Ten Year of Linux; Slackware (1994) vs. Fedora Core 2 Test 3 (2004)

I just upgraded to FC2 T3, for no better reason than I wanted to get GNOME 2.6 without building a second desktop with jhbuild. I really enjoyed spatial nautilus and templates before I had to rebuild my notebook. I hoped that my small orinoco_cs problem would also disappear too.

Damn if that wasn't inconvenient. I know it's a test, but I was surprised by the number of things that did go wrong.

  1. x.org X11 mangled my screen resolution. I want to blame nVidia, but the nv driver for xfree86 did let me have 24bit XGA. I've settled for 16 bits, and I had to edit the config file in vi to get the monitor freq right.
  2. During the refresh of the FC2 packages, I lost network. I traced that to the yenta_socket module wasn't inited. I found a patch in RH's bugzilla to fix the init script. I'm happy to say the network card doesn't block me starting the desktop anymore.
  3. My CDROM also disappeared after the refresh. I had to remove the ide_scsi bridge passed to the kernel. I lost gtoaster, not that I'll miss it. I'll be using command line until I get Coaster working.
  4. My sound card disappeared. I have run detect sound card after each reboot to enable it. But Rhythmbox finally works for me.
  5. Mono was crippled. I didn't expect it to work after the upgrade, but I did expect to dead packages to be removed. I used the Mono yum repository at go-mono to get it back, but Muine is gone; it isn't compatible with my current configuration. Saddly, monodoc wont start anymore. It complains that "System.DllNotFoundException: gtkhtml-3.0", but /etc/mono/config is right and I have both the lib and devel pakages.

During these trials I thought, why is this still happening to me. I had video, sound, and network problems during my first install. Then I remembered.

Ten years ago this month, I got my first Internet connection, a SLIP on a dedicated phone line with static IP from digex.net. I telneted into my shell account and realized I could not do a single thing. I wasn't a stranger to command line, but I knew absolutely nothing about UNIX. Well that wouldn't do I thought; three days later I replaced the Windows 3.1 partition with Slackware 1.2. A stupid decision for sure, but it was a great incentive to learn UNIX and the Net.

I swear I had the same configuration problems, but at least the desktop wasn't messed up while I was trying to fix them. That is to say, what desktop? My OS/2 partition had a sweet desktop, and as Windows 3.1 did not have one, switching X11 + Lestif + FVWM was hardly a loss. Even then, Linux could mount HPFS drives so I was never at a loss for my data, only some key apps and a decent way to use them were missing. What I missed most while working on the desklesstop was spatial folders, document templates, context menus, and a network filesystem browser.

Now I have G2.6 as my primary desktop; I have all that I missed from OS/2! It took 10 years.

This article was posted
by Curtis Hovey