October 20, 2009

It takes a Geek to Install Linux

Posted in authored by John Gohde tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:39 pm by John Gohde


Previously in Adventures with Linux I wrote about installing Red Hat LINUX 5.2 Operating System on a junk NEC Ready 7022 personal computer. At this point, I am wondering why Simon Barrett on BNN would actually consider Linux as a good alternative to Microsoft?

The Hard Disk Partition Screen Roadblock

I had to read through the Red Hat Linux printed manual before I could complete the Disk Partition process. First, you had to delete the DOS partition. Then you are ideally supposed to create multiple partitions. I created three partitions: root, swap, and remainder of disk.

The Mount Point field apparently was the name of the partition. If so then why not simply call it Name: Linux? The next real clincher was that you actually had to name the required root partition “/” rather than root. None of this was remotely intuitive to me.

Next Stop: Loading Packages

Having gotten past the disk partition roadblock, the next problem area was selecting the packages that you wanted loaded. Hey, I am totally new to Linux. Identify what I want loaded, at this point? You just got to be kidding? I decided to select one partition at a time. Having selected the tiny root partition, none of the packages would load. Originally, I selected all of the packages. Next, I tried deleting a few packages. Still did not work, so I just backed up. The stupid program did not automatically reset all my selections, so when I went back and selected all of of the remaining partitions at the same time, the install program automatically skipped ahead to loading some 561 packages, or 822 MBs of space, without giving me any opportunity to select which packages I wanted loaded. This Linux bug created a fatal error condition, when I finally figured out that the X Window package that is required for a Linux GUI screen was not loaded. Loading these packages alone took 26 minutes.

As bad as trying to individually select which features of a Microsoft program I want installed is, trying to wade through some 560+ cryptic Linux packages would have taken a lifetime, as far as I am concerned.

Auto-detection of Hardware – In Your Dreams

The fancy box that my copy of Red Hat Linux came in says: “Autodetection and configuration of hardware, and easy hard drive partitioning.”

I was expected to identify by name, my video card. Huh? What makes you think Linux, that I am remotely familiar with my video card? As a matter of fact, my video card is built into my system board. I selected the generic option.

Then I was asked to identify the type of monitor that I was using. I selected SVGA which I took for Super VGA, a term which I barely remembered using a long time ago.

Then the Linux install software attempted to figure out my video hardware. The automatic feature failed. I manually had to select the amount of Video memory. Again, I had no idea. So, I selected the bottom figure. Finally, got through the video monitor install.

Picking Security Passwords at this point was something that I positively did not want to fool with at all.

Finally, I hit a major roadblock called the Root Password. The long and the short of it was that I almost gave up installing Linux over this total nonsense. Basically, it appeared to me that my keyboard was not working. I typed my password, but absolutely nothing was displayed upon the screen, nor was my cursor moving at all.

My experiences so far really makes me wonder why Simon Barrett did not curse Linux on the Blogger News Network?

To be continued.

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