Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Here wizards, magicians, sorcerers and everybody can rest a bit and talk about anything they like.

Just remember to respect the rules.

Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Postby murphcid » Sep 16th, '21, 02:31

I'm old. I have been around for 61 years now and feel it every day. I remember when computers were what were called "mainframes" running Unix or VMS operating systems. Then after college while I was in the Army in the 1980's I purchased by first computer; and IBM PCjr with 128 K of ram a CGA card, and a single 360k floppy running IBM DOS 2.1. Later in 1988 I upgraded to a Zenith Z-150 with 640k ram, dual floppy drives, a 20 MB hard drive (second hand), and an EGA card running a NEC V20 chip and MS DOS 3.3 then later 6. In later years I went to a 386 SX/25 Packard Bell with Windows 3.1. This machine later was exchanged for a custom computer built for me by a buddy with a Cyrix 166 chip. The Cyrix became my first Linux computer.

I saw a review of this operating system called Linux in a computer magazine (I think it was Byte), which made me excited. I remember that I went into either CompUSA, or Businessland and saw a BOXED copy of this Linux called Mandrake. I think it was either Mandrake 7.0 or 7.1 and it was in 2000/2001. The box came with CDs, and books! I installed it, and wow, it was amazing. I never got CUPs running, never was able to really use it to connect my 56k modem to the internet, but it was AMAZING. It had multiple desktop environments and Window managers which YOU COULD CHOOSE! I was on AT&T Worldnet at the time and as is my usual practice I got on forums, researched, and tried to get familiar with Linux over Windows. I learned that there was this community out there that used Linux!!! I joined full of naive hopes and expectations to be warmly greeted and given a major chance to LEARN!

There were the uber cool Slackware guys who ruled the world because they could DO IT! Then there were the Red Hat guys who had a holy war against the Debian guys, and had a bit of an inferiority complex because the Debian guys had "APT". The Debian people were arrogant self assured guys who knew that they were the "L33t H@x0rz" of the Linux world, because APT took care of dependencies (sort of). There were the SUSE guys, and then there were the Mandrake guys. All the others looked down on us because we were using a "kiddy distro". I got on forums, and kept asking a question such as why do we have to deal with dependencies, why can we not have like Windows so that all the dependencies are packaged so that you load and go? I also asked why could we not have GUI tools to do what was done in the command line? I was excoriated, I have told that if I cannot hack it by finding and installing dependencies from the command line then I needed to leave, and never come back! I was not worthy to lick the dirty floors they walked upon! How dare I! I was called all sorts of names, told that I needed to get a life, etc, etc. then I was banned from two forums (neither still around). I was turned off my the sheer vitriol and elitism I had encountered. I was asking what I thought were good questions, and felt attacked like I have never been before. I have never seen a more toxic elitist community in all my days.

I re-formatted my hard drive, and knocked the dust of Linux from the heels of my shoes. I had been turned off and doubted that Linux was going to survive. I threw the Mandrake disk, books and box in the trash, and swore I was henceforth a Windows user, nay a Windows evangelist! By this time I had a wife, kids, a mortgage, bills, and life. Life got in the way of me doing much of anything other than installing the latest version of Windows and getting to play a little game every now and then. I would upgrade computers over the years, but I recalled my holy oath, Never more for Linux, WIndows FOREVER! But there was something that kept whispering to me, reminding me of that really neat Mandrake Linux experience. No! No! I'll never go back! Well after much life happened, and I got to the point where I could afford to get more than one computer for me, I started having this vague feeling that there was something better than Windows 7. In late 2014 I decided to install this new thing called Ubuntu 16.04. I was expecting pain, pain and suffering.

Hey, it was pretty neat, ok this is kind of nice, but I loathed Unity/Gnome as a desktop. But darn, things started working and it was not painful. WOW AMAZING! You go to the software center and download software AND ALL THE DEPENDENCIES WERE SATISIFIED!!!!! What I had asked for 15 years prior and was told would never happen in Linux, Command Line Forever, no wimpy dependency resolution! Played with Ubuntu for a bit, but it was never really what I wanted. Then I discovered Mint 17.3. Ever since that date I have had at least one computer that has nothing but Linux. I have been a Mint user since 2016. In 2016 as well I finally was able to do something I had always wanted to do, which is purchase a Macbook Pro. I had wanted one from the first time I had ever seen the original Mac back in 1985. Full disclosure, the Mac sits in the drawer of the desk and I use it at most a couple of times a year. I should never have wasted my money. Oh well a man needs toys, right...

Then I kept trying, using cast off laptops from the spouse-unit and the kids. I was having fun. I still kept my desktop for Windows (gaming/photoshop/iTunes). In 2019 I stopped using re-purposed HP laptops and purchased a System 76 Darter Pro, stuck 32gb of Ram in it, and a 500gb drive. Hated, and I mean Hated Pop OS Gnome. It just was not Mint. The more I played with Gnome, the more I loathed it. Installed Mint 18.3, and problems! No WiFi, no keyboard lights, lots of issues. Well I discovered that the Coreboot firmware just will not work well (if at all) with anything other than a 5.4+ Kernel. Installed Mint 19, updated the kernel to 5.4 and things worked better. Two trips back to System 76 to fix issues (their firmware bricked the system!), I finally got it back. I was going through a really rough patch in RL, so the Spouse-Unit and kids bought me a Lemur Pro from them. Best.Laptop.I.Have.Owned.Ever.

I decided that the Darter Pro would become a testing machine. But I stayed with the Debian based distros and discovered Coreboot on this laptop will not allow any 4.xx series kernel distro to work. Also MX Linux will not work at all either. It really wants their own POP OS. I managed to get Manjaro 21.12 working, but it was just too different, with commands in CLI too different from what I know. Then I saw a video from Old tech Bloke on Mageia 8. I was half listening, then I heard the words MANDRAKE LINUX. I rewound the video, and discovered the Mageia is the descendent of Mandrake! I knew I had to try this again. I did not know there were any Red Hat distros other than Fedora out there. So I downloaded the ISO and tried to install it on the Darter. No Joy. Hmmmm, could it be the Coreboot curse again? I hope not.

So either this weekend or next I am going to do battle and try and get Mageia running on the Darter Pro. I refuse to have my Newbie self defeated! With both my daughters in college, and my wife and I getting close to retirement, I have also been the main tech support person for my house. Right now I support multiple Windows Laptops (the spouse-unit, oldest daughter (2 one a gaming laptop), youngest daughter (2 laptops- don't ask...), two Windows desktop computers (both Ryzen), one Intel Nuc, one Macbook Pro (2015), and three System 76 Linux systems. Why don't you just put Linux on all the laptops and be done with it you ask? I shall tell you the tale of woe. The Spouse-Unit's laptop went down once, and before I could get her a new one, she needed to use a laptop to do some things. I gave her my System 76, and she freaked. Her head travelled 360 degrees, she spoke in a spooky voice, her eyes bugged out, claws extended, and she just flat refused to have anything to do with "the weird operating system".

My daughters had a similar response. The oldest told me; "Dad Linux is for geeks, and those odd kids in high school! You can't do any real work with it, and it does not run Microsoft Office!". My youngest was of a similar opinion, but she kept finding reasons to use my Lemur Pro, she was banned after I found donut sugar flakes on the keyboard. The wife refuses to understand technology, she wants it to just work like the stove or blender, she does not want to have to think about things. She wants to turn it on, and for things to work the way they always have worked. My 84 year old father uses Mint Linux, but he thinks he is using Windows XP which in his opinion is the last of the "good" windows versions. My brothers and I got him a laptop years ago, and it had Windows 7, and he refused to use it. He was still using XP on his desktop. So I made a deal with my brothers, I would get Mint on his system, and skin it to look like XP. We gave him the new laptop with "Windows XP" on it and he has been happy. We are going to replace it with another one this year, and I will once again put "Windows XP" on it.

So that has been my adventure in Linux and Daddy Tech Support. I look forward to re-discovering Mageia/Mandrake and maybe finding the joy of Linux from days gone by.
Last edited by murphcid on Sep 16th, '21, 12:37, edited 1 time in total.
murphcid
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 15th, '21, 13:31
Location: Close to San Antonio, Texas

Re: Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Postby benmc » Sep 16th, '21, 06:48

murphcid wrote:So I downloaded the ISO and tried to install it on the Darter. No Joy. Hmmmm, could it be the Coreboot curse again?


https://system76.com/laptops/darter indicates no optical drive, so how did you burn the .ISO to USB?

Coreboot - I have this on several ex-chromebook, so It should work.
To boot from the USB, I need to choose to boot the USB from BIOS, it is never automatic.

I have a Mint somewhere,(just for interest), I will see if a Mageia .iso burnt using the mint USBwriter works on my ex-chromebooks.

edit: wrote a USB with mint USB writer and it boots -ok (plasma live).
so which .iso did you try?
and how far does it get- no USB boot to grub, or somewhere after (hint, tap the "ESC" key to switch to text boot mode)
benmc
 
Posts: 985
Joined: Sep 2nd, '11, 12:45
Location: Pirongia, New Zealand

Re: Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Postby morgano » Sep 16th, '21, 11:14

Interesting read about your adventures :)
You seem to have had bad luck of forums and distros to try...

I got born 69. Electronic design was my hobby, instustrial controls and various repairs is my proffession. Decision to ditch Redmond system after fighting issues when the OS ditched while i was uploading a bugfix for the GUI for a gas tanker engine room while in full steam operation in the middle of the atlantic in 2002. Grey screen. Sweat.
I had then already used Lindows for work, and also tried SuSE, seemed nice too. The Lindows forum was great. The printing system could do much more with my printer than windows could (poster, etc). And already then, around millenia shift, wine could run the PLC programming software i needed. "Yes i can switch" RedHat a couple years earlier i had given up on, the new distros was much easier to get going, basically just worked (for me). While Lindows went down i tried Mandriva (New name of Mandrake after joining with Connective), and decided to use it as main system, it was 2006 christmas edition. I am still here, OS now branched as Mageia :) Also tried Ubuntu when it was new, it was at that point far inferior in hardware support, tools, and too tied down. Also briefly tried Mint, felt me blocked.

For the stove and blender analogy: i have repaired both (most household machines actually...), while my wifes Mageia install just works year and again ;)
Mandriva since 2006, then Mageia since 2011 at home & work. Thinkpad T43 & T400, Dell M4400, Acer Aspire 7. Workstation using LVM, LUKS, VirtualBox, BOINC
morgano
 
Posts: 841
Joined: Jun 15th, '11, 17:51
Location: Kivik, Sweden

Re: Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Postby murphcid » Sep 16th, '21, 12:09

benmc wrote:
murphcid wrote:So I downloaded the ISO and tried to install it on the Darter. No Joy. Hmmmm, could it be the Coreboot curse again?


https://system76.com/laptops/darter indicates no optical drive, so how did you burn the .ISO to USB?

Coreboot - I have this on several ex-chromebook, so It should work.
To boot from the USB, I need to choose to boot the USB from BIOS, it is never automatic.

I have a Mint somewhere,(just for interest), I will see if a Mageia .iso burnt using the mint USBwriter works on my ex-chromebooks.

edit: wrote a USB with mint USB writer and it boots -ok (plasma live).
so which .iso did you try?
and how far does it get- no USB boot to grub, or somewhere after (hint, tap the "ESC" key to switch to text boot mode)


I use Rufus on my Windows desktop. It is just quick and easy for me. As for the .iso it was whatever I downloaded from the Mageia site, the first link. The Darter Pro Coreboot has been really, really picky, and I have also had to have this laptop repaired twice by System 76. It gets to a boot, but no further. Thank you for the helpful hints I will try them.
Last edited by murphcid on Sep 16th, '21, 12:20, edited 1 time in total.
murphcid
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 15th, '21, 13:31
Location: Close to San Antonio, Texas

Re: Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Postby murphcid » Sep 16th, '21, 12:11

morgano wrote:Interesting read about your adventures :)
You seem to have had bad luck of forums and distros to try...

I got born 69. Electronic design was my hobby, instustrial controls and various repairs is my proffession. Decision to ditch Redmond system after fighting issues when the OS ditched while i was uploading a bugfix for the GUI for a gas tanker engine room while in full steam operation in the middle of the atlantic in 2002. Grey screen. Sweat.
I had then already used Lindows for work, and also tried SuSE, seemed nice too. The Lindows forum was great. The printing system could do much more with my printer than windows could (poster, etc). And already then, around millenia shift, wine could run the PLC programming software i needed. "Yes i can switch" RedHat a couple years earlier i had given up on, the new distros was much easier to get going, basically just worked (for me). While Lindows went down i tried Mandriva (New name of Mandrake after joining with Connective), and decided to use it as main system, it was 2006 christmas edition. I am still here, OS now branched as Mageia :) Also tried Ubuntu when it was new, it was at that point far inferior in hardware support, tools, and too tied down. Also briefly tried Mint, felt me blocked.

For the stove and blender analogy: i have repaired both (most household machines actually...), while my wifes Mageia install just works year and again ;)


Bad luck with some, fantastic luck with others. I learned that the Linux community is for the most part some pretty nice people, with a small core of really toxic, hateful elitists. I ignore them these days (I have grown a far thicker skin for things like this), and enjoy the good people. One of the great things about Mint (and I suspect other newer distros), it found my HP Printer and installed it AUTOMATICALLY!!! WOW! I am really pleased with how far we have come and look forward to going further. I prefer the Cinnamon desktop because it just fits with my mental "map" of the software world. I still have Windows because Photoshop and iTunes. If Linux could run those two, I would leave Windows and never look back.
murphcid
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 15th, '21, 13:31
Location: Close to San Antonio, Texas

Re: Adventures in Linux (and Daddy Tech support)

Postby jiml8 » Sep 23rd, '21, 18:17

You might take a look at The Gimp. It ain't photoshop, but it is pretty capable and is often touted as the photoshop replacement. I use it minimally, and have never used photoshop, so I can't say for sure.

As for itunes, that is an environment that I just won't use. I understand there is a way to use it from linux, but can't say more than that because I just don't know.

For myself, I am older than you chronologically and I do have grandchildren. However, I feel like I am about 30. I was never a Windows fan or user. I used NT for a few years after the Amiga died, and moved to Linux as soon as it was mature enough for me to use productively. I started with Mandrake 7.2.

My current workstation (which has a continuous history back to that NT workstation, having been replaced a piece at at time as required since 1997) has a Ryzen 5800X processor with 64GB RAM, a Samsung 980 Pro 2TB NVME drive, a couple of older Samsung 512 GB SSDs, and a couple of hard drives for storage.

I am still on Mageia 7 because I have been absolutely swamped with work (migrating a commercial system from FreeBSD to Openwrt Linux as a consequence of marketplace changes caused by the pandemic. This requires total rewrites of the firewall and traffic shaper code). I have used Mandrake/Mageia for that entire time since my first deployment of Mandrake 7.2...and yes, I dealt with dependency hell for awhile before Linux grew up enough that this was (mostly) a thing of the past.

I'm going to have to move to Mageia 8 soon, but if I do an upgrade it is likely to be painful (the move from Mageia 6 to Mageia 7 was a nightmare...my system is large and complicated). Also, I have this blazing fast nvme SSD in this workstation, and I currently am booting from one of the old SSDs, using the old MBR mechanism. I would like to transition to the modern EFI standard, and I have not quite worked out how to do that without doing an OS reload...which I might do, but it will take time to reconfigure the system. So I am still studying it and waiting until I have the time.

I also routinely run Mint 19, Mint 20, and OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 in virtual machines on this workstation, as well as other VMs as needed (including Windows 10 and Windows 7, as required). I can still boot my 25 year old Windows NT environment as a VM if I should decide I want to, and I often still run Windows 2000 (as a VM) since I have never replaced some of the software that is in it.

I would suggest KDE over Cinnamon. Cinnamon is quite nice, but KDE is much more configurable - and also much larger; you would use it if you have the resources.

The basic point I am making is that Linux is more versatile than Windows and is all grown up. You can do things with it you would never imagine doing in Windows, and if you really need photoshop and itunes, you can deploy a Windows virtual machine to run them.
jiml8
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Jul 7th, '13, 18:09


Return to The Wizards Lair

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest