Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be a Linux.Guru.targz.

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Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be a Linux.Guru.targz.

Postby FlashMemory » Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:45 pm

Hello World.

I've been reading about UNIX, Linux, and BSDs for several years now. For a while I had an old freebie 6x86 with 32M RAM on which I tried installing various distros given away with magazines in the UK. They always installed but then I ran out of things to do as I couldn't connect to the net (not having a dial-up account). Eventually I forgot the root password on FreeBSD and couldn't get it off the hard drive.

My dear daughter has an iBook that she allows me to use whenever she's not pounding the games' keys (Wednesday's from 03:15:29 to 04:22:31 plus all day February 29). I used that to browse the web until a few weeks ago when I bought myself a laptop.

The Gleaming Beast is sold by Evesham as a C510, which I understand to be a rebadged Asus Z7100 (or somesuch number). It's a Pentium M Centrino with nVidia GeForce Go 6600 PCI-Express graphics and built-in PCI 802.11g. Obviously it has A Certain OS installed.

I access the world through a BT Voyager 100 ADSL broadband modem, for which I have to fight my daughter. With years of gaming experience behind her she calls on all manner of devilish creatures to assist her, casts wicked, wicked spells, and seems to be able to find daggers hidden in rooms I didn't even know my house had.

Having a decent computer of my own at long last (my first since I bought a third-hand '386SX-16 with 4M RAM and 40M drive, DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1 in the days when that was a decent spec) I promptly started experimenting with sensible OSes, so far FreesBIE (FreeBSD 5.4 live CD), SuSE 9.1, and now LXF's Debian 3.1. All installed OK (-ish!).

Fortunately I dual-boot, as I find that in any of these systems I don't know what I'm doing and my "productivity" drops to 0.0 +/- 0 as I spend all my time trying to work out what doesn't work and what I should be doing to make it work, if anything can be done. Which usually it can't.

I'm running W*nd*ws to write this as I don't yet know how to get Debian to speak to an ADSL modem. I was thinking of getting the BT Voyager 2100 ADSL wireless modem (802.11g, 10/100 Ethernet, and ADSL). Can anyone suggest whether this would be sound from the Linux angle? I know it would work under Mr Gates' direction so it wouldn't be money wasted, just opportunity down the drain!

Debian installed at 800x600 resolution instead of the 1024x768 I told it to, and wouldn't let me change through it's Screen Resolution tool. From other lists I found a solution to be in editing the XF86Config-4 file to remove the two low-res modes it offered and substitute the one I wanted.

How can I tell if the graphics card works? I'm not a games player but am willing to let my daughter borrow my pride and joy occasionally: Sunday mornings just after she's come in and isn't a stable release, plus any Millenium. The Joy of Revenge!

I've got a small heap of books about OSes of Interest, but they're no use on hardware issues with laptops, and their beige-box stuff is mostly out-of-date, too. I browse the forums and help sites but can't download upgrades and amendments straight into Linux.

If you're still awake and could give a chit, the touchpad has a scroll action which although it originally worked fine under Windows, now only works under Linux. Bizarre, well... odd, let's not exaggerate!

Thank you for listening

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RE: Tonight Matthew, I

Postby Erin » Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:49 pm

Avoid BT hardware. I find it expensive and prone to errors just after the warranty is over. Slight exageration but any Ethernet/WiFi ADSL router will be fine. Ethernet/WiFi is not OS dependant. Howver, the NICs are. As you have an 11g card, get an 11g router. The difference in price is minimal. Netgear do some good kit, also heard positive things about d-Link and many other similar brands.

It depends on which Debian you are running to whether you can play with WiFi or not. I think the 2.6.x Kernels have reasonable support for WiFi.

Your GFX card is working if you can see anything. If not, it could well be shot. I would think an nVidia card could do much more than 1024x768. There are drivers for nVidia that'll make it stonk with 2D and 3D. LXF often have them on the CD. Rather than remove the modes, I'd put the large ones first then the lower ones. You can normally swap around the resolutions using "CTRL + ALT + +".

Treeware is @rse. Surf the 'Net, forums and ask what you cannot find. To many trees die for no reason.

There is a Linux laptop website, something like but cannot be sure. I own a big biege beast and a smaller black tower block of a PC.

Regards Erin
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RE: Tonight Matthew, I

Postby bigjohn » Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:36 am

A good post. It definitely made me chuckle.

I'm just gonna suggest the obvious i.e. that if you're still at the early stage of climbing the linux learning mountain, then maybe one of the commercial main stream distros would suit better (initially).

For instance, mandriva, if you get a "paid for" version, it usually has the nvidia driver already included/setup/configured - though you'd have to remember that as soon as they release a new kernel for whatever reason, then you have to remember to get the kernel, the kernel sources (yes they are seperate packages) and the nvidia driver (suprisingly from the nvidia site). The read the readme and it's reasonably straight forward from there, because once you've follow the instructions installing the driver, you only have the one file to make a somewhat minor edit too and you're away (you know if you've got it right, because you don't get any idiotically indecypherable errors and you see the nvidia splash screen).

the only downside of mandriva, that used to annoy me, was that if some new version of something was released (kde, gnome and the like) it could be a bit of a bugger to install the newer version - which often meant not installing it until it was included with the next version of mandrake/mandriva.

Whereas I've now moved to SuSE - which at the moment, seems to be more up to date. Plus, as far as the graphics driver for nvidia cards etc, can be installed from the YaST management/configuration tool. I had a bit of help to suss it out, as a mate of mine who has been into SuSE for ages, was explaining a couple of things like why SuSE(Novell) won't "do" mp3's by default and was helping me configure my multimedia.

SuSE does seem to do a few things differently than other distros, but thats not necessarily a bad thing. Once you get your head round these small differences, it seems excellent. It seems to do a reasonable job of hardware detection etc and just about everything worked fine from default.

As far as wireless stuff is concerned, I've noticed a lot of threads about people fighting it to make it work. I don't know if there are any wireless cards that actually have linux support natively. I suppose if you got something that will act as modem and router for adsl, but does wireless and wired, then you still have the option to play i.e. while you're learning/fighting to get the wireless working, you could always plug the machine into one of the wired ports (I've noticed lots have both). Then when you have sussed out wireless, just remove the cables.

I've also heard that it's a good suggestion to stay away from BT badged kit. Personally, I've had plenty of networking success with kit from so I've no reason to doubt its ability.

Plus some of the "chaps" from my LUG are using kit from Ethernet kit of course, not that plebby rubbish that the "billy and stevie show" seem to like so much (usb).

If you really wanted to "kick the arse out of it", then back at the solwise site, they even seem to sell kit that will network over your mains electricty circuits and I think that thats an absolutely "spangley" idea.

Just my 2 pence worth
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RE: Tonight Matthew, I

Postby towy71 » Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:52 am

thanks for making me laugh ;-)

I hope you stick with debian, I run it on both a laptop and beigebox. I have an aversion to buying anything from BT, just because, and would reccomend that you look at this from ebuyer, then you and beloved daughter no longer have to fight ;-)

as for linux on a laptop see -->

And finally for the graphics card -->


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RE: Tonight Matthew, I

Postby shaman47 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 9:56 am


I use mandriva LE 2005 on my Samsung V25 notebook, it works with my Belkin54g wireless notebook network card, i have a driver cd that came with it,so i went into my configuration center, or whatever its called and made a new internet configuration, i inserted the driver cd and used ndiswrapper to pick the driver for w#n#o#s up, and it worked. But there is one small problem, it remembers the driver, it is stored on the computer, it loads it, but you have to keep going back to the configuration thingy and set an internet connection up again, which includes clicking on ndiswrapper, but like i said the driver is stored on the hdd, so i dont have to put the cd in, (luckily!).

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RE: Tonight Matthew, I

Postby jer1ch0 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 10:54 pm

Can't really help you on the internet access thing, but I run Ubuntu on a Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop. Setup was a piece of cake (everything works) and I have broadband access through a Netopia router via a 3com hub.
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