REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie - Setup

This is a discussion on REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie - Setup ; x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux Hello I have tried several distros over the last three years but none has worked with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext dongle to no avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup. ...

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Thread: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

  1. REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux

    Hello

    I have tried several distros over the last three years but none has worked
    with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext dongle to no
    avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup. I have tried PCLinuxos, Ubuntu8.04
    and Mandriva2008.1 in recent months, and probably another three or four
    (Puppylinux I think) last year. None allowed me wireless connectivity or
    dual monitor (or either in many cases). I can't remember which gave me
    which - sorry. I tried LiveCDs and full installs too.
    Can anyone please give me their best guess as to which distro should be my
    next attempt, bearing in mind that I want to achiieve the following things?

    1) 3Com or Bluenext USB wi-fi recognition
    2) Nvidia dual monitor recognition
    3) OpenGL type performance so that I can try various 3D desktops etc.
    4) I tried various scripts sent to me by a very helpful Swedish chap for
    PCLOS2007 but that got horribly tricky and ended up with several reinstalls.
    So - I'd like to avoid having to recompile kernels or write add-on scripts
    etc.!

    For info:

    Nvidia card is NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS
    Bluenext wi-fi USB stick is Model BN-WD54G
    3Com wi-fi dongle is a 3CR75 something-or-other ... not got it to hand at
    the moment.

    TIA for any steerage!

    DDS






  2. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 17:17:35 +0100, Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:

    > x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux
    >
    > Hello
    >
    > I have tried several distros over the last three years but none has
    > worked with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext
    > dongle to no avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup. I have tried
    > PCLinuxos, Ubuntu8.04 and Mandriva2008.1 in recent months, and probably
    > another three or four (Puppylinux I think) last year. None allowed me
    > wireless connectivity or dual monitor (or either in many cases). I can't
    > remember which gave me which - sorry. I tried LiveCDs and full installs
    > too. Can anyone please give me their best guess as to which distro
    > should be my next attempt, bearing in mind that I want to achiieve the
    > following things?
    >
    > 1) 3Com or Bluenext USB wi-fi recognition 2) Nvidia dual monitor
    > recognition
    > 3) OpenGL type performance so that I can try various 3D desktops etc. 4)
    > I tried various scripts sent to me by a very helpful Swedish chap for
    > PCLOS2007 but that got horribly tricky and ended up with several
    > reinstalls. So - I'd like to avoid having to recompile kernels or write
    > add-on scripts etc.!
    >
    > For info:
    >
    > Nvidia card is NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS Bluenext wi-fi USB stick is Model
    > BN-WD54G 3Com wi-fi dongle is a 3CR75 something-or-other ... not got it
    > to hand at the moment.
    >
    > TIA for any steerage!
    >
    > DDS


    FWIW - I've observed that USB wifi is still a little iffy. There are
    lists of which adapters work with which drivers - you might have better
    luck with another adapter. I've done dual monitor setups several times.
    I've never had any particular difficulty. I would suggest you look at the
    Xinerama howto at www.tldp.org - it will give you a very good explanation
    of what is going on as well as a cookbook type approach - I've never
    tried the available GUI tools for setting this up.

  3. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie


    [Followup-To set to uk.comp.os.linux]
    On 2008-09-26, Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:
    > x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux
    >
    > Hello
    >
    > I have tried several distros over the last three years but none has worked
    > with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext dongle to no
    > avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup. I have tried PCLinuxos, Ubuntu8.04
    > and Mandriva2008.1 in recent months, and probably another three or four
    > (Puppylinux I think) last year.


    [...]

    Rather than hunt for a distro that does everything you want out of the box,
    wouldn't it be better to settle on one that you like and then set about
    getting it to do what you want? This isn't Windows - you can make your
    operating system /yours/ )

    Talking of Windows - one fairly reliable way to get wifi working in Linux,
    is to use the Windows driver via ndiswrapper.

    --
    -- ^^^^^^^^^^
    -- Whiskers
    -- ~~~~~~~~~~

  4. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    In comp.os.linux.setup Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:
    > Can anyone please give me their best guess as to which distro should be my
    > next attempt, bearing in mind that I want to achiieve the following things?


    > 3) OpenGL type performance so that I can try various 3D desktops etc.


    This is not possible on an Nvidia card using open source drivers,
    although reverse engineering is taking place at this time. You will either
    need to obtain proprietary drivers, or replace the card with a more
    suitable alternative. There are vendors that supply proprietary drivers
    as part of their distribution, if you want this.

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  5. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:
    > Can anyone please give me their best guess as to which distro should
    > be my next attempt, bearing in mind that I want to achiieve the
    > following things?


    I'll give it a shot. Please understand that most things in Windows
    don't work out of the box either, and that some input on your part is
    going to be necessary. Any modern distro can with some effort meet your
    needs, but please read on.

    > 1) 3Com or Bluenext USB wi-fi recognition


    This really isn't my domain of specificity and would recommend that you
    buy only wifi cards or wifi dongles that use one of the atheros
    chipsets. Recent kernels include the high quality ath5k driver which
    I've seen to work out of the box in the testing release of Debian and
    presumably this is the case of any other recent distro release. Debian
    will even recognise it during the setup and get it up and running
    immediately.

    I know that isn't going to be the answer you're going to want to hear
    however if you buy an atheros replacement you'll probably have no
    issues. If you buy hardware from a manufacturer that either won't help
    make an open source driver or has poorly made/supported closed source
    drivers than it's not linux that's your problem.

    > 2) Nvidia dual monitor recognition 3) OpenGL type performance so that
    > I can try various 3D desktops etc.


    To achieve this goal you need to download the proprietary NVIDIA driver
    from nvidia.com and install it. OpenGL acceleration will be available
    at once and the dual-monitor will probably require some very simple
    configuration, of which there are *many* guides to available to assist
    you. Conveniently, google keep an index of all these guides and you can
    find them by typing in just a few keywords on the google website ^_^

    No user compilation required, just download, install, and start playing

    > 4) I tried various scripts sent to me by a very helpful Swedish chap
    > for PCLOS2007 but that got horribly tricky and ended up with several
    > reinstalls. So - I'd like to avoid having to recompile kernels or
    > write add-on scripts etc.!


    a.) You shouldn't (often) need to write scripts, if you're doing this or
    other hacks then based on your goals you're probably going about it the
    hard way and then you need to re-think your tact.

    b.) Whichever distro you choose, IMO the best choice for your and for
    almost every user is to use the stock (also known as generic) kernel for
    your architecture.

    Based on your needs, why not give Ubuntu a fresh appraisal when the next
    release becomes available? In my experience Ubuntu is amongst the
    friendliest for new users and has come a long way in the past couple of
    years. I recognise that you've tried it and not got on however I think
    a fresh start on the next release may be the start of a wonderful
    relationship BTW the official Ubuntu forums are literally jam packed
    full of people that can help you when you inevitably have questions.

    When you've had a couple of good years on Ubuntu you might find that
    Debian is where you graduate to, however I'm hopeful that in this day
    and age you'll be happy with almost any distro once you've learnt its
    idiosyncrasies.

    All the best.

    --
    Regards,
    Sheridan Hutchinson
    sheridan@shezza.org


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  6. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Sheridan Hutchinson wrote:

    > When you've had a couple of good years on Ubuntu you might find that
    > Debian is where you graduate to, however I'm hopeful that in this day
    > and age you'll be happy with almost any distro once you've learnt its
    > idiosyncrasies.


    Despite its reputation, I think there is nothing particularly difficult
    about debian. I installed the lenny (testing) distro on a friend's 3yo
    laptop last weekend and _everything_ worked immediately, including the
    windows hotkeys. OTOH, I have never had a successful experience with any
    of the ?buntus. It wouldn't install on my laptop (debian OK), the use of
    sudo for admin work is a disaster, a xubuntu install on a friend's
    bog-standard desktop machine turned into chaotic trash of its own accord
    almost immediately - and so on. I am now at the point that when I need
    to upgrade linux I just won't waste my time finding out whether ubuntu
    would work - I go straight to debian.

    --
    Ron House
    rhouse@smartchat.net.au

  7. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Ron House wrote:
    > OTOH, I have never had a successful experience with any
    > of the ?buntus. [...]


    > sudo for admin work is a disaster [...]


    I'm a debian user and find sudo invaluable. What do you dislike about it,
    and what would you recommend instead?

    Cheers,
    Chris

  8. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Ron House wrote:
    > Despite its reputation, I think there is nothing particularly
    > difficult about debian. I installed the lenny (testing) distro on a
    > friend's 3yo laptop last weekend and _everything_ worked immediately,
    > including the windows hotkeys. OTOH, I have never had a successful
    > experience with any of the ?buntus. It wouldn't install on my laptop
    > (debian OK), the use of sudo for admin work is a disaster, a xubuntu
    > install on a friend's bog-standard desktop machine turned into
    > chaotic trash of its own accord almost immediately - and so on. I am
    > now at the point that when I need to upgrade linux I just won't waste
    > my time finding out whether ubuntu would work - I go straight to
    > debian.


    I think our experiences of Debian are somewhat similar. When I was
    looking to get into linux a few years ago I read plenty online that
    Debian was a difficult distro, however when I installed it I found this
    was not the case and have had few significant problems. It took some
    time to get the powermanagement on my laptop working correctly, however
    now it is flawlessly and gives me great battery life even with compiz
    running.

    I think releases prior to 'sarge' may have been tougher for people to
    get on with, however from etch onwards thinks have been particularly
    friendly for most users.

    The rule of thumb of developed is that if I'm dealing with a Windows
    person who is technically advanced I recommend Debian to them, otherwise
    I recommend Ubuntu. I play with Ubuntu in a VirtualBox as I like to
    keep track of the development, and am currently particularly interested
    in the prospect that 'upstart' may come over to Debian now that we've
    got insserv to sort out LSB dependency based booting and some booting
    concurrency.

    If someone tells me they want to learn about linux rather than
    necessarily get a free desktop replacement for windows, then I recommend
    Debian every time.

    My best friend followed suit with me when I ditched Windows and he went
    straight to Debian. To this day he's got on famously with it and spends
    vast amounts of his spare time playing World of WarCraft in WINE

    --
    Regards,
    Sheridan Hutchinson
    sheridan@shezza.org


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  9. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Chris Davies wrote:
    > I'm a debian user and find sudo invaluable. What do you dislike about
    > it, and what would you recommend instead?


    I just use su/sux to do what I need then log out; personally I never did
    like sudo because often for my purposes working as root can often mean
    doing a few commands. Coupled with that fact that I'm in X 99% of the
    time means that sudo has little to offer me.

    --
    Regards,
    Sheridan Hutchinson
    sheridan@shezza.org


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  10. Re: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Hello again


    "Duncan Di Saudelli" wrote in message
    news:6k4g93F5uromU1@mid.individual.net...
    > x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux
    > I have tried several distros over the last three years but none has worked
    > with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext dongle to no
    > avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup. TIA for any steerage!
    > DDS


    For some reason it had not occurred to me to tackle the problem from "the
    other way round" i.e. find a USB stick that works under linux and then
    establish that under XP for dual-booting. Thankyou to all the postes who
    replied with advice: I shall look into an Atheros chipset based USb wireless
    dongle and then check out Ubuntu/Debian and also make use of ndiswrapper or
    Xinerama info.

    Thanks once again - time to experiment!

    DDS



  11. Re: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    On Sat, 27 Sep 2008 14:06:09 +0100, Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:

    > Hello again
    >
    >
    > "Duncan Di Saudelli" wrote in message
    > news:6k4g93F5uromU1@mid.individual.net...
    >> x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux I have
    >> tried several distros over the last three years but none has worked
    >> with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext dongle to
    >> no avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup. TIA for any steerage! DDS

    >
    > For some reason it had not occurred to me to tackle the problem from
    > "the other way round" i.e. find a USB stick that works under linux and
    > then establish that under XP for dual-booting. Thankyou to all the
    > postes who replied with advice: I shall look into an Atheros chipset
    > based USb wireless dongle and then check out Ubuntu/Debian and also make
    > use of ndiswrapper or Xinerama info.
    >
    > Thanks once again - time to experiment!
    >
    > DDS


    In the latest Linux Pro magazine Klaus Knopper is very big on gentoo-
    wiki.com/HOWTO_Dual_Monitors.

  12. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    On Sat, 27 Sep 2008 12:11:57 +0100, Sheridan Hutchinson wrote:

    > Chris Davies wrote:
    >> I'm a debian user and find sudo invaluable. What do you dislike about
    >> it, and what would you recommend instead?

    >


    I don't see what all the fuss is about.
    If you are the sort of user who needs to spend a lot of time as root,
    then you should have the experience to know what to do.

    I've been using Ubuntu for some time now, and have only ever used sudo
    once:

    % sudo sh
    .....
    # passwd

    JohnT

  13. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Sheridan Hutchinson wrote:
    > I just use su/sux to do what I need then log out; personally I never did
    > like sudo because often for my purposes working as root can often mean
    > doing a few commands.


    sudo this
    sudo that
    sudo the other

    or failing that,

    sudo -s


    > Coupled with that fact that I'm in X 99% of the
    > time means that sudo has little to offer me.


    Mmm ok. I use X probably 99% of the time, too, yet I find sudo does
    everything I need. (I don't use the GUI administration tools, though;
    perhaps that's our difference?)

    Chris

  14. Re: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    On Sat, 27 Sep 2008 14:06:09 +0100, Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:

    > For some reason it had not occurred to me to tackle the problem from
    > "the other way round" i.e. find a USB stick that works under linux and
    > then establish that under XP for dual-booting.


    That is the right way round.

    > Thankyou to all the
    > postes who replied with advice: I shall look into an Atheros chipset
    > based USb wireless dongle


    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! They don't work under Linux!!

    What kind of advice did you get in those other groups? Wow.

    Atheros is the best choice bar none for a PCI card or a Cardbus card. It
    is the worst choice for a USB stick.

    There is one USB wireless stick that works well under nearly all Linux
    distros: the D-Link DWL-G122 Rev C1, which is a Ralink RT73 chipset.

    If you need USB wireless under Linux, this is the best choice, even the
    box states that the stick has Linux support. Also, the D-Link stuff is
    widely available, and they print the stick's firmware revision number on
    the outside of the box.

    > and then check out Ubuntu/Debian and also make
    > use of ndiswrapper or Xinerama info.


    Ndiswrapper (which works well with a lot of PCI/Cardbus devices) has a
    very poor record with USB devices.

    Let us know how the Xinerama stuff goes, BTW.

  15. Re: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Mark Madsen wrote:
    >> Thankyou to all the postes who replied with advice: I shall look
    >> into an Atheros chipset based USb wireless dongle

    >
    > Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! They don't work under Linux!!


    This is my mistake, I have just been and double checked and development
    has stalled for Atheros USB dongles.. I genuinely thought they were
    supported.

    Sorry for that.

    --
    Regards,
    Sheridan Hutchinson
    sheridan@shezza.org


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  16. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Chris Davies wrote:
    > Ron House wrote:
    >> OTOH, I have never had a successful experience with any
    >> of the ?buntus. [...]

    >
    >> sudo for admin work is a disaster [...]

    >
    > I'm a debian user and find sudo invaluable. What do you dislike about it,
    > and what would you recommend instead?


    I didn't mean sudo the program is a disaster, I meant ?buntu's
    arrangement of forcing _only_ sudo. I use sudo on debian too, on
    occasion. But when I set up Ubuntu on a friend's laptop, it forgot to
    put the first user into the sudo list, locked out genuine root logins,
    and left the system with no viable way to get any admin work done. (That
    was after it refused to use a perfectly good partition for / until it
    had been deleted and Ubuntu was allowed to make it for itself.) And the
    idea that every sudo-user's password is in effect a root password, well,
    'nuff said!

    --
    Ron House
    rhouse@smartchat.net.au

  17. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    In comp.os.linux.setup Ron House wrote:

    > I didn't mean sudo the program is a disaster, I meant ?buntu's
    > arrangement of forcing _only_ sudo.


    I like the Ubuntu way of doing this. The appeal of Ubuntu is that is for
    general users, probably who are migrating from Microsoft Windows.

    Users will always log in with more privileges than they need. It is
    what they are used to doing in Microsoft Windows. Also users may be
    sharing a single account, because this is what they are used to on Microsoft
    Windows.

    The sudo command is a good way of stopping people from screwing up the
    system by logging in as root.

    For an administrator, if you don't like the sudo way, it is a single
    simple command to allow normal root login:

    sudo passwd root

    This will set the root password, and you can login as root as you
    desire.

    You now have the best of both worlds: The sudo way, and the traditional
    root login.

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  18. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Ron House wrote:
    > I didn't mean sudo the program is a disaster, I meant ?buntu's
    > arrangement of forcing _only_ sudo. [...] when I set up Ubuntu on a
    > friend's laptop, it forgot to put the first user into the sudo list,
    > locked out genuine root logins, and left the system with no viable
    > way to get any admin work done.


    Ah, yes, I see what you mean. Not being an *buntu user I knew of the "no
    root user" approach but hadn't twigged about how one would deal with that.


    > And the idea that every sudo-user's password is in effect a root
    > password, well, 'nuff said!


    Agreed, but that's a knock-on effect of sudo on any system, not just
    *buntu. I guess that's a requirement of the "single user, single
    administrator" approach that's necessary for the SOHO environment.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  19. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Duncan Di Saudelli wrote:
    > x-posted to alt.os.linux, comp.os.linux.setup, uk.comp.os.linux
    >
    > Hello
    >
    > I have tried several distros over the last three years but none has worked
    > with both my 3Com USB wireless dongle (also tried my Bluenext dongle to no
    > avail)or my Nvidia dual monitor setup.


    > 1) 3Com or Bluenext USB wi-fi recognition
    > 2) Nvidia dual monitor recognition
    > 3) OpenGL type performance so that I can try various 3D desktops etc.
    > 4) I tried various scripts sent to me by a very helpful Swedish chap for
    > PCLOS2007 but that got horribly tricky and ended up with several reinstalls.
    > So - I'd like to avoid having to recompile kernels or write add-on scripts
    > etc.!
    >
    > For info:
    >
    > Nvidia card is NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS
    > Bluenext wi-fi USB stick is Model BN-WD54G
    > 3Com wi-fi dongle is a 3CR75 something-or-other ... not got it to hand at
    > the moment.


    I would recommend Mepis linux. It is based on debian and comes with a
    lot drivers already installed and set-up. The nVidia driver is a breeze
    to install and cofigure via the Mepis X setup utility.

    I don't have specific knowledge of USB wi-fi dongles, but I know from
    experience that Mepis usually 'just works' with little or no fiddling.
    Mepis 8 is in beta at the moment and may work better with the dongles.

  20. Re: REQ: Distro recommendation for a newbie

    Chris Davies wrote:
    > Ron House wrote:
    >> I didn't mean sudo the program is a disaster, I meant ?buntu's
    >> arrangement of forcing _only_ sudo. [...] when I set up Ubuntu on a
    >> friend's laptop, it forgot to put the first user into the sudo list,
    >> locked out genuine root logins, and left the system with no viable
    >> way to get any admin work done.

    >
    > Ah, yes, I see what you mean. Not being an *buntu user I knew of the "no
    > root user" approach but hadn't twigged about how one would deal with that.
    >
    >
    >> And the idea that every sudo-user's password is in effect a root
    >> password, well, 'nuff said!

    >
    > Agreed, but that's a knock-on effect of sudo on any system, not just
    > *buntu. I guess that's a requirement of the "single user, single
    > administrator" approach that's necessary for the SOHO environment.
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Chris

    Can anyone explain to me why a SUDOO password is in any way safer than
    having a root password with a separate password?

    Is this something to do with having a GUI admin approach?


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