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osOpinion: A not so newbie's attempt at installing Linux

Mar 30, 2000, 15:45 (25 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Helios)

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"The follow article details my attempt at installing RedHat version 6.1 and updating it with the latest version of X (4.0), the latest kernel, and the latest installation of GNOME. This isn't a basic newbie install, I install a lot of things from source and do a lot of tweaking, but I wrote this document to detail how even an advanced computer user can have problems getting their Linux capability to the same level as their Windows or BeOS capability if they don't have previous experience with it."

"First, about myself. I have a few years of programming experience with Win32 C/C++, OpenGL, and DirectX. I've been using computers for many years and would consider myself an intermediate to advanced power user. I am, however, fairly new to Linux. I've had it on my system for a grand total of about 4 months, but have never attempted to do anything non-RPM related. As for my system, it is a vanilla Dell XPS D300 Pentium II with 64 Meg of RAM, a 16 Meg TNT, and an AWE64 soundcard. So without further adieu, here we go."

"Now you may think this has no bearing on Linux's ease of use because of the fairly complex things I was doing. But you'd be wrong. This was tweaking your system to as nice as you could get it. Under windows, you can change DMA settings, swap files, etc. to get maximum performance. A fully tweaked windows system (and some of the tweaks are quite big in terms of performance boosts) takes much less knowledge that what a Linux system needs. Just because an idiot can install it, and run StarOffice on it does not make it easy to use. To do anything non-trivial in Linux still requires a lot of effort. Now none of these were inherent problems in design. Lots of carelessness on the part of RedHat, laziness on the part of the XFree developers for not writing basic build instructions, and stupidity on the part of Helix for writing NO install instructions. That kind of thing is easily fixed, for some reason is not. Other problems include an inability of a package management system to correctly handle different kinds of installs (much harder under Linux because of the "all binaries in one directory" mentality, as opposed to the Windows and BeOS "entire app in one directory" mentality.) The last thing I installed was StarOffice. A major piece of office software, it was not a trivial install. But true to its Windows installation roots, it was easy, fast, and worked- the first time."

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