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Linux

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Linux

I have a 1.2GHz Windows Me computer with an AMD processor, 80 and 40gb hard disks, and a Speedtouch 330 USB BB modem. I'm on PAYGO 500.

I'm planning to dual boot my computer with Linux with the hope of ditching Microsoft altogether in due course, but haven't yet decided on Ubuntu, Linspire, Xandros, Suse or Mandriva.

Any pitfalls with Metronet Broadband? Anyone any experience of configuring a Speedtouch for Linux, or thoughts on relative merits of the distributions I have shortlisted, please? I am only moderately computer- literate, but can follow instructions as long as they don't assume too much! I'm a complete newbie with Linux, but have done some reading.

Hardware support, ease of setup and of access to Windows folders and ease of incorporation of Crossover Office or Wine is important, and range and ease of installation of software are also important. I want a tool, not a toy: I'm prepared for some pain and effort in making this move, but will want to just get on and use it once I'm set up.

Thanks in advance, John Kemp
15 REPLIES
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Hi John,

Welcome to the forums.

I'll start by saying that I am a disciple of Microsoft and as such my *nix experience is limited and extends to setting up Debian on an old system we had, a few months back.

The install went well and the system runs like a dream, there did seem to be a wealth of help out there for Debian.

In answer to your queries, your Metronet product will sit perfectly with which ever flavour of Linux you chose. My personal preference would be to use a router as opposed to a USB modem. A, it is miles better and B, it is far less problematic to set up and configure.

I have only used OpenOffice with Debian and found little or no difficulties working with or opening MS Office files.


As I said, I am no expert, but I hope that helps in some way.
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Many thanks, Mark. Food for thought! Best wishes, John
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My choices would be Fedora, Suse or Ubuntu. Mandriva (Mandrake) was / is a fine release but they seem to be in trouble at the moment having just fired their founder. I wouldn't risk it just now.

Ubuntu is probably the easiest install whilst Suse gives you a very comprehensive version but is perhaps not quite so easy to install depending on requirements. It's horses for courses I am afraid but if you were to ask me which one, I would probably say Ubuntu.

Hope that helps a bit.

Andy.
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Many thanks, Andy. I had picked up on the Mandriva troubles and am inclined to drop it from my shortlist.

Ubuntu is high on my list.

I didn't feel very comfortable with what I have read on Fedora as a proving ground with a not-so-user-friendly RPM software installation system. I ruled out Red Hat as too business orientated, with a lot of extras I won't use.

SUSE I'm still considering. I like the fact that it has a lot of backing.

Much as I want the OS as a tool not a toy, I ruled out Linspire as a bit expensive, a bit too dumbed own possibly (!?), and a smaller software base, with it being apparently not straightforward to instal stuff that isn't in their click-N-run library.

I'm very attracted to Xandros from what I've read, but it seems a rather small operation.

I'm accumulating live-CDs and trial and freeware versions from various sources and will get down to business the week after next. Next week my daughter is drafting her MSc thesis on my computer and I daren't risk messing it up till she has finished!
Again, thanks - John
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Hi John
The only problem I found with Ubuntu it seemed to want to install the whole disk. Tried to install it on me dads machine but wouldn't accept the partition was big enough.
Suse I've done on a few machines and couldn't be easier. You will need to enter any dns IPs manualy as it wouldn't get them from the router.
Myself I use Debian but it is getting a bit too clever for it's own good
Whatever you choose, when installing put /home on a seperate partion then you can try all the distros you want and still keep your personal files and configs.
Cheers
Jon
pathme001
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 31-07-2007

Linux

John,

I've always been a SUSE user, however I recently tried the live distro of Ubuntu 5.04 from PC Advisor May 2006 cover DVD and it was the only one that detected straight off my laptop's WIFI card, so I'm impressed with that enough to do a bit more testing.

HTH

Pat.
kesimmonds
Dabbler
Posts: 19
Registered: 06-04-2007

Linux

Hi John,
I installed Suse 9.0 on my 1GHz AMD some long time ago. Partitioning and installation was dead easy, and somewhere on the Suse site were the details for drivers for my USB Speedtouch 330 modem (probably incorporated into their distro by now). No problems with Metronet on it.
The big let down for me was with hardware support. Both my Printer and Scanner were unsupported, despite only their being only some 6 months old (at the time). Also my Iomega Zip Drive was unsupported, though I would have lived without this, but printer and scanner was an absolute end for Linux as far as I was concerned.
Lots of support available around the internet, beware of some of the support newsgroups. There are many arrogant 'up themselves' types around who like to belittle others who know less than they do. Having said that, many others were exceedingly helpful and would go the extra mile to assist.
My overall feelings about Linux? Not yet ready for the main market, interesting to play around with, but I didn't have the confidence in it that I have with Windows (though I can see why you want to ditch it - I was the same)
HTH
Keith
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Many thanks for further recent very helpful posts from Jon, Pat, and Keith. Especially helpful to know that the Speedtouch modem is being acknowledged properly by the Linux community now. It's looked down on by many in comparison with the routers, but it's been fine for me under Windows.

It's having to take a back seat owing to other pressures at the moment, but I'm not letting go of it! Indeed, I've just ordered a USB2 DVD writer partly so that I can burn DVD ISO distributions from various coverdisks (but also I should have got one long ago for archival data backups - I have a mountain of CDroms!)

Re printers and scanners, I understand from what I've read online that Vuescan, which is available for Linux, works with an enormous range of scanners, including my CanoScan N650U flatbed and my ancient Minolta Scandual (1!!) slidescanner, but I've not yet pinned down convincing drivers for my Epson Photo R200 printer.

Thanks and best wishes to you all, John
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I see that there has been no post on this topic since April, but just to add a few words about my experience, I have been using Linux with Metronet for over two years now. Nowadays I mainly use the Gentoo distro, but that is definitely not for beginners. But I also use SuSE, and would recommend it, and the latest 10.1 distro is very good.

The Epson Photo R220 printer works well with it, and the Speedtouch 330 modem ought to; it certainly used to work for me and the drivers must still be available although they were far from easy to set up. When I bought a second machine, a laptop (also uses Linux now), I got a Netgear ADSL router with wireless facility; very easy to set up and use.

I still use Windows for some applications, mainly optical character recognition, for which there is still no good Linux equivalent. But most of my work is now on Linux.

Be warned - some people find that Linux is a life-changing experience!

DB
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Many thanks, DB! Owing to other pressures, Linux is in my Important but not Urgent pile at the moment. I'm determined to make the move if and when I can. Hopefully Linux will have finally come of age in user-friendliness by the time I'm able to set aside the thought, effort, and time to tackle the switch! Meanwhile I'm sure this thread will be of wide interest to the thousands out there just waiting to jump the Windows ship. Having eschewed XP I'm hardly likely to turn to VISTA, especially as I expect it'll need a couple service packs to get it right. So I muddle on with the wretched Windows Me for now.

Thanks to you all for your advice, and in particularly for your openness and honesty about the cons as well as the pros. Rose-tinted spectacles are not helpful in this situation! - John
pathme001
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 31-07-2007

Linux

I've just taken the plunge on my Win98/Office 2000 setup and installed Ubuntu on the same HDD (with dual-booting) over the weekend. Previously I used to setup seperate HDD's for each O/S.

Initial install had to be done in safe mode, but proceeded well and I can surf using FireFox in much the same way I do on the 98 setup.

I've hit a snag when trying to install realplayer 8, in that it'll find the downloaded file but says it can't install.
Other things I've got to try and port over are Outlook 2000 mail and Microsoft Money - I wonder if it's quicker to use WINE for them as Windows programs under Linux?

Other things I do miss are Onspeed - this reduces the size of images in web pages so you consume less bandwidth! Is there an alternative in Linux?
I use Netmeter on the 98 box to see what traffic is going in and out of the ethernet connection, in Ubuntu, I find myself opening the Network adaptor settings and keeping an eye on the MB building up.

I'll keep trying other things as I go along and keep posting outcomes!
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Hi.
Quote
I've hit a snag when trying to install realplayer 8, in that it'll find the downloaded file but says it can't install.

There is realplayer 10 now. What is the exact error message?
Cheers
Jon
pathme001
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 31-07-2007

Linux

Hi, the error message talks about dependancies and lists some libs, which I have downloaded and installed, yet it still won't install the Realplayer 8.
I tried both from the download I got from the Real unix area and by using the Ubuntu package software update (even added PLF extra repository)

Regarding the version 10, I can only see a windows executable file to download from the real site - can't find a unix versioned release 10 at all!

Thanks.
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Hi.
I think I must have used this one as my version is 10.0.6.776
http://www.real.com/linux/
Never had any probs with installing Realplayer. TRy the above link and see what happens.
Cheers
Jon
edit...
try the debian sarge repository. That carries v10.0.7