My Home at OP-EZY

OP-EZY | My NEW Blog! | Home
| CS-40 Site | OP-EZY itself! | The Seeker | Learning Centre DooM | Gregson's Room Sessions |
| Captain Midnight Hijacks HBO article |
| My Adventures in the world of GNU/Linux | My current CV |
| OP-EZY's Home Page | OP-EZY Music | OP-EZY Productions | Max's Site (Infinity Films) | My REALLY old website (not updated!) at TRIPOD |
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

The World of GNU/Linux - From Ian's point of view!

small logo
GNU/Linux's Mascot: Tux

My Adventures into the world of GNU/Linux

Yeah, Linux rules!

Image: Tux - The Linux Mascot

2002, I hear about Linux

Back in 2002, I was told about this "alternate" operating system to Windows. Back then, my main computer was an old 266MHz system (not the server btw), that had to be "UNDERCLOCKED" to 166MHz (I never figured out why it wouldn't work at it's full speed), it had 32Mb of ram (later to be dontated to the server), an 8gb hard drive (donated to the server too)... it ran Windows 98 (originally, it would have run Windows 95), it was one of those "on a budgin PCs Northumberland County Council would send to all first and middle schools and hoped they worked".... most of them didn't last long! Anywho, I'm rambling, I was told about Linux, and how it was free, so I dialed into AOL (out of cuiosity, does anyone miss the good ol' dial up sound?) and googled "Download Linux", that was when I learnt the first thing about Linux.... there is no system just called Linux, but it is made by many different people. Second thing I learnt was, a distro like SuSE, or Red Hat would be stupid to download on dial-up... I needed another plan!

I read somewhere, that there are magazines that feature full distros on their cover discs, so I went out to WHSmith in the Metro Centre in August/September 2002 and purchaced a copy of "Linux Format" which was featureing a distro called Slackware Linux 8.1, this is where I learnt the 3rd thing about Linux... all versions are different!

The Magazine from 2002The front of the Slackware boxThe back cover!<--CLICK FOR BIGGER VERSIONS!

Sadly, my heap of a computer was unable to boot CD-ROMs (even though it was an option in the BIOS), but anyways, I eventually read that you could copy the Kernel and the initrd image to the heardisk and boot the CD from DOS

166MHz just isn't fast enough!

It wasn't long before I leant that a prossessor running at 166MHz and 32MB of RAM just wasn't enough! I got Slackware 8.1 to boot nicely into a console, but (after a while, trying to figure out how to get a GUI to load (the good ol' startx command)) the system just couldn't handle KDE..

What made me choose KDE? A lot of resaerch and browsing the internet, looking at all the pros and cons of each, creating a long comparative list..... actually, I just looked at the pictures on the box ;-) to me, KDE looked cooler!

I fail

Yes, even me... the guy who backs Linux and has it on nearly every device capable of running it (AKA a Linux Fanboy), at one point said 'F*** this, back to Windows!'. There were two main reasons for this: Slackware 8.1 is one of the hardest Linux systems for a 'Newbie' to start with (though I didn't know this at the time), and my 32Mb RAM PC was just not up to running an up-to-date system!

But, in early 2003, I built my first custom built PC, running at a whopping 1,667MHz and 256MB RAM, this system was perfect to give Linux a second shot!

This machine was able to boot off the installation CD no problem, and so that made installing Slackware so much easier! This time, I knew of the startx command, so it didn't take long to get into a graphical environment (Still KDE) but there was one BIG problem: there was no sound!

At the time, I didn't know what to do to fix it, so I went out and bought 'Linux For Dummies' which came with Red Hat 8.0, the book still didn't tell me how to get the sound card working, and RH 8 couldn't detect it either, so I posted many (I mean LOADS) of message to (Here is the first one) and eventually was told about a set of drivers called ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) that would get my VIA AC'97 sound chip running. At the time, I hadn't heard of the RPM system, so I instently downloaded the source code (a tarball) and I had no idea how to use it (I remember asking 'Where is the setup.exe file?') after not realising that Red Hat 8.0 didn't have the compiling software required to compile ALSA (and not knowing how to even use the package manager!), I went back to Slackware 8.1, and EVENTUALLY got ALSA compiled and installed... and finally, I HAD SOUND!

Back to Red Hat

I needed to install some software, but I didn't really have the grasp of compiling everything I wanted to install, I then heard of the RPM package management system, which didn't really have its place in Slackware (Slackware actually uses a packageing system called TGZ), but I found out that Red Hat DOES use RPMs (infact, RPM used to stand for 'Redhat Package Manager"). So I went back to Red Hat 8.0, this time installing the compiling tools (GCC) and was able to compile ALSA!

Sadly, my parents were still on dial-up, and my machine was pretty far away from any phone line connection, so I wasn't able to use the internet on Linux till 2005 (many distros later!). So if I had problems, I had to keep going to a different computer to post yet another question at the communety!

I later picked up a copy of "Linux user and Developer" which has a copy of Red Hat 9, the last version of the Red Hat distro, before they split into two divisions - Red Hat Enterprise and Fedora Core. I used Red Hat 9 for a while, before (in 2005) upgrading to Fedora Core 3 (from the same magazine!). At this time, I was still using Windows quite alot!

We finally got broadband, and it was wireless too, so I was able to put a wireless card into my Linux system, and ...... well, it didn't work! It was based on the broadcom chipset, and they never released Linux drivers for it! Thankfully, a project called "ndiswrapper" allowed me to use the Windows drivers.... finally, I had the internet!

Internet on Linux

Internet on Linux is.... well, the same on any system really... you use a browser, and look at hardcore por......I mean, check emails :-) Of course it's not exactly the same, for instance, the worlds most popular web browser is "Microsoft Internet Explorer" (I believe it's now called "Windows Internet Explorer") and of course, Microsoft won't release anything for any Linux system! Side note: At one point, they made a version of Internet Explorer for Unix, but randomly pulled it without warning! But yeah, as there is no version of MSIE for Linux, the de-facto standard on most distros is Mozilla Firefox.....

SPONSOR TIME:Firefox 3<-- It's also available for Windows and Mac OS X

Ok, where was I?.... Oh yeah, so the de-facto standard is Firefox, back in the days of Fedora Core 3, the current version of firefox was Pre1.0. Like I said, Microsoft don't release versions of their software for Linux, so MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger is out of the question too! Fedora came with a nice program called Gaim, now called pidgin (Click here for their homepage) Not only did it allow one to access MSN, but it also uses the AIM, Yahoo, and many other clients!


OP-EZY Hosted| Fight Spam - Click Here| About Us | Site Map (coming soon) | Contact Me | Valid CSS & XHTML | ©2003 - 2008 Robert Ian Hawdon