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Re: Newbie Frustration

Walt Black said:
> I struggled to get it working on my old 486 66MHz box.

I hate to say it, but that may be the biggest part of your problems...
Linux runs quite well on older hardware, but it is *much* easier to
install and set up on newer hardware.  (Not to mention the fact that
it runs better...)

> I made it to the meeting and didn't have the slightest idea
> what people were talking about altough I had used MSDOS and Windows for many
> years.

Sorry.  When nobody asks questions, I tend to talk about whatever I
feel like talking about, and the stuff I like to talk about tends to
be a bit more advanced.

We're going to start having a "newbie night" to help everybody who is
just starting out.  Maybe that will help...

> I can get the x windows and KDE working but I can't seem to
> print from any program.  The manual with SuSE 6.1 sucks bigtime!

I always thought the SuSE manual was pretty good, but I haven't looked
at it in a long time...

Keep in mind that SuSE is based out of Germany, so some of their
documentation sucking may be a result of translation.

BTW, you know you can always go to


which is our mirror of the Linux Documentation Project web site.
There is a lot of good information there.  Also, you can go to


to read the Red Hat 6.0 manual.  At least some of it might be helpful.
(I'll have 6.1 up on our site soon.)

> It seems there are dozens of different distributions of Linux which is a
> "free" software except for the manuals and the setup programs.  What nobody
> tells you until you have bough the other packages is that unless you bought
> RedHat, the most expensive of the distributions, you are screwed!

How so?  Any commercial software for Red Hat should install on SuSE or
Caldera OpenLinux just fine.  All of them use the same package
management system, and they include nearly the same software.  (SuSE
just happens to include a *lot* more than the other distributions.)

The primary reason that I recommend Red Hat to people is that it is
what I know best, so it is more likely that I'll be able to help with
a Red Hat problem than a SuSE problem (for example).

> Why would
> anyone want to spend a  MS Windows price for "free" software?

Red Hat's pricing structure for 6.0 was... uh, stupid, IMNSHO.  They
have a much more sane pricing structure for 6.1.  A week or so ago the
basic package was available at Best Buy for $20.

(They still have the $80 package, but now if you look at the boxes,
the difference between the $30 and $80 packages is obvious...  Phone
support.  If you are never going to use it though, it's a waste of

Of course, you can always go to cheapbytes.com or linuxmall.com and
pick up a CD of your favorite distribution for $2.  For that matter,
if you brought me a CD-R, I could burn you a copy.

> Windows is easy to install and it works and is understandable.

Like you said, you've been using DOS and Windows for years.  Of course
Windows is understandable.  For those of us that have been using Unix
for years, Linux is incredibly simple and easy-to-use.

Besides, try to imagine installing Windows without having any previous
experience with it...  There's a reason why Windows comes

> 1.  How do you make Linux see a printer with Epson emulation?

I'm sure somebody here with some SuSE experience can help with that.
(There's a reason I only print to Postscript laser printers...)

> 2.  The best I can figure is that I can't load individual programs off the
> CDs but have to install large packages of many, many things I don't need to
> get the programs I do need.  How can I find what programs I have loaded?
> Without a working printer it is too overwhelming!

I'm not sure how YAST handles adding packages, or if it does, for that
matter, but you can always mount the cd by hand and use rpm to install
individual packages.  (Could somebody who is more familiar with SuSE
give an example here?)

If you want to know what packages you have installed, just do the

    rpm -qa | sort | more

> 3.  How do I get rid of the programs I don't need that are just taking up
> space on the computer?

If you are sure it is something you don't need, use rpm -e to remove
it.  Say, for example, that I wanted to remove the SoundStudio

    osiris:~$ rpm -q SoundStudio

(That's how it will show up in a rpm -qa listing.)  To remove the
package, just do

    rpm -e SoundStudio

> 4.  I can play audio CDs with Linux but cannot figure out how to read the
> contents of a CD with Linux the way I can (easily) with MS Windows file
> manager.

On Red Hat, at least, you can usually just do "mount /mnt/cdrom", then
cd to /mnt/cdrom and ls to your heart's content.  If you are running
KDE, you can just pop up a kfm window and change directories there.

If running "mount /mnt/cdrom" doesn't work as root, you should be able
to do something like this (as root):

    mkdir -p /mnt/cdrom
    mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom

That assumes that you've got an IDE CD-ROM installed as the master on
the second IDE interface.  (The primary master is /dev/hda, the
primary slave is /dev/hdb, the secondary master is /dev/hdc, and the
secondary slave is /dev/hdd.)  If you've got a SCSI or some weird
CD-ROM, the device for it might have a different name.  On Red Hat,
there's a symbolic link /dev/cdrom that points to the right device.

If all else fails, run dmesg and look for a line like this:

    hdc: ATAPI 24X CD-ROM CD-R/RW drive, 2048kB Cache

> 5.  If there is a meeting Tuesday evening I intend to be there.  I hope
> someone see this message before then and that I see if there is going to be
> a meeting or not.

I'm assuming there will be a meeting.  Unfortunately, I can't be
there, but Jason and Erich, at least, have said they will be.

steve@silug.org           | Linux Users of Central Illinois
(217)698-1694             | Meetings the 4th Tuesday of every month
Steven Pritchard          | http://www.luci.org/ for more info

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