Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The life and times of a Linux Learner

Been really busy these days with my pending graduation from college and all. I finished an externship at Lake Ridge Academy and am looking forward to finding full time employment. I was starting to make some noise about PCLinuxOS because the live CD looked so promising. I had some problems with PCLinuxOS and the boot loader Grub. PCLinuxOS does not give you the option of not installing Grub nor does it recognize a previous Grub installation. I fiddled with Grub until I got it to work. Then booting into PCLinuxOS I found that it wasn't saving my settings, having to re-setup internet connections and re-tweak the desktop with each startup is not good. Needless to say I am not having a good day with PCLinuxOS on my machine. So................

Here I am having downloaded a very attractive looking Red Hat Fedora 7. Now I had at one time used Fedora Core 2 which had I think 3 CDs. This Fedora 7 is now a LiveCD but to get the version that is right for my machine, the 64-bit one, the iso file is TOO BIG to fit on a single CD. It is meant for a DVD weighing in at about 833MB, a CD only holds 700MB. I guess their thought is that everybody has a DVD burner. Well, maybe a DVD player (to watch movies?) but not a burner. No Fedora folks I watch DVDs on my player that's hooked up to my television set. Hummm....... that was very Microsoftish of you to force me to upgrade my equipment or hunt down somebody to burn a DVD for me. This has lead to a the question, is it possible to run an iso file from a hard drive as if it were on a DVD/CD? You'd be surprised at all the methods and techniques posted on the internet. Not one of them is clear enough for the likes of me. The smoothest way seems to be to work from a MS Windows partition and use a boot loader that recognizes iso images. But I think you have to explode the iso image into a directory and tell the boot loader what to boot. I tried several ways from a Linux partition but it is too complex for me. I guess that puts me in the market for a DVD/CD burner.

My thought is to have one Debian based Linux version and one Red Hat type version so I can gain experience with them. Fedora 7 is closer to the commercial Red Hat used in business but is cutting edge. Debian (Kubuntu is Debian) uses .deb files and Fedora uses .rpm files. Both systems have improved over the years. It is said that the .deb system resolves the dependency problem better than the .rpm system. Dependency is when one file or program needs another to operate. This is why when one program is installed, companion files are installed with it. Microsoft does the same with .dlls. You gotta love computers. So far this cyber adventure has taken me far, far past point and click computing. Although you can be quite happy with point and click computing, you also miss out on the power to do things the GUI just can't do. On a Linux system it is very useful to get over command line fears. You will become a powerful Jedi.

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