[Techtalk] thanks for all the help!

Hamster hamster at hamsternet.org
Fri Aug 2 19:02:11 EST 2002

> 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? 

I guessed that you had lilo simply because mdk uses lilo by default. I'm not sure if grub was included in 80 either (could be wrong here though).

>Also I have a fast AMD machine, why is boot up so slow with Linux?

I'm guessing its because there are a lot of services starting up by default when your machine starts up (you probably dont need a portion of them). Fixing this can possibly even be a "project" that we can work on at some point. 

> 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. 

Looking at this can also be a part of sorting out your services that start at boot up. Even without a firewall, you can 'lockdown' a machine reasonably effectively simply by controlling the programmes that your machine is runinng. If your machine isnt running programme X, then obviously any exploits that exist for that programme cant be used to attack your machine! If youre just running a 'normal' desktop, then you dont need any server programmes (web server, ftp server, etc) on the machine so that offers even fewer opportunities to people with evil intent.

> 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 

I dont think there are too many people on these lists that will help you 'hack in'. A lot of people on these lists spend their days employed in keeping nasty people out. They will be willing to help you keep the nasties out, but are not willing to help you become a nasty person yourself. 

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

RedHat and Mandrake and Debian and Slackware manuals are all available online. Suse might be, but I cant say for sure.

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

My *personal opinion* is not to go out buying anything just yet. There are so many distros to choose from, that I feel you should try a few out first to see which one suites you best. Linux distros can be quite a personal thing. The distro I hate is somebody elses absolute favourite. 
If bandwith is not a problem, then download redhat73, mandrake 82 and try them out. Later versions might fix some of your probs (especially hardware related) and you can get a basic feel for them before spending your money.
There are other distros too - namely debian and slackware that are freely available. However in my *opnion* neither of these two are ideal for firsttimers. The text based install is daunting and theyre perhaps a little bit too configurable when youre really not quite sure what's what just yet. 
Suse is also available without purchase but it does require good bandwidth as the install is ftp based.

(the other secret reason I suggest to hold off is that I know both redhat and mandrake are currently beta testing new releases - in a few months both distros will have new versions out) 

> 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?
YES :-)

> 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?

Ok. An rpm is a bit like downloading the microsoft programme whizbang.zip, unzipping it and running setup.exe. Except linux removes the unzip stage :)

If you have a look on your mandrake cd, you will see a directory called Mandrake/RPMS. If you have a look in there you will see a zillion files called whatever.rpm
That rpm file contains the programme and its documentation and any other bits and pieces it needs. 
To get that programme working on your system you have to install the rpm. That works one of two ways. From the command line you run the programme rpm and tell it the name of the software rpm file you want to install. For example, say you want to install the programme woggle, then you download woggle.rpm (or pull it off a cd) and at the commoand line you type
rpm -ivh woggle.rpm  (i means install v means verbose output and h means print a progress bar)
Hey presto, woggle is installed an you can use it.

The alternative to the command line is to use a graphical rpm installer. These graphical rpm installers are just front-ends to the rpm programme, but allow you to point and click instead of typing. You will have a programme called KPackage on your system that is a graphical rpm installer. There are alternatives to KPackage too, but they all do the same thing (installing rpms).

Things becoming a bit clearer?


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