[Techtalk] hello, anyone out there

Hamster hamster at hamsternet.org
Fri Aug 2 17:29:16 EST 2002

> 1) On boot-up the default is to go to Linux, how do I change this?

There is a file called /etc/lilo.conf
You need to edit this file to change the default os that it boots to.
The file will contain a list of os's that lilo can boot to. They each have a name, and that name is given in the lines that read 
label = 

Up the top of your lilo.conf file you will see a line that says

What you need to do is change that line so that the text after the equals sign is the same as the name (ie label) of the os that you want booted by default.

To illustrate here are some lines from a hypothetical lilo.conf


image = /boot/vmlinuz
	label = linux
image = /dev/hda

In this example the default os that will be booted is windows.

Now here is something very important. After you edit the file lilo.conf, at the command line you need to execute the command:
in order for your master boot record to be rewritten. If you dont do this then your changes wont take effect next boot.

> 2) I just bought a USB mouse and a USB keyboard (paid a lot), 
You will possibly need a later version of Mandrake. USB support in earlier versions is not too comprehensive if it exists at all. Mandrake is currently up to version 8.2, and 9.0 is in beta.

> 3) I am pretty concerned with privacy because people are always trying to
> hack into my computer (for several reasons), what is a good firewall
> software to install for Linux.

I too am a network admin, and rather than install some 3rd party software to do this, you can use software that is built into linux itself (in fact other software is often just a front-end to this built in)

What my suggestion is (and you will probably get different suggestions from different people) is to install a package called iptables (if your kernel version is 2.4.x) or ipchains (if your kernel version is 2.2.x)
This iptables software is a packet filter. You write rules to permit or deny traffic in/out/through your network. A sample line might look like

iptables -A input --dport 80 -j DROP

This drops all traffic heading for port 80 on your machine.

Iptables is extrememly powerful, you can block or deny and create rulesets for any purpose you can possibly imagine. It is also a stateful firewall.

> 4) I don't know how to install anything! The look and feel that I picked for
> Linux mandrake does not include Netscape but some other junk browser, how do
> I actually install the Netscape browser.

Mandrake uses a packaging system called rpm.
You download software in the form of .rpm and simply do
rpm -ivh package_name.rpm 
and hey presto.

If you have all the mandrake cd's, then I am about 99% sure that netscape is included on those disks. 

> 5)I need some good "office type" software that will be somewhat compatible
> with word, etc.. what do I do?

Your Mandrake cds should include software called KOffice.
You can also try OpenOffice, StarOffice and possibly others I cant remember right now.

> I want to try to move to Linux, but right now all I am having is
> difficulty..

What I suggest you do is to pick one task at a time and try to do that.

ie if the lack of netscape is bugging you the most at the moment, then I suggest you have a go at just getting netscape on, and when you run into problems then send an email to this list requesting help on just this one problem. For example I could write pages and pages just on iptables alone.

When you first start out in linux, just take it nice and easy. One step at a time otherwise you end up frustrated and pissed off.

So. Pick a project, have a go at it, if you have problems email back this list.

The last thing I might suggest too, is see if you can upgrade to a later version of Madrake. Linux evolves so fast that between 8.0 and 8.2 the improvements and modifications to both the kernel and supporting software are enormous, and will probably solve a lot of issues, especially your usb hardware.


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