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Old 03-29-2009, 10:31 AM   #1
Serpentine Cougar
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My Adventures With Ubuntu

[Sorry for the long, rant-ish post; just skip to the end for my questions.]

I recently tried Ubuntu for the first time, figuring it would be a good place for a Windows-only user like me to start exploring Linux. I heard Ubuntu was new-user friendly and pretty widely used, and at the time my internet service had a monthly bandwidth limit so the "free CD in the mail" option was attractive. The Ubuntu 8.04 Live CD came in the mail several months ago but my laziness didn't get around to trying it until a few weeks ago.

My computer is a bit old, runs Windows XP, and has a 1.5GHz AMD Athlon processor, an NVIDIA GeForce2 Integrated GPU, and 512 MB RAM (split between 32 MB for the video card and 480 MB for the system). It has 2 hard drives, one about 40 GB (Windows is installed on this one) and the other about 230 GB, and 2 CD drives (one only reads CDs - it won't even read CDRW, I don't think - and the other reads CDs and DVDs and rewriteables and can burn to them too).

I installed Ubuntu inside Windows on the 230 GB hard drive, and gave it 30 GB. GNOME took a little getting used to, though not too much, but when I went to change the screen resolution, I couldn't go any higher than 800x600. Also, Ubuntu said the drivers for my NVIDIA graphics card were proprietary/restricted and were "not in use." Google didn't help too much (maybe I searched for the wrong keywords, I dunno), nor did adding
SubSection "Display"
Modes "1024768"
EndSubSection
to the "Screen" section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf. One of the pages Google found said to do that. Eventually, I found the Main Menu editor and got "Screens and Graphics" to show up in the Applications menu, and changed the monitor from "Generic Plug 'n' Play" to the Samsung Syncmaster I have. Then I could change the resolution to what I wanted.

Also, I was annoyed to find that I couldn't play any of my music because none of it was in the ogg format. This computer isn't connected to the internet (I think the network card is broken), so I couldn't just go to Add/remove programs and download the codecs. The computer I do use on the Internet runs Windows and is shared with 4 other people, and I don't feel at liberty to install Ubuntu on it. Otherwise I'd use APTonCD to get the codecs and other programs. Or does anyone know if I can use APTonCD in a live session?

Google then led me to Wubdepends and the Ubuntu ADDON CD by RenZO. Wubdepends sounded nice because it would run on the Windows machine and could get the dependencies as well as the programs. But when I ran it, typed in a package name, and clicked "get," it would get stuck on "Initializing..." as if it couldn't connect to the repository or something. So then I downloaded the ADDON CD and burned the iso to a CD-RW, hoping the codecs I needed and maybe some nice programs were on it. I put the disk in my second drive (cuz the first one only reads normal CDs, as mentioned above), and when I tried to add it as a source or repository in Synaptic it said that there wasn't any CD in the drive and asked me to put a CD in drive E (which is the first drive). Then I started installing some of the .deb files from the CD manually, going through and installing dependencies when asked to because they were all on the CD, too. This worked for a while, and I finally had the codecs I needed!

But then I got to AmaroK, which I'd read about and thought I'd like better than Rhythmbox. There were 2 .deb packages for it (I think one was for the engine), but they were both dependent on each other. I asked Google and it sounded like "sudo dpkg -i *.deb" might install both at the same time, but I didn't want to install every single thing on the CD. So I went to packages.ubuntu.org and downloaded AmaroK and all its dependencies, put them on a USB flash drive, opened it on the Ubuntu computer, and typed in the above command. A little while later it said they were installed but there were some errors and they couldn't be configured correctly or some such, and to use Synaptic and fix the broken packages. Synaptic listed 5 broken packages, and when I marked them for removal it listed a bunch of other packages that would have to be removed as well, including synaptic and some others that sounded important. I went ahead with it anyway, stupid newb that I am, and sure enough it broke itself. Then I rebooted into Windows and uninstalled Ubuntu through the Add/remove programs thing in Windows.

Now I'm not sure if I want to re-install Ubuntu and try something else to get it to work the way I want it to, or if I should try a different distro. I no longer have a bandwidth limit on my internet, so I feel more free to download and try other distributions. From what I've read, MEPIS or Linux Mint seem like they might work better "out-of-the-box" - would you agree? Are there any distros that work okay and let you install programs without direct internet access?

In summary:
- Can APTonCD be installed/used in a live CD session?
- Would MEPIS and/or Linux Mint and/or some other distro work better "out-of-the-box" than Ubuntu did for me?
- What's a good distro (if any) for a computer without internet?


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Old 03-29-2009, 12:08 PM   #2
jrrtoken
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You can download NVIDIA drivers built exactly for Linux at their website, here. Be sure to choose "Legacy" for the product type, then GeForce 2 MX series, then GeForce2 integrated GPU.

Quote:
- Can APTonCD be installed/used in a live CD session?
I believe so, but don't take my word on it.
Quote:
- Would MEPIS and/or Linux Mint and/or some other distro work better "out-of-the-box" than Ubuntu did for me?
Linux Mint would be good, as it essentially is a fork of Ubuntu, and it does include many more utilities. If you're looking for an mp3 codec, you can get GStreamer for Ubuntu, though.
Quote:
- What's a good distro (if any) for a computer without internet?
Unfortunately, there's not a lot of distros that don't rely on repositories these days.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
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Puppy linux, whilst limited, can be quite good as a standalone.

Im also hearing positive things about The Chakra Project, which is now in Alpha.

Might I also throw into the mix....Windows7, whilst its a beta, its still free and I am absolutely amazed with its performance...It does thinngs on my 4 year old tablet pc that not even xp or vista could. Theyve done some great harwdare compatability work under the hood

Build 7057 is around, though the Release Candidate Build is due in May apparently.

mtfbwya


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Old 03-30-2009, 09:38 AM   #4
Ray Jones
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try Sabayon Linux.

Ubuntu is pretty slick and mostly plug'n'play, I don't know about the LiveCD, though.


Altenatively you could download all 5 DVDs of Debian and install without needing internet.

Also, your nVidia card is pretty old, AFAIK, you must use the 9775 version of nVidia drivers to get it to work, and Debian is the only Linux where I know they have it in their Repositories/DVD.

However, try to get an internet connection on that computer.


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Old 03-31-2009, 12:44 AM   #5
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Would I be right in assuming my computer wouldn't be able to handle KDE very well, and that I ought to stick with Gnome?

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Originally Posted by PastramiX View Post
You can download NVIDIA drivers built exactly for Linux at their website, here. Be sure to choose "Legacy" for the product type, then GeForce 2 MX series, then GeForce2 integrated GPU.
Thanks for the tip!

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Originally Posted by Astrotoy7 View Post
Might I also throw into the mix....Windows7...
The Windows 7 website says the beta's no longer available for download.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones View Post
However, try to get an internet connection on that computer.
Yeah, I know.



Last edited by Serpentine Cougar; 03-31-2009 at 04:19 AM. Reason: added a question
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serpentine Cougar View Post
The Windows 7 website says the beta's no longer available for download.
I think I am ok from a legal perspective to say that you can track down the beta builds (7057 being the most recent) on your favourite p2p(torrent etc) site. The public beta is closed because MS only needed to capture public feedback for a defined period and then contineu onto other builds. The Release Candidate will be released in May, we are told.

Let me know if you need a product key for 7057. They are not illegal to share so no copyright kittens will be harmed I installed in off USB in about 15mins Sure, its vista reloaded, but ist shaping up to be a great release. I can run some games on full settings that are borderline on full settings on vista. Their new WARP feature seems to have some merit (CPU chips in to help with Graphical processes) Im using w7 as the fulltime OS on my htpc and tablet pc(as are many), which says alot about its stability, even in beta.

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Old 04-05-2009, 08:45 AM   #7
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Well I tried Linux Mint 6 (Main Edition), but while it could play music from the get-go, it wasn't any better with my graphics card/monitor. And I couldn't find the "Screens and Graphics" utility I'd used in Ubuntu to get the screen to work at a higher resolution. I guess Mint doesn't have it. It also apparently doesn't have any help files, and seemed to run a little slower.

So I decided to go back to Ubuntu and get packages using the Live CD and APTonCD on the computer with internet. It worked like a charm on that computer (detected everything perfectly during the live session), and I got some packages and made an iso with APTonCD. On the offline computer, however, APTonCD didn't show any packages to select when I clicked "restore," and Synaptic wouldn't recognize the cd, either. So I just manually installed them. I suppose that'll work for now, but I wish there was a simpler/easier way. Maybe it just seems complicated 'cuz I'm used to how it's done in Windows.


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Old 04-08-2009, 01:44 AM   #8
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The problem with graphics cards and Linux is that being proprietary, graphics cards manufacturers are slow/reluctant to write drivers for their hardware.

That said, there are drivers available for Ubuntu for nVidia (I'm using them), but you have to enable the "proprietary drivers for devices" in your "Software Sources" app, which you'll find under System --> Administration --> Software Sources.

Also, Go to System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers and check the box to enable the restricted drivers for your NVIDIA card if the option is provided.

You might need to run update and reboot a couple of times if you don't see the check box because you Linux headers are out of date.


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Old 04-08-2009, 09:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones View Post
try Sabayon Linux.

Also, your nVidia card is pretty old, AFAIK, you must use the 9775 version of nVidia drivers to get it to work, and Debian is the only Linux where I know they have it in their Repositories/DVD.
sabayon is the ****, and since it uses portage, you can mask the newer drivers and install the legacy ones http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Nvidi...ng_the_drivers

gentoo crew represent


the music thing should be solved by installing smplayer or some other mplayer frontend (which should pull in mplayer too)



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Old 04-08-2009, 11:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
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You might need to run update and reboot a couple of times if you don't see the check box because you Linux headers are out of date.
Is there any reason not to update the kernel and that stuff? Like can something go wrong if do?


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Old 04-08-2009, 11:39 PM   #11
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None that I can think of. Perhaps if you're using ancient hardware... like an old 386sx system or something.


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Old 04-12-2009, 01:37 AM   #12
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I installed the nvidia-glx package, hoping to use the drivers for my card, but it made garbage and static appear all over the screen when I rebooted. So I disabled and rebooted, then enabled it again (hoping for better results a second time around) and rebooted, but it froze up the screen when it tried to load the login screen. Any ideas why this is happening?


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Old 04-12-2009, 02:50 AM   #13
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What version of the nvidia-glx package did you install, which version of Ubuntu do you use, and could you post your xorg.conf?


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Old 04-12-2009, 10:27 AM   #14
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Ubuntu: 8.04
linux-generic: 2.6.24.16.18
nvidia-glx: 1:96.43.05+2.6.24.12
nvidia-kernel-common: 20051028+1ubuntu8
nvidia-settings: 1.0+20080304-0ubuntu1

xorg.conf:
Code:
# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
#
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
#
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
#
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
#
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
#   sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Generic Keyboard"
	Driver		"kbd"
	Option		"XkbRules"	"xorg"
	Option		"XkbModel"	"pc105"
	Option		"XkbLayout"	"us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Configured Mouse"
	Driver		"mouse"
	Option		"CorePointer"
EndSection

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"Configured Video Device"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
	Identifier	"Configured Monitor"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier	"Default Screen"
	Monitor		"Configured Monitor"
	Device		"Configured Video Device"
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier	"Default Layout"
	Screen		"Default Screen"
EndSection


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Old 04-16-2009, 03:00 PM   #15
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Is that all of your xorg.conf? It looks like some infos like which driver to use (nvidia) or default resolution etc are missing.



Last edited by Ray Jones; 04-16-2009 at 03:55 PM. Reason: removed misinformation
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Old 04-19-2009, 01:43 AM   #16
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No, that's all of it. When it froze at the login screen, I rebooted and used "recovery mode," and that's what was in xorg.conf. After trying to enable the drivers again (and getting the screenshot below), xorg.conf was empty. Completely empty.

Here's a screenshot of what the screen looks like when I enable the drivers:
Show spoiler


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