH installer do the partitioning, which it offers to do? It would've set the swap partition to the size the manual that he didn't bother to read recommends, which, if memory serves, is twice the size he set it to. (It also seems odd that he writes "I did a scan of my CD..." when he burned three CDs.)

RHN speed
by James Jones on Fri 6th Jun 2003 04:24 UTC

I have a "demo" account. With a demo account, RHN tends to be hard to get onto, but once there, things proceed at a respectable speed. I've never had a hang during installation such as Mr. Collins describes, save once when installing on an FIC PA-2013 "Super Socket 7" motherboard. I had to tell it not to use DMA, and then all proceeded normally.

Bad media
by John Q Punkic on Fri 6th Jun 2003 04:56 UTC

I don't think the author is alone on the failed openoffice install. I had similar problems with the media I bought for Redhat 7.3 and 8. It took me a couple of installs to get things working. Maybe it comes down to the hardware in my PC, I dunno. But it's definitely annoying, and the CDROM never is problematic in any other situation.

I know a few others who've had similar problems, and I've never had the problem when installing from an ISO (Redhat 9). Mebbe there's a real quality control issue here?

General comment
by rm on Fri 6th Jun 2003 05:07 UTC

I've been using only Linux (Mandrake 9.1 download) for about 2 weeks now; I truly think everyone should now give Linux a try: it is just as easy to do things in linux now as it is in windows: connect to the web, listen to music, burn cds, write documents (and still be able to open/write Word documents) etc all those things people 95% of the time do when they use their computers.....and it is free. Now the more i think about it the more seductive/inhibriating the idea of how Linux was concieved becomes...just by people volunteering their time to write code...just because they enjoy doing it. And out of that comes an Operating system that is just as easy to use as Windows XP and super stable. Why would i ever pay for microsoft software now?? i absolutely don't see the reason....

Many people, perhaps including the author, tend to compare installing Linux to pre-installed Windows, which is the only way the vast majority of Windows users ever see it. They may eventually try to do a Linux install and, for the most part, they don't have anything meaningful to compare with since they have never done any Windows install. They then falsely conclude that Linux is harder to install than Windows when what they are really finding is that installing is more difficult than not installing.

The only valid comparison is to install Linux AND Windows - then decide which is more difficult. I have done both many times for years and for some time now I have found that Linux is easier to install than Windows - which is impressive because Microsoft gets to "cheat" by enjoying the cooperation of hardware vendors which Linux often does NOT have, certainly to the same extent as Microsoft.

Overall, Linux gets my vote, resoundingly, over Windows.

Installing RH9
by Simon Haynes on Fri 6th Jun 2003 07:39 UTC

Regarding mum or grandma installing RH9 - really?? When they got a computer, did you hand them a Win95 or Win98 CD and sit back to watch the fun as they searched for network drivers, video card drivers, drivers for the MS keyboard, MS intellimouse (hey, in 2000 all the hardware was newer than the OS)

Or is it more likely that you built the machine, installed the OS and apps and then handed it over?

I just built a new PIV machine for my folks, and they're getting RH9 with it. More secure, more apps, more modern, less headaches for me.

I don't think the issue is whether 'mom' or 'gran' can install an OS, it's whether they can find their way around it afterwards. I'm betting they can.

by Simon Haynes on Fri 6th Jun 2003 08:36 UTC

Just wanted to add that I use Windows on my main PC. (I develop apps in VStudio, and am currently investigating running it under VMWare.)

Rather than dual boot with Linux, I've installed a succession of RH distros (from 6.2 up) to a second machine kept just for that purpose. Call it a learning machine, whatever. Now it's my web server and firewall, and I've just finished putting Gentoo onto my main box (dual boot). Very, very nice once it's set up. I'm busy making PII binaries, and hopefully I'll be able to make up an install CD for the other 4 machines in the house.

RE: I installed it, and it went fine
by peterh on Fri 6th Jun 2003 09:15 UTC

I never had a single problem installing redhat 9. But I actually brought the CD's.
I think maybe you couldn't install open office because there was an error on the cd you writen.
I told the install to automatically partition, which it did fine.
And in my opinion Redhat picks up hardware much better than a windows install. I've installed different versions of windows many times, and on many machines, and its never picked up every piece of hardware by itself. I never needed to change anything.
As you can tell, i like it. Now what happened with the offer of a free redhat?

I, too, am a long time Windows person. MCP in NT 4, and MCSE in 2000. I am not a novice with regards to computers by any stretch of the imagination. Having said this, I must say that I have been learning Linux for a year, and I still can only do the basics. It took several installs of this product to finally get it right in one shot. The real confusion came when I would finish one install, and the sound wouldn't work, then I would reinstall it and the sound would work. Mandrake seemed to be the easiest for a Windows user to conform to, but now that I have Red Hat 9, I can say that this is the product that could quite possibly put a huge dent in Windows O/S market here in the United States. It already has put a dent in the Europe market. But you still need to make things more gui intuitive as well as keeping the command line approach as strong as it is. Don't stop now.

RH installation vs XP pre-installation
by tux on Fri 6th Jun 2003 11:17 UTC

this review just upset my stomach. the fact is that installation process of major linux distros (RH, Mdk, SuSE to name a few) is much easier and less time consuming than that of Windows. let me ask you, how many times do you have to reboot your system to get that darn thing up and running?

more importantly, I didn't find this review fair or unbiased at all. after all, the reviewer admittedly says he is a "Windows guy." if you are content with your MS box and don't want to learn new tool, you shouldn't write negative comments on a product based on your limited experience of installing it only on ONE system. negative reviews like this one will discourage those windows users who want to switch or try out other OSs and help MS to maintain its monopoly.

I've installed RH 8 to current 9.1 on my PC and never had a problem. if you downloaded ISO images without bothering paying some $30 to RH, then you better know what you are doing. should the reviewer made sincere attempts to proactively understand what he is dealing with instead of arrogantly call himself a Windows user, this review could've been more informative and worthwhile. however, if the review is concluded by saying, "I'm a windows user, and installation of RH with CD-Rom I got for FREE from ftp was troublesome and therefore RH is not quite ready for desktop," the review simply is worthless. oh, by the way, did he ever mentioned MP3/multimedia issues on RH? I don't think so.

I am a long time Windows user who switched to Linux. am I a programmer? no. am I engineer? no. I don't have tech background and I've been using linux purely for my desktop & laptop uses. I've installed several distros (RH, MDK, SuSE, Deb, Slack, etc) and I've settled with SuSE for a while. the reason for switch? I can't keep driving a (junk) car with locked engine compartment by the name of proprietary.

I was taken aback by this poor review ("disgusted" is more accurate to my feeling) because I do know how RH installation goes and what switching means for Windows users --it was not troublesome to say the least. yes, you may need to learn something new to use linux, but did you not learn anything new to use Windows when it first came out? it is scary that people are so accustomed to using windows that they believe that Ctrl+Alt+Del is one of the innate computing abilities human beings are given at birth. to them learning other OSs is as difficult and painful as religious conversion.

while this review focuses primarily on installation of RH, it is not appropriate to conclude that RH is not ready for MS users or for desktop. IMHO, all the arguments about linux not being ready for desktop or for non-tech users is nonsense. there are sevearal polished distros for desktop users with no-little tech background. sure, unfortunately we don't have linux compatible spyware yet. maybe we should use WINE to run spyware, shouldn't we? sorry, we don't have BSOD either. for that you need to dual-boot with 98.

as I said, if you are happy with your Clippy OS and are biased toward MS already, you should not bother writing neg reviews on other OS. if the purpose of the review is to put mud on RH and discourage joesixpack windows users from trying alternatives, you might have succeeded. but doing so is unfair and not worth your/readers' time.

Why redhat?!?
by Vesko on Fri 6th Jun 2003 11:28 UTC

Have some years Linux experience behind my back and must say that the author MUST get another distro for a first try (Mandrake or SuSE). RedHat do not target the "mortal" user and although I use RehHat8.0 on almost all of my mashines I plan to swich distro at the end of the year. Imagine the authors attempts to watch video or play mp3. Disaster I would call it. One gets a 3 disks distro and he/she SHOULD get all the software he needs included in the cd set. RedHat do not do that. They have the corporate users in target and forget about me and you who like to use Linux at home too.

Re: Downloading updates
by Tony on Fri 6th Jun 2003 11:52 UTC

I'd like to add that RH Updater, while not the best tool you could get, benefits from the linux platform. Unless there has been a kernel update, you won't have to reboot.
I recently installed Win XP on a computer and it took me 2hours at least to get it updated. I had to reboot several times, and in a particular order so everything would just work.

All in all, I'd say that we're pretty even with MS on this topic. RH Updater may take a long time but at least you can do something else while it is running. Windows update may be faster (probably because of the network bandwidth as rightfully mentionned) but you have to keep an eye on the whole process.

Red Hat, SuSE, Libranet
by Joaquin on Fri 6th Jun 2003 12:11 UTC

I recently tried to install (boxed) Red Hat 7.3 on an old Toshiba laptop which previously had Win 95/ 98 and then SuSE 7.3. Anaconda hung. There was nothing "wrong" with the CDs. I properly installed it in Virtual PC inside my mac. Red Hat 8.0 did install properly on the laptop, though. I never went to RH 9. I was somewhat confused by the configuration tools after using SuSE's Yast. Needless to say I ended up going back to SuSE (I've heard Linus uses it too).

However, I've been blown away after trying Libranet 2.8. It's Debian at the core. The installation is not as pretty as the big boys' (uses ncurses, I think) but is fast and so far has been flawless on the three machines I've tried it on. One of these previously had SuSE 8.1. The sound/network on my Sony RX741 were integrated and SuSE 8.1 required pci=BIOS to enable them. I had to look this up on the net (PCI bus missing boot error). Libranet required no such extra parameters. It ran out of the "box". Another thing that puzzled me was HD throughput. I managed to double it on the Sony/SuSE with hdparm (2.96 MB/sec to 5.9 MB/sec, still pretty bad values). However, under Libranet it went up TENFOLD without even messing around with hdparm (34 MB/sec). I don't know why/how. I can't compain, though. See

Libranet's configuration tool is also very simple/easy on the user/intuitive and the Synaptic package manager shows me the 12,000 or so available debian packages that I can just click on and download at will. I've never seen anything this easy on RedHat or SuSE. And there's no RPM dependency hell...

Needless to say, I'm sticking with Libranet and Debian based distros in the future...

Although I can't say I've been that unlucky, I always have a tiny frustration when I read those things - because, try as they might, RH is a server distro, no snake (anaconda) wrapped around it will make it different in the near future.
- Next thing about bloat, I couldn't agree more ! If linux distros can't make everything fit on 1 CD (and its shouldn't even be full !) Then move-on to something else. I mean let's face the fact folks : QNX can give you a booting system, with GUI, basic notepad, browser, dialup, tiny_towers game, ..etc on 1 single floppy (check it out - it's too cool). So if Linux can't cut the mustard on 1 CD with is - how many time more MBs.
You may think I am a Linux-basher - au contraire !
I have used (and still do) Storm2000 on my server unit (P166). Corel on my laptop (PII_366) and Xandros on my main unit - Dell_PIII_800. I have tinkered with other distros -too many to name, but Mandrake, Suse and RH have left me cold in that they are huge/slow and no more fully featured, stable, usable than the ones I use.
=> The ones I use are a cinch to install, not 1 type (that is appropriate to the level of the OS : meaning don't install Xandros on a P100 / or / Storm/Corel on a P4_2.4Ghz) has faild on me yet.
The only thing 1 must do on storm / corel is add : k_aim, OpenOffice, and some other little utilities - but basically it's all there.
{Hint download those independantly and burn them on a CD - both Lnx/M$ versions) you can always help somebody out that way ...}.
Honestly - do you really need all those editors : joe, pico, vi, vim, nauseam. I use vi or kedit. If you are a gnome type - then I guess it's vi & gedit. Add the one you want trash the other. Kill Bloat !

& unfortunately we have lost another convert - and may yet lose more ....

Simple. Powerful. Linux.

John, I agree with the premise of your article. I have used Windows for years but after reading a book about Open Source about 2 years ago I really want to get to know Linux... and so I have been investing time & effort to get to know it. I think a problem with Linux is, no doubt in my mind, it is a bit more confusing and less intuitive than Windows. But, you should read the Human Interface Guide, published by GNOME
It basically aims to increase usability of the GNOME DE by creating uniform guidelines for applications. I have read some of their discussions, and they really put some thought into everything a typical user would do, they have even done population studies. So, I have no doubt that Linux will get better and better, and easier and easier and as more and more people get involved the pace of change will increase as well. I think by GNOME 3 you will see many of the currently discussed suggestions put into place and many more of the common linux apps hig-ified... in short, making use of them intuitive, consistent and above all, easy.
If you want to help, submit bugs. I personally have submitted some of the lamest bugs on earth to redhat. One of them I said that the icon for Help -> Contents menu was a book when the norm in most other apps was a lifesaver. And the shortcut key he used was Ctrl+H, where the HIG says it should be F1. I got him to fix both... and I can't wait until RawHide when I get to see how my input, however small, made a change to make RedHat just that little more sparkly and consistent.

Sorry, one last comment. The way we do things in Oz...
I have never believed that the way to win people over is to bag the enemy. Rather, you should expound the virtues of whatever it is you are trying to promote. MS bashers, Linux bashers, either side. To Linux bashers, my fellow brothers, please stop saying how unstable, insecure Windows is but rather work to make Linux even more stable and more secure.
Just like in cricket you should let the ball and bat do the talking. And please, if you are a developer in any way, please read the hig and make life a little easier for folks like me.

Web Site Help
by Jay on Fri 6th Jun 2003 16:43 UTC

John, all Linux distros are different in how they support their product, of course. Checking out the web site before installing is usually good, along with reading the installation instructions.

I have to admit, the Red Hat site is not particularly good in that respect - being able to find the latest installer issues, etc. The best i've seen is Yellow Dog Linux, but that's for PPC hardware only. They have a great support area where you can go and easily find that latest dope.

I know people have been slamming you here but, in my posts, all I've tried to do is reiterate that people should check things out as much as they can before installing. I'm glad you submitted you article - despite the crap you've had to take, it has been the source of some good discussion. Thanks for submitting it!

Look at blog for notes on a system i put together for my aunt. She is a very novice pc user, windows is her only experience. Her k62-450 bit the dust, and I scroungd up a machine from friend for her, a Dell p2-350, 6GHD, 128M Ram, internal nic, and a netgear nic.

The install went flawless the first time. I knew I did not want KDE, but Gnome, and I included OpenOffice. Ran well, Mozilla would start in like 30 seconds, same for Open Office. Once they got going, apps were usable. ANd onlyu one at a time ;)

When used with a cable modem, this was a very capable surfing, letter writing, java card playing machine. She had no problems and enjoyed her time with the machine.

The router we had bit the dust, so within 30 minutes or so I had enables IPMASQ, and her machine was not the router in their house so my mom and her could both surf.

I did end up getting her an XP1800 machine a few weeks later (with XP Home grrr) but she did quiz me on all the aps she would lose going back to windows.

I think a lot of times, windows users first instlal will go onto a retired old machine that could not run XP or ME very well either. Remember that the Gnome developers and KDE developers are targeting modern machines with a lot of the eye candy, so YMMV with p2-266's and k2-400's.

Bad CDs
by Florin Andrei on Fri 6th Jun 2003 18:00 UTC

The OpenOffice error is most likely due to bad install CDs. There is an option in the installer enabling you to do a verification of the CDs - use it.
Better yet, try and get the CDs from a more reliable source than LinuxISO. The closer to the origin ( the better.

Alert Notification Tool window
by Florin Andrei on Fri 6th Jun 2003 18:06 UTC

If, instead of running the KDE environment, you were running the default Red Hat GUI, that annoying window probably wouldn't happen.
Remember, KDE is the second option with Red Hat. There's a lot more testing from the Q/A team at Red Hat for their default GUI than for KDE. So, if you're using KDE, do it so at your own risk and don't blame RH for the issues.
In actual fact, i prefer the default GUI because it masks the differences between Gnome and KDE. There is no reason why such an artificial difference should be inflicted on the poor user. I wouldn't even pay attention to the "Red Hat crippled KDE" crackpot bunch.

Sorry to hear of your bad experience installing RHL9.0. Maybe you just had a bad CD to work with.
My personal experience with RHL9.0 had been very satisfiying. Red Hat 9.0 has been a real joy to use on my old Dell Dimension T600r. 9.0 has moved to CUPS support from the onset, so there's no need to switch. The Gnome GUI is gorgeous and Mozilla serves as an excellent browser and e-mail client.
I've had problems with prior installations and several of these "difficulties" resulted from my tinkering with the amount a swap space I allocated (including Mandrake and SuSE).
To a Windows refugee like myself, Linux is a powerful OS at the command line level. You can copy a CD (thanks to Mike Reed, OSNews, 4.22.03); burn data and audio CDs with cdrecord and sox; download digital images with gphoto2; and use a very functional text editor in VIM.
I have a phone modem and it took about an hour to download some 27 updates in my case, including the recent kernel upgrade from Red Hat.
My only real negative experiences with Linux have been (1) being kicked out of a Red Hat upgrade attempt this morning because of heavy server useage, (2) "losing" my KPPP window in KDE after going online and finally just logging out to disconnect (not a problem in Gnome), and (3) trying to used cdrecord to "blank" a CD-RW.
Linux has a wonderful treasure trove of online documentation though, and I'm sure with sufficient perserverance that these minor issues can be dealt with.
So John, from one Windows refugee to another, keep at it.
Half the fun in life is getting there.

by Kevin on Fri 6th Jun 2003 21:36 UTC


Sorry to see all the flames you got. I'm afraid thats one thing about the "Linux" community that troubles me sometimes. On the other hand there were many great encouragement articles that highlight the positive side of the linux community. Honestly as a tech that has to support both windows and linux install, I'm much more likely to help the linux user where I would just tell the windows user to reboot. In the windows case they are usually happy until the problem occurs again and calls for another reboot.

Anyhow, another thing that bothers me is the number of posts that flamed you for a bad cd/iso. I saw one, maybe two other people defend you. You clearly said

The installation process began smoothly enough. I did a scan of my cd to make sure it didn't contain any errors [/quote]

Whats so hard to understand about that?

Anyhow, I enjoyed reading the article. I'm glad you got RH to install though you won't be evaluating it any further.

I was a redhat flunkie and I have to admit that installs were not always perfect. In one machine with an ACER cd-rom, the install would crash every time. I put in another generic cd-rom and life was happy again.

As for myself I've picked up gentoo and loved just about every minute of it. It certainly isn't your grandma's distro, but realisticly, I don't think anyone going out and buying a PC would expect to have to install the OS themselves. As far as updating. gentoo does a great job but some of the updates that touch onf files would not only baffle a "new linux user" but yould also leave them sitting with hosed fstab, net, and make.conf file. Not something every gentoo user looks forward too ;)

The problem with the downloads was probably because redhat likes to throttle customers that aren't using their premium services. FWIW I've been running windows updates on some fresh 98se boxes here and there are close to 70 updates, well over 100MB, from a clean start. I found with redhat 8.x the best way to do updates was through apt-rpm/synaptic. Even that was unreliable. Ximian desktop, one of the other solutions, was why I switched away from redhat. One little glitch and it seemed as if my ximian updater was hosed to the point that every other package had a conflict with every previous version. Hopefully the'll get those bugs worked out soon...

Personally I think the best way to introduce novice users to Linux is with the help of any of the Live-CD distros out there. Knoppix and Gentoo are the first two that come to mind. I know knoppix offers the ability to save your configuration for later use. This allows windows users to customize knoppix to their liking without actually have to do an install. From there they can probe around on the system and become familiar with the internals before making a plunge into something that really does require the end user to know a little bit more about what they are using than your standard windows install.

In conclusion, I think your review was pretty fair. You obviously asked some of the questions that are similar as to what a windows convert might ask, except with your experience you didn't have to turn to someone else to get the answer. Thats great for you, but any ordinary user is going to get frustrated and go back to windows assuming they can figure out how to get lilo/grub off their mbr and assuming they even got that far. ;)


I'm a windows convert as well, and i've just installed RH9. I had mandrake 8.2, but i had some application errors, segmentation faults and a lot of other things going wrong.

I really like having a console to work with, and all the powerful development tools provided CVS, GDB, what have you...real programming in a Windows enironment flat. But having said all this, I've been trying to install things like Gaim, SINUS firewall, Aspell, and every time I try and "make" it compile, I get errors, missing *.so, can't find this library, gotta install this before you install this, and then if one can't compile, you can't do anything else, and you have to hunt for the missing source.

That is probably the problem with just toooo much open source. You just can't get the right configuration, and you have to hunt down everything for a particular config to work.

Recently, I was compiling something from, and i received a segmentation fault. And then my computer hanged. I was thinking that perhaps Linux would have better ways of handling core dumps and seg faults. One of my RAM had been corrupted due to the strange segmentation faults.
I don't know much about computers, but enough to install things through ./configure and makes. If Red Hat were to make to the home environment, or any linux distros for that fact, there needs to be some sort of easier way for newbies to install additional software.

Gnome CD player has some weird bugs too, i can't press the stop button. If i try and close the application, it won't. Weird?

The only successful thing that has happened is my mp3 patch from, samba(except printing), and effectively using Ximian ( i just love it).

I think that this article is _not_ a fair judgement of RedHat, nor the Linux Operating System. Although I now run Gentoo, I have used Redhat since version 5.2. I do have to agree with the fact that there are a lot of things that redhat could do better with Anaconda (The RedHat Linux installer), for one, the could write it in C, but that is not the subject of this flare. The user sould _ALWAYS_ do their homework and RTFM as well as the HCL that is gratously found on just about _every_ distro's web site, so they know that _all_ of their hardware will work with the distro. As for the part in the story about the guy not knowing how big to make the partitions, the DUMBASS SHOULD HAVE LET DISK DRIUD DO IT FOR HIM!