[Techtalk] thanks for all the help!

David Merrill david at lupercalia.net
Fri Aug 2 13:27:46 EST 2002

Hash: SHA1

On Friday 02 August 2002 12:50, Sam Bradshaw wrote:
> Thank you all for your help!!
> Thank you also "Hamster" for you philosophical advice and moral
> support. I think you are totally right, I have to just tackle on thing
> at a time.. How do I know if I have lilo or the other thing by the way?
> Will it say on boot up? Also I have a fast AMD machine, why is boot up
> so slow with Linux?

Several reasons. First, in many cases it really isn't any slower than 
Windows, but it completes all system initialization *before* displaying a 
login prompt or GUI. Windows gets the GUI right up, even while it is 
still loading stuff. That's why things "pop" into your system tray after 
the GUI comes up.

Also, Linux systems typically run lots of servers. Even if it's not a 
"server" machine, your GUI is based on an X server, an X Font server, 
etc., and other system components are often built as client-server 
architectures. This is one reason for the complexity of Linux. But also a 
reason for its power -- you can run a program on your local machine, but 
have the GUI for it displayed on another, because X is client-server. I 
understand Windows XP added a primitive form of this, allowing you to 
share the entire desktop, but the X way is vastly more powerful.

But the biggest reason is just that Linux bootup is not very well 
optimized. The 2.5 development kernel includes a reorganization of the 
bootup sequence, so maybe there will be an improvement when it comes out.

One interesting and plausible explanation for the lack of optimization is 
that because we reboot our machines so very infrequently, bootup time 
isn't always considered very important. Don't know if that is really 
true, it's just an observation.

> I definitely need a firewall (on nt2000 I have mcafee firewall, seems
> to be doing the trick), because of some postings that I made on a
> "religious" user group people are not trying to destroy my computer
> non-stop. I was trying to help someone out who was stuck in a cult on a
> Yahoo group, little did I realize that my static IP (or semi static
> dhcp, it never changes though)would get around so quickly through the
> Yahoo email system. I have a cable modem you see. So when I go to Linux
> I don't want to have things go to hell overnight.. Also it would be
> nice to know how to figure out a way how to hack into these horrible
> cult members machines that are trying to get into my machine (actually
> got in several times before the personal firewall). If you are
> interested to see what that hype is about I can send you the URL to the
> Yahoo group if you are interested in this issue. All that aside:

Of course, being curious, I want to know!

Running Linux alone vastly improves your security, so it's a smart move. 
Stupid script kiddies can hack Windows, but it usually takes more skill 
to get into a Linux box.

Do make sure you stay on top of security updates to your software. Pay for 
the Mandrake update subscription service and run it often. Non-updated 
software is responsible for the great majority of security breaches.

> OK, now because of your responses I have more questions and want to add
> additional information.
> 1)I have the free downloaded version of Mandrake 8.0

You're free to ignore me, but I think you should dig into your wallet and 
buy the latest version from Mandrake, or subscribe to their update 
service for $60/year (I think). It's worth it, and it's the Right Thing 
To Do.

> 2)I added a viewsonic plat panel display in addition to my fancy mouse
> and keyboard -- everything now looks like shite! I support the who
> Linux idea, but so far I have been struggling. Maybe I should just
> switch to Red Hat and buy it?

Switching to RH won't do you any good. Most folks think Mandrake and SuSE 
are on the short list for Windows refugees. RH is good, as are many 
others, but it is historically oriented towards servers. They seem to be 
changing that lately, but it isn't yet clear how far they'll go. We do 
know that their management does not consider the desktop to be their 
target market, since they've stated that publicly.

Most important, though, is using a new distribution. Linux development 
over a year or two equals the Windows 3.1 => Windows 95 in terms of the 
improvement. You're running the Windows 3.1 of Linux; get up to date! 
That goes especially for modern hardware support, e.g. USB, which has 
improved enormously just in the last year.

> 3)I am now "feeling" that maybe I should buy Linux because it seems
> that the manuals would help me (someone suggested this)

Yes, the manuals will help, and it's also just a good thing to do. Because 
Linux distributors sell a Free product, you can be a freeloader if you 
want, but I personally think it is better not to be. Or you could do like 
I do and contribute in terms of time and code rather than money. Or 
filing bugs against software. Or writing documentation. :-)

> 4) Which Linux should I buy?? Should I rush out and buy Mandrake or Red
> hat??

Most folks recommend Mandrake or SuSE for new users, especially Windows 

> 5) In relation to the excellent suggestions of the hamster - I decided
> to prioritize getting USB to work because I can't type or move the
> mouse pointer around without getting the keyboard and mouse to work.
> That probably sounds like a good plan!?! In that case would a "newer"
> Mandrake version or other distribution take care of this issue do you
> think?

Probably a new Mandrake will work right from the install on. Do have that 
hardware connected during install, so the installer will see it.

> 6) All this talk of installation handlers has me confused.. Someone
> pointed out a cmd line command that would allow me to "install" a
> downloaded file (rpm).. What the heck is an RPM, is it like a zip? If I
> don't use the command line, what is this other installation thingy
> about?

An RPM (RedHat Package Manager, but standard on most and included in 
virtually all distributions) is like a zip, yes, but contains lots of 
meta-data about where the files inside are to be put upon installation. 
Running the rpm program on an rpm file installs its contents and 
configures it for use, just like InstallShield on Windows.

- -- 
David C. Merrill                         http://www.lupercalia.net
Linux Documentation Project                   david at lupercalia.net
Lead Developer                                 http://www.tldp.org

Q:	Why did the WASP cross the road?
A:	To get to the middle.
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