Linked by Barry Smith on Mon 1st Dec 2003 18:34 UTC
Debian and its clones This is the second in my series of reviews for debian-based commercial distros that might be appropriate for SOHO use. The first article covered my exploration of Lindows, and this one is focused on Libranet. Before I get started with Libranet I want to clarify a couple of points.
Order by: Score:
Should have asked
by Bob on Mon 1st Dec 2003 19:10 UTC

He should have asked for help on his secondary system. It's highly probable that his GRUB error is hardware-related and not Libranet's fault. I have never had GRUB crap out on me like LILO has.

v Lycoris
by insignia! on Mon 1st Dec 2003 19:13 UTC
Xandros: December 9th
by cc on Mon 1st Dec 2003 19:16 UTC

Any plans to review Xandros? Their new version is scheduled to be available on December 9th. They even plan on having a 30 free-trial version.

Oh yeah!
by insignia! on Mon 1st Dec 2003 19:18 UTC

Xandros 2 is supposed to be even better than this. I hope Eugenia can get an early copy.

Uh....
by Adam Scheinberg on Mon 1st Dec 2003 19:28 UTC

The subjective ratings and the subsequent justification - "it's my computer, so my rating system," make this article thoroughly ungeneralizable. This isn't a "review" - it's a journal of one person's very specific experience. While that doesn't make it a bad article, or even a bad read, it does make it pretty irrelevant for me, because his problems are so system-specific that it doesn't tell me anything about the distro that I care to know.

Honestly, the only people that might find this interesting are those who have done their own shootouts or those who have the exact same hardware. Otherwise, little here may apply to you.

If a group of people were all testing out the same stuff on the same hardware, then the subjective ratings would be interesting. In fact, I'd LOVE to see *that* piece.

v crap
by KOMPRESSOR on Mon 1st Dec 2003 20:06 UTC
GRUB
by Mark Brophy on Mon 1st Dec 2003 20:16 UTC

If one does not make any software changes and all of a sudden the software does not work, it is more than likely NOT the fault of the software! Normally I wouldn't defend GRUB (as I've had problems myself), but when it comes to Libranet, I have no choice. While I don't use it now, I have to admit that it's one of the most pleasant and usable distros in existence. But that's irrelevant... the rest of the review after this folly is filled with feelings of distrust and distaste for a company that did everything RIGHT!
-Mark

Linux Reviews
by schmegglefurt on Mon 1st Dec 2003 20:26 UTC

Its interesting that most linux reviews and even linux books, right back to the old days, start and end with the installation and installation problems. Most linux "power users" I know change distro's more often than they change their underwear, which I guess makes the "installation review" worthwhile.

Grub has problems mounting custom kernels
by blah on Mon 1st Dec 2003 20:53 UTC

at least in the Fedora setup.

RE: Grub
by B. Smith on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:16 UTC

Mark Brophy Wrote:

"If one does not make any software changes and all of a sudden the software does not work, it is more than likely NOT the fault of the software! Normally I wouldn't defend GRUB (as I've had problems myself), but when it comes to Libranet, I have no choice. While I don't use it now, I have to admit that it's one of the most pleasant and usable distros in existence. But that's irrelevant... the rest of the review after this folly is filled with feelings of distrust and distaste for a company that did everything RIGHT!
-Mark"

Mark,

Apparently I touched a nerve. Do you dispute the accuracy of my report? DO you think I am lying? Or is it simple resentment because I dared to say something less than complimentary about Libranet? You stated that you have had problems with Grub yourself, did you not?

BTW, if you believe that LIbranet did everything right, why are you no longer using it?

I like many things about Libranet. I never said, nor did I imply, that I disliked or distrusted Libranet. I said that I distrusted that particular installation and therefore removed it. I also said that I might have received help from Libranet, had I asked. This assumes that I would have been capable of understanding the solution had they offered one.

All I know is that I had previously installed Libranet 2.7, RedHat 7.3, 8.0 & 9.0, Mandrake 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 9.0 & 9.1, Knoppix 3.2 HD install, Lycoris Rel. 2 & 3, Morphix (various) on that same system with the same hardware and never had any problems at all. I also know that I replaced Libranet 2.8.1 on that system with Lindows 4.0 and I had no additional trouble. I am currently using Mepis on that system, and there has been no sign of any problems.

So if it was a hardware issue, it must have been a hardware issue that apeared out of nowhere without warning, and then fixed itself when I wasn't looking, because there is no evidence of any trouble now.

I also stated, repeatedly, that it is quite possible one of you knowledgeable types could have fixed it, but I couldn't fix it.

When you are in a high mountain forest, sitting under a tree with a broken leg, it doesn't offer much comfort to reflect that a doctor could fix things easily. If you are on your own, then you need to be able to cope with it yourself. When I am on my own with my systems, I need to be able to fix them myself.

And I do not have the luxury of deep cash reserves or a dozen backup systems to draw upon, unlike large enterprises.

B. Smith

Hardware?
by Bob on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:26 UTC

It's quite possible that the issue hasn't gone away. It may resurface in a few weeks' time with Lindows since it didn't show up immediately w/Libranet.

Or it might be possible that you messed it up by doing blind apt-get updates.

I Like It
by Eric on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:40 UTC

I think these reviews have been very good. Who cares about the ratings or "subjective" nature of them. I know I don't. I looked at the comments on the last story and saw so many dumb remarks about the +1 and -1 that I could not read them. I hope no one takes the same stace with this article as it is obviously not meant to do anything other than what it does! What that means is your subjective opinion about the review is just as valid as the review itself. On a side note, I really love libranet and run it on all my systems. The minimal install is really great for getting a debian system up with out the hassle of messing with X (I know rtfm). Good job with the review and good job to the Libranet team.

@schmegglefurt
by another2 on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:41 UTC

I'd have to disagree with you on that, I do system tweaks often (write my own scripts for things) and modify an existing distro then switching. When I first started using linux I did switch distro's often.

@schmegglefurt
by another2 on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:41 UTC

I'd have to disagree with you on that, I do system tweaks often (write my own scripts for things) and modify an existing distro then switching. When I first started using linux I did switch distro's often.

RE: Hardware?
by B. Smith on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:49 UTC

Bob wrote:
"It's quite possible that the issue hasn't gone away. It may resurface in a few weeks' time with Lindows since it didn't show up immediately w/Libranet.

Or it might be possible that you messed it up by doing blind apt-get updates."

Either one is possible. I am not qualified to guess. I am as clueless now as when it happened. BTW, I did not apt-get update this system, I updated the main desktop system, which worked without any problems. In fact, Libranet is still installed on that one and working fine. That was what got me, I had not done anything to the secondary system except recompile my kernel with adminmenu, and install the Lucent drivers in accord with step by step instructions.

B. Smith

RE:GRUB
by Tim Letendre on Mon 1st Dec 2003 21:56 UTC

I've had odd GRUB problems myself, and much prefer LILO since it has never failed for me. I doubt Lindows will have a major boot problem since there is no easy way to mess with its kernel and it uses LILO. I'm just stating my experience. However, I've even had WindowsXP stop booting for no reason, one of the reasons I stopped using it actually.

i agree
by Anonymous on Mon 1st Dec 2003 22:41 UTC

sounds like a hardware problem.

grub once installed and working (and several reboots later it's still working) should keep working.

no magical reason for it to corrupt or get screwed up.

has to be hardware.

or at least the probability is very high

funny read...scientific method (or lack of it) gets a -1
entertainment value gets a +1
creative verbage gets +1

-1+1+1=1

;-)

Personally...
by Chris on Mon 1st Dec 2003 22:49 UTC

I like the review style. It reads much like Steidler's reviews for lockergnome used to, though his (not picking!) used a more scientific/weighted evaluation. However, since I've agreed with most of what you said it doesn't bother me. I'm not going into these reviews expecting you to show me the distro I should use...I've already tried most of the major ones. Still can't pick one over the myrid of problems I've encountered.

XFCE4
by Mikhail Capone on Mon 1st Dec 2003 23:42 UTC

Anybody who thinks that KDE and GNOME are taking up too much ressources but likes to have a pretty and useable DE should check out XFce 4.0.1 (xfce.org)

It rules, it rules and it rules.

Style and content
by Anonymous on Mon 1st Dec 2003 23:56 UTC

I am not sure about the style of writing. It gets the job done, I guess.

However, this kind of review is exactly what I want to read about Linux. I have played with Linux several times, and use it regularly as part of my work. But not a single distro quite made it as my permanent OS. I want an OS that just works. This kind of review is good because I really don't care which kernel I am running or whether it is KDE or Gnome or the like - I just want something that works out of the box, and allows me to add and remove stuff like I see fit.

From what I've been reading, Libranet and SUSE 9 are close to what I want. Mepis is one distro I am keeping an eye on, and can't wait for this series to review it ;)

RE: XFCE4
by Anonymous on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 00:17 UTC

Anyone who thinks XFCE4 is too much should check out ROX-Filer and their favorite lite window manager. It runs circles around XFCE and looks even nicer.

Reviewer's Grub
by Anonymous on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 00:18 UTC

It sounds to me that his kernel recompile overwrote his /boot/grub/menu.lst file with some bogus information.

Eh, okay... could be a bit more thorough
by pixelmonkey on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 00:26 UTC

I mentioned this on the other review of Libranet, but I'll mention it again. Libranet does not just = Debian + adminmenu. Libranet's most important features are its install program (which may become irrelevant with the development of d-i for sarge and/or Progeny's anaconda for Debian, but still works MUCH better than boot-floppies); its custom-compilation of major packages (for example, Galeon, Evolution, XFree86 4.3, which, although it may be the "de facto standard" for the non-geek reviewer, is _not_ the "de facto standard" for Debian (neither stable, nor testing, nor unstable) which is still hovering around 4.2.1); its good selection of software on two CDs (or one for 2.7) which is important considering the entire Debian archive is requiring DVDs lately, what with more than 8000 packages (that might be a low estimate, but bla); it's _true_ compatability with the Debian archive (I upgraded to sid without a problem, and pinning works relatively flawlessly for most Libra users who know how to set it up); its maintainence of a repository with more custom packages available in between Libra releases; its support database, web forum, mailing list, and direct e-mail support; and finally, adminmenu ;-)

Plus, I want to mention that Jon and Tal announced recently on the Libra newsletter that 3.0, which is in development now, will include an ever-improved repository with more custom-compiled packages and better compatability to "official" sarge and sid...

Good review anyway ;)

Good article
by anselm on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 00:51 UTC

I think these reviews are good. I like the way he reviews the distros from a non-geek perspective.

Re: Linux Reviews
by Joe on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 01:36 UTC

I think it's funny how people often select the distro that works best with the hardware they are using. What is better is how people just kind of accept this. The majority of the distros I install fail to install the correct soundcard drivers for both my primary and secondary box. It seems like about every other mandrake realease has my sound card working by the end of the install and that distro seems to have the least problems with my hardware. I am not using non-standard hardware either, it is just the way it is.

Great review
by Rod MC on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 02:03 UTC

That was another awsome review ;) Im enjoying this series very much... Also, about you'r grup problem... Why do computers suddenly decided tos top working?

I tried to boot up my debian woody system today, and lilo complained about a descriptor checksum error. Why? I wasnt hard to fix, "fdisk /mbr" in msdos and "lilo -b /dev/hda" in liux and i was ready to go... But its weird when you dont do anything to you'r machine that could currupt anything, i didnt update anything, everything should have been fine, and i shutdown in the normal manner :} Weird!

Getting better.
by Alex on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 03:01 UTC

This review was somewhat better than the Lindows one, but it suffers from many of the same problems, I will list the top 3 most annoying ones.

1. Irrelevant rating system, the ratings are very specific and do not judge the overall dissapointment or pleasure of a feature. As Barry said they are either +1 or -1 for a specific feature it can't be +3 for something really great or -5 for something horrendus. For example, he only took of 1 point for the video card problem, this is quite significant and no newbie should be expected to fix this on their own, this should be -3 at least. Also a really cool feature should get more points too.

And furthermore it is still very much just "lala one point here and one point there tralalala"

For example

" And I am going to take off another point for forcing me to install a different operating system on my secondary computer. The first negative point was for trying to eat my hard drive, and this one is for making me go to the trouble of wiping and starting over. I am still unhappy about that one."

Okay, this really makes no sense, he has taken a point off already for this issue and installing another OS because of his problem IS THE SAME ISSUE, so if he goes by what he said and provides equal weight to everything, it should remain -1 for that problem.

"Libranet, as all know, defaults to IceWM. I had never tried this one before and was pleasantly surprised. Since the GDM login presents you with a selection to choose from, I started going down the list and trying them all, one at a time. I eventually defaulted back to KDE as my favorite, but I feel compelled to give Libranet a +1 for expanding my horizons. If they had not made the default something other than KDE or Gnome, I probably would never have bothered to check them out."

In all respect DEFAULTING to ICEWM should have been a -1 rather than a plus. What newbie wants to get stuck in an odd environment like that when there is GNOME and KDE? In fact I think that distributions should go for best of breed and integration ,not quantity. Only one desktop should be included with a DEFAULT install, but that desktop should be very well integrated. Normal computer users want to get their work done not play around with different desktops, that is just a waste of time and frankly I've lost a few Linux users that way. Too many choices, they just want an integrated system with the best of the breed.

2. No screenshots!!!


3. Not very well organized. It would be great if the article was split into sections like "Installation" "Administrative Utilities", "Applications", "Integration", "Support" "Company" etc. Also it would help if even in the current format he wouldn't pretend he is done with an issue than revive it later in an unrelated context for example the GRUB issue.



IT WAS THE SoFtWaRe
by Alex on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 03:03 UTC

For all the "It's not the software's fault for the harddrive issue, YOUR WRONG.

If Lindows works fine on that system, than guess who's fault it is. Not evena power failure should cause this in a modern system.

MEMPIS
by Alex on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 03:31 UTC

"Next Victim.....Either Xandros or Mepis, whichever gets delivered first. Stay tuned."

What do you mean, whichever gets delivered first? MEMPIS's latest version HASN'T EVEN BEEN OUT FOR A FULL WEEK! What exactly are you waiting for when it comes to MEMPIS?

Are you waiting for the next version which will probably be in 3-6 months? Or are you waiting for the MINOR update to MEMPIS, that is going to be released on December 3rd.

If your waiting for 2003.10.01 than it will definitely get released ahead of Xandros. Xandros Desktop 2.0 should be released on the 9th of this month and MEMPIS 2003.10.01 should be out on the 3rd of this month.

Can you please clarify?

A review is one thing, a fix is another
by Lawrence on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 03:49 UTC

Interesting review, good grist for the mill. Libranet is, IMHO, one of a number of very good distros out there. I also feel that the subjective viewpoint of the reviewer is perfectly valid.

That said, I have problems with this review, which I shall put as if speaking to its author:

When GRUB filed on one of your computers, a very serious problem surfaced. You say you were in the position of someone who is off the other side of the black stump with a broken leg, and you had to take care of yourself without medical help. That is simply not true, now is it?

In fact you were able to contact Libranet on your other box, get a response of some sort from them, and do some searches of posts on the 'net to see whether your problem had already been reported. Heaven knows, I would have gotten to another box somewhere and done all that -- because a GRUB failure is a serious concern that I want to prevent if possible!!

As your review makes clear, you encountered another problem before the GRUB mess came up, and you immediately contacted Libranet for help AND then looked for and found a specific cure already posted. You investigated. That's the way to do it; that's the way a real user does things when he has a problem with a new distro.

And what did you get for your trouble? Plenty of help. Information.

How come you did this with the first problem, but not with the second?

It is clear that you did not deal with Libranet's new version as if you planned to use it; folks who look at a new distro that way fix it and try to make the fix permanent. Your intent, obviously, was to fix things without bothering to try to prevent more trouble down the road, and then toss the distro out. That's very abnormal behavior, nothing like what I do when I put a new distro to work for me.

As things stand, we are left with nothing to explain the GRUB failure. We can't even say, "Well, we don't know, even though we tried to find out."

If I'm hit once with a GRUB failure, I darn sure won't just reinstall and forget about it. Sure, there are some gremlins that hit the apps that must run in a GUI from time to time, but they are not serious, so I just cuss them and fix as needed. I expect the very occasional quirk there; these are just minor irritations, and highly infrequent. But a GRUB failure?? Cripes, NO!!

Yet you dismiss it as uninteresting, not fundamental, not anything to look into, not something that must be prevented. Sheeeesh.....

We are left wondering what happened and whether it might happen to us, if we try Libranet. So we can only speculate. Question raised, question not delved into. Big hole.

As a reviewer, don't you have a responsibility to shed light, if possible, on whatever murky, seriously troublesome situations arise? "No?" Well, OK.... Your call.

So: Interesting, +1. Failure to follow through as a real user would, -1. Failure to provide as much required information as realistically possible, -1. Score: -1.

Maybe now you would like to "weight" those points <g>.

>... Mepis is one distro I am keeping an eye on, and can't wait for this series to review it ;)
--------------------------------------------------
I've been running the last release of Mepis (2003.8 ??) for a couple of months now, on an Athlon XP 2400+ system with an ECS motherboard,512 MB DDR, an AGP GeForce Vanta video card, and the usual IDE hard drives and optical drives.

My impressions of Mepis are mixed. On the plus side, the install was easy, and resulted quickly in a working system. I found no broken programs, which is quite a testament considering that this is a brand new distro. Adding Debian apt-get sources and updating various programs to debian unstable also went smoothly. I was able to add programs like flac (lossless alternative to things like mp3 and ogg), quicktime decoders for Mplayer, etc, without any fuss.

On the minus side, Mepis seems awfully slow on my system - it feels rather a lot like Knoppix running from the CD, which is rather surprising since it's running from an ATA 133 IDE hard drive. Also I recently added a big (200 GB) WD hard drive with its Promise PCI controller card to my system, and while Mepis finds the Promise controller and big drive, it seems to be unable to create or read a partition table on it. I was able to mount and partition the drive (two Reiserfs partitions) using Knoppix 3.3, but on reboot Mepis is still unhappy with the big drive and won't read or write to it. This is true even if I make both partitions smaller than the 137 GB limit I'm told some BIOS'es have. (Note: I'm a long, long way from Linux guru status, so I have no idea why Mepis has more trouble with the big drive than Knoppix 3.3).

I would say Mepis is definitely off to a great start for a new distro, and I may try the newest release when I get the chance.

Meantime, frustrated by the slowness of my old Mepis install, I just wiped it today and started to install Gentoo instead. I guess I'll know in a couple of weeks whether I like Gentoo, assuming I get through the entire install/compile process. I'm building from a stage-1 tarball, so there will be many days worth of compilation ahead of me...

Is libranet really that fast?
by rick on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 04:52 UTC

I really liked this review. I've also been trying Linux distros lately to find one that fits my needs. I recently bought and installed Libranet and installed it next to Fedora Core on one of my computers (2 GHz Celeron, 256 MB, NVidia GeForce 4MX). I liked Libranet -- everything seemed to work well. However, programs launched much, much slower under Libranet than under Fedora Core. Does anyone know if recompiling the kernel for my CPU will bring Libranet on par speedwise with Fedora Core? Fedora is beautiful and fast, but has so many bugs that it isn't really usable yet. Also, Libranet didn't seem to want to work with the demo of Crossover Plugin that I downloaded. Anyone got this to work?

As for me, I've got my hopes up for Xandros 2. But if I could speed up Libranet and get it to work with Crossover Plugin, it would be a sweet system.

ROX-Filer works really well on any wm
by Anonymous on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 05:12 UTC

ROX-Filer works really well on Xfce4 and just as well on ICEWM. I just installed that combo on a P2-350 laptop and it was nice and snappy.

Mepis 2003.10
by Gonzalo on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 06:47 UTC

I just received it about 1/2 hour ago. I'm in Europe... seems they deliver quickly.

Knoppix XF86Config
by david on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 06:54 UTC


How interesting. I have also borrowed the Knoppix XF86Config file as the golden file and pull it into any distro that just cant quite do the same job. What is it about what knoppix is doing that nobody else can do?

Review/Grub/Libranet
by Frank Merenda on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 12:14 UTC

This was a fun review to read. Being subjective is *fine* as long as the author states it in the article so it's all up front, just like Barry did. It was an easy read, and not the same old stuff (that's not an insult at all, *MY* review listed here on this same distribution was exactly that - the standard review stuff!). I really enjoyed reading this and think the author did a good job. He wrote in his own style, warned the reader exactly what he was doing, and did exactly that. Even if I disagree with some of his assessments, I am coming from a different viewpoint, so my opinions will be different. No surprise there. I think that this author's article was a good read, gave his point of view well, and wasn't the normal stuff.

Grub:

I've been booting off of grub for about 18 months now, and have never had a single problem. I'm on my second distribution on my main machine, and have tested probably 4 or 5 distributions over the past 2 years, and have never had a problem with grub. Just my experience, of course, but I thought I would mention it here.

Libranet:

I've used Libranet 2.8.1 before, and it's a FINE distribution. It *absolutely* lives up to all the marketing and hype. The latest Libranet newsletter stated that 3.0 is on it's way soon, and I'm excited to see what it has to offer. If you are looking for a distribution that is fast, stable and debian based, Libranet is the way to go, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Thanks for the review, it was a good read.

Take care,
-Frank Merenda
Co-author uptime, a Linux web site - http://uptime.steidler.net

RE: A review is one thing, a fix is another
by fastbrowser on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 15:38 UTC

Lawrence wrote:

"As a reviewer, don't you have a responsibility to shed light, if possible, on whatever murky, seriously troublesome situations arise? "No?" Well, OK.... Your call.

So: Interesting, +1. Failure to follow through as a real user would, -1. Failure to provide as much required information as realistically possible, -1. Score: -1.

Maybe now you would like to "weight" those points <g>."
******************************************************

Excellent review on the reviewer.!

The failure to contact Libranet's tech support, denotes a certain lackadaisical attitude on the reviewer's part, while at the same time penalizing the distro in question. When reviewing Lindows, he penalized it, and correctly I may add, for being slow in answering or for the quality of the help, I can't remember exactly, but it was fair. Here, he doesn't even try to contact the Libranet's tech support department.

I think the problem lies in the fact, that eventhough, he clarifies at the beginning of this review that he doesn't care about all the zealots and narrow-minded users, that he will review it according to his needs as a technical writer,
this is not the case. As you read the review, you find a certain tendency to appease most of the crowd, the notion prevails that if he doesn't find something definitely wrong with the distro, it would become a boring review. I speculate that, unbeknown to him, he is betraying his own ideals, he is being affected by the crowd.

I perceived he was under some kind of pressure to "find something wrong with Libranet" so as not to appear partial to Libranet, which is evidently a sword of two edges, because it defeats his purpose of being biased and worried about his own needs (which is fine with me and valid, because it makes the article interesting).

Part of the problem is that he didn't have to pay for the distro. When a person pays $60 for a distro, and something like that happens, and you only have one box, you will call the tech support department in a jiffy, you will be pissed or worried as hell, I know most of us do.

Or would that have been too easy, and was this the way of "making it more interesting" by not finding the answer to this GRUB "bug"?
If the reviewer is a technical dummy as he states he is, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters??? No, the guys who sold you the software, that's who!

So, stick to what your principles in reviewing are, and don't worry about us, but be CONSISTENT.

thanks. ;)

fb

RE: Reviewing the Reviewer
by B. Smith on Tue 2nd Dec 2003 18:07 UTC

LOL. Touche!

OK, I love getting feedback like this, because no one can improve without effective criticism. Since you were both polite, I will try to respond in kind.

Lawrence wrote:

"As a reviewer, don't you have a responsibility to shed light, if possible, on whatever murky, seriously troublesome situations arise? "No?" Well, OK.... Your call.

So: Interesting, +1. Failure to follow through as a real user would, -1. Failure to provide as much required information as realistically possible, -1. Score: -1.

Maybe now you would like to "weight" those points <g>."

Well, actually I did try to shed lightas much as I could. Failure to follow through as a real user would? I got the thing working again didn't I?

Here's where I am coming from. I spent twenty years using MS products, starting with DOS 2.somethingorother. Three years ago I got fed up, and I mean totally fed up, with MS and decided to try Linux.

I had NO previous experience with any non-MS system. I had NO training of any kind. Everything I know about Linux is self-taught. There was no one to help me, and what I got off mailing lists and forums basically amounted to "Go to this site, download this document, leave me alone" or if I was really lucky I got the equivalent of "Go the the library, or buy a book and RTFM you worthless newbie scum".

As I look at my bookshelf I see 7 books about Linux, starting with Linux for dummies and ending with the RedHat Bible for Rel. 8.0.

In all fairness, I think tech dummy is a bit harsh. I kind of thought I was doing fairly well, considering that I started from ground zero three years ago, that I taught myself everything I know about Linux without any third party training of any kind. It is HARD to teach yourself the basics of a *nix operating system when you have only known MS all your adult life. It is not easy AT ALL.

When I had the trouble with my Grub installation, I panicked and reacted in the manner that 20 years of MS had conditioned me to react. I reformatted and reinstalled. It simply did not occur to me that I had an honest to goodness tech suport lifeline to call upon, because I had never had one before.

Such is life for a worthless, ignorant, annoying, dummy newbie. But I did get the sucker working again, even if I had to switch OS to do it.

Barry

RE:IT WAS THE SoFtWaRe
by C. Whitman on Wed 3rd Dec 2003 16:27 UTC

Um, no, they are not necessarily wrong. This could be the result of a sector on the hard drive just starting to go bad. It could be a problem with the software. It could be a random occurence due to outside electromagnetic interference (including the possibility of plain vanilla static).

I have seen installs of just about every Microsoft OS and Linux maybe once or twice (I have dealt with a lower volume of Linux boxes) have a file become corrupted for no apparent reason whatsoever (admittedly with Win9x, it sometimes seems to very much be the fault of the OS, especially if the install is more than a year old), and then have a reinstall of the same OS work fine again for months until an explainable problem showed up, or have it work for a few days or a few weeks and then have the hard drive fail.

The fact is there is no way to be sure why this happened. It could be any of these causes, but without further testing and the passing of time, we have no way to say.

Xandros2
by Mr Ed on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:45 UTC

Now, I think Xandros2 is gonna rock your socks off my friend.

Anyone say "drag n drop cd burning from the file manager"?
How about "CrossoverOffice bundled with the Distro"?

Muahahah.

December 16th.

Fixing Grub
by BreetaiZentradi on Tue 9th Dec 2003 09:04 UTC

I have 6 linux partitions on 2 drives, I install a new distribution of linux every week or so to test it out. GRUB or LILO constantly get zapped. Here is what fixes it for me.

1. Boot from a live CD like Knoppix, Morphix, Mepis, or my current favorite PCLinuxOS 2K4 ( http://www.pclinuxonline.com )

2. Go to a root command prompt, by CTRL+ALT+F2, or selecting a root terminal session.

3. Mount or remount as read write the partition that is your linux systems root partition:

mount -o rw /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1

4. Go to chrooted enviroment, i.e. make your linux system use the drive we just mounted as our current "live" version of Linux:

chroot /mnt/hda1

5. Now we use GRUB to reinstall the bootloader back into the MBR of the hard drive:

grub-install /dev/hda

6. Reboot the system


Upon reboot (with the CD removed from the drive) grub should do it's thing again