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Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

Time Event
7:32a
Return of the newbie
Ok, having borrowed the SUSE installation disks from a friend, I decided to try installing Linux again. Since I'm home for break and the only one of my computers I have with me is my laptop, I tried installing it on my laptop. Luckily, having had many many bad expiriences trying to install linux on various other computers, I had to foresight to purchase a new laptop hard drive and install linux on that, leaving my Windows XP installation intact on the old one. This is why I am able to write this LJ post right now. After battling with linux all day, I switched the hard drives back so that I could check
my email and hopefully get some help.

First, a general problem: I have no idea where things are. I'm spoiled by windows. I expect to be able to find everything I need through the GUI. Since I have now examined the KDE Start Menu from top to bottom, and a bunch of things I know to be on the computer are not there, and the "Find Files" thing in KDE either freezes or is unsucessful at file finding nearly every time I run it, I have no idea where to start looking. Where can I find a good guide to / list of linux commands and configuration files? I've tried reading the man pages but I can't figure out how to search them with any sucess, so it only works if I can remember the name of the command I'm interested in.

Here's a list of things that I couldn't get to work:

1) I was trying to set it up to Dual-boot SUSE and XP so that I could use XP for games. Of a 40GB hard drive, I had it partitioned like this: 5gb for Windows, in NTFS; 10gb for Linux, in whatever the default file system was; 1gb swap; and the rest in FAT so that it could be read by both OSes for music and the like. It all went according to plan in XP, but Linux wouldn't let me write anything to the FAT partition. I looked at the permissions. It said that root owned that partition and only root could access it. So I went in as root to try to change the permissions. It wouldn't let me. Now, I
was doing this through the GUI, and it occurred to me after I had already switched the hard drives back again that perhaps I should try
it with chmod, but again, my brain is still wired around the GUI. But would that really make that much of a difference? Why would the
permissions be set that way in the first place? Is there a better way to set up a partition that both OSes can access?

2) Perhaps the biggest problem, I couldn't access the internet. I was trying to connect with a built-in intel wireless card (802.11b, I
think) and judging by the Wireless Network configuration screen (every single option and box greyed out) I don't think it could find the
wireless card. So I went on a hunt for some place I could check to see if the driver had installed correctly. I found many interesting
things on that hunt, none of them the list of installed devices. Anybody know where that is in SUSE with KDE? Or how to get to it
through the command-line? For that matter, where would I find linux drivers for my wireless card? They weren't listed on the Dell site.

3) Most other times of year this would have been a minor problem, but vacations in Pittsburgh are the only chance I get to restock my audiobook collection at the public library here, and I couldn't get any of the CD-ripping programs to work. They all reported errors when they tried to open the encoding programs. Apparently none of them were installed. Now, it seems really odd to me that SUSE would come with four different CD-ripping programs and no encoders. I think this is another example of me not being able to find things, but it's also possible that they really aren't installed. Anybody know a good program for ripping CDs and encoding to MP3 and what else needs to be installed for that program to work?

4) Power Management. Another reason I should be getting my linux practice on a desktop. KDE automatically put a little battery monitor in the system tray, but I still couldn't figure out how to do things like dim screen brightness to conserve electricity.

5) I was reading through those little tips that pop up when you first start KDE when they mentioned Kappfinder, for adding all those programs you can't find to the start menu. Only, because the computer gods love irony, I can't find it.

I'll probably think of other things once I've gotten some sleep. Thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide.

Current Mood: frustrated

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