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Re: Newbie Frustration

Steven Pritchard wrote:
> Walt Black said:
> > 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.

There are several loudmouthed opinionated Linux enthusiasts at the
meeting, and if you wait for a lull in the conversation, you'll be there
very late.  Interupt is and ask your question.  We'd rather help you than
preach to the choir.
> > 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!

Getting X set up, at least past a VGA setup is often one of the most
confusing parts of setting up Linux, so you should be on the downhill
slide.  Setting up printing is seperate from X and KDE.  A great program
for configuring printers is magicfilter.

> > 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!

Hardly.  I run Debian, which in my opinion is a put together better on a
technical basis, easier to install and much easier to upgrade on a
practicle basis.  Most programs/packages come with default setups that a
new user does not usually need to change, and the programs that do need
configurations have install scripts that ask questions needed for a decent
setup.  And the install will suggest appropriate related packages.  For
example, when you select lprng for a printer daemon, magicfilter is
suggested as a package you should also install.  And if that isn't enough,
there are also Debian specific books available.
> > Why would
> > anyone want to spend a  MS Windows price for "free" software?

Because free means freedom, not necesarily no cost.  But if you want to
compare it by price, what do you get with the purchase of MS Windows in
the way of documentation?  Less than what you get from RH.

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

Windows 3.1 was easy to install.  Windows 95 is easy to install if you
have old hardware (but not too old, as its not supported), but new
hardware it sucks.  Having just installed it on a K6-400, I installed it 3
times, and spent 2 days doing web searches before I found out that on
K6-350 and above processors, there are bugs in a half a dozen libraries
that will keep windows from booting - sometimes - with more problems the
faster the processor.  Of course MS does not have the exact error message
in their database, and its only listed under 350 or higher, not 400 mhz.
Windows 98, I haven't tried it.  Windows NT 4.0 the install is fairly
straightforward if you only want NT on the hard drive, don't have plug and
play hardware, don't have network cards (its a major pain if you do, and
if you are trying to install things like DataHighway+ cards I'd expect
you to rant at somebody about general incompetents). Configuration of the
system is extremely nonintuitive.

> 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.

Sure Does and Windows work.  Does worked pretty good, but most people
these days want something more advanced than a single tasking OS that has
limited capabilities.  Windows (3.1) works, too, crashes once in a while,
and is a pain to get different programms to work together.  Setting up
sound cards, memory managers, cdrom drivers and getting them to all work
at the same time is not an easy job.

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

Install magicfilter.  Of course, you may have to be more specific than
Epson, and in many cases, rather than trying to set something up using
what it emulates, Linux supports it directly.

> > 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!

This is kind of a distribution specific question, but to ask your question
specifically (and not intending to be a smart ass),
ls /bin /sbin /usr/bin /usr/sbin

and if you know the name of the program and want to know if you have it,
locate program_name
which program_name
> > 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.

It looks like a few of us are planning on attending, and since I haven't
seen Steve, Jeff, Kari, or Erich give an offical cancellation notice, I
will assume there will be a meeting.  I'd hate to drive 180 miles for

Mark Blunier

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