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A few Linux questions before install...

By Grafficks ยท 30 replies
Nov 3, 2006
  1. Hello everyone.

    I am a a complete no0b to Linux, but I will be installing it very soon. I will make it a Dual-Boot with Windoze XP-Pro. I have downloaded the five installation discs of SuSE 10.1 and also the Live-DVD of SuSE 10.1.

    I ran the Live-DVD and found SuSE quite interesting. Though I had no idea how to perform simple tasks, the Live-DVD did not stop my intentions of going through with Linux.

    My question is:

    Is my hardware compatible? There's a lot of talk about "is my PC's hardware compatible with Linux?"

    Does "hardware compatible with Linux" simply mean "hardware that also has Linux drivers for download" ??
    Or is there another degree of "compatibility" that needs to be addressed beyond the need of Linux-hardware drivers??

    The Live-DVD of SuSE 10.1 works (almost) perfectly on my PC. Does that mean all of my hardware is "compatible"??

    Thanks in advance!!
  2. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    You should not have any issues. I run Suse 10.1 also on my alienware/ Dual Boot. No problems at all
  3. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    Thanks for your reply. I guess I'll find out for sure after I'm up and running.

    Now I have another question (sorry!)...

    Gnome or KDE desktop? I know many who recommend and prefer Gnome over KDE or KDE over Gnome.
    What I want are your honest opinions which one you prefer and recommend (and a reason too please!). So once again, Gnome or KDE?
  4. confused001

    confused001 TS Rookie Posts: 135

    i'll go with gnome, if i would want a macish look, and if you want a desktop manager that is hevily themed.
    i'll personally go with kde, because it has more eyecandy, and it's more easy to customize. Kde also has an office suite. it's also the one's that is closer to looking to windows xp.
    both are good, you just need to decide yourself.
  5. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    I don't know how you've partitioned your hard disk drive, so I don't know whether or not SuSE will recognize all partitions correctly.

    For your graphics card, see installation instructions.

    ATI isn't known for excellent Linux drivers (or Windows drivers for that matter, but I digress), so see the unofficial bug list for possible problems and workarounds.

    Usually yes, although most of the time the kernel itself has drivers. The latest Linux distributions should be smart enough to include the necessary kernel modules for your hardware.

    I guess so.
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Oh, just shove the disk in and give it a go.

    The worst thing that will happen is that something in your machine will be completely incompatible and it won't boot. In which case, either go back to Windows or try another Linux distro. I seriously doubt that it will come to that, so just try it. Linux is a lot better than it was even a couple of years ago so its quite unlikely you will have to go to the lengths of troubleshooting that was necessary in the past (and is the subject of some of the (probably now out of date) posts in this forum.)

    Its really not a big deal, just go for it. That's how we all learned.
  7. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    Thanks for all your input. I plan to install it later today.

    I'm not that worried about drivers now. I know that Windows would completely crap-out on you with BSODs and crashes if you have something wrong regarding a driver. But seeing as Linux is not Windows, I guess I have no worries.

    I tried both Gnome and KDE on the Live-DVD. I did find that KDE has more eye-candy and looks great. Gnome is OK but it lacks the switchable workspaces that I like. I can switch between Gnome/KDE anytime after the installation, right?

    I have a wireless USB network adapter for my PC and that is how I get my internet. It is the D-Link DWL-G132 and D-Link does not provide Linux drivers for it. I am currently google-ing solutions for this, but I might try that wrapper program, "ndiswrapper" was it?
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If you install both Gnome and KDE, then you can easily choose which one to use in the graphical login window.
  9. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Gnome does have switchable workspaces too... Just make sure you install both Gnome and KDE like nodsu said. I personally like Gnome WAY better, it runs faster and just gives me a cleaner workspace.
  10. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    I use gnome
  11. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    First of all, Oh crap...

    I just finished (trying) to install SuSE 10.1

    Many things to mention:

    - It did not let me choose both Gnome and KDE desktops to install. It let me check the box for one or the other, not both, so I just went with Gnome.

    - I downloaded and burned five installation CDs for SuSE 10.1. I did a check for them all with that Linux CD checker at the beginning of the installation, and they were all fine. The thing is, my installation only used three of the CDs, and that's all it asked for...

    - I didn't do as much selecting as I have expected to. The installation gave me "suggestions" and I just went with them. For example, it picked GRUB bootloader and picked Graphical Login for me, without ASKING me or INFORMING me in ANY way that it has made that decision. It also completely laid out my hard drive in a format/partition suggestion (which I used).

    - There was a suggestion for Hardware Configuration. The suggestion was set to configure my graphics card at 16-bit and 1024x768. I wanted to change the 16-bit to 24-bit, but when I did that, it suddenly said "ERROR: No suggestion" under the graphics card section of the suggested configuration page. The suggested configuration for my soundcard and other hardware was still there, just the graphics card suggestion had that "error" there.

    Then I just clicked Next for finalization, and booted up into SuSE 10.1. This is my problem now. Once I boot into SuSE, the whole screen is rainbow-colored and is basically what you see when there's a problem between the graphics card and OS. I could hardly make out anything, but was able to log into my account. The desktop was all fuzzy with visible rainbow-coloured lines all throughout. I could hardly see anything at all except my mouse cursor (which is pink...) and the SuSE lizard picture on the background. I restarted and booted into Windows now.

    So basically: HELPPPP!!!

    What should I do? Should I try to install again and NOT change 16bit to 24bit, and just go with the suggested hardware configuration for my graphics card?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  12. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Try to get into the control panel if possible and set the color to 16bit and check the refresh rate.

    If all else fails press alt+F1 or cntrl+F1 or shift+alt+F1 or cntrl+F7 etc. etc. just try combinations of the F keys.

    One of these should get you into the terminal mode, and you will need to log in, then open Xorg.conf with nano to fix the display settings.

    cd /etc/X11/
    nano xorg.conf
    Section "Screen"
      Identifier  "Default Screen"
      Device    "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
      Monitor   "Generic Monitor"
      DefaultDepth  24
      # Skipping some text to improve readability
      SubSection "Display"
        Depth   24 */ << change this */
        Modes   "1024x768"
    (nano is a text editor btw.)

    Sorry that this is a bit confusing, I know this is hard to understand when you don't understand how Linux works. PM me and I would be happy to walk you through it if I can.

    look here for help
  13. confused001

    confused001 TS Rookie Posts: 135

    Seems like you have a video setting problem. Same problem with me, but i somehow managed to fix it, though i don't remember.
    If you want to install it again, then i would recommend you just go with the preselected options, becasue the OS checks your system, to find anything that is compatible, and selects it for you.
    I would go with Boogityboo04's seggestion, as i am not very educated in the command line.
    If you selected gnome, you can still have a lot of fun. If you want the virtual desktop switcher, then you can right click on the task bar on the bottem, and hit add button, or fucntion. Then a window comes up, and then you can choose the workspace switcher, and it add. Then it pops onto your taskbar.
    If you want to install kde, then you can type apt-get install kde in the command line, after you insert your install disc.
    You have five install discs, but the only reason, the installer used 3 is that it does not install everything. if it did, then you would have to wait a long time, before it is done, and then some programs, you still would not use. The install discs are for extra aplications, that you might use later.
    Good luck:giddy:
  14. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    By the way, if you really want to learn how Linux works, you should compile Gentoo Linux from scratch, that way you will be able to fix anything that goes wrong because you set up the entire system. And you get a great sense of achievement :)

    Again I'd be glad to walk you through it.
  15. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    Ok, I printed out the instructions you gave me and booted up in SuSE again. The rainbow colored screen greeted me. I logged in.

    I went to the control panel from the taskbar, and clicked graphics settings or something. It was already 16bit. I set it from 16bit to 24bit, and after it switched, it was still all messed up. It still had the rainbow colored stripes, so I clicked no when asked if I want to keep these settings.

    Another thing, it was pretty weird on that screwy desktop. If I run my cursor to the right edge of the screen, it will emerge out from the left edge of the screen, all while still moving my mouse towards the right. If I drag a window to the right edge of the screen, the part of the window that is cut off at the end will start emerging from the left edge of the screen. Wow...

    Anyway, I did Ctrl+Alt+F1 and it got me into terminal mode. I typed in the initial command:

    cd /etc/X11/
    nano xorg.conf

    I scrolled down until I found the right section. I copied it down. Here is exactly what it said:


    Section "Screen"
       DefaultDepth 24
       SubSection "Display"
          Depth    16
          Modes    "default"
       Device      "Device[0]"
       Identifier  "Screen[0]"
       Monitor     "Monitor[0]"


    I didn't change anything, because my info there was different than the example you gave me so I didn't know what to do. The interface of terminal mode was also foreign to me so I wanted to get out before I accidentally nuke my hard drive in a few wrong keystrokes...

    But hopefully this new info will help diagnose my problem further. Because it seems that it was already set to 16bit instead of 24bit...

  16. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Don't worry, as long as you aren't root user you can't do too much damage in terminal, and you should get used to it, it is often the most efficient or only way to do stuff...

    Well, the settings look ok in the Screen section, try this:

    DISCLAIMER: This could mess a bit of stuff up and take a while to finish correctly, so if you don't want to spend time tweaking, just try a reinstall.

    Now you need to log in as root, so be careful what you do, but if you don't go around deleting stuff you'll be fine ;)

    now type in your root password (you did set one right?)

    Now do:

    Xorg -configure
    This will generate a new Xorg.conf by asking you a few questions about your hardware.
    Look at the last lines it prints to make sure there was no errors.

    Now test it with:

    X -config /root/xorg.conf.new
    If it works you should see a B/W pattern and your mouse.

    If it is working copy it over to be your new config file like this:

    cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    Now when you restart it should at least give you some sort of graphical interface that works correctly, and I can help you from then on.
  17. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    From what I understand, I must do some tweaking for a viewable screen first, and then from there it needs further troubleshooting to make the graphics card work...

    Erm. Nah. That would be ridiculously inconvenient compared to just re-installing.

    I guess I'll just try to install it again. Do I have to uninstall the current messed-up Linux first?
    Can I do this by using the Windows Disk Management tool and just delete the Linux partitions?

    How am I supposed to go about removing it?

    Thanks so far for all the help!
  18. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Maybe you did not pay much attention in the SuSE installer (it is a bit.. untraditional). I have installed 10.1 myself and you can set up everything manually if you pick the right (advanced) options. Including getting both Gnome and KDE, manually partitioning and graphics configuration.
  19. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    Ok, I'll make sure I have a look through the advanced options and expert configuration settings next time.

    But still, how do I remove the messed-up installation that I currently have? Can I just delete the Linux partitions (turn them into un-partitioned space) ??
    If I just delete the partitions, will it delete the Linux installation, the GRUB bootloader, and everything else?

    Thanks in advance.
  20. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Just start the installation again (choose to make a new install, not an upgrade). In the partitioning part you can redo/format all the partitions.
  21. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    Ok, I just finished reinstalling it with all the preconfigured settings that the installation recommended. It works fine now, it booted up into SuSE right after the install and works nice and fast.

    This time, I selected the Games package and Multimedia package, and it used all 5 discs this time.

    As you can understand, I am confused on how to use Linux still, and have a few questions. Please bear with me, these can get lengthy.

    - How do I play MP3s?
    I inserted one of my DVD backups of my files, and tried to play some music. None of the music players could play .mp3 files, only .wav worked. They all said I need a special decoder tool to play .mp3. How do I solve this problem?

    - How do I play Movies?
    None of my little movies and videos worked. All the video formats I had (avi, wmv, mpg, mov) could not play. How do I get it to work?

    - Audio configuration?
    With the few .wav files that I could play, I found that the music sounds somewhat empty and hollow. It sounds different than in Windows, and I think the reason is the Windows software for my onboard sound, Realtek HD Audio Manager. Using that, I set the bass higher for better sound in Windows. Is there a Linux version of this software to configure the equalizer?

    - Video Configuration?
    I didn't touch the video settings at all this time. It suggested 1024x768, while I'm used to 1280x960 in Windows. Can I up the video configurations to my preference without worries? Or should I get a Linux Catalyst Driver for my graphics card first?

    - I don't have internet up yet. I might use that ndiswrapper for my USB network adapter (is there another method??). Before I can install anything (like the wrapper, audio driver, or video driver), I need to learn how to install stuff first!
    Can someone give me a link to a page, or briefly explain how to install software in Linux?

    - I have no idea how to do simple tasks via the terminal. Can someone link me to a page to learn terminal commands?

    That's all for now, I apologize for the amount of questions I have.

    Please help me to the best of your ability.

    Thanks a lot!
  22. smore9648

    smore9648 TS Rookie Posts: 697

    I can't help you out on that one, I am still learning and I barely use it, for now
  23. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    I would answer the other questions, but I'm really tired, but here are a few important terminal commands.

    - shows the contents of the current directory

    - present working directory, shows the path of the folder you are in

    - sudo runs a command as the root user or administrator, such as "sudo apt-get install emacs"

    apt-get install emacs
    emerge emacs
    - used to install new applications where "emacs is the name of the application you want

    rm ./file.txt
    - deletes a file, substitute "./file.txt" for anything

    mkdir ./test
    - this command makes a directory with the name and path you specify, (the "./" means in the current directory)

    cd /home/boogityboo
    - "cd" is the command to go to a folder, you can subtute the name of and folder or directory instead of /home/boogityboo (if you are in a directory and want to go to one inside of it, you don't need to type the full path)

    Another thing is how to open files and programs. To open a program you just type its name, it's quite simple. If you want to open a file, you first type the name of the program to use and then the name of the file.

    nano /home/boogityboo/test.txt
    Some useful programs are:

    Nano - a basic text editor

    Emacs - a good text editor for programming, it uses syntax highlighting

    Go ahead, if it works so far, it should work fine.

    Now, to play MP3's try XMMS.

    xmms /home/test.mp3

    Unfortunately, I don't have time to explain installing drivers via the terminal, but it is harder than installing software.
  24. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

  25. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 302

    Thanks for those important terminal commands Boogityboo. They're sure to come in handy.

    Thanks for those links Mictlantecuhtli, the Hacking SuSE Linux 10.1 site will really get me started.

    I'm sorry that my replies have been a bit slow over the past couple of days. I am usually engulfed with large quantities of work on weekdays.

    I went to the display configuration (after it asked for my root password)and tried to change the 16-bit color to 24-bit. It asked if I want to run a test to see if it would work first, so I ran the test for 24bit and it gave me that rainbow-colored screen again, so I did not change it to 24bit and just left it at 16bit.

    I also changed the 1024x768 resolution to 1280x960, and it gave me the message:

    I click yes, rebooted the system, and went back into SuSE. The resolution is still at 1024x768 and did not change. I repeated this process a few times with no luck. How do I change it?

    Also, I tried XMMS music player, and it was very similar to the WinAMP player I use. I tried to create a playlist by importing my music files, but it just would not work with mp3 files. I can import .wav files easily and they can play, but not mp3. Do I need to install additional software so that my music players can play mp3?

    Also, I still need to get internet set up for Linux. D-Link does not provide Linux drivers for my DWL-G132 Wireless USB Network Adapter. What methods can be used to make wireless internet work? Is "wrapping" the Windows driver with ndiswrapper the only way to make it work? How else can it be done?

    I need to learn how to install new software and programs into Linux. Can someone explain or link me to a website on how to install software?

    I promise to learn as much as I can.

    Thanks a bunch!
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