Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Petreley on Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 181

A. J. Rimmer writes "Just ran across this review of Caldera 2.3 from Nick Petreley [?] of LinuxWorld. " Saint Nick likes it - says that "not only continues to leapfrog over all other Linux distributions for ease of installation; it also proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Linux can be easier to install than Windows. " Pretty strong words - what do you folks like best?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Petreley on Caldera OpenLinux 2.3

Comments Filter:
  • Has anyone seen the new Red Hat install for v. 6.1? It is very cool! I think it is super easy and it looks very slick. Most Linux distros are getting away from the "Linux is way too hard to install" mentality that has been a pervasive issue with the media and some competitors. It is fast becoming a problem of the past.


    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
  • I've been a Caldera customer since their first product, Caldera Network Desktop preview 1. At the time CND was very promising, offering a commercial GUI desktop, a "fully supported" Netscape license, and other goodies. When CND 1.0 finally appeared, priced at $99US, it was a steal because it included a copy of Xi Grapics' Accelerated X server, which was itself $99 if purchased separately. For that server, which was the only thing to support my brandy-new Diamond video card, and for the Gallium font server, which handled TrueType fonts, CND was the only choice for me. I dropped Slackware in a heartbeat.

    Times change. Over the years, Caldera distributions were plagued by various problems. First, they dropped AccelX in favor of the far inferior (at the time) Metro-X server, and then for XFree. The Gallium font server disappeared. And throughout it all, Caldera was renowned for being a release or two behind most packages, major and minor. I spent a lot of time building new versions of many packages. Yet, as an early adopter, I was able to take advantage of their aggressive upgrade program to minimize costs for each new version of their distro.

    By the time Caldera Open Linux 1.0 came out, I was ready to dump Caldera entirely and move on to something, probably SuSE. I had tried Debian, RedHat, SuSE, and even Slackware, and found each to have about as many problems as COL, though in different areas. The pressure to switch intensified when RedHat switched to libc 6, making most RPM files useless for Caldera systems.

    Then came COL 2.2. Its GUI installer was impressive, though not quite perfect. They abandoned their conservative version selections, offering very new versions of most packages. Yes, it's KDE, which I used at work for almost a year, just to make sure I could speak with authority about it. I now use GNOME on my COL systems. And it's libc 6, making arbitrary RPMs typically useful again.

    The key is, Caldera is now Just Another Distribution. The things that drew me to them originally--commercial packages, ultra-conservative design, phone support--have largely evaporated or become irrelevant. So take Caldera for what it is, a nice solid distribution with a cute installer and a fairly solid foundation. I've had little trouble building and installing free and open-source packages and my own software on a Caldera system, the price is competitive, the availability is comparable, so why not? It's not a world apart like it used to try to be, but perhaps more importantly, it's fully part of today's world.

  • As far as I can tell, the fancy GUI installer, Lizard, doesn't support network installs to CD-less boxen. To do such non-main-sequence stuff, you must use the "old-style" LISA install. There are instructions in the manual (and probably one of the READMEs) about how to make a LISA boot/install disk. I was able to install over the net using LISA just like I always have--the old installer is still pretty nice, though not as slick as Lizard.

    This is one of COL 2.x's biggest shortcomings, IMHO--they don't seem too sure exactly what they're installing. Is it a workstation? A server? A development machine? And who made the decisions about what Lizard supports and what it doesn't? From the look of it, they let the marketers make some of the crucial technical decisions. Not a fatal drawback, but unsightly.

  • I once used RedHat's disk druid and got the same result. Another time it created overlapping partitions... So Caldera is not the only one.
  • I recently sent a customized RH distribution for my 14-year old brother install Linux. I think it's progress when that's possible. But he complains about the lack of a "Shutdown Picture" and "Bootup Picture".
    Well, you might take the lad aside and patiently explain that these "pictures" take up space in the software, that the boot messages of a Unix-type system give important diagnostic information, and that displaying the pictures wastes time during system boot and shutdown.

    Or you might just whack the whining brat across the side of the head with an old basketball shoe and make him use an old blue-screen VT100 with an acoustic coupler modem until he learns Real Computing. Whatever works.

  • Ahem... what is Caldera's selling point? The installer and COAS? and what is open sourced? The installer and COAS? They're doing what any Linux distribution should do: innovate in an area, and release the source.

    Caldera may not be playing the media darling, but they're not withholding from the community, either.

  • I must apologize for not mentioning OSS; I'd glossed over it since it is only there to provide compatability to unsupported hardware. (Seems like a noble enough reason for me, but, then again, I'm focussed on usability and not how free the OS is.) I also shouldn't have ignored the heavy dependence of COL on KDE, which in turn depends on Qt, which still isn't completely free. But, before you declare Redhat more holy, remember that Redhat also includes KDE with their distributions and install it by default.

    I do not regard Redhat nor Caldera as being free and open enough for the GPL purists among us. I believe the fix made over rdist merely occured because of the possibility of offending their slowly growing base of corporate developers and users.

    Do not forget that BOTH of these companies are for-profit institutions and are deserving of special scrutiny by the open source community. Let's not delude ourselves about how many of Redhat's new stockholders believe in Open Source.

  • Great, but does Debian deal with cross-platform issues? Would Debian function just as well running off the idiosyncracies of, say, a Solaris system?

  • I had no problems partitioning my large seagate. Partitioning it with fdisk was a breeze and worked strait away.
  • My ONLY complaint with OpenLinux is that as far as I can tell there is no way to spread the installation of the distro over several drives. (If anybody knows how to do that let me know.)

    I think you can do this by using the "custom" or "expert" partitioning option (I forget what they call it). This will let you set mount points on different partitions, and I think you can do this across multiple drive, although I didn't try it.


  • It is super easy to set up (provided you pay attention and notice that sometimes it does not start the swap - it is very annoying when your machine thrashes worse than a 4 MB machine running WinNT).

    I had the same problem; I had to edit fstab and add the swap partition. This must be a bug that crept into 2.3; I don't remember having to do this with 2.2.

    Also, I get grey-on-black kernel messages overwriting the graphics boot screen in the upper-left corner, which looks really tacky. This happened with 2.2 as well.


  • I know that caldera does use rpm but I am not sure if the file system structure is exaclty the same. I usually install from tarballs so I don't really care but if you look at their site under knowledge down load and updates you will find out that their programs you suggest to update your system with you use rpm as your package manager. My primary system is debian so don't take my word for it check it out
    http://support.calderasystems.com/caldera?solution &11-981201-0010&130-9 12553093&14-0&15-10&25-&3-&30- [calderasystems.com]
  • You've obviously never tried to get a windoze user to switch over to Linux (shame on you!).

    Elegant text/script based administration tools with simple, easy to use GUI's built on top is the right design IMO.

    Nerdly nerds have all the power they need, while newbies, or people who want their computer to have the simplicity of a Mac (or supposed simplicity) can be happy.

    I recently sent a customized RH distribution for my 14-year old brother install Linux. I think it's progress when that's possible. But he complains about the lack of a "Shutdown Picture" and "Bootup Picture". It would be nice to see one of the Linux distro's (and Caldera appears to be positioning themselves to do this) slave over all these details.
  • Interesting you should pick those as the advantages of Debian, because I don't think they serve to distinguish it from COL. Upgrades: COL has RPM for package upgrades, and though many might argue, it's easily as good as Debian's system. And COL point upgrades come with an automated script that will analyze your system automatically and upgrade all necessary packages--a one-touch system upgrade. Also, I've never had any problem using source or messing with my COL system's internals--they are in no way "blocked". As for security, Caldera seems as responsive as anyone to security alerts; as for the default settings, they could be better, but it's not a wide-open system after an install.

    Where Debian beats the skivvies off Caldera is in three areas: First, it's all free. Caldera isn't as choosy, but they're getting better. Second, and much more important and practical, is the sheer number of packages available for it. Debian dwarfs all other distros that I've seen just for the number of packages that it comes with, not to mention those available around the 'net. Third, Linux is community supported, whether Caldera, Debian, or any other distro. And Debian won't get you laughed or sneered at on a mailing list, an IRC channel, or a newsgroup, where Caldera isn't usually received as well.

    My most recent experience with Debian was soured by very bad experiences with dselect and dpkg. I hear it has a new installer either in place or on the way, so maybe I'll give it another try. But Caldera is a serious contender even so, at least in my book.

  • xvidtune is your friend. It should have
    been part of the configuration process,
    i.e. XF86Setup. I don't recommend the
    red hat X configuration tool; it hasn't worked
    very well for me in the past.
  • COL 2.x supports a fully custom installation--you just can't use the neato-spiffy "Lizard" GUI installer to do it. But the "old-style" LISA installer does just as good a job as it always has, and allows fine-grained selection of the installed packages. Is that a flaw? You betcha. Will they fix it? Maybe, someday.

  • Actually, COL comes with GNOME, it's just in the "contrib" directory. I was able to get the latest-n-greatest GNOME out of CVS and install it on my COL system over the course of a lazy afternoon, and it works great. Well, as great as GNOME works these days. I use Gtk+ and WindowMaker on all my COL systems, and had no trouble installing E. So they don't remove choice. Yeah, you gotta work a little at it, but any CD-ROM Linux distro is going to be out of date the day it's pressed, so you picks your packages as you likes them.

    Very good point about the installation, though. I think far too much is made of Linux installation, both how "hard" it is (by the mainstream press) and how "easy" it is (by Nick and others, especially about COL 2.x). Sure, COL is now easier to install than Windows. So what? You do that once in the life of your system if you're lucky, only a few times if you're not. Contrast that with the thousands of hours of computing that you'll do after the install, and it gets to be quite funny.

    But if you don't like Caldera, by all means choose another distro. It's more important that you are using Linux or *BSD or even Hurd than it is which distro you choose. Go with what you like and let the rest go hang. Two words of advice, though: Don't believe everything people say on the 'net. Misconceptions abound, as this very discussion ably demonstrates. Try for yourself. Use vmware to manage multiple installs if you have to. And second, times change. The Caldera of today is quite different from the Caldera of two or three years ago. Same for Deb and RedHat and Slack. So every so often, give the others a try, just to keep current. You'll be glad you did.

  • I recently installed Caldera 2.3, and I found the installation was very smooth apart from a nasty little bug that breaks the installation process if you press 'help' when the tetris game comes up when you're waiting for the install to finish.

    Apart from that small problem, the installation process was much smoother than most windows installs I've done, and I liked the way it only had to reboot once rather than the three times.

    One thing I would say is that they probably need to put a little more thought into some of the things that they've got in their program startup menus, and how they're presented. I happened to know that I would have to run kppp to dialup with my modem, but a new user wouldn't have the slightest idea.
  • Mounting drives: This is a good and logical thing.
    Yes, some things can be improved, but mounting
    drives happens in all UNIX versions and there are good reasons for it.

    Just because something happens different than Windows, doesn't mean that it is more difficult and should be changed. UNIX/Linux is not a Windows clone, but an OS with it's own history and it's own rules. While it can sometimes learn some userfriendlyness from other environments, we should not compromise all good things just to make it look more like Windows.
  • Quick! Name a Caldera employee!

    Hmmm. Ransome Love. Erik Ratcliffe. Jeff Christensen. That's three off the top of my head. No, they are probably not known by as many people as, say, Bob Young or Donnie Barnes. But Caldera isn't used by as many people, either. For those of us on the Caldera user's mailing list, Erik and Jeff are household names. And most folks here have probably heard Ransome's name, even if they didn't recognize him as the CEO of Caldera Systems.

    I can't argue that Caldera has a penetration problem in the end-user community. But they're actually pretty well known it the corporate world as Linux distros go, which is what they were aiming at, methinks.

  • Modeline calculations scare me...

    Oh, God.. TELL me about it!

    Setting up Sound: As far as I can tell, this requires a kernel recompile.

    More like SEVERAL recompiles. If you're a newbie, you'll mess up. And then you'll have to do it again. And then it won't work. So you'll have to do it again. I spent an ENTIRE day trying to get my sound to work under RH6.0. Everytime I play something other than CD-AUDIO, the system HANGS. It really pisses me off.

    The Linux Community as a whole needs to remember us newbies. The "Do it yourself" or "RTFM" (or oftentimes "RTF HOWTO") attitude PUTS OFF NEWBIES. We need things easier, dammit! But I digress..

    Oh, and definately get rid of MOUNT thing. That seems totally unecessary to me.
  • feedback, thanks for your reply to my post... You raised some great points and in my opinion, posted the most intelligent response so far... perhaps caldera has it's place among linux users after all? :)

    best regards,

  • I like debian the best, because of its easy upgrades, doesn't block using stuff from source or messing around with its internals, and it defaults to a nice, relatively secure setup, unlike some other distros.
  • If you read any of my previous posts you will see I vary rarely take any position but the offensive when it comes to Billy boy, but in this case I have to take his side. 18 years ago 640 WAS enough for anybody. How many times have we heard tech columnists today say that you don't need more than 128 megs of RAM? are we going to laugh at them in 18 years when RAM usage is measured in Gigabytes? Probably not. The same thing has to go for Bill.

  • By far, the easiest unix install I have ever encountered is FreeBSD.. just point it to the ftp and walk away.

    After that, I would have to say slackware. I just installed the slack7pre1 and it was amazing and beautiful. There was no fancy gui, but all the information I needed to get the system up was right on the screen. Not to mention I got the choice of gnome, kde, wm, and e (even though those aren't all in the same category).

  • I use mtools all the time, they're very useful. In fact, I find myself typing mdir or mcopy on my NT workstation at work (which I am forced to use); it's become second nature. :)

    In general, I don't see much point of using ext2 formatted disk for floppies at all, since FAT floppies are readable by all PC's, and floppies are so slow anyway that a faster filesystem does not bring much benefit. Besides, I am usually only transporting a couple of zip files in the root directory anyway.

    Raw disk might be useful if you are transporting a tar file between Linux and some other Unix OS (like a Sun) where mtools-like utilities are not available, but then you don't get the compression. Otherwise, it is only useful for very specialized purposes, like creating boot floppies.

  • I've been a Windows user my whole life. I just tried this linux thing for the first time using Caldera, and I've gotta tell ya. It's refreshing for an install to be stable enough to not crash at 95%. I'm definately impressed, and honored to be part of the Open Source community.
  • While we're on the subject of distros, I'm a first-time Linux user, and am wondering what distro would be best, overall. I've heard a lot of good things about Mandrake, but all this talk on Caldera makes me wonder which is better.

    I'd like to start off with a distro that's fairly easy, then once I learn my way around Linux, move to some of the others.

    Suggestions, anyone?
  • It's a good thing for the unwashed newbies to have only one WM available for installation. And although it's nice to say that knowledgable users can download other stuff off the net, downloading and installing Gnome, as an example, is hardly trivial.

    Caldera (and the forthcoming Corel) should include alternate Window Managers and other non-default applications on a separate CD. That way a newbie can do an initial install, get comfortable with Linux, then start exploring "Disk 2".
  • I like RPM and the way they lay out the filesystem. Cartman (6.1) installs nice too..

    I also like the fact that all of their software (not some other software sold with the distro) is GPLed.

  • I have mixed feelings on caldera 2.3. On one hand it is the easiest whiz-bangiest niftiest looking install I've seen. On the other hand, no other OS install wiped my partition table clean. I even made sure to use a separate HD to be extra safe so I wouldn't have to muck with my primary drives partitions.

    Now before everyone calls me a loser and a moron. I've been installing Linux since v1.0, I've installed SuSE, Slackware, Debian, Caldera. I've installed dos 2.0-6.0, win3.1, win95, winNT (3.51 & 4.0). And I've never managed to wipe out the partition table before.

    As near as I can figure it, it happened when I went into the expert/custom drive partitioning part. I don't remember (and neither does my friend) touching ANYTHING other than my table for my second HD, and yet when I rebooted my first HD's table was gone. Blah, oh well, thanks to gpart (thank you michael briztva!) I managed to recover my partition table. I haven't heard anyone else mention this, so maybe I'm just especially special.
  • I like RH a lot, but I'd heard over the last six months or so that other distributions had much better out-of-box experiences for new users...

    I saw someone installing Caldera 2.2 (and Petreley doesn't ever make it clear that its improved for 2.3) and they were having a hell of a time. The GUI looked nice, but he wasn't making progress.
    But I can't make an in-depth criticism of COL 2.2 because I didn't take time out to walk them through it, maybe they would've had just as much trouble with Win98

    SuSE OTOH I really must warn people about. If you've installed SuSE 6.2 and you think you got a "Smooth" install process, you need to take a better look at the competition.
    Twelve months ago, I installed SuSE and it had a pretty awful install process, the rediculous Yast tool making every task a tangle of fingers and thumbs. What a mess!
    I installed RH5.x soon after, and it was hardly better, although at least it didn't have Yast.
    Since then though, Red Hat's RH6.1 makes it all better with a sweet GUI installer -- but when I helped install SuSE for a friend last week, it was STILL JUST AS BAD AS IN 1998.
    SuSE can't afford to sit on their asses like this. Throw away Yast and use one of the BETTER, FREE installation tools from another vendor.
  • first off ... does it install as well as rhat 6.1 second where do i get an iso?
  • Hmmm. How do you feel about the VA Linux, O'Reilly and SGI - Debian project? Do you think that is pure enough for GPL purists?

    Those are all for profit companies. Don't know too many companies that have a goal of operating at a loss.

    Use what is the best for the job. This my dog's better than your dog attitude is pointless. With all the Linux distros you have a choice.

  • you can't beat it for desktop machines when you're bandwidth impaired.
    When its time to be lean and mean though Debian's the ticket.

    Hmm... Wonder how much an OC3 costs a month
  • At this point it probably doesn't really matter -that- much since both systems are good, but, debian has a package-based dependency system, not a file based dependency system, so problems like 'the libraries were there, the rpm just could find them' as mentioned in the review won't happen. If libc++2.8 is in the list of installed packages, it doesn't matter where it was installed.

    Basically, the debian package system is more powerful, flexible, and reliable. It also, it must be admitted, has had some of the most godawful interfaces ever, but that's changing. The 'apt'
    system is pretty good, and works on the current 'stable' release and will be the standard installer on the next release.

    With apt, basically... you type 'apt-get install ghostview' and it will download and install the ghostview, ghostscript, and whatever libraries they require. Or, 'apt-get install lyx' and it installs lyx, latex, tex, and the libraries they depend on. (Yes, it does ask you, with a tally of the total number of megs that you're installing, before doing this.)

    Anyway. Debian has lots of technical and reliability advantages, as well as being the largest distribution, but, I'll freely admit it's not even -close- to being user friendly. :) It's also true that the theoretically 'better' package system hasn't had the hard test of being used by derivative distributions the way RPM's have, so there may be flaws that are hidden by that.

    Anyway, I hope that one day we'll have a common package format that includes all the info of rpm and deb and any other package format out there, at which point the whole issue will become irrelevant, at least, as a matter of comparison between distributions.

  • but it didn't detect my hard drive correctly either, so desperate to get away from windows I downloaded all of FreeBSD (over a 56k connection) and installed it. It worked with the hard drive beautifully. FreeBSD wasnt't exactly what I was looking for in a desktop OS though and although I much prefered it to Windows I still wanted Linux again,

    While I don't think there's much difference between Linux and FreeBSD w.r.t. large drives (both work if installed properly) I don't see much of a difference as a desktop OS either. I use both and most people that try my computer cannot tell the difference and only find out what I'm currently running with uname -a.

    FreeBSD comes with less add-ons such as bash (it's default shell is more primitive) all kinds of window managers etc etc but you can/have to add these through the ports system. The advantage is a less cluttered system. Also, all add-ons are installed seperate from the main system, in /usr/local and below.

  • I can't argue that Caldera has a penetration problem in the end-user community. But they're actually pretty well known it the corporate world as Linux
    distros go, which is what they were aiming at, methinks.

    Yes, but the question is - were they successful? My understanding, from what I've seen of the Caldera effort, is that they are positioning themselves as "different from the freebies". This might work if they had a strong penetration in the corporate market, which is historically opposed to the free software movement.

    But they've been dismally bad in this sector. See, if you target corporate business, you need to make a case as to how you're good at it. Has Caldera made a good case about it? I don't think so.

    Frankly, it's VERY, VERY difficult to take an open source product and position yourself as a "corporate-therefore-I'm-different-from-them" company.

    It seems to me Caldera has tried to be a semi-open-source, semi-corporate distro, and failed spectacularly at both.

    As an aside, media is everything. Nobody covers caldera today. So they are dead. Unless they suddenly get a clue. Are they even reading this? I doubt it.

  • Oh, and definately get rid of MOUNT thing. That seems totally unecessary to me.

    Mounting drives before using them, and unmounting after use is very logical and there are good reasons for it.

    Buffering data and collecing writes together increases performance, and that wouldn't be possible is you could just eject the damn thing anytime you pleased!

    It may seem unnecessary with read-only media such as CD-ROMs but what would you rather? That the OS tries to automatically mount any CD that you put in the drive? What if it's a music CD? Surely YOU should be able to tell the computer what you want rather than having it try to second-guess you all the time like a certain other OS that shall remain nameless!

  • Is it just me who starts to see signs of the "Holy OS wars" between the different Linux distributions?
  • A question about the CD ISO image... CD image [calderasystems.com]

    I would think that it would be sensible to have the CD-image updated to include the latest KDE (which missed the CD) and other software that just missed the boat. This shouldn't warrant a major update of the software obviously, as they provide the software on their ftp site for you to download and upgrade the 2.3 installation anyway!

    Just thought this would make things simpler overall. Does COL come with the latest gtk+ etc? I am glad to read that it doesn't come with the Gnome Desktop, although when Gnome becomes more stable I would hope that COL would start to include it in the distribution.

    Just thinking of replacing a RH5.2 install that has broken badly.... hangs on bootup. I want something clean and new anyway.

    Anyway, I must say that the FreeBSD [freebsd.org] install was one of the easiest I have ever used. Put CD in drive, boot, select a couple of parameters (this bit is the only bit that should be improved, the devices within the computer should be autodetected) and then install! No graphical install required or needed, but it could neaten up the overall system. Installing additional software is as easy as going to the relevant ports directory and make install, and with clever ftp download from multiple sites this works like a dream (except for lesstif which fails at the apply patch step, grrr, want to run mpeg2play).

  • If a newbie has floppy and cd icons on their kde/gnome panel or desktop that allows them to mount and unmount with a click, then they're in pretty good shape. If you configure an automounter for them, they're in even better shape.
  • See, if you target corporate business, you need to make a case as to how you're good at it. Has Caldera made a good case about it? I don't think so.

    Caldera was a pretty easy sell in our engineering department. I would have hated to try to explain Debian to my boss, but cutting a purchase order to Caldera was right up her alley. I wouldn't dream of suggesting it as a replacement for our 500+ engineering workstations or our 1000+ business desktops, at least not yet, but Caldera's corporate orientation made them easier to get in the door.

    As an aside, media is everything. Nobody covers caldera today. So they are dead.

    Um, begging your pardon, sir, if I may speak freely--bullshit. What are we discussing right now? An article by a very respected voice in the Linux community about, um, Caldera. They aren't the largest distro by a long shot, but they know how to get the word out. Count the number of articles about Debian that have appeared on CNN, and then count the Caldera articles there. No contest.

    Are they even reading this? I doubt it.

    Wrong again. Caldera has several employees who are regular Slashdot readers, and Freshmeat, and even User Friendly. Yes, they have aimed more at the big corporate markets than the other distros--are those the circles in which you travel? If not, maybe that's why you have this perception that they're weak. But believe me, they have a rep there.

    You are correct that they have not courted the "general" community very well, and that has hurt them. But they're not the total fools you seem to think they are, either.

  • So what if it tries to mount an audio cd? Surely it should be smart enough to figure that it has no data track, and leave the contents empty?

    Or do what jo-schmo expects (from experience with Win9x & MacOS) and fake a directory of track names. Maybe even fake them as raw audio files. It would make ripping a lot easier...;)

    Autorun however, you can leave right out.
  • Caldera has several employees who are regular Slashdot readers, and Freshmeat, and even User Friendly. Yes, they have aimed more
    at the big corporate markets than the other distros

    But they haven't been successful at it. That was my point.

    But believe me, they have a rep there.

    They have a rep where? Really.......I've been following the tech media for months now, and I've yet to read a single news article extolling the virtues of Caldera. If they have a PR agency, it's doing a horribly crappy job. If they have people who are members of the /. or FSF community, I have yet to see them. If they are reading this, maybe they can reply, but I doubt they will, and it simply proves my point - they are out of touch.
  • Sure, COL is now easier to install than Windows. So what? You do that once in the life of your system if you're lucky, only a few times if you're not. Contrast that with the thousands of hours of computing that you'll do after the install, and it gets to be quite funny.

    There are two objections to this argument. One good, one bad.

    Firstly, Installation is the first point at which your software product affects it's eventual user. Regardless of how easy it actually is, or how powerfull, First Impressions Last. In my opinion, this is the lesson Microsoft learned early - go on admit it, Windows installations *look* great. For counter-examples, see the OS/2 installer up to version 3 (Warp). Disfunctional, part-graphic, part-text, split into phases almost arbitarily, and requiring continuous care & attention from the user. And then, almost impossible to get to once installed to make tweaks.

    Second counter-argument is that this isn't a perfect world. Any Windows user knows that sooner or later they're going to have to re-install at least part of their OS. Do you want them to fear that experience, or feel confident they can negotiate that minefield?

    It's perfectly reasonable to point out in response to this that that RPM, Lizard et al tackle the first point adequately, and that Linux / *BSD aren't as fragile / desirous of a reboot as their Windows counterparts.

    Both examples I think re-inforce the point that yes, in theory installation should be a one-off fire & forget experience, but the practice is that these are living, changing systems that are evolving to meet the needs of the real world. And more power to them!


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can you say Debian? Dpkg and apt-* are wonderful. You just say "apt-get update" and it updates it list of software on the sites you've told it, then, to install one, you either a) use dselect and interactively find the one you want, autodetecting and negotiating dependancies/conflicts/suggestions/etc interactively, or b) type apt-get install ??? to automatically get the software with little to no interaction except configuring newly installed software. I *really* wish RedHat would see the value of .deb over .rpm, because .rpm just doesn't cut it... IMHO.
  • Sure the installer and is whiz-bangy... and I'm sure it's easy if you have a standard system. However the lack of choices can make it very difficult. I tried installing it on my laptop (Toshiba Satellite) and the default install didn't set up my display properly.. and didn't let me dink with it so I could get it to work... (which involved simply setting the default resolution to the same as the installer used) and of course it boots in X by default, so I'd boot up into a nice black screen. The silly thing is that it would've worked if it had just installed the other resolutions... Sure, I could've probably figured a work around eventually... but that sure ain't no easy install...
  • Emphasis on sounds like.
    When I first heard about Caldera, it sounded like a wet dream. I went out and bought 2.2 and realized it wasn't anywhere near a wet dream, not even an erotic fantasy.
    The installation and video detection were the only pluses. That, and the bundled RPMs (which were all corrupted to some extent).
    CALDERA'S SUPPORT IS A WASTE OF TIME. Pardon my shouting, but it's true. If you have a problem, so do they; they don't know how to help. My modem was detected during the installation but didn't work worth a damn. My sound card was ignored completely. The COAS was also a big plus but I'm not sure if the modules even loaded in right.
    Now, I'm relatively new to Linux, and I'll give all the beginners here the advice nice people on /. have given me: Slackware [slackware.com]. If you want to learn Linux, Slackware is the way to go (except for the libc stuff and I still have no sound or internet connection). I've had more fun messing with Slackware than I did staring at the Caldera log on prompt in KDE (which was loads of fun, let me tell you : )
    I'd love to try OpenLinux 2.3, but I'm just too happy having CONTROL over my operating system with Slackware.
    Oh yeah, and Mandrake sounds promissing, but again...

  • What apps exactly doesn't Linux have?

    The only thing I miss from not booting into Windows is Blizzard Games! (The other thing is sound editing utilities, but I don't do that)

  • If you want to learn a lot - Slackware; If you just want to do it and have it work and be easy to deal with - Red Hat; If you want to play tetris during the install and then watch KDE crash - COL; If you don't care how hard the install is but want a zillion packages - SuSE; If you want a zillion, slightly outdated packages - Debian;

    My experiances with COL have all been bad. It screws up all kinds of things, and crashes almost as much as Windows 3.1 running MSWord 2000 though Win32s.

  • It's weird you should say that you've never had problems with the source in Caldera, because thats the reason I stopped using it. I couldn't get a single thing to compile, not just library errors, but crazy errors that appear out of no where. It seems to me that most people I've talked to agree that Caldera has some issues with compiling.


  • I agree - SuSE is sweet once you get it working, but getting it working though YaST is a challenging task at best.

  • You can run windowmaker normally, just set up another session type "WindowMaker" that executes "wmaker" instead of "gnome-session" --- read the documentation for GDM, and look around in your /etc/X11/xdm and /etc/X11/gdm directories.

  • ... That I've used. I've used all the Windows crap, I've installed/upgraded MacOS, I've used a TON of different Linux Distro's. OpenLinux 2.3 is the easiest and most capable Install of an OS, ever.

    The only thing it couldn't do was have two device drivers of the same type running. I had two NE2K ethernet cards, and it didn't like that very much. It installed one, recognized the other, but told me that it couldn't install the other card. I swapped one out for a 3c509 and voila! Found and configured both of them perfectly. MS sucks ass in comparison to this install.

    If I had a friend who wanted to try Linux, who knew a little about computers, this is the Distro I'd reccomend.

    Caveat: I haven't tried Redhat 6.1 yet.

  • Lizard's GPL'd, make it do what you want it to do.

  • OpenLinux 2.3 addresses every single problem you just listed.

    1)Setting up Xserver is cake. It does all the work for you. The hardest part is choosing your monitor out of the list. Once it has the info, it gives you a slew of configuration options. All you do is point and click.

    2)Setting up sound on COL 2.3 was a snap. I didn't do anything, it just worked all by itself. Hella easier than NT.

    3)You don't have to mount a CD in KDE unless you want to access it via the command line. If you use the graphical interface, it automounts for you, just like MS.

  • It's the distro I use. Everything Petreley said about it is true. I don't know why RedHat gets so many kudos for "ease of use", but Caldera deserves them.
  • Well, finally, someone who appriciates COL. I borrowed the cd from my friend a few days ago, and its light-years ahead of debian(although debian is more secure). I found your mouse,video card, sound card, drive partitions. This thing puts nt's installer to shame, and the tetris game while it installs is just icing on the cake. Although GNOME looks better, KDE is more functional and more stable for me. I disagree with anyone who recomends redhat/mandrake to anyone who is just starting linux. COL has what it takes to do well in the mainstream buisiness market too.

  • I had reason to install Caldera 2.3 yesterday (on a new laptop I'd just bought). This wasn't my first laptop install, or my first linux install; I've been running it as my main OS since 1994.

    The laptop, a Sony Vaio 304, came with Windows 98 pre-installed. Stick the Caldera 2.3 CD in under windows and you get treated to the usual multimedia presentation -- with a rather business- oriented spin; it's quite obvious that Caldera are going for the newbie business market rather than the experienced or technical market.

    (It's noteworthy, howver, that their pitch seems to be moving away from the corporate end of things and towards the guerilla networking idea; "how can I infiltrate linux into my corporation?" was the main theme, far as I could tell.)

    Anyway. Partition Magic did its job, and very well; my main quibble is that it offers some fixed partition size options, none of which exactly corresponded to what I wanted: a "custom" option (specify Mb of disk space to provide for linux) would have been handy.

    Following the inevitable reboot into Caldera's installer, things ran smoothly. It didn't detect my NeoMagic audio chipset, but then, that particular chipset isn't supported by anyone -- OSS claim they'll have a driver in a month or so. Nor did it detect the new power management system the Vaio uses (not APM, far as I can tell). And of course there's no support for FireWire yet (one of the Vaio's features). On the other hand, it got the NeoMagic video drivers right first time, and left me at the end of the installation with a minimally usable GUI-based linux installation.

    Some things did go wrong. First and most noticable was LILO; it didn't set me up to dual-boot automatically. This took me ten seconds to fix, but was most irritating and would be a hurdle for a real beginner to cope with -- one that might induce panic when they realised that they couldn't get at Windows at all. A second problem was with swap space; /etc/fstab didn't get an entry for the swap partition it had created. (This problem also cropped up in an earlier insteall of COL 2.2 on my desktop machine.)

    Installation of the commercial packages is fairly easy, aided by a web-based installer page; they've obviously been paying attention.

    The upshot of all this is that I would normally have spent a day doing this job: repartition, install Linux distro, install X server, add StarOffice and Netscape, get it smoothly dual-booting. The Caldera install to that point took only about two hours (including subsequent fixing of minor niggles); a vast improvement. If I can get the APM and sound issues solved, then get my ethernet/modem PCMCIA combo-card working (haven't tried that yet -- it's in another laptop at present), I'll be completely happy with this distro. It's not as annoyingly non-standard and managerially intrusive as SuSE ("ve haff ways of administering your system wether you like it or not!!"), and a bit smoother than Red Hat (I'm having real, er, fun with a 6.0 install right now).

    If I have one issue with COL, it's that it leaves things out in the interests of providing a consistent experience. Consistency is important for new users; the toolbox mindset that can cope with, say, bits of different MTAs on the same distribution, is not widespread among the people Caldera are trying to sell this product to. On the other hand, things like Pine not being part of the default packages that are installed is annoying. I'd like to see a custom install option, that is at least as flexible as Red Hat's outline-based pick-an-rpm system. Just out of selfishness, you understand.

    Petreley is mostly right; Caldera OpenLinux is very slick, and with something like WINE or a commercial Windows app-emulator added in, it is a genuine killer for corporate types who want to use a Linux system without losing access to Windows or having to teach themselves lots of new stuff. For the rest of us? I want a solid, reliable workhorse of a laptop, which is why I put Caldera on it. (For bleeding- edge stuff I have a test machine.) It's really a distro for people who have a job to do: and whether you love it or hate it depends on your reasons for running it.

  • I agree with DrZaius on this one -- FreeBSD is a painless install. On the Linices, I like SuSE.
  • SuSE is now my favorite Linux install from CD-ROM. Yast (the SuSE installer) has come a long way. Though few purists would keep using it to do routine sysadmins tasks (adding users, ifconfig, etc...) it is quick and effective.
  • Other than one bad problem with the install code, I'm quite happy with Caldera 2.3 and am going to be trying Mandrake 6.1 soon.

    The problem I found was at the end of the installation where you can play Tetris. If you leave the computer idle long enough for the screen to go blank, the installation process crashes and the monitor will never wake up.
  • Do you really think that *every* single monitor is listed in that list???

    No. But no OS is going to have every monitor in existence available. Monitor specs vary, even when the model number is the same. Your monitor has no chipset that is significant to the OS.

    With Linux, you have the opportunity to input your own monitor stats, straight out of your montiors manual (which is what I had to do also). I konw of no other GUI system that allows you to do this.

    Right now, it leaves you in nobody's land should you fail to install your monitor.

    if you just hit return through the whole process without stipulating any spoecific Info, OpenLinuc 2.3 would give you a 640x480x256 screen, which is not "Nobody's Land" are you sure you were using this Distribution?

    Why is it so hard???
    I don't think it's very hard at all with OpenLinux 2.3(which is what we're talking about on this thread). It seems hard because it asks you more than other OSes ask because it is so flexible. With the X-servers, you can create your own screen sizes and modes. You can do tons of things that are beyond the capabilites of new users, like yourself. Take the time to learn how to use the OS and either you'll go back to Mac OS, or you'll be in hog heaven.

    From your descriptions I don't think you're using OpenLinux 2.3, that's what my previous post was about. That distro and that distro alone.

  • one more soul saved...
  • I'm a bit confused about why everybody's talking about this one. Did I download a crapped up copy? My RH6.1 install is the same as the RH6 install... text based, easy, etc, but not new... what's going on? This has been there since before 5.2
  • Sounds like you left power conservation on in your BIOS. Shut it down before you install. Leave it off for less trouble in your life.

  • Certain Lotus 1-2-3 users hit the 640K barrier pretty hard early on. (A early expanded memory spec was called "LIM", for Lotus, Intel, and Microsoft. Note that IBM was MIA.)

    Although, to Gates' credit, you have to remember he was shilling a product that ran on hardware limited to 640K. Slashdot folks like to forget that Gates functions more of a marketeer and promoter than the all knowing leader of all computing.

    Anyways, seeing ye olde Bill-and-640K story about once a week on Slashdot, I have to snicker - after all, 2 GB ought to be a the largest file anyone would need on a 32-bit system!
  • It's a recurring theme that people who install Linux on Laptops have a lot of trouble. I have an old Thinkpad 755CE that I run Linux on, and getting that running properly was a bitch monkey, to say the least.

    It seems to me that Laptop users have more specialized hardware that is not supported by the larger distro's straight out of the box. I have a suggestion:

    How about a Linux distribution, specifically designed for Laptops?

    It would place emphasis on autodetecting power-management schemes, various LCD screens, weird video chipsets, PCMCIA cards(a perennial pain in the ass), &cet.

    I don't know enough to start a project like this, but would be interested in contributing what I can.

  • A fresh installation of Linux doesn't install my Zyxel ISDN adapter as an example, and what about my Palm III?

    I can't say as far as your Zyxel ISDN adapter, but I don know that OpenLinux 2.3 installed Palm support software straight out of the box.

    I use my Palm 3 with it all the time.I think they're trying to make Linux more attractive to the Business crowd, which means it must include Palm support.

  • First, my qualifications: I am the world's least intuitive computer user. My iMac regularly crashes. It took me three days to install Win98, and a lot of household disharmony besides. I shout at my computers a lot. I've flubbed (though eventually installed) several flavors of Linux on various machines, as well as WinNT, Win95 and the aforementioned '98. Basically, I am no one you want near a computer unless you are a genius at fixing arcane problems that I don't know how I caused. After a few years of messing with Linux, I must admit that my level of knowledge is perhaps closer to Newbie than, say, your average 8-year-old with a month of Linux experience. I wish I were exaggerating, but I am the one all those Dummies books were written for, and I often wish they had one for even dumber people.

    Now, ehough of the self-deprecation: I run Mandrake 6.1 on my machine (K6 233, 160(not a typo) MB of RAM), and for the past few months have had 6.0. I have not tried SuSE, and haven't tried the new Caldera (I had no luck with the 2.2, though -- I never got it on, despite the slick interface).

    I consider Mandrake a flat-out miracle of engineering and design, with hats (ha ha) off also to Red Hat for providing the basis.

    Mandrake auto-detected both fairly-recent (ATi XPERT@Play 98) and oldish (some random 2-meg card) video cards, cheap internal modem, all drives, etc.

    The default is KDE, but there's Gnome as well. kppp allowed me to set up an Internet connection relatively painlessly. (Read the first paragraph, and then realize that it still took me a while to figure out, but hey -- it was easier than Windows by an order of magnitude.)

    Again, I have not tried several other of the current distros to make a comparison (they might be as good, dso on't take this as knocking the new Caldera, or recent Slackware, or ...), but I would definitely suggest Mandrake as easier than Red Hat and a good option for a first-time installer interested in getting a working Linux system quickly. (A lot of Slashdotters are big fans of Slackware, and if you're willing to face a steeper learning curve, it might be more *educational* to put that on instead. It took me a *long* time to figure out the installation, but that was a few years ago and it's matured a lot since then!)

    And, if you are installing Linux for the first time, take a few hours and create as complete a picture (on paper) of your system's vital stats as you can -- remember, you'll need things like your monitor's V- and H-frequencies or frequency ranges, current information about how your hard drive is partitioned (this is important if you plan to dual-boot ... one nice thing about not using Windows at all is the ease with which you can face reformatting at install time.:)

    Also, I'd suggest at least skimming some books before you commit yourself to restarting with a boot floppy in the drive ... Matt Walsh's Running Linux is excellent, and now in it's 3rd edition ... and perhaps you've bought a book / distro combination -- some of those are very good too, like RedHat Linux Unleashed.

    Good luck! Save existing files you want to have later somewhere safe! Hang up a punching bag to aim your energy at in the event of frustration! Dissolve! Dissolve! Okay!

  • I personally use SuSe and I love it. I think the installation was fairly easy but left enuf room for customization. I used to use RH, and I have tried Mandrake and Caldera. Yes, the Caldera is simple to install, but I had odd problems with it (like it wanted to tell me that LPT1 was on IRQ -1) and I thought it was slow. Same with RH and Mandrake, they both seemed slow on my machine. THen when I put SuSE on (first 6.1 now 6.2) everything went great. It flies and works great. I think that SuSE is a GREAT company and I would definatly back them if and when they go live...

    -Lynch Man
  • Is this the same Caldera Linux i have a slightly older distro of that didn't have "finger" or "pine", and refused to find any sort of network card? I've gotten much further in RH 6.0. I only had to isntall that twice, since it hung on starting the sendmail daemon for infinity.
  • I don't agree the "mount thing" is useless. I really like being able to mount a Win98 VFAT partition, or mount it read-only, or not mount it all. It's a slight hassle with floppies and CDs I'll grant you. But the system really needs to know when, where, and how a removable device is available. Several good options for more transparency are available and being developed it seems. I don't want to lose the detailed control over mounting file systems Linux provides though.

    If Caldera automounts floppies and CD's from the desktop that suits me about perfectly.
  • by Chas ( 5144 )

    I initially started out on RH 5.0. Was great. Worked nice, and was really stable.

    I upgraded to 6.0 right after it came out. BIG MISTAKE. It had major problems with my cablemodem service. And, even after upgrading the Pump package and trying to just use straight DHCP, I STILL couldn't get it to come up online.

    Then came the round-robin Linux installs. Wasn't really impressed by Mandrake (which also wasn't working). Shelled out for a copy of SuSE. SuSE was kinda BEASTLY to install (YAST has a long way to go before it's as easy as the OLD RH installer was). That and I found that the Intellimouse drivers in SuSE 6.2 didn't work with my OEM Intellimouse.

    So I snagged one of these Teach Yourself Linux books that had a copy of COL 2.2 with it.

    Let's just say I was MIGHTILY impressed with Lizard. It's the easiest OS install I've ever had. Just sucks the doors off RH and blows out Windows so thoroughly that it's not even funny.

    Was still having the problems with my OEM Intellimouse though. So I snagged a retail copy of COL 2.3. Wonder of wonders, EVERYTHING WORKED!

    Now before I sound like I'm completely a COL-dog, I DID have some problems with COL 2.3. Compared to other distros like RH, it's "full install" is sparse. Compared to SuSE's "if it runs on Linux, it's installed!" full setup, it seems like a kernel-only install.

    Upon looking to a mailing list for help with KSIRC, I found that it was damn near idle and a goodly number of people responded that they'd switched to X-Chat.

    Also, I was having MAJOR problems with error messages in COL. Sometimes I'd open something up and get a endless string of EM's that's proceed to grind the machine to a reboot-forcing halt. Also, trying to get the updated RPM's from Caldera's site, or one of there mirrors was a joke and a half.

    Finally, disgusted with the problems I'd been having, I snagged a copy of RH 6.1 (Cartman) and installed that. Few problems.

    For some reason, the ISO I have only installs a specific setup. Wether I select Gnome Workstation, KDE Workstation, Webserver, or Custom install, I would get an identical setup with a small selection of packages (was able to install other packages later). That sorta cheesed me off. Am also cheesed that the new update manager required a ID number (which you can only get by buying the RH retail package).

    On the whole, Linux is improving rapidly. Unfortunately, several ugly little conventions are creeping in (like the update ID thing).

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Agreed.

    I've installed FreeBSD a few weeks ago. The setup is similar to the different Linux Distros. And the package management (/usr/ports) isn't really that much different than moving from rpm to deb. In fact I'd say the ports are easier to use than both. Instead of fiddling with a new program (dselect) or fiddling w/ syntax (apt) or hunting RPMs it is based on things you are already familiar with - directories and Make.

    wmaker dropped in without problems and if I didn't use different themes in deb partition I wouldn't have a clue about which I was running.

    Of course it seems really easy to set-up etc.. However, I think Linux experience helped out tremendously.

    I think the FreeBSD community would be well serviced by a quickstart guide for Linux users.


    In Linux In FreeBSD
    ls ls
    cp cp
    pwd pwd
    vi vi
    netscape netscape
    startx startx
    dselect cd /usr/ports

    Naturally the popularity of Linux is creating a lot of apps for all the free nixes out there.
  • Hey agreed! I've tried Caldera, Debian and Slackware. And I still prefer Slackware due to it minimalist design. It doesn't pretend to be user friendly and do stupid things you don't want it to do. Debian's dselect package installation was a little pain but otherwise, the vast programs available rules.

    Worst of all Redhat and Caldera like distributions are gradually stripping away those items hardcore users have grown so fond to, and leave us with just the GUI install and maintainence.

    No I'm not against Caldera and any other GUI user friendly distributions, just that they should keep the "hardcore user" option available and not try to hide things from the user.
  • 1) It's definitely easier than it was under Slackware 2.0 :-) However, if you don't have the listed hardware, or you're trying to do something a little unusual (like use the VGA out port on a Dell Latitude CPi), it can get challenging quickly.

    2) Looks like you bought a SoundBlaster(TM). My first few installs were with an Aztech Nova16. When I decided to switch over to Linux fulltime, my first action was to go buy a real SoundBlaster. If you have a funky clone card, sound is a major PITA.

    3) Quite nice :-)

  • You must be aware you're looking for Debian, with its .deb format and particularly, apt utilities...
    In particular, this link [debian.org] explains the differences fairly well. Being able to set up a list of sites with unstable and stable distributions and contrb / main / binary / non-free / non-US subdirectories, combine a list of package versions from them all, and then whenever you want to install something, 'apt-get install package' will do the job - INCLUDING dependencies.

    At least RPM 3 has the ability to cope with HTTP URLs on the commandline - even if you do have to paste them in by hand....
  • Kind of like the old doom menu (sorry - not up on the games)

    Install options:
    [ ] I'm just a child
    [ ] Hurt me a little
    [ ] Hurt me plenty
    [ ] Knee deep in the tgz
    [ ] mkdir /etc; mkdir /etc/rc.d
  • by dublin ( 31215 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @05:17AM (#1603466) Homepage
    Then I doubt seriously that you've been following the tech media for more than two months.

    I've been following Caldera's progress for several years now (since it was a rogue project in Novell, even), and if you'd been paying any attention, you might even have found several of the posts I made right here about the surprising quality, stability, and incredible ease of installation of the 2.2 release. It's not perfect, and Caldera (as do other Linuxes) has a long way to go, but it's really quite good, and a very solid product.

    Although it's anathema to those here who take their distro choices religiously rather than seriously, a very good case can be made that Caldera is the best Linux distro for corporate deployment on either the server or desktop side.

    Caldera seems to rub some folks here the wrong way because it's a well-integrated distro rather than the Linux Construction Kits favored by some of the developer community. Caldera is not for everyone (that's why we have multiple distros!), but they have an excellent chance of becoming one of (if not the) predominant mainstream distros.

    Finally, I find that most of the Caldera-haters here on /. have either never tried Caldera, or they tried it quite some time ago. Give it a fair try now, and I think you'll see it's the only distro at the moment that can even attempt to seriously challenge Microsoft.

  • Simply making a better product won't win the war, as so many dead software companies have proven.

    This is true for anyone who competes with Microsoft, but it's not true for the intra-Linux competition (i.e. RedHat vs Caldera vs SUSE, etc).

    The only thing that distinguishes one distro from another is happy users. It's just too easy to download a different distro if the one you have doesn't suit you.

    Not too long ago I was shopping for another distro. I had been a slackware user, but I was getting tired of .tgz packaging. I started with Caldera because they were the easiest to download off the net and install off the net. I created the boot floppies, and then did an NFS install over the net.

    But I soon discovered that the number of packages available for Caldera were few in comparison to the number available for Red Hat. So, I downloaded a new set of boot floppies, and rebuilt. I used Red Hat 5.2 for a few months until I tried to install gnome and enlightenment. I was able to do this, but keeping it up to date was an incredible pain!

    I have settled on Debian. Not because I think that Debian has great PR. And not because I think that Debian's image in the community is immaculate, but because it is by far the easiest distro to use and keep up to date.

    My point is this: product quality is the only thing that matters when price is not a factor. I respect your ideas, but I think you're really stuck in the microsoft model for getting users, and I don't think it applies to Linux.

  • Thanks! I'll take a closer look at this. It's really the only reason why I don't have OpenLinux 2.3 on my current workstation at home. The Mandrake 6 let me install over two drives while the OpenLinux 2.3 would only let me do one drive or the other but not both.
  • P.S. I didn't see this option the first time but I will look again - Thanks!
  • I'd been holding off on Linux for a while; COL 2.2 looked tempting (easy install from Windows!), but the version of Partition Magic that came with it couldn't cope with large hard drives. When I saw new, improved COL 2.3, I couldn't resist any longer, and grabbed it as soon as it appeared in the UK.

    OK, call me naive, I should have checked around a bit more first, but I believed the blurb; just bear in mind I'm a complete Linux newbie (the main reason I'd gone for COL 2.3). So, first things first, ran Partition Magic, set up a 1.6Gb partition. Popped in the install CD, pointed it at the new partition... no. Partition went past the 1024th cylinder of the HD. Install wouldn't go any further. Poked around a bit in a bunch of docs, went to the 'expert' option, managed to get a partition entirely under 1024 cylinders just big enough for a minimal install.

    Still, at least it'll autodetect the graphics and sound card... won't it? I'd had a quick peek at the compatibility list for XFree 3.3.4, seen a huge list of ATI cards, figured mine (ATI Rage Magnum), or something compatible, was in there. Stupid mistake, should've made sure, I know, but the Rage Magnum isn't supported at all, so I get KDE in 640 x 480. My soundcard's a Soundblaster Live Value, fairly common, that should be OK (couldn't find a "Sound" section on the Caldera hardware compatibility list to check)... no. Bit more poking round reveals Creative aren't playing ball, you'll have to use beta drivers from their site if you want sound.

    So there I am with KDE in 640 x 480 (almost completely unusable) on a tiny partition with hardly anything but the kernel installed. Wooo! To cut a long story short, I grabbed every doc I could get my hands on, and managed to set up a small boot partition under the 1024th cylinder, a 256Mb swap partition, and 3Gb for everything else, letting me do a decent install from scratch. I got the ATI Rage Magnum drivers for XFree from the SuSE site, and got KDE up in 1024x768 at a decent colour depth. Still haven't got the Soundblaster Live going, but hey, got to leave something exciting for the future (and Creative say they're working on a lovely full-featured easy to install driver...) I'll leave the modem and KPPP for a particularly dull weekend...

    I probably got unlucky, with a nightmare hardware combo. If I had a smaller, dedicated Linux HD and a different video and sound card, I probably would have been up and running in 15 minutes. On the plus side, had everything gone smoothly, I wouldn't have learned a fraction of what I have about partitioning, mounting, linking etc etc (clouds and silver linings, I guess).

    My point (if indeed there is one) is that it might be a tad early to start trumpeting COL 2.3 as "a winner, no matter where your needle rests on the Linux experience-o-meter." Maybe COL 2.3 supports 90% of PC hardware, but until it gets to 99% (or, in a utopian dreamworld, 100%) I wouldn't recommend it for Average Joe to install on his home desktop (whether this is a good or a bad thing, I leave to a lengthy Katzian thesis from someone else...)
  • I recently had to install RH 6.1 on a newly wiped machine. Ugh!

    The 6.1 installer reminds me of Windows. It's very buggy if you choose any non-default options. I kept getting dropped into the Python debugger, until I started deferring to the installers default suggestions. This is a real problem that could tarnish Linux' reputation, since RH is, in the US, the leading distro. Until RH addresses this issue, I think I'll be recommending Caldera to the newbies.

    On the other hand, I did successfully install RH 6.1, while setup of Win NT ad Win 98 kept swooning on this machine (which is why I installed Linux so I could run NT under vmware!)

  • >Buffering data and collecing writes together
    >increases performance, and that wouldn't be
    >possible is you could just eject the damn thing
    >anytime you pleased!

    This was one of the bestthings about the long-lost mac floppies. Physical ejection was under program control, giving a chance to unmount (which to varying degrees at different times, macos did).

    Somewhere along the way I saw a pc with similar drives, but it seems to have been lost along the way . . .
  • I've seen it happen twice, once on my K6, and once on my thinkpad. For no apparent reason, its fdisk shifts the labels of all of the partitions up by one. Fortunately, I didn't have a partition 4 either time . . .
  • However, if you don't have the listed hardware, or you're trying to do something a little unusual (like use the VGA out port on a Dell Latitude CPi), it can get challenging quickly.

    Not really. If you've got video working at all, then it makes no difference whether you're going to the screen or the VGA port. Once the X server is on good terms with the NeoMagic controller in the CPi, then you're set. Just use the BIOS hot key (Fn-F7 I think - anyway, it's the one with the little picture of the CRT on it) to toggle display output from screen to CRT to both. The only thing that might be tricky is finding a way to switch from LCD to CRT under software control, but this is problematic even under Windows and still requires custom software for each particular machine, since there's no standard API for making the call to change that. The BIOS hot-key is handier anyway.

    Oh, and I speak with some authority on this as I was Dell's Program Manager for Software for Latitude and Inspiron when the CPi was released. So far as I know, I was the first person to ever install Linux on a CPi (a few months before it went on sale), and as a matter of fact, it was Caldera!
  • Just a few days ago we had a /. item [slashdot.org] on the code fork potential in Linux, in which Caldera was pointed out by Bob Young of Red Hat as possibly causing a problem due to their extensive use of third-party proprietary tools.
  • Actually I've said earlier that I had a problem with Linux (the first distro I tried was the RedHat5.0 CD I had for my old machine) detecting my larger than 8.5 gig hard drive correctly. (this problem is also in partition magic and various other utilities I tried to get to format an ext2 file partition for me.) I tried Caldera 2.0 I think it was, it was the first one with the whole fully graphical install thing. The install looked real sweet and easy, but it didn't detect my hard drive correctly either, so desperate to get away from windows I downloaded all of FreeBSD (over a 56k connection) and installed it. It worked with the hard drive beautifully. FreeBSD wasnt't exactly what I was looking for in a desktop OS though and although I much prefered it to Windows I still wanted Linux again, so I finally figured out that I would just have to manually alter the geometry of the drive to get it to detect the right size.
    My long-winded point is that if one of the distro's hasn't already fixed this problem then they might alienate would be Linux users. As I said I don't really blame the distros because Partition Magic even suffered, but I just think it is something that needs to be addressed if it hasn't already. There has already been one Windows guy posting here complaining about having to type 'startx' to get X11 started. Certainly people like him aren't going to want to play with drive geometries.

  • I know RH, TurboLinux and Debian have gotten injections of funds from the big corporates, but what about Caldera, SuSE and the other distrbutions?

    Prolly happens, just I (or the public) never hear much about it... (or people don't make as much fuss about it, which is the same thing really).

    So, I suppose the question is.. who is investing in Linux Distributions, and where? Does anyone keep track of all this?

    Spose this is a little off topic, but I'd like to see Caldera and SuSE get some backing like RH and the like. They all do very useful stuff for the Linux community in general, and it's nice to see them getting a helping hand occasionly. (It also tends to put off those who believe RH is taking over Linux! But that's another story.)
  • by Foaf ( 1882 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @10:14PM (#1603502) Homepage
    More importantly Caldera left out a whole bunch of window managers.

    IMHO this is the best thing they could have done. When I first started using Linux I would play with the different options that appeared when I right clicked on the root window. I don't know how many times during this initial exploration of my new Linux environment did I manage to completely change how everything looked and worked. More often than not there was no obvious way to change it back.

    By bundling only KDE Caldera have acknowledged that one UI is better than lots. They have realised that the geeks who want the flexibility will probably be willing to either:

    • download a different WM
    • get one off another CD
    • create their own themes
    • any or all of the above
    Congratulations Caldera for having the sack to pick something and stick to it.
    --------------------------------------------- ----------
  • Warning: this isn't totally related to Caldera; but Caldera and Nick's experiences with it illuminate the issues herein.

    From the article (emphasis mine):

    I discovered later that Caldera includes Pine in the /col/contrib/RPMS directory, whence I eventually installed it. But first I tried to install Pine from my Mandrake 6.1 CD-ROM. The Mandrake Pine RPM complained that my ncurses libraries were too old. I tried to upgrade the ncurses libraries from the Mandrake CD-ROM, but that RPM refused to work because it couldn't find other libraries upon which it depends.

    The RPM file was mistaken -- the libraries were there. It just couldn't find them. This is a common problem you run into when you try to mix and match RPM installations from different distributions. It's a relatively easy problem to solve (you can use an RPM option like --nodeps, for example), but it can be frustrating if you don't know what you're doing. And it doesn't help to improve Linux's image as far as perceived compatibility between distributions goes.

    Obviously anyone can come up with quite a large number of reasons why this particular situation exists. My personal favorite is the oft-cited "reckless abandon" with which incompatible versions of libraries are created. Honestly, though, it really doesn't matter. The package management system should make this transparent.

    RPM seems to have become the crown prince of package management because it (a) has most of its sh*t together and (b) by virtue of being in what is widely regarded as the single most popular Linux-based distro out there. Many have even argued that it's cross-platform -- i.e. given RPM packages compiled for any system other than Linux, it will work on said system. (And to a degree, it does.)

    Unfortunately, even with all the standards in the universe, there just plain are too many things that differ between system A and system B. Red Hat and Mandrake have not had to deal with this on too large of a scale because Mandrake is a direct derivative (and I am operating from hearsay here -- I have not yet had the opportunity to use Mandrake) of Red Hat. But as more and more distributions out there use RPM, we will start to discover more and more inconsistencies that perhaps RPM just isn't up to.

    Ah, but this is the world of open source. :-) We can change these things, either by modifying RPM, another system, or by creating a new one altogether with bits and pieces.

    An ideal package system would be able to read some sort of platform spec file (or perhaps query an interactive spec program?) and determine just where libraries are supposed to be, for starters. It would ask the same spec where to get those libraries if they weren't around. (You could always do the Microsoft thing and include the libs you needed with your package, but I thought we were trying to get *away* from waste) :-) Along those lines, library packages -- or any others pulled in automatically as dependencies -- could also be marked as "dependency-only" and removed or possibly archived when no longer depended on.

    One thing RPM does well, though, and I wish more open source projects did -- it maintains the ability to run on the command line, in batch mode. Graphical programs run on top of it. We must never lose that delineation.

  • Do you really think that *every* single monitor is listed in that list??? I personally have a PowerComputing 17" monitor, and it is *not* listed anywhere in that list. Nor do I know the chipset. When I first installed, I did not know the timing specifications either. The way I found out was to run a program in the MacOS that gave me the timings. I then converted them to the backward specifications the various configuration tools use (each is different) and I finally had the modeline I wanted. That was a lot of trouble.

    What should be done is to have a recommended menu of screen sizes -- like the MacOS or Windows or BeOS or any other decent gui OS. If it cannot detect the correct timings, then it should tell you and interactively work with you to get it working. Right now, it leaves you in nobody's land should you fail to install your monitor. Why is it so hard???

  • I had many problems installing COL2.2, onto a dual boot with 98. But the most interesting was that when I selected my Linux partition in the COL setup, it placed the root dir on my Windows partition!!! Exactly the opposite of what I had selected. I would have lost my StarCraft save games!! :) I must get it going under Wine some day. So I remain using Linux fdisk for maximizing my options. Hell I boot off the Mandrake CD to run fdisk for NT installs to place swap partitions at the beginning of drives. ;) I purchased COL2.2 because I wanted to support Caldera in their quest to shaft Mega$haft, plus the added bonus of showing friends and colegues how easy Linux can be to set up. When I signed onto the COL mailing list I was not surprised to see many people with other strange problems. It seems that there were different (hush hush) version of the COL2.2 CD's. Anyway, I started with Red Hat 5.0, then RH5.2, COL2.2 and now Mandrake 6.0. I'm sticking with Mandrake. Fast and stable. PS. You know you have troubles on a COL install when it gets to 900% and counting!
  • by Lucius Lucanius ( 61758 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @10:32PM (#1603529)
    Quick! Name a Caldera employee! OK....now, name a redhat employee. See what I mean?

    In open source software, momentum to harness enthusiasm is everything. This includes media momentum, developer momentum, slashdot momentum, USENET momentum. Try this thought experiment - how many posts about Redhat can you remember reading in the past week? Now...how many posts about Caldera can you remember? My guess is, not many.

    Redhat has a close relationship with the community. It knows how to play the media, even if it stumbles over IPO embarrassments. OTOH, Caldera seems to put on the cloak of Yet Another Corporation. At least, that's the impression I get.

    I bought a book with a caldera CD a couple of yrs ago. For some reason, I got the impression that Caldera was trying to differentiate itself from the linux community by portraying itself as "Commercial" and not just a freebie company. Maybe this is an unfair characterization, but that's the impression I got.

    This strategy is not new. Every other month, a company tries to portray itself as superior because it doesn't depend on the services of freebie programmers; it has its own skilled workforce. If anybody from such companies is reading this, let me repeat - this will not only screw your image in the open source community, it will not make any headlines in the commercial world.

    So what is the magic that endears a company to the open source world? Why do linux users flock to redhat or SUSE but ignore caldera? I'd say it's being in touch with the community.

    It doesn't make any sense to take a community product and hawk it with detachment. If Caldera has a clue, they need to change their attitude. Simply making a better product won't win the war, as so many dead software companies have proven.

  • by John Poole ( 102799 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @10:45PM (#1603533) Homepage

    I did my first Linux installation in over two years a couple of weeks ago, and I must admit things have improved to a point where I was able to get most stuff working fairly well. It was faster than a WinNT 4.0 install, too. There are still a couple of things that I found a wee bit arcane, though:

    1. Setting up X: It's fairly simple to get X up and running, but it's hard (as far as I can tell) to tweak it to run well. I'm still running at 60Hz, and it's painful. Modeline calculations scare me. Under Windows it's just a couple of clicks away from the Control Panel.
    2. Setting up Sound: As far as I can tell, this requires a kernel recompile. With Windows9x, the OS installs the drivers for you. With WinNT, you have to do a bit of hunting, but otherwise it's still fairly straightforward. To me, this seems easier than rebuilding your kernel, and I've a funny feeling the average user would agree with me.
    3. Mounting Drives: I need to mount my cdrom in order to use it? This I found confusing.

    Overall, I'm impressed with how far Linux has come in the past two years, but after a weekend of fiddling there are still some faults apparent. I'm sure I'll find more as I keep fiddling with Linux in my spare time (the various package mechanisms worry me), but it is getting better. I just don't agree it's as easy as Windows (overall).

  • No, Caldera is *much* more likely to include proprietary tools in their distributions. I don't know how much you know about them, but they follow the old convention of calling a product 'Open' when it isn't.

    RedHat handled the rdist thing well. If you read the Caldera review, note the proprietary tools... the OSS sound system (not lite), KDE (based on non-free Qt), Star Office 5.1 (free for non-commercial use, but generally annoying and bloated, I'd consider the registration at least nagware...)... now compare to another recent slashdot item: RMS Linux. Comparable to Debian in freeness. Hmm.

    Bob Young was pointing out a truth that should be acknowledged, and I will go one step further with this. Caldera has always wanted to be the next Microsoft. Hence the old DOS lawsuit, 'OpenDOS' (which really isn't yet), and now 'OpenLinux'.

    I'm glad they're making an easy to use distribution, and it's gotten better and more free (probably because of the community at large, not them) but I have yet to see that they're doing it for the right reasons. And since I haven't seen them do that much of anything for the right reasons yet, I don't trust them.

    RedHat, however, has earned my trust by figuring out that their users don't want or need proprietary software, and eliminating much or all of it from their distributions. (remember MetroX? Back when I had that, I tried it out. It sucked. Therefore, I use XFree86. It rocked. I never looked back. :)
  • I think you are right, but its only a problem at the moment.

    When I make a decision on what distro to use for a large internet hosting centre, I don't do it on the basis of who gives most community support, or employs known kernel hackers. I do it on the basis of which distro is best suited to the task and which distro I can get most support on (be it community support or commercial).

    At the moment RedHat have brand recognition right across the Linux spectrum from hobbyist to corporation - but they have it on the merits of Linux primarily, and RedHat secondarily.

    Let us suppose that a major company - say, Tarmac, decided it was fed up with client licenses for Windows and shifted all its planning and logistics departments onto Linux desktops - a rollout of perhaps 2000 boxes (I know nothing about Tarmac, these figues are fiction!).

    Now that would get headlines, and if they use Caldera for that rollout, suddenly things would look different. Other companies think - well, we know Caldera works for large client roll-outs - but that RedHat just seems to be used for servers. Lets go with Caldera.

    Suddenly, Caldera has a great image as the stable solid corporate distro, while RedHat is the bleeding edge server distro.

BLISS is ignorance.