New Laptop on the Way - Portable

This is a discussion on New Laptop on the Way - Portable ; After much research I have ordered a Compaq R4000 notebook. This is new, the successor to the R3000 series. I am considering Suse 9.3 or Fedora Core 3. Before purchasing I insisted that HP (Compaq) give me the make and ...

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  1. New Laptop on the Way

    After much research I have ordered a Compaq R4000 notebook. This is
    new, the successor to the R3000 series. I am considering Suse 9.3 or
    Fedora Core 3.

    Before purchasing I insisted that HP (Compaq) give me the make and
    model numbers for certain on-board devices that I was worried about,
    specifically:

    10/100/1000 ethernet
    Realtek TRL 8100 CL / RTL 8100 SD

    Faxmodem
    Conexant CX 20468 31 v.92

    Video
    ATI Radeon Xpress 200 MIGP

    The ATI Radeon Xpress 200 is the one that bothers me most. This is a
    change from the R3000 series, which I understand used Nvidia. From
    what I have been able to ferret out on the net, many people have
    various distros installed on R3000 Compaqs and had little problem with
    the Nvidia drivers. However, the only chatter I can find about the
    Radeon Xpress 200 is inconclusive.

    I have not installed Linux on a computer for over three years and have
    little experience. I know Linux has matured enormously, but would
    appreciate any commentary, suggestions and experiences.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  2. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    The distro wars go on, and on, but the long and short is that you use what
    you have. Some are a bit easier to use in some areas than others, but in
    the end you use what you have.

    The real difficulty is that all the terminology between Windows and Linux is
    different. If you have used Linux in the past, and have a basic
    understanding of mount points, and mass storage mounting, then life is much
    easier.

    The various distros differ in how they gen a system, and how they update the
    etc configuration files to "enable" various software/hardware subsystems.

    In Linux the Info, and man subsystems are your greatest friend, with the
    Howtos, and Bash help running a close second. Linux is a real OS and will
    enable you to have as much control as you are able to understand.

    If you are planning a dual boot system you'll need to do some disk structure
    reading, but the task has gotten much easier over the last couple of years.
    While choosing a distro is a lot like religion, essentially you will use
    what you select. I have found not all that much difference between the
    various distros from an operator's interface point of view, what changes is
    where all the start up stuff is put, and how the ect configuration files are
    set. While this can be an area where a considerable amount of time is
    invested, most distros go out of their way to get you to a functional system
    with their gen program.

    I initially used RH, SuSE - this distro comes with lots of apps, but then
    again they all do, and Debian, each differed in the sys-gen area, but all
    three were not too tough to make work. Understanding the disk
    identification mechanism is mandatory, as are permissions. Again these can
    be gotten from the man subsystem (don't forget to do a man man to get a
    brief explanation of using the man -k function). The X system is fairly
    forgiving regarding getting something to come to life and talk to you, even
    if it may not use all the video capability of what you are using. KDE, and
    Gnome are like the distro thing, what you select is what you will use. I
    put both on my systems and ultimately decided to use KDE because it had
    fewer bugs than Gnome - I am not sure this is still the case.

    Plan on putting something up to play with for a few weeks or a month or so
    that you can bumble around on. Don't put too much serious stuff on this
    system as one of the first things that come to you is what you should have
    done when you did that original sys-gen, especially disk partitioning as you
    may want to put up several different distros to "play" with them. Even if
    you're not inclined to mess with multiple distros, you will still want to
    change the system several times within the first couple of months as you get
    a "feel" for what Linux does, and what you want, and how you want your disk
    storage allocated.

    There is no substitute for doing. "Once you understand what they are saying
    then you will know what they mean" - all the terminology is different so
    it's not unusual to read an Info/man page and not understand a word that was
    said; just plod on, it will become clear over time, but it is initially
    frustrating.

    Mike

    --
    "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the
    active, the brave." - Patrick Henry, from Liberty Or Death Speech

    "The difference between being a coward and a man is not whether you're
    scared, it's what you do while you're scared.'' - Staff Sgt. Jeff Struecker's
    direction to a terrified Ranger prior to both rejoining the firefight in
    Mogadishu Somalia, Oct. 3, 1993.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do
    nothing." - Edmond Burke

    "Marek Williams" wrote in message
    news:k5bc71lneq2hu3nbj8ed2s1o7d4km0l67n@4ax.com...
    > After much research I have ordered a Compaq R4000 notebook. This is
    > new, the successor to the R3000 series. I am considering Suse 9.3 or
    > Fedora Core 3.
    >
    > Before purchasing I insisted that HP (Compaq) give me the make and
    > model numbers for certain on-board devices that I was worried about,
    > specifically:
    >
    > 10/100/1000 ethernet
    > Realtek TRL 8100 CL / RTL 8100 SD
    >
    > Faxmodem
    > Conexant CX 20468 31 v.92
    >
    > Video
    > ATI Radeon Xpress 200 MIGP
    >
    > The ATI Radeon Xpress 200 is the one that bothers me most. This is a
    > change from the R3000 series, which I understand used Nvidia. From
    > what I have been able to ferret out on the net, many people have
    > various distros installed on R3000 Compaqs and had little problem with
    > the Nvidia drivers. However, the only chatter I can find about the
    > Radeon Xpress 200 is inconclusive.
    >
    > I have not installed Linux on a computer for over three years and have
    > little experience. I know Linux has matured enormously, but would
    > appreciate any commentary, suggestions and experiences.
    >
    > --
    > Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.




  3. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Mon, 02 May 2005 07:15:22 -0700, Marek Williams wrote:

    > After much research I have ordered a Compaq R4000 notebook. This is
    > new, the successor to the R3000 series. I am considering Suse 9.3 or
    > Fedora Core 3.
    >
    > Before purchasing I insisted that HP (Compaq) give me the make and
    > model numbers for certain on-board devices that I was worried about,
    > specifically:
    >
    > 10/100/1000 ethernet
    > Realtek TRL 8100 CL / RTL 8100 SD
    >
    > Faxmodem
    > Conexant CX 20468 31 v.92
    >
    > Video
    > ATI Radeon Xpress 200 MIGP
    >
    > The ATI Radeon Xpress 200 is the one that bothers me most. This is a
    > change from the R3000 series, which I understand used Nvidia. From
    > what I have been able to ferret out on the net, many people have
    > various distros installed on R3000 Compaqs and had little problem with
    > the Nvidia drivers. However, the only chatter I can find about the
    > Radeon Xpress 200 is inconclusive.
    >
    > I have not installed Linux on a computer for over three years and have
    > little experience. I know Linux has matured enormously, but would
    > appreciate any commentary, suggestions and experiences.


    I doubt you'll have any problems with the ATI graphics, ATI is well
    supported. The thing to worry about is wireless. I have the R3000. The
    R3000 uses the Broadcom chip. There is no native Linux support for
    Broadcom. I got it to work with Ndiswrapper once but it's a pain in the
    ass plus it limits you to running a 32 bit kernel. If the 4000 is still
    using the Broadcom chip then order it without the built in wireless
    support and buy a 3rd party card that uses a chipset with native Linux
    support. One more thing, spend a few more bucks and get a 3400+ instead of
    the 3000+. The 3400+ has a 1M cache and that makes a huge difference. My
    3400+ R3000 outruns my 3800+ desktop system on almost everything, on
    somethings it's twice as fast. Also get a big disk. I have a 60G on mine
    and thats to small. You are going to be double booting unless you decide
    to dump the XP that comes with every Compaq laptop. I triple boot mine,
    FC3 32 bit, FC3 64 bit, and XP which is why 60G is tight. They offer an
    80G and a 100G, get one of those.


  4. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On 2005.5.3, General Schvantzkoph wrote:



    > I doubt you'll have any problems with the ATI graphics, ATI is well
    > supported. The thing to worry about is wireless. I have the
    > R3000. The R3000 uses the Broadcom chip. There is no native Linux
    > support for Broadcom. I got it to work with Ndiswrapper once but
    > it's a pain in the ass plus it limits you to running a 32 bit
    > kernel.


    Not to say that the Broadcom situation is anything but horrendous, but
    this a laptop, right? Do you have enough memory in it to make a 64bit
    kernel meaningful?

    > If the 4000 is still using the Broadcom chip then order it without
    > the built in wireless support and buy a 3rd party card that uses a
    > chipset with native Linux support.


    That's good advice.


    --
    garglemonster@my-deja.com

    He probably just wants to take over my CELLS and then EXPLODE inside me
    like a BARREL of runny CHOPPED LIVER!

  5. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Wed, 04 May 2005 00:59:50 -0400, Garglemonster wrote:

    > On 2005.5.3, General Schvantzkoph wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >> I doubt you'll have any problems with the ATI graphics, ATI is well
    >> supported. The thing to worry about is wireless. I have the
    >> R3000. The R3000 uses the Broadcom chip. There is no native Linux
    >> support for Broadcom. I got it to work with Ndiswrapper once but
    >> it's a pain in the ass plus it limits you to running a 32 bit
    >> kernel.

    >
    > Not to say that the Broadcom situation is anything but horrendous, but
    > this a laptop, right? Do you have enough memory in it to make a 64bit
    > kernel meaningful?
    >
    >> If the 4000 is still using the Broadcom chip then order it without
    >> the built in wireless support and buy a 3rd party card that uses a
    >> chipset with native Linux support.

    >
    > That's good advice.


    I mostly run mine in 32 bit mode because I use Win4Lin which also requires
    a 32 bit kernel. However the last time I tried to install Ndiswrapper it
    broke the Nvidia binary drivers. The fault is really Nvidia's, their
    drivers have become incredibly fragile. By broke I mean that the
    Nvidia installer doesn't seem able to produce a driver that will load
    with the kernel that was touched by Ndiswrapper. Ndiswrapper isn't the
    only thing that breaks the Nvidia drivers. I just installed Mandriva
    2005LE on one of my machines. Mandriva installed the Nvidia drivers just
    fine, they worked with the virgin installation. However when I built a
    custom Win4Lin kernel I couldn't get the Nvidia installer to build a
    driver for the new kernel. With FC3 I have no trouble building a custom
    kernel and then doing an Nvidia install as long as I also don't also try
    to use Ndiswrapper. So avoiding as non-standard things, like Ndiswrapper,
    is something that you want to do so that you won't have problems with the
    things that you really need, like accelerated graphics and Win4Lin.


  6. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Tue, 03 May 2005 20:39:25 -0400, General Schvantzkoph
    dijo:

    >I doubt you'll have any problems with the ATI graphics, ATI is well
    >supported. The thing to worry about is wireless. I have the R3000. The
    >R3000 uses the Broadcom chip. There is no native Linux support for
    >Broadcom. I got it to work with Ndiswrapper once but it's a pain in the
    >ass plus it limits you to running a 32 bit kernel. If the 4000 is still
    >using the Broadcom chip then order it without the built in wireless
    >support and buy a 3rd party card that uses a chipset with native Linux
    >support.


    There were two options for wireless. One was the "standard" choice and
    it did not say what brand it was. The second was Broadcom, with
    bluetooth. I went for the standard version. However, changing the
    choice is too late. Part of the purchase terms is that once I hit the
    submit button there can be no changes to the order. (I suspect they
    are being assmbled overseas.) My only remedy is to use HP's 30-day no
    hassle return policy.

    >One more thing, spend a few more bucks and get a 3400+ instead of
    >the 3000+. The 3400+ has a 1M cache and that makes a huge difference. My
    >3400+ R3000 outruns my 3800+ desktop system on almost everything, on
    >somethings it's twice as fast.


    It will come with an Athlon 64, 4000. This chip has additional
    features which I do not understand, but makes it a significant
    improvement over previous versions. IIRC, it has 2 Mb cache.

    >Also get a big disk. I have a 60G on mine
    >and thats to small. You are going to be double booting unless you decide
    >to dump the XP that comes with every Compaq laptop. I triple boot mine,
    >FC3 32 bit, FC3 64 bit, and XP which is why 60G is tight. They offer an
    >80G and a 100G, get one of those.


    I will not be double booting. The initial partition will be shrunk
    down to 15 Gb and Windows XP will remain on it, although I plan on
    never booting it. A second partition of about 15 Gb will hold Linux
    (one distro only). The remainder will be retained as data (50 Gb).

    After a year or so of running Linux, and having assured myself that
    I'll never need Windows XP, I'll reformat the C: drive (the original
    Windows partition. Then I'll use this to install never versions of
    Linux as then become available.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  7. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    ["Followup-To:" header set to comp.os.linux.portable.]
    On Fri, 06 May 2005 00:46:20 -0700, Marek Williams staggered into the
    Black Sun and said:
    > On Tue, 3 May 2005 00:20:45 -0500, "Mike" dijo:
    >>The real difficulty is that all the terminology between Windows and
    >>Linux is different. If you have used Linux in the past, and have a

    > I used Corel Linux


    Corel Linux != modern distros. Your questions make me think you're
    *really* inexperienced; you may wish to Google for "linux newbie
    tutorial" or "Rute user tutorial" or pick up the O'Reilly book _Running
    Linux_ or something.

    >>The various distros differ in how they gen a system, and how they
    >>update the etc configuration files to "enable" various

    > What does "gen a system" mean?


    IIRC, it's an old dinosaur-herder term that Marek is using to mean
    "partition a disk, make filesystems, and write binary packages for the
    base system to these filesystems." That's "install the base OS" to you.

    > What are "etc configuration files"?


    Marek meant "/etc config files". These are text files in the /etc/
    directory and its subdirectories that control many important things.
    The X config file, f'rexample, is in /etc/X11/xorg.conf .

    >>In Linux the Info, and man subsystems are your greatest friend, with

    > What are the info and man subsystems?


    "man FOO BAR" executed from a console or xterm or konsole will display
    the man pages for FOO and BAR. man pages are usually dry technical
    references that explain everything a command can do. If a newbie wants
    to use a man page, he should enter "man FOO" then type "/examples" to
    search the man page for the "EXAMPLES" section, as it's usually the best
    place to start.

    "info FOO" will display the info page for FOO. Unlike man pages, info
    pages are hierarchical, which sounds like a good idea but usually isn't
    one in practice. Some programs have info pages but their man pages are
    terse and unhelpful, and some programs have man pages but no info pages.

    > what is bash?


    Bourne-Again SHell. It's the default shell in Linux.

    > I thought Redhat and Suse were different distros. I don't really know
    > what Debian is.


    Debian is another distro intended for intermediate-to-advanced users.

    > What is a disk identification mechanism and what does it do?


    Need more context to answer. Don't worry about it for now.

    >>(don't forget to do a man man to get a brief explanation of using the
    >>man -k function).

    > How do I do a man man


    Enter "man man" at a console, xterm, or konsole. This is the man page
    for man, and will tell you how to use man :-)

    > and a man -k


    "apropos" is easier to type for me (YMMV). "apropos FOO" searches a man
    page database for all man pages that relate to FOO and then displays a
    list of those man pages.

    > I've heard of the X system, but have never seen a definition. What is
    > it?


    Think of X as the program that receives input from your keyboard and
    mouse, and makes your video card draw pretty pictures. X is essentially
    the video card driver for Linux. (There's a lot more to X than that, but
    that'll do for now.)

    > I've also heard of KDE and Gnome, but again, have no idea how they are
    > different or why I should use one over the other.


    KDE and GNOME are both sets of programs that run on top of X. KDE in
    its default configuration behaves similarly (not exactly) to Windows in
    its look, feel, and config settings for its file manager. GNOME is less
    like Windows. KDE has all its configuration options in a big "KDE
    Control Center", GNOME hides some of its configuration options in
    gconf-editor. Both desktop environments are useful and nifty; you may
    want to try both of them out and see which one you like best.

    >>There is no substitute for doing. "Once you understand what they are
    >>saying then you will know what they mean"


    AOL.

    > How-to documents that assume the reader understands the terminology
    > get great praise from those who already understand the subject and
    > don't need them. They are useless for anyone who is just starting out.
    > At this point I am planning on installing Suse 9.3


    Unless SuSE have completely dropped the ball, the paper documentation
    you get with a boxed set of SuSE is pretty good and can be read and used
    by a person who is new to Linux.

    > If it blows up there is a local LUG.


    Bring your laptop there if they have a "Beginner's Night", grab one of
    the least fanatical members, and have him explain stuff to you until he
    or you gets tired. HTH,

    --
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see
    Brainbench MVP for Linux Admin / mail: TRAP + SPAN don't belong
    http://www.brainbench.com / Hire me!
    -----------------------------/ http://crow202.dyndns.org/~mhgraham/resume

  8. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    Marek Williams wrote:

    > It will come with an Athlon 64, 4000. This chip has additional
    > features which I do not understand, but makes it a significant
    > improvement over previous versions. IIRC, it has 2 Mb cache.


    It may be worth noting that Fedora (which is free) has a 64-bit
    distribution, which I am using on an Athlon64 machine,
    and which I am very happy with.
    It may be SuSE also has a 64-bit version, I don't know.


    > I will not be double booting. The initial partition will be shrunk
    > down to 15 Gb and Windows XP will remain on it, although I plan on
    > never booting it. A second partition of about 15 Gb will hold Linux
    > (one distro only). The remainder will be retained as data (50 Gb).


    I'm not sure what you mean by data.
    It might be more difficult than you think
    (but not impossible) to share files between Windows and Linux.

    Personally, I would allow double booting.
    In fact I'm not sure how you would access Windows and Linux
    without it.

    --
    Timothy Murphy
    e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
    tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
    s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

  9. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    Timothy Murphy wrote:
    > Marek Williams wrote:
    >




    >
    >>I will not be double booting. The initial partition will be shrunk
    >>down to 15 Gb and Windows XP will remain on it, although I plan on
    >>never booting it. A second partition of about 15 Gb will hold Linux
    >>(one distro only). The remainder will be retained as data (50 Gb).

    >
    >
    > I'm not sure what you mean by data.
    > It might be more difficult than you think
    > (but not impossible) to share files between Windows and Linux.
    >


    Easiest way round that little hurdle is to make the data partition under
    FAT32. Both platforms'll read/write to it then.



    --
    Cheers,

    Jim

    -begin sig-
    Opinions expressed in this message may or may not be representative of
    the opinions of its author. You decide.

    Web: http://www.dotware.co.uk
    http://www.dotware-entertainment.co.uk

    Portable: P4m 2.0, 1GB, 40GB, MX440/15" XGA@1600x1200, Wi-Fi, GPRS,
    DVD/CDRW, XPSP2/Knoppix
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    X 10.4 "Tiger" Dev. Build
    Desktop: AMD64 3200+@2.63GHz, 512MB, 80GB, FX5700LE/32" WXGA@2048x768,
    DVD+-RW, XPSP1/Debian
    FileServer: Athlon XP 2400+, 256MB, 2.72TB, Blind, MuLinux

    More but I'm not tellin' ya, there's a pool forming at your feet.
    -end sig-

  10. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    > I'm not sure what you mean by data.
    > It might be more difficult than you think
    > (but not impossible) to share files between Windows and Linux.


    I'm pretty happy with just the read-only NTFS access from Linux.

    > Personally, I would allow double booting. In fact I'm not sure how you
    > would access Windows and Linux without it.


    A better overall solution is to use a VM like Xen or VMware: the main boot
    should be GNU/Linux (of course) and within it, run one of those VM in which
    you run Windows. That way not only you have both machines running at the
    same time (so you don't need to leave GNU/Linux to get to Windows), but you
    can share files easily via Samba.


    Stefan

  11. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Fri, 06 May 2005 22:19:10 GMT, Jim
    dijo:

    >> Marek Williams wrote:
    >>>I will not be double booting. The initial partition will be shrunk
    >>>down to 15 Gb and Windows XP will remain on it, although I plan on
    >>>never booting it. A second partition of about 15 Gb will hold Linux
    >>>(one distro only). The remainder will be retained as data (50 Gb).


    >> I'm not sure what you mean by data.
    >> It might be more difficult than you think
    >> (but not impossible) to share files between Windows and Linux.


    By data I mean files I create with my own two little hands. Papers,
    theses, research projects, books I'm writing, and such. As opposed to
    operating system files and related things like fonts and utilities.
    Nor do I mean program files. The idea is to keep MY stuff all in a
    separate partition for backup purposes. The other stuff can all be
    replaced in the event of a catastrophe, but it would kill me to lose
    stuff I spent years creating. For example, I do the same thing on this
    Windows 2000 desktop. The C drive has Windows, programs, fonts and
    utilties. The D drive is for my data. I back up the D drive nightly to
    tape. Once every couple of weeks I back up the C drive as well.

    >Easiest way round that little hurdle is to make the data partition under
    >FAT32. Both platforms'll read/write to it then.


    I had a helluva time figuring out how to partition the laptop's 80 Gb
    drive. My plan was to leave Windows XP on a 15 Gb drive, then create a
    new 15 Gb drive for Linux and its programs, fonts and utilities, and
    leave the remaining 50 Gb for data. But the first thing I discovered
    was that Linux needs a separate partition for swap.

    OK, so I decided it would have four partitions instead of three. No
    big deal. But then I got into the Suse installation utility for
    setting up partitions. What a confusing mess! First, evidently
    HP/Compaq shipped this thing with Windows XP on a 20 Gb partition, and
    the rest unpartitioned. Nothing in the HP/Compaq documentation said
    anything about this. Perhaps I would have been informed in the initial
    Windows XP boot process, but I do not want ever to boot it, if at all
    possible. Windows XP is just there temporarily as a final, last-ditch,
    emergency measure.

    The first problem I ran into was understanding the Suse GUI partition
    thing. Again, no documentation. Like I was supposed to know what
    "HDa1" means.

    -----------
    Annoying, but also amusing side story:
    In the midst of my frustrations with the partitioning thing, I finally
    decided to call Suse and use my free 90 days of support. That required
    me to register, which we eventually handled on the phone. I kept
    having to ask the initial contact person to repeat things because of
    his accent, which I found very hard to understand.

    Finally I got to talk to a tech dude. I started by asking what "HDa"
    means, to which he replied "HDE" means your hard disk. I said "no, it
    says "HDA," not "HDE." He said, "that's what I said, "HDE." We went
    back and forth on this for some time. Finally I asked him to name the
    vowels (a, e, i, o, u). He replied "E, E, I, O, U." Up to this time I
    had been missing two or three words out of every sentence he uttered,
    and suddenly I understood why. I also realized that it was the same
    problem I had been having with the initial contact person.

    So I decided to ask him if he could escalate me to an expert on hard
    disks. Actually I was just hoping to find someone who spoke a brand of
    English a little closer to mine. He did so, and I was connected to
    another guy. Unfortunately, same accent.

    I decided I was just going to have to keep asking him to repeat and
    proceeded to explain what I wanted to do. After asking him several
    questions, and having to ask him to repeat several times, he said "I'm
    not going to help you set up your partitions, that's not part of your
    support." I just said "fine" and hung up. I think he was wrong, but I
    was just as frustrated as he was.

    And evidently, the language problem was because they were in Scotland.
    I grew up on the west coast of the US. So I conclude that Suse is a
    German company, owned now by an inept American company (Novell), with
    tech support in Scotland, and an attitude from Hell.
    ---------

    I had previously consulted the manuals that came with Suse 9.3 and
    found them pretty useless (really bad indexes). But Fedora Core 3 had
    been my second choice, and I had purchased the big Sams "Unleashed"
    book and it was sitting here. So I read up about partitioning and,
    with a little more poking at the Suse GUI setup, managed to get it
    done. (The longest time was spent trying to set up the swap -- which I
    could not do until I stumbled on the fact that in the Suse GUI "swap"
    is a file type, listed along with EXT2, EXT3, etc.) I finally ended up
    with:

    Partition 1 Windows, 12.6 Gb, file format unknown and untouched
    Partition 2 Linux, 15 Gb, EXT3
    Partition 3 Linux swap, 2 Gb, EXT3 (I think)
    Partition 4 Data, 44,9 Gb, EXT3

    Of course, this means that Windows won't be able to read my data. But
    I decided in the end that this doesn't really matter. I don't plan to
    boot Windows on this laptop ever anyway. And once I get the networking
    figured out, the data partition will be backed up to tape on the
    Windows 2000 desktop every night. If I ever need Windows to read those
    files, I'll just back it all up, launch Windows on the laptop, have
    Windows repartition the data partition as NTFS, and then restore the
    files from tape. (From past experience, I know Windows will see it as
    "unknown partition" and offer to replace it with a Windows partition.)

    Now, on to the video problem.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  12. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Fri, 06 May 2005 08:59:50 -0500, Dances With Crows
    dijo:

    >Unless SuSE have completely dropped the ball, the paper documentation
    >you get with a boxed set of SuSE is pretty good and can be read and used
    >by a person who is new to Linux.


    Actually, I found them pretty useless. Bad indexes, for one thing. And
    when you do find the topic you were looking for, they're not detailed
    enough. But I also had the big Sams "unleashed" book for Fedora Core 3
    here, and it helped. See my other posts today. I've got it installed,
    although there is a lot left to do and learn. Main problem remaining
    is the video.

    >> If it blows up there is a local LUG.


    >Bring your laptop there if they have a "Beginner's Night", grab one of
    >the least fanatical members, and have him explain stuff to you until he
    >or you gets tired. HTH,


    Yes, they do, and I will. Unfortunately, it's only once a month and
    the next one won't be until the 21st. I want to play with my new toy!!
    But besides that, the video problem I am having may be more than they
    will be able to help with. On the other hand, you are right that I am
    a clueless newbie, so I'm sure I will learn a lot of other stuff as
    well.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  13. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Tue, 10 May 2005 08:32:34 -0700, Marek Williams staggered into the
    Black Sun and said:
    > On Fri, 06 May 2005 22:19:10 GMT, Jim
    > dijo:
    >>> Marek Williams wrote:
    >>>>I will not be double booting. The initial partition will be shrunk
    >>>>down to 15 Gb and Windows XP will remain on it, although I plan on
    >>> It might be more difficult than you think (but not impossible) to
    >>> share files between Windows and Linux.

    > By data I mean files I create with my own two little hands. Papers,
    > theses, research projects, books I'm writing, and such. As opposed to
    > operating system files and related things like fonts and utilities.
    > Nor do I mean program files. The idea is to keep MY stuff all in a
    > separate partition for backup purposes.


    OK, but why not just keep it in a certain part of the filesystem? rsync
    and tar and so forth don't need to have files all in one partition.
    Whatever.

    >>Easiest way round that little hurdle is to make the data partition
    >>under FAT32. Both platforms'll read/write to it then.


    Yep.

    > drive. My plan was to leave Windows XP on a 15 Gb drive, then create a
    > new 15 Gb drive


    "drive" means a hard disk. The word you're looking for is "partition".

    > But the first thing I discovered was that Linux needs a separate
    > partition for swap.


    No, it doesn't. SuSE 9.3's installer may force you to create a swap
    partition, but you can certainly get by with a swap file, or with no
    swap at all if you have enough RAM.

    > But then I got into the Suse installation utility for setting up
    > partitions. What a confusing mess!


    Yep. cfdisk and/or fdisk; learn 'em, use 'em.

    > First, evidently HP/Compaq shipped this thing with Windows XP on a 20
    > Gb partition, and the rest unpartitioned. Nothing in the HP/Compaq
    > documentation said anything about this.


    So? The output from cfdisk or fdisk or whatever should've immediately
    alerted you to this.

    > The first problem I ran into was understanding the Suse GUI partition
    > thing. Again, no documentation. Like I was supposed to know what
    > "HDa1" means.


    SuSE 6.1 came with a good and comprehensive paper manual that explained
    partitioning, what device nodes were, and what the most common nodes
    were named. It's terrible to see that the quality of their dead trees
    has declined so much. In case you haven't figured it out yet, /dev/hda
    is the master device on IDE channel 0, and dev/hda[1-63] are the
    partitions on that device.

    > decided to call Suse and use my free 90 days of support. That required
    > me to register, which we eventually handled on the phone. I kept
    > having to ask the initial contact person to repeat things because of
    > his accent, which I found very hard to understand.


    Ah don' have an accent. *Y'all* do.
    You talk funny, eh?
    I am not understanding your accent, so please do the needful.


    ....I had to use SuSE's tech support once, but I did it over e-mail.
    They were prompt, efficient, courteous, and correct in their problem
    diagnosis and proposed solution.

    > And evidently, the language problem was because they were in Scotland.


    If it's nae Scottish, it's crap!

    > The longest time was spent trying to set up the swap -- which I
    > could not do until I stumbled on the fact that in the Suse GUI "swap"
    > is a file type, listed along with EXT2, EXT3, etc.


    Yep. Swap is typically stored on partitions of type 0x82, but it
    doesn't have a filesystem per se.

    > Partition 1 Windows, 12.6 Gb, file format unknown and untouched
    > Partition 2 Linux, 15 Gb, EXT3
    > Partition 3 Linux swap, 2 Gb, EXT3 (I think)
    > Partition 4 Data, 44,9 Gb, EXT3
    >
    > Of course, this means that Windows won't be able to read my data. But
    > I decided in the end that this doesn't really matter.


    Shrug. 2G of swap seems like an awful lot, but whatever. The old
    metric of "swap = 2*RAM" is no longer useful, since RAM sizes have gone
    up so much. I've only got 258M swap on my laptop (384M RAM).

    > Now, on to the video problem.


    If this thing has a really new graphics card that isn't supported by
    Xorg's radeon module, then you're going to be stuck with VESA
    performance and VESA standard modes until the Xorg guys figure out how
    to make the graphics card work right.

    --
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see
    Brainbench MVP for Linux Admin / mail: TRAP + SPAN don't belong
    http://www.brainbench.com / Hire me!
    -----------------------------/ http://crow202.dyndns.org/~mhgraham/resume

  14. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Tue, 10 May 2005 11:33:34 -0500, Dances With Crows
    dijo:

    >If this thing has a really new graphics card that isn't supported by
    >Xorg's radeon module, then you're going to be stuck with VESA
    >performance and VESA standard modes until the Xorg guys figure out how
    >to make the graphics card work right.


    Maybe so. But I keep running into things that lead me to believe it's
    possible, so I'm not giving up yet. But for sure I will not be stuck
    with VESA. If that is truly all that can be done at this time, then it
    goes back to HP/Compaq under their 30-day "no-hassle" return policy.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  15. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Mon, 02 May 2005 07:15:22 -0700, Marek Williams wrote:

    > After much research I have ordered a Compaq R4000 notebook. This is
    > new, the successor to the R3000 series. I am considering Suse 9.3 or
    > Fedora Core 3.
    >
    > Before purchasing I insisted that HP (Compaq) give me the make and
    > model numbers for certain on-board devices that I was worried about,
    > specifically:
    >
    > 10/100/1000 ethernet
    > Realtek TRL 8100 CL / RTL 8100 SD
    >
    > Faxmodem
    > Conexant CX 20468 31 v.92
    >
    > Video
    > ATI Radeon Xpress 200 MIGP
    >
    > The ATI Radeon Xpress 200 is the one that bothers me most. This is a
    > change from the R3000 series, which I understand used Nvidia. From
    > what I have been able to ferret out on the net, many people have
    > various distros installed on R3000 Compaqs and had little problem with
    > the Nvidia drivers. However, the only chatter I can find about the
    > Radeon Xpress 200 is inconclusive.
    >
    > I have not installed Linux on a computer for over three years and have
    > little experience. I know Linux has matured enormously, but would
    > appreciate any commentary, suggestions and experiences.


    I've been using laptop/notebook computers for years now.
    About three years ago, I discovered Linux and the joys of partitioned
    hard disks. I still use partitioned (XP/Linux) drives in my computers.

    I must keep the Windows side alive due to a SINGLE job related application.
    98% of the time is Mandriva 2005 in one and SuSE 9.3 in another.
    I look forward to the day I can DUMP the Redmond product all together.

    Linux has come a long way since the days of Red Hat 7.

    Today's desktop versions allow desktop applications like, OOo, gimp2,
    Evolution, power management for notebook computers, news readers, Redfox,
    Kopete, Mozilla, multimedia and much, much more. All with the stability
    and security only a Unix based operating systems like Linux or OSX can
    offer.

    Make your move, you'll be glad you did...

    riberto



  16. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Mon, 02 May 2005 07:15:22 -0700, Marek Williams wrote:
    >
    >> After much research I have ordered a Compaq R4000 notebook. This is
    >> new, the successor to the R3000 series. I am considering Suse 9.3 or
    >> Fedora Core 3.
    >>
    >> Before purchasing I insisted that HP (Compaq) give me the make and
    >> model numbers for certain on-board devices that I was worried about,
    >> specifically:
    >>
    >> 10/100/1000 ethernet
    >> Realtek TRL 8100 CL / RTL 8100 SD
    >>
    >> Faxmodem
    >> Conexant CX 20468 31 v.92
    >>
    >> Video
    >> ATI Radeon Xpress 200 MIGP
    >>
    >> The ATI Radeon Xpress 200 is the one that bothers me most. This is a
    >> change from the R3000 series, which I understand used Nvidia. From
    >> what I have been able to ferret out on the net, many people have
    >> various distros installed on R3000 Compaqs and had little problem with
    >> the Nvidia drivers. However, the only chatter I can find about the
    >> Radeon Xpress 200 is inconclusive.


    OK, the R4000 arrived much sooner than HP said it would. I
    ve had it for about a week.

    I started with Suse Professional 9.3. It installed OK, but the
    wireless was dead and the video was VESA 1024 x 768 (should have been
    1280 x 800). I fiddled with it for a day or two, but made no progress.

    Then I installed Knoppix live CD. It went all the way, but the
    keyboard and touchpad were dead. No way to tweak a live CD even if the
    keyboard and touchpad had been working.

    Next I tried Fedora Core 3. The installation hung. I never got past
    it, so I could never install it.

    Next was Gentoo. It hung on the screen where I had to select the
    language before continuing. It may not actually been hung, but the
    keyboard and touchpad were dead, so I couldn't select the language and
    continue.

    Then I tried Ubuntu. More or less same results as Gentoo, except the
    screen requiring keyboard input was a different screen. But the
    keyboard and touchpad were dead, so couldn't continue.

    Finally I tried Mandriva 2005 Limited Edition, the three-CD free
    download (32 bit). It installed fine and I kind of liked it, except
    that, like Suse, the wireless was dead and the video was VESA 1024 x
    768.

    By this time I was less concerned about the wireless and the faxmodem
    (which I never had an opportunity to test with any of the distros),
    because I had discovered Linuxant and felt that one way or another I
    could eventually get them working. It was the video that was the real
    stumbling block.

    But after reading a lot about Mandriva 2005 LE, I decided to try the
    full 64-bit DVD version. It claims to have way more drivers than the
    three-CD version. So I paid $12 to join MandrivaClub and downloaded it
    (four days!).

    Last night I tried to install it. On rebooting it started and then
    hung on -

    Kernel panic - not syncing: No init found. Try passing init= option to
    kernel.

    Unfortunately, the keyboard and mouse were not functioning at this
    point, so there was nothing I could do. Note that this never happened
    with the 32-bit version of Mandriva 2005 LE.

    Today I have spent all day reinstalling, using all kinds of different
    boot manager and partition options. So far they have all produced
    exactly the same hang at the same line. I believe I have tried about a
    dozen times.

    There is nothing on Mandriva's web site addressing this particular
    problem. I'm a total Linux n00b, but it seems to me if the OS can't
    even find init, it must be pretty lame.

    The lines immediately prior to the hang are:

    mounting root filesystem with flags noatime mount: error 6
    mounting ext3 flags noatime well, retrying read-only without any flags
    mount: error 6 mounting ext3 pivotroot: pivot_root (sysroot, /sysroot
    / initrd) failed: 2 Initrd finished Freeing unused Kernel memory: 220
    K freed Kernel panic - not syncing: No init found. Try passing
    init= option to Kernel

    Right now I'm going to reinstall the three-CD 32-bit version in a
    small partition, then try again with the 64-bit version in another
    small partition. That way I'll have at least the 32-bit version I can
    start up in order to edit configuration files in the 64-bit version.
    Of course, I have no idea what to edit or what changes to make, but at
    least when someone gives me a suggestion I'll be able to try it.

    I've learned a LOT about Linux from all this installing. Nevertheless,
    I think I've had enough learning now.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  17. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    Marek Williams wrote:

    > Next I tried Fedora Core 3. The installation hung. I never got past
    > it, so I could never install it.


    Did you try in text mode?
    Where exactly did the installation hang?

    I just googled for "Fedora R4000" and there seemed to be plenty of people
    running Fedora on this system.
    Why not see how other people got round your problems?




    --
    Timothy Murphy
    e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
    tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
    s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

  18. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    On Sat, 21 May 2005 12:03:46 +0100, Timothy Murphy
    dijo:

    >Marek Williams wrote:
    >
    >> Next I tried Fedora Core 3. The installation hung. I never got past
    >> it, so I could never install it.

    >
    >Did you try in text mode?
    >Where exactly did the installation hang?
    >
    >I just googled for "Fedora R4000" and there seemed to be plenty of people
    >running Fedora on this system.
    >Why not see how other people got round your problems?


    As I mentioned previously, Fedora Core 3 hung on the installation and
    I couldn't get past it.

    --
    Bogus e-mail address, but I read this newsgroup regularly, so reply here.

  19. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    Marek Williams wrote:

    >>> Next I tried Fedora Core 3. The installation hung. I never got past
    >>> it, so I could never install it.

    >>
    >>Did you try in text mode?
    >>Where exactly did the installation hang?
    >>
    >>I just googled for "Fedora R4000" and there seemed to be plenty of people
    >>running Fedora on this system.
    >>Why not see how other people got round your problems?

    >
    > As I mentioned previously, Fedora Core 3 hung on the installation and
    > I couldn't get past it.


    "Hung" is a rather vague term.
    Where exactly did the installation stop?
    Did you try installing in text mode? (To repeat myself.)

    I can think of a dozen thing one could try
    if an installation does not work first time.

    As I said, other people running the same machine
    would be my first stop, if I had your problem.
    If other people are running Fedora on your machine -
    and my quick google seemed to confirm that that is the case -
    then it must be possible.

    Personally, I have often found both Linux and Windows
    fail to install on my first attempt.
    [Eg I could not re-install Windows-2000
    after changing the hard disk on my Sony Picturebook.]
    But the third or fourth attempt usually works.
    [In this case I dd-ed a copy of Windows from another machine.]

    You said that one installation worked,
    except that the keyboard did not respond.
    Do you have an ethernet or WiFi connection?
    Did you try logging in from another machine?



    --
    Timothy Murphy
    e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
    tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
    s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

  20. Re: New Laptop on the Way

    Marek Williams writes:


    >As I mentioned previously, Fedora Core 3 hung on the installation and
    >I couldn't get past it.


    The question was -- where on the installation. As soon as you put in the
    CD? When it was intially loading the kernel? When it was looking for
    packages? When it was trying to print a test page?
    There is a problem with the centrino chip. It has a bug, which some of th
    enew kernels tickle. For example the default Manrake kernel freezes on
    kernel load for centrino chips. Maybe redhat's default is doing the same.
    (although this is I believe due to Centrino's not implimenting i686
    features when it should, and Redhat always prided itself on being i386 .)


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