[Nottingham] A newbie speaks... nervously

Duncan John Fyfe djf at star.le.ac.uk
Thu Nov 27 14:05:52 GMT 2003

On Thu, 27 Nov 2003, Matt Hurst wrote:

> Apologies if this has appeared twice... I'm pretty certain my first
> attempt didn't work.
> I'm just dipping my toes into Linux using Knoppix, which actually runs
> nearly fine off CD - eventually (ie come payday) I'm going to bung a
> second hard drive on the PC and do a dual boot. However - and you may
> have seen this coming - a few questions:
> 1. Am I right in thinking Knoppix is based on Red Hat? If so, given
>    Knoppix seems to find almost all my hardware and run fine, is that
>    going to be the best distro to go for? In which case, RH9?
Knoppix is based on Debian.
Debian is IMHO a great distro but the installer has a few too  many rough edges
for me to recommend it to a complete beginner.  This may of course change
with the next release which was meant to be last Friday (3.0r2 I believe).

For a beginner any one of SuSe, Redhat or Mandrake would be fine.

Another option, if Knoppix appears to provide everything you need for the
moment then I believe it has an option to install from the CD to hard disk.
If not Morphix  (A more modular Knoppix based bootabe CD) certainly does.
I cannot promise how well they work though.

> 2. Knoppix seems to have problems with my sound card. XMMS runs, but nowt
>    comes out of the speakers, and the test config only produces eerie
>    silence, claims to have installed the card fine (an AC97), but in fact
>    doesn't work. I've checked the cables, and the mixer. Any thoughts?

If it is using alsa,  the alsa default is to start with all channels muted.
I'd try finding the mixer application and see what it says.  Other
possibilities include not having permission to write to the sound devices.
This may sound cryptic so try the mixer first then we can go from there.

> 3. I'm on ntl cable broadband, using an external modem (one of the silver
>    ones) through my USB port, and Knoppix is a bit iffy about it.
>    Sometimes it'll function flawlessly. Sometimes it's okay for a few
>    minutes then drops the connection. Is there a known Linux driver for
>    these things? What's the best way round it, because the absence of a
>    net connection really is the deal breaker when it comes to Linux.

The best option would be to put a 5-10 quid netowrk card in your box and use
the RJ-45 network connection of the modem.

> All wisdom much appreciated.
> Matt
> All thoughts and wisdom gratefully received!
> Matt
> _______________________________________________
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> Nottingham at mailman.lug.org.uk
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Have fun,

Duncan John Fyfe          X-ray Astronomy Group,
                          Dept. of Physics & Astronomy,
Phone +44 116 252 3635    University of Leicester,
E-mail djf at star.le.ac.uk  University Road,
                          Leicester, LE1 7RH, U.K.

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