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Rocksaurus
Mar 8, 2005, 12:33 PM
Okay, here's my thrilling story:
My friends and I found an old PC in the dumpster in our apartment complex this Saturday. We've obtained a hard drive and keyboard, and now we want to install a flavor of Linux on it. It's an old PC, a 266 PII with mmx, so, considering the limited capabilities of our hardware, what flavor of Linux do the wise members of MacRumors recommend? I don't know enough about Linux to know what's good for the low end and what's good for the high end computers. Thanks :cool:

Sweetfeld28
Mar 8, 2005, 01:48 PM
I once looked into getting Mandrake Linux, and even tried to download it, but it has a huge installer (http://www.mandrakelinux.com/en/ftp.php3).

Another flavor of Linux that i wanted to try was the new Gentoo Linux (http://store.gentoo.org/index.php?cPath=2&osCsid=d81de91c6591e05af4a56cacd2db68d9). I like the way this one looks, and i think that it includes OpenOffice. Here is a picture of it: http://store.gentoo.org/images/pmoo-detail.png


I think that these two have the best looking interface/appearance. But i think if i were to buy one of them i would buy/try the Gentoo Linux version.

Good Luck

Patmian212
Mar 8, 2005, 03:20 PM
Can PC games run on a Linux OS?

jsw
Mar 8, 2005, 03:25 PM
Can PC games run on a Linux OS?
No. Except in a very few special cases, but not what you'd consider to be "real" games. However, there are Linux versions of some PC games.

DavidLeblond
Mar 8, 2005, 03:35 PM
Well SOME games can run on Linux through Wine. Quite a few actually. I've never actually DONE it, but if you spend a few minutes on Google I'm sure you could find a compatibility list.

belf8st
Mar 8, 2005, 03:38 PM
Most of the modern distros have heavy hardware requirements since they come prepackaged with a ton of crap. If you really want to run linux on the hardware you found then take a look at the slackware project or debian. I'd start with a base install running a window manager other than gnome or kde. Especially with the hardware you have.

You might also take a look at freebsd. Same applies. Stay clear of gnome and kde. I'd use something like fluxbox, xfce, or fvwm to start off with.

I've played the following on linux
Unreal Tournament
Return to Castle Wolfentein
Quake 3 Arena
Enemy Territory
Quake 2
Medal of Honer
Medal of Honer SpearHeads
SOF
SOF2

Check out http://www.transgaming.com/ for more linux gaming info.

Can PC games run on a Linux OS?

daveL
Mar 8, 2005, 03:48 PM
Ubuntu is light, efficient and good looking. There's a fairly major upgrade being released in the next month or so. Gentoo will take a loooong time to install on your machine; it compiles a lot of code. Suse is huge, as is Fedora Core 3; they try to throw in every possible app and library. Ubuntu attempts to select best-of-breed in various app categories to keep the distro sane.

HTH

Mechcozmo
Mar 8, 2005, 03:51 PM
Damn Small Linux will run well.

Rocksaurus
Mar 8, 2005, 10:02 PM
Thanks for all the help guys, I'll look into all of your suggestions and make a pick at some point.

Westside guy
Mar 8, 2005, 10:23 PM
The big problem with Ubuntu or Gentoo is they default to "build everything from scratch". That's going to take a long time on a modern machine - on the one you describe it's going to be positively painful. When you hear someone say they "installed Gentoo over the weekend" you may not realize that's basically a literal statement. :D

Don't go with Slack unless you're already quite comfortable with Linux, or you're intending to learn Linux the hard way.

You don't mention how much memory you've got - really that's more important than processor speed when it comes to using some of the heavier window managers. If you're under 256MB, then I'd agree w/ the advice to stay away from Gnome and especially KDE. My fave was always Enlightenment, but that really is not friendly at all for beginners. :p

For ease of install, I'd go with Fedora Core 3 or Mandrake. But if you don't have a fast internet connection available, look up your local LUG (Linux Users Group) and see if someone will give/lend you installation CDs.

Rocksaurus
Mar 8, 2005, 11:05 PM
David Le Blond- I noticed your're running Fedora Core 2 on an outdated PIII, would you recommend Fedora Core 2 for my set up?

daveL
Mar 8, 2005, 11:19 PM
The big problem with Ubuntu or Gentoo is they default to "build everything from scratch". That's going to take a long time on a modern machine - on the one you describe it's going to be positively painful. When you hear someone say they "installed Gentoo over the weekend" you may not realize that's basically a literal statement. :D

Don't go with Slack unless you're already quite comfortable with Linux, or you're intending to learn Linux the hard way.

You don't mention how much memory you've got - really that's more important than processor speed when it comes to using some of the heavier window managers. If you're under 256MB, then I'd agree w/ the advice to stay away from Gnome and especially KDE. My fave was always Enlightenment, but that really is not friendly at all for beginners. :p

For ease of install, I'd go with Fedora Core 3 or Mandrake. But if you don't have a fast internet connection available, look up your local LUG (Linux Users Group) and see if someone will give/lend you installation CDs.
You can download a Ubuntu boot/install iso image. You really don't compile much, you just update packages, ala RH. I found it to be the quickest distro to get up and running; I found Gentoo to be, by far, the most time consuming. Fedora and Suse are simply super-sized; much more crap than you'll ever need.

nichos
Mar 8, 2005, 11:42 PM
I would STRONGLY suggest against gentoo. While it's a cool idea, for older PC's, it's a bad idea. It's a "source based" distro, which means that everything you run is compiled from source. So, installed something like mozilla (installing = compiling) may take hours! I installed KDE on a 1.8g, with 1gig of ram, and it took over a day to compile. I'd try Ubuntu, if you're not familiar with linux, try a live CD, ubuntu has one, so does knoppix. good luck!

maxvamp
Mar 9, 2005, 12:05 AM
You would probably do best with a slightly older version of RedHat ( 8 would probably do ).

RedHat tries to be the most idiot proof, and if you avoid Fedora, you won't need a new hard disk.

Gentoo will take a lot of hard core tweaking to install, non to mention the better part of a week.

As a final reminder... Anyone who has an old machine... Don't trash it, recycle. Someone will find it either useful, or collectable.

Thx,

Max.

jim.
Mar 9, 2005, 07:16 AM
The problem with RedHat is that it was notoriously the most insecure linux distro out-of-box. You need to know about working with services from the command line to lock it down.

That said, you have a pretty low power machine. I wouldn't suggest any of the mainstream distros. A lot of people like to suggest Ubuntu, but until GTK and Gnome do some optimization of their code, it won't run on slow hardware. KDE is heavily optimized, but it still takes some power behind it (particularly RAM) to give good performance. Someone suggested Damn Small Linux. I would go with that, or a distro called Vector Linux which is a version of Slackware designed for low power machines. Both are secure and reasonably friendly if you know a little bit about computers.

Slightly OT, but relevant: If you are going to take the plunge into linux you need to know:

linux != RedHat != Mandrake !=Suse, etc.

Linux is merely the kernel. Distributions package higher level services and GUI stuff to form a usable OS. There are a lot of real jerks in the linux world and they seem to be more vocal than the nice helpful people. Just a warning. Every claim that you hear about Mac users being elitist is true and amplified in many linux distro forums. One wrong step and many will brand you a clueless newb and chastise you at every post. I remember thinking to myself that half of the posters at MR would have been more or less tarred and feathered on a linux distro forum or list. I like MR so much better. Just be sure to read everything you can and use google extensively.

Good Luck! I'm sure many of us could also help if you get stuck.

Jim

Symtex
Mar 9, 2005, 07:21 AM
I would STRONGLY suggest against gentoo. While it's a cool idea, for older PC's, it's a bad idea. It's a "source based" distro, which means that everything you run is compiled from source. So, installed something like mozilla (installing = compiling) may take hours! I installed KDE on a 1.8g, with 1gig of ram, and it took over a day to compile. I'd try Ubuntu, if you're not familiar with linux, try a live CD, ubuntu has one, so does knoppix. good luck!

You don't have to compile programs everyday. Once you OS is setup, it all optimized to your hardware. The portage system is what makes Gentoo a painless experience.

thedoc1111
Mar 9, 2005, 08:39 AM
Optimised for older computers.

http://www.vectorlinux.com

maxvamp
Mar 9, 2005, 09:00 AM
Why not try Darwin (http://www.opendarwin.org/en/downloads/) for x86.

If you want a bit more, there is always open BSD.

Max.

jim.
Mar 9, 2005, 09:29 AM
You don't have to compile programs everyday. Once you OS is setup, it all optimized to your hardware. The portage system is what makes Gentoo a painless experience.

Right, but with a P2 you're looking at at least a day and a half just to compile glibc. That's only a small part of the BOOTSTRAP process. Getting a usable system requires more time. The optimization isn't worth it anyway. A lot of distros compile using -mcpu=i586 anyway so you already have the optimizations built in. I don't think that having a PC use up tons of power for a week for no explicable reason or benefit is in anyone's best interest.

portage is a great package management system. I loved gentoo when I started using it, but it isn't worth the effort on old hardware. Even on my 1GHz Athlon, which was pretty powerful at the time (yeah back when gentoo was first released), it took days to get a usable system. GCC3 came out and it took even longer due to its optimization process.

Just go with Vector on that P2. It's a good distro and it is optimized for 586 cpus already.

Jim

dubbz
Mar 9, 2005, 09:36 AM
Right, but with a P2 you're looking at at least a day and a half just to compile glibc. That's only a small part of the BOOTSTRAP process. Getting a usable system requires more time. The optimization isn't worth it anyway. A lot of distros compile using -mcpu=i586 anyway so you already have the optimizations built in. I don't think that having a PC use up tons of power for a week for no explicable reason or benefit is in anyone's best interest.

You don't have to start with a stage1 install. You can go from stage3 and pretty much everything will already be built for you. Plus, there's prebuilt packages for many applications.

But still... personally, I whouldn't use Gentoo on a P2...

Symtex
Mar 9, 2005, 09:44 AM
You don't have to start with a stage1 install. You can go from stage3 and pretty much everything will already be built for you. Plus, there's prebuilt packages for many applications.

But still... personally, I whouldn't use Gentoo on a P2...

It depends if you are running KDE or Gnome. It won't matter which dist you are running. I have run Gentoo on a Athlon 900 for 1 years and I had no issue or cpu lag.

ncoffey
Mar 9, 2005, 10:01 AM
Does it have a CD drive? (If not one can probably be had for dirt) I'd suggest trying out Knoppix. (http://www.knoppix.org/) I'm not sure how fast it'd be though as when I tried it out I used it on a Pentium 4. It all fits on one CD though.

redeye be
Mar 9, 2005, 10:13 AM
look here http://distrowatch.com/
and then choose Debian ;)

Westside guy
Mar 9, 2005, 12:28 PM
The problem with RedHat is that it was notoriously the most insecure linux distro out-of-box. You need to know about working with services from the command line to lock it down.

Uh, that hasn't been true since about Red Hat 6. :D Quite a few years ago...

Westside guy
Mar 9, 2005, 12:33 PM
You can download a Ubuntu boot/install iso image. You really don't compile much, you just update packages, ala RH. I found it to be the quickest distro to get up and running; I found Gentoo to be, by far, the most time consuming. Fedora and Suse are simply super-sized; much more crap than you'll ever need.

Thanks for the correction. I didn't know Ubuntu had that option available - but the people I know using Ubuntu are guys who previously used Gentoo, likely just because it was the "new kid on the block" (which of course now means Ubuntu not Gentoo). For them I think building from source is part of the fun. :confused:

Of course these guys will quickly abandon Ubuntu as soon as the next new distro comes along... :D

Rocksaurus
Mar 9, 2005, 07:04 PM
Thanks again for everyone's input... Doing a little bit of reading of my own Damn Small and Vector Linux look like my best bets due to the outdated hardware I'm going to be running this on. Since this is my first go-around with Linux which of these two is more user friendly? They both seem to be geared towards my dumpster derived system. I should probably install one on VPC before actually going through with this to see how it works, unless that's a bad idea? I was a little surprised Microsoft would even let me install Linux using VPC, so I'm a little wary of the results I'd get installing and/or running Linux in VPC, any advice there? Thanks again.

jim.
Mar 9, 2005, 10:03 PM
I don't recall if either are as "user-friendly" as some would want. I was used to Vector when I tried it because I had used slackware for years. It is a very straightforward install and configuration. Most distro installs have become relatively painless over the last two or three years, particularly if you don't care about wiping the entire install drive.

I think trying it out in Virtual PC is an excellent idea. Particularly if you have no linux experience at all. It will at least give you a feel for the filesystem and configuration layout. With low-resource programs, you are going to need to be comfortable with the command line to get a lot of stuff done (OSX it is not).

Jim

jim.
Mar 9, 2005, 10:05 PM
Uh, that hasn't been true since about Red Hat 6. :D Quite a few years ago...

You are probably right. The last time I tried RedHat was with versions 5-7. I then ditched for Slack, and haven't followed it since. My old prejudice still holds and I wouldn't wish RedHat on anyone. I remain steadfast in my distro bigotry ;)

Jim

Mechcozmo
Mar 9, 2005, 10:58 PM
Thanks again for everyone's input... Doing a little bit of reading of my own Damn Small and Vector Linux look like my best bets due to the outdated hardware I'm going to be running this on. Since this is my first go-around with Linux which of these two is more user friendly?

Damn Small Linux (DSL) is pretty easy-- burn the CD and stick it in. But beyond that, its a mess. As in, nice GUI for apps but you can get a crash-course in the command line quickly. At least their forum isn't so bad. Usually nice to lend a hand.

Rocksaurus
Mar 10, 2005, 01:06 PM
Playing around briefly in DSL I didn't really find a need for the command line but obviously as I use it more I guess I could run into a need? I think my final choice will be Vector Linux since it's got the lowest system requirements, and my dumpster system is well... low. Now if I could somehow find a free wireless card... :rolleyes:

jim.
Mar 10, 2005, 01:08 PM
Playing around briefly in DSL I didn't really find a need for the command line but obviously as I use it more I guess I could run into a need? I think my final choice will be Vector Linux since it's got the lowest system requirements, and my dumpster system is well... low. Now if I could somehow find a free wireless card... :rolleyes:

Be sure to get an Orinoco or Prism based card. Those play nicest with Linux.

Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 10, 2005, 02:11 PM
Cool. Where can I get one for free?

panphage
Mar 10, 2005, 03:48 PM
I would STRONGLY suggest against gentoo. While it's a cool idea, for older PC's, it's a bad idea. It's a "source based" distro, which means that everything you run is compiled from source. So, installed something like mozilla (installing = compiling) may take hours! I installed KDE on a 1.8g, with 1gig of ram, and it took over a day to compile. I'd try Ubuntu, if you're not familiar with linux, try a live CD, ubuntu has one, so does knoppix. good luck!
This is just not true. It looks like you didn't read up on portage. You can choose from three install "stages", build all, build most, use packages. Gentoo is actually BEST for outdated hardware because it makes it EASY (ok but still slow) to tweak and build for your slower machine. I wouldn't recommend Gentoo for a linux newbie, but if you know the command line ok (not necessarily guru but not "what does grep mean" either) the install directions are spectacular. You can even build the system on a different (faster) machine using the tweaks for your slow machine and then copy the system over. You *can* build everything from source (which is a good idea because of the optimizations) but you don't have to. And if you don't you're not taking advantage of gentoo's greatest strength. I'd issue an emerge for a big package with a lot of dependencies when I didn't have anything better to do for a few days. :)

And you shouldn't be installing KDE or OpenOffice on an crappy old box anyway. Use fluxbox and abiword. ;)

jim.
Mar 10, 2005, 07:41 PM
Cool. Where can I get one for free?

No clue. But this is a case where the beggar should try to be the chooser unless you want to work with ndiswrapper (which isn't too hard and works relatively well, but most distros don't include it meaning you need a net connection to set up your net connection).

Jim

i_am_a_cow
Mar 10, 2005, 07:56 PM
The big problem with Ubuntu or Gentoo is they default to "build everything from scratch". That's going to take a long time on a modern machine - on the one you describe it's going to be positively painful. When you hear someone say they "installed Gentoo over the weekend" you may not realize that's basically a literal statement. :D

Don't go with Slack unless you're already quite comfortable with Linux, or you're intending to learn Linux the hard way.

You don't mention how much memory you've got - really that's more important than processor speed when it comes to using some of the heavier window managers. If you're under 256MB, then I'd agree w/ the advice to stay away from Gnome and especially KDE. My fave was always Enlightenment, but that really is not friendly at all for beginners. :p

For ease of install, I'd go with Fedora Core 3 or Mandrake. But if you don't have a fast internet connection available, look up your local LUG (Linux Users Group) and see if someone will give/lend you installation CDs.

OK, what are you talking about. Ubuntu is debian based. You don't have to build ANY packages. It even uses debian packages quite well (I haven't found one that doesn't work). And you say "build everything from scratch" like it's something to stay away from. For an old computer, I would definitely recommend using gentoo. Building from scratch means optimization, which means speed. Prebuilt packages simply won't be as fast, as they are optimized for any system with the same architecture. And yes, KDE is slow. As for Gnome, if you want a nice gui, stick to Gnome 1.4. It runs quite well on older systems (well that is a bit of an overstatement, I guess). Fluxbox and Openbox are quite nice. Make sure that your windows update with wireframe, otherwise they will not draw very well, and it will get annoying and slow.

Do not take the "ease of install" way on an old system. You won't get very good performance.

Good luck with Gentoo, it will take a little while, but it's great. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask. And don't get anxious or surprised if compiles go longer than 24 hours. It will all be worth it in the end.

PSS: Don't be discouraged installing Gentoo as your first Linux. I did Gentoo as my first Linux and I even got it up on a FireWire Drive.

i_am_a_cow
Mar 10, 2005, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the correction. I didn't know Ubuntu had that option available - but the people I know using Ubuntu are guys who previously used Gentoo, likely just because it was the "new kid on the block" (which of course now means Ubuntu not Gentoo). For them I think building from source is part of the fun. :confused:

Of course these guys will quickly abandon Ubuntu as soon as the next new distro comes along... :D

Um, Ubuntu is completely the opposite of what you think it is. It's the absolute easiest linux of all. Do realize that it's basically Debian packaged up all pretty and easy. There is NO COMPILING INVOLVED in an Ubuntu install, whatsoever (unless you make your own kernel or installer or something, but that's obviously going to require compiling). I have Ubuntu installed here on the Powerbook because I was too lazy to go through with another gentoo install when I won't even be able to get airport drivers :( . Apt is the laziest thing ever, but it's good for new people.

PS: I even installed Gentoo on an external firewire drive, and it was very hard. It boots fine. Maybe firewire boots are supported in the kernel by now, I don't know. I had to build and InitRD though and stuff like that. It was quite a hack, but very satisfying in the end.

EDIT:

I just looked at the xfce window manager site and I see that it has basically evolved in to more than just a window manager. It's really a desktop environment. And it's sure to be much quicker than GNOME. I'd go with xfce for the gui.

jim.
Mar 10, 2005, 08:40 PM
Building from scratch means optimization, which means speed. Prebuilt packages simply won't be as fast, as they are optimized for any system with the same architecture.

I think this is a common misconception amongst gentoo users. Compiling with gcc -O2 -mcpu=i586 -pipe on a server farm makes little to no speed difference with using gcc -O3 -mcpu=i586 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer on your own machine.

GCC isn't a miracle magic compiler that takes into account your chipset, cards, drive, etc. It just optimizes according to cpu instruction sets, which are standard. Now you might see a difference moving from -mcpu=i586 to -mcpu=athlon, but not much. Most of the optimizations come from that -O2 flag that everyone uses. Take a look at the gcc man page sometime, it's actually pretty neat.

In the case of a P2, a generic optimization to the i586 architechture is just as good no matter where it is compiled.

So in this case, no, gentoo is not worth the time and it will never be for these older chipsets. At most it might save you a nanosecond on some video computation. You'll get a bigger speed boost by getting a faster spinning hard drive. The best thing going for gentoo is its portage system, which is my favorite package manager by far. I loved it when I used gentoo.

Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 10, 2005, 09:17 PM
A couple of questions...

No clue. But this is a case where the beggar should try to be the chooser unless you want to work with ndiswrapper (which isn't too hard and works relatively well, but most distros don't include it meaning you need a net connection to set up your net connection).

Jim

What is "ndiswrapper"? And how will it help me get a free wireless card? :)

Also, jim., you said something about gentoo's "portage system" in the above post... Sorry for the Linux newbiness, but what is that? :confused:

jim.
Mar 10, 2005, 09:24 PM
First off, ndiswrapper is a special project that uses windows wireless drivers to run in linux. It is a wrapper module to the linux kernel that makes the windows drivers work. Pretty cool stuff, and it works well with a lot of cards. I used it for a D-Link card that I had and it ran as fast or faster than in windows.

Second, portage is a package management technology. In gentoo there are heirarchical lists of *nix programs that you can install. Portage keeps track of the programs you have on your system and makes sure that you have all of the libraries required to run those programs and any new programs you want to install. This just scratches the surface of what portage can do. You can specify certain versions of programs that you don't want to be automatically upgraded, you can overlay your own ebuild files that will get only the certain program that you want. The list goes on and on. It is immensly powerful and I probably don't even know a fraction of what it can do.

I think portage has been ported to OSX. So you may be able to use it on your mac with nothing special except the compiler and other libs. I may actually try to go do that now.

Hope this helps.

Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 10, 2005, 09:33 PM
Sheesh, that (portage) is pretty useful. Is gentoo the only one with it or will that come w/ any flavor of Linux (like Vector :cool: )?

jim.
Mar 10, 2005, 09:43 PM
Gentoo has it. Anything that is based on gentoo will have it (I think there are some distos based on gentoo, I just don't know them). FreeBSD has a similarly powerful ports system. You can get portage for OSX (Kind of like Fink, only it's portage).

Other package managers are pretty powerful too. apt for debian, and urpmi for mandrake have pretty powerful options if you look into them. Portage can be more up to date because of its source-based approach. Gentoo doesn't have to worry about making and testing binaries.

Edit: Vector is based on slackware, so doesn't have a default package manager, but you can use swaret (a third party manager), I'm sure.

Jim

Phatpat
Mar 10, 2005, 10:26 PM
On a related note, what's a good distro for those who want pure GUI. I've tried SUSE and Red Hat, but had to use the command line often and installing programs was an effort.

Is there anything "easy"?

Rocksaurus
Mar 10, 2005, 11:42 PM
Well, I'm no Linux expert, obviously, since I started this thread. If you haven't already checked out the website provided on the first page in someone's response, http://distrowatch.com/ is a very good site, it's got pretty good information on lots of different flavors of Linux and links to their respective websites. I remember awhile back "Lindows" came out as a Windows rip-off for people who didn't want too much Linux and were used to Windows... Of course, nobody said Windows was a particularly easy GUI either. ;)

Naturally, I'm exaggerating. Again, I'm no Linux guru, but maybe check that out while you're on the website I gave you that some friendly poster on this topic gave me.

~loserman~
Mar 11, 2005, 12:38 AM
Why not try Darwin (http://www.opendarwin.org/en/downloads/) for x86.

If you want a bit more, there is always open BSD.

Max.

I would highly recommend against using darwin on x86.
It has very poor to almost non existent device driver support and its kernel is nowhere near as efficient as Linux.

You really cant go wrong with any of the standard linux distro's
While I personally prefer SUSE, Redhat/Fedora isnt bad either.
For a new user I would probably suggest Mandrake.

~loserman~
Mar 11, 2005, 12:42 AM
I think this is a common misconception amongst gentoo users. Compiling with gcc -O2 -mcpu=i586 -pipe on a server farm makes little to no speed difference with using gcc -O3 -mcpu=i586 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer on your own machine.

GCC isn't a miracle magic compiler that takes into account your chipset, cards, drive, etc. It just optimizes according to cpu instruction sets, which are standard. Now you might see a difference moving from -mcpu=i586 to -mcpu=athlon, but not much. Most of the optimizations come from that -O2 flag that everyone uses. Take a look at the gcc man page sometime, it's actually pretty neat.

In the case of a P2, a generic optimization to the i586 architechture is just as good no matter where it is compiled.

So in this case, no, gentoo is not worth the time and it will never be for these older chipsets. At most it might save you a nanosecond on some video computation. You'll get a bigger speed boost by getting a faster spinning hard drive. The best thing going for gentoo is its portage system, which is my favorite package manager by far. I loved it when I used gentoo.

Jim

A quality and accurate post

jim.
Mar 11, 2005, 11:48 AM
A review went up at madpenguin about Vector Linux. Might be worth a look.

http://madpenguin.org/cms/html/47/3641.html


Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 11, 2005, 12:26 PM
Yeah, they've also got a review on Vector Linux 4.3, which is what I'll use since it comes with fluxbox and/or xfce instead of KDE, which from what I've read slows things down. I'm aware you can install new windowing systems, but I'm going to take this Linux thing a step at a time. :)

Review of 4.3:
http://madpenguin.org/cms/?m=show&id=2784&page=1

Westside guy
Mar 12, 2005, 12:50 AM
Um, Ubuntu is completely the opposite of what you think it is. It's the absolute easiest linux of all. Do realize that it's basically Debian packaged up all pretty and easy. There is NO COMPILING INVOLVED in an Ubuntu install, whatsoever (unless you make your own kernel or installer or something, but that's obviously going to require compiling). I have Ubuntu installed here on the Powerbook because I was too lazy to go through with another gentoo install when I won't even be able to get airport drivers :( . Apt is the laziest thing ever, but it's good for new people.

Okay, I'll admit to being mistaken in thinking there was compiling in a default Ubunto install. Mea culpa. :D If it uses Debian's packaging system then it certainly can be easily altered to install everything from source - but since that's not the default (which I thought it was, based on some long droning threads on our university's sysadmin mailing list), then it really doesn't matter in the context of this discussion. ;)

Mechcozmo
Mar 12, 2005, 01:12 AM
Playing around briefly in DSL I didn't really find a need for the command line but obviously as I use it more I guess I could run into a need? I think my final choice will be Vector Linux since it's got the lowest system requirements, and my dumpster system is well... low. Now if I could somehow find a free wireless card... :rolleyes:

Actually, DSL runs on a 486 and can even decompress Ogg Vorbis streams fairly well. I've run it on a PIII 500 MHz and it is fine, as well as a PII for a short period of time, forgetting the speed....
Plus, if you want speed, and have more than 64 MB of RAM, start it up with the "dsl toram" option. It loads everything into RAM, thus making it fly! :D

Rocksaurus
Mar 12, 2005, 04:53 PM
Actually, DSL runs on a 486 and can even decompress Ogg Vorbis streams fairly well. I've run it on a PIII 500 MHz and it is fine, as well as a PII for a short period of time, forgetting the speed....
Plus, if you want speed, and have more than 64 MB of RAM, start it up with the "dsl toram" option. It loads everything into RAM, thus making it fly! :D

Yeah, DSL is good for old computers, but due to optimizations and lower overall requirements I chose Vector. Plus I've only got 64 MB RAM...


ANYWAY...

I installed vector with a few hassles, but hey, it's my first time so no worries... but uh...



I'm not sure what the problem is (though I have a guess) but I can't get the internet to work on this thing, which is stupid, because I got it to work through VPC, and it's not like it's hard to set up. I'm on DHCP, it should be cake. I'm worried that perhaps the ethernet port is broken/not working on my dumpster PC because, well, the lights next to it don't light up and I can't connect to the internet, and the light on my router doesn't turn on when the PC's plugged in. Any suggestions? Do I need to get Linux to recognize it or something? Help?

jim.
Mar 12, 2005, 07:12 PM
What ethernet chipset do you have? I can't remember, but does Vector do hardware detection on boot? You may just have to load the correct module for your card and it will turn on. Find out what the chipset is and I will try to walk you through it. Then we'll set it up so that it loads on boot.

Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 13, 2005, 01:38 AM
Okay, that would be awesome... The Ethernet's built-in so... How would I go about finding the manufacturer? Should I bust the case open?

redeye be
Mar 13, 2005, 03:19 AM
My friends and I found an old PC in the dumpster
Should I bust the case open?

Just make absolutely sure there are no banana peels or sandwich leftovers in the case before u fire it up.
So yes, do open the case.
;) :D

jim.
Mar 13, 2005, 10:47 AM
Or instead of taking apart the laptop, just look up its model number on google and find the spec sheet. Should take a lot less time.

Edit: For some reason I was thinking this is a laptop. Nevermind. Bust open the case and look at the card. Or do you mean that the chipset is on the mobo? Is it a branded computer or a build your own type? If it is branded look up the model on google, and see if you find a spec sheet. If not, start the computer and see if it tells you what the motherboard is when it POSTs.

Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 13, 2005, 02:45 PM
Okay, well...
It's a Compaq Deskpro, and it's got ethernet on the mobo, so uh...? I googled my machine (a Compaq Deskpro) and found other similar Deskpros, though not the exact model I have... From my results I found this website:
http://pigtail.net/LRP/swap.html
and another saying it was an intel chipset, but he was talking about a deskpro, not specifically mine so who knows? Also found a post online that said it was a
"Compaq Netelligent 10/100 TX Embedded UTP Controller which is based on the Texas Instruments ThunderLan (tlan) chipset."... I figure one of those three is right, so where do I go from here?

jim.
Mar 13, 2005, 03:07 PM
The tlan was a pretty expensive card back then. Was the Deskpro model the same as yours in that particular post? What model is yours?

If the models are the same, go to a terminal as the root user and type:

modprobe tlan

Edit: If the tlan doesn't work you may have an intel EtherExpress Pro 100, so try typing

modprobe eepro100

and see if anything happens.

Then take a look and see if the ethernet lights come on. If not, the tlan isn't the right card, and we need to keep looking.

If the lights are on, then assuming you use DHCP on your router type:

dhcpcd eth0

This should assign your card the IP address and get all information needed from your dhcp server. At this point you should have net access.

If this works, we'll make it so that it is all done automatically on boot. If not, we need to keep looking to see what the chipset is on your mobo, or you'll need to find an extra PCI ethernet card sitting around.

Jim

Edit: Just thought of something. Do you get any output when you type
lspci
at the command prompt (might have to be root)?

enoch
Mar 13, 2005, 03:52 PM
Dyne:bolic is a free linux distro that runs off a single cd bootdisk.

http://dyne.org/

May be useful for those who want to poke linux. Not sure about ppc version.

Rocksaurus
Mar 14, 2005, 01:25 AM
jim.
THANK YOU SO MUCH. Your advice worked, I'm responding to your last post to thank you through Linux. Turns out it was the Netelligent onboard 10/100... Also have a Voodoo2 in this thing (wasn't sure if it was a 1 or a 2 when I opened the case but lspci informed me). Anyway, thanks again so much for all your help and patience. I owe you one.

jim.
Mar 14, 2005, 07:53 AM
Glad to hear it is working. Now we need to set it up so that it loads the tlan module on boot. If memory serves me correctly then Vector uses the rc.modules script. I believe if you edit it (/etc/rc.d/rc.modules) and add the line "modprobe tlan" to the end, it should automatically load on boot.

I'm trying to remember off the top of my head, I'm sure that the rc.modules script is the correct one to edit, but I can't remember the format. You may have to take a look at the script and see. If you have trouble, attach the script so that I can see it. Then we can work it out.

Jim

eroda
Mar 14, 2005, 12:52 PM
whatever u do do not use manrape(mandrake) red crap (redhad) or its varient Fedora or any big name ones becuase well they are very slow

my linux flavour of the year i think is UBUNTU its the basic debian setup with a X
(gnome) its quick around 40-50% on my PC compared to fedora core 3

its so nice give it a go

Rocksaurus
Mar 14, 2005, 06:58 PM
Glad to hear it is working. Now we need to set it up so that it loads the tlan module on boot. If memory serves me correctly then Vector uses the rc.modules script. I believe if you edit it (/etc/rc.d/rc.modules) and add the line "modprobe tlan" to the end, it should automatically load on boot.

I'm trying to remember off the top of my head, I'm sure that the rc.modules script is the correct one to edit, but I can't remember the format. You may have to take a look at the script and see. If you have trouble, attach the script so that I can see it. Then we can work it out.

Jim

Okay... Uh, I apologize again for my newbiness, but how do I edit that? I fooled around with commands, which in retrospect probably wasn't a smart idea... I hope the "ed" command doesn't do anything detrimental.. :o Anyhow, how do I edit our lovely file?

jim.
Mar 14, 2005, 07:30 PM
I would use pico or nano. I don't know which one is supplied by Vector so you may have to try until you find it.

Try one of these at a prompt (you need to be root):

pico /etc/rc.d/rc.modules

nano /etc/rc.d/rc.modules

Take a look at the file. You can scroll through using arrow keys. It is a simple editor in the same vein as edit under DOS. It may seem overly complex to you if it is fully scripted, or it may just be a list. I don't know what to expect. At the end of the file add:

modprobe tlan

Ctl-X should exit, save when prompted. This should work. If it doesn't simply probe the driver on the next boot, and try to attach a copy of the rc.modules file, so I can look at it and determine its format.

Jim

Rocksaurus
Mar 14, 2005, 07:58 PM
Awesome. You've done it again, Jim. Turns out it was nano. What I found odd though is while scrolling through the file, it's got "modprobe tlan" in the middle of the file... Dunno why it wasn't loading it, unless that was just there to tell me what to type to get it to work? Who knows? Not me. Anyways, again, thanks so much for all your help. You're awesome. MacRumors forums always come through.