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Author Topic: A n00b on a mission  (Read 1408 times)


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A n00b on a mission
« on: January 28, 2009, 05:33:31 pm »
Hi all!
Let me begin by saying that I am a complete Linux virgin.  Never used any distro.  And I'm not really an IT-type, either.

I have an old laptop that I use primarily for sound recording.  It's had Win2000 on it, and has finally started to collapse (again) from Windows Rot.  Dang thing became worthless while I was trying to record something on a deadline.  I was getting ready to do the whole wipe/reinstall again and changed my mind.  I've been wanting to learn Linux for a while, and figured since I need to install my system up from scratch anyway, no better time than now to embrace my Inner Penguin (or at least find out if I have one). 

The 'puter is a Compaq M700; a 450 MHz PII with 128 Mb RAM and a "5" Gig HD.  My sound interface is an M-Audio USB MobilePre (which after a quick websearch revealed itself to be Linux-friendly), and I use Audacity to do my recording and editing.  I looked around on the Linux site to find the best distro for my system and I believe Vector Light is what the Dr. ordered... lean, mean, tight, stable, small, and fast.  And, most importantly, it will run on an anemic fossil like my laptop.

But then I read in Caitlyn's (very well-written) article that it's a bear to install and get running, and a bad choice for a noobish Windowbaby like me.  So now I'm not sure where to turn.  I just found a LUG in my area (with their own message board) that's meeting this Sunday, and one of the things they'll be doing this week is (go figure) installations... perfect timing, huh?  I'd like to attend with laptop and install disk in hand.  Vector really sounds like the perfect choice, but if this OS is going to have me clawing my eyes out, I dunno.  This computer is going to be pretty much a dedicated system... record/edit sound, a word processor (even just a rudimentary one), support for an external HD, and internet for info search and emailing of finished files... pretty bare bones.  I'd like to think that the limited applications would take some of the pressure off of installation, but I don't know if that's helpful or not.  I know it's nothing like Windows, and I'm eager to learn new things, but just how complex and intense is this process?

Whatcha think?

Just assume I know nothing and we should get along just fine.

Compaq M700 laptop, VL 6.0 B2 Light
Pentium III, 450MHz, 128 MbRAM


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Re: A n00b on a mission
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 10:30:50 pm »
Welcome to Vector Linux!

Your description and intent are clear. Not everyone is clear with what they

Vector on some hardware combinations can be interesting to get going. This
is also true of other Linux distributions.

Taking the time to research your hardware is proof you are able to do some
research on your own.

All of those things together make imho a Linux person. Linux is not just for
those that are IT oriented.

The forum is a great resource for problem solving. Everyone here is more than
willing to help in any way they can. This is probably on of the strongest points of
Vector. Take the CD to the install fest and go for it.

Feel free to ask any question you like here.  If you are posting a hardware question
please include the make, name and model. In the post also post the results of
anything you have tried.



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Re: A n00b on a mission
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 12:46:35 pm »
Any article I wrote claiming that VL is a bear to install must be pretty old now.  Some configuration issues can be a bit challenging but nowadays with the graphical installer it isn't bad at all.  You've also done one thing most Windows users fail to do:  you came to the forum ready to ask for help.  That is usually a recipe for success.  My advice would be to dive right in.  With a little help if needed we'll get you up and running.  Any article I wrote about VL since 2006 also said that once you had it installed and configured VL isn't harder than anything else :)

With your hardware my advice would be to try Vector Linux Light 6.0 beta 2.  I know it has that scary beta word but it is remarkably stable.  It's a text based install and it definitely isn't as user friendly as Vector Linux Standard but it will run faster than Standard on your old hardware.  Once you get used to it you'll probably be fine.

Vector Linux has a very friendly and helpful community.  Nobody will think the less of you for asking beginner questions.  They'll just answer as best they can.

Just remember:  you have absolutely nothing to lose except a little time.  You might just gain a surprisingly useful laptop  ;D
eMachines EL-1300G desktop, 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e CPU, 4GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 6150 SE video
CentOS 6.5 (will try VL64-7.1 soon)

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4727,  Intel Pentium T2080 / 1.73 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel GMA 950

HP Mini 110 netbook, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, Intel 950 video, VL 7.1


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So far so good...
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 06:56:04 am »
Thanks folks.  Well, I went to the group thing and got VL 6.0 B2 installed (mostly).  Most of the people there (the few who showed up) had never even heard of Vector, and the one who did wondered what the hell a first-timer was doing with a Slackware distro.  Nonetheless, I have it mostly configured (with a few exceptions).

I still don't have sound.  I still can't find my USB port.  As such, I still can't use my sound interface (an M-Audio USB Mobile-Pre).  And, oddly enough, it had no problem setting up my wireless network card, but I couldn't get my regular cable-connected ethernet card to work (which kinda hamstrings me since at home I have a DSL modem, not wireless).  So I still gots me some tweakage to do before my little black box is functional for my purposes.  But I know it's good stuff because I got a DVD to play full-screen smoothly with no hitching or pixillation whatsoever, which NEVER happened back when it had Windblows on it.

At least I'm off to a start of sorts.  I was considering dumping Vector and trying a different, more nooby-friendly distro when it was explained to me that Slackware was actually the ancient tongue of the mighty Propellorheads of Mount Olympus.  But then I figured what the hey; it's already installed, I may as well just fight my way through it and figure out how to use it.  After all, I've never used Linux before so it's all Martianspeak to me anyway, no matter which distro I try.  Time to start climbing the learning curve.  (Which reminds me... what book would you recommend to help me find my way on this little odyssey?) 

Thanks again... and apologies in advance for the pest I'll be making of myself in the future with my truckloads of questions.....
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 06:59:26 am by Rev »
Just assume I know nothing and we should get along just fine.

Compaq M700 laptop, VL 6.0 B2 Light
Pentium III, 450MHz, 128 MbRAM


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Re: A n00b on a mission
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 08:20:21 am »
Slackware was actually the ancient tongue of the mighty Propellorheads of Mount Olympus.


After all, I've never used Linux before so it's all Martianspeak to me anyway, no matter which distro I try.  Time to start climbing the learning curve.

Good thinking. It doesn't matter where you start. A good book maybe Linux for Dummies. Don't
frown on that, I believe that you can get some real good basics from that one.

Here are  a couple things to keep in mind on your journey.
A.   Linux is not Windows in pretty much any sense.
B.   There is a learning curve in Windows as there is in Linux, you already got through the Windows curve.
C.   Google is a great resource for answers to most questions.
D.   There are alot of ppl here that can help you.
E.    Always remember A and B

Feel free to ask away. Everyone here will do everything they can to get you going. When posting a
question please include the Vector version, hardware name, make, model and version number so
that solutions can be faster for you.

When asked to do things in the terminal or console most of the commands will need to be done as
root. You can use su and enter root password you are then working as root.

A couple of commands to start:

lsmod      --> shows the kernel modules (drivers if you will) that are loaded and running
lspci        --> shows the list of pci hardware installed (You can use -v more even more verbose                                       
                      information {Example lspci -v} if needed)
lsusb       --> Shows usb devices
dmesg    --> shows the start up information

Most of the above commands are for troubleshooting not used all that often. If things scroll too fast you can use this command

dmesg | less

The | is called a pipe and less is a pager

So the pager will allow scrolling.

Hope that helps.