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Journal Fourier's Journal: Linux install pain

The other night I was over at a friend's place, fulfilling my duty as a Linux geek. He had recently purchased a shiny new 1.7GHz P4, and wanted a Linux partition primarily so he could edit and compile LaTeX using emacs. I suggested he go with Mandrake 8.1, since I've used 8.0 personally and feel that it is a pretty good distro for newbies.

So the install goes great. Mandrake does a beautiful job on hardware autodetection, and the partition manager is pretty slick too. After the install, I start tweaking things. After modifying the ugly-by-default desktop, I proceed to snag those binary-only NVidia drivers that everyone raves about. I install the rpms, then restart X. X promptly crashes. I remove the rpms. X still promptly crashes. I reboot. X still crashes. I figure, "Okay, I'll reload the XFree86 rpms off of the CD." Linux does not comprehend the iso9660 filesystem.

Now I'm becoming irritated.

After some dicking around, I finally realize that lilo is loading up a kernel which does not have all the corresponding modules installed. The kernel that *was* being used, which *does* have all the appropriate modules, is no longer in /boot. Furthermore, I am unable to fix the problem because (a) I can't access the CD and (b) I can't use a boot disk since the floppy drive was dead.

Finally I decide I am wasting time, and I take 20 minutes to reinstall the freaking OS. WITHOUT the binary NVidia drivers, which my friend would probably not use anyway, since he has a shiny copy of WinXP on another partition.

I am rather uncertain how I feel about Mandrake 8.1 at this point.

On the bright side, I inherited my friend's old 500MHz box. He was about to throw most of it in the dumpster. I was rather happy to swap that motherboard in place of the 200MHz machine I had sitting out in the living room.

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Linux install pain

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The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein