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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Hardware/OS issue, but I gotta ask ...
    Any of you run Linux on your machines? I'm sure some of you do.

    I've spent the better part of two days trying a couple of DOZEN Linux distros on an ancient desktop -- and no matter what I try, which version someone recommends or speaks highly about -- I cannot get a printer installed on the old machine and have both the machine and two attached USB external hard drives, and have said printer and HDs accessible to my two Windows computers.

    I've got an old HP Vectra VL600 desktop a buddy gave me. It has, I THINK, a 733MHz Pentium III (sure about the MHz, not sure about the Pentium number) with only 128 megs of RAM and a 15 gig hard drive. I have two USB hard drives hooked to it, one a 160 gig Sea Gate, one a 320 gig Western Digital. The monitor is some sort of monster VGA eMachine thing that's about 15(?) years old.

    The Linux distros that look most user friendly, things like Ubuntu, Xbuntu, Damn Small Linux, VectorLinux, Debian, PCLinuxOS, etc., either require too much memory OR most frustrating, they seem to install, then after I watch the text streams of the install and even see some graphical stuff during install, they fail to support the monitor, it flips into "sleep" mode -- and I can't see a thing or find a way to run the darn computer.

    Sorry for the ramble. Been spending too much time struggling with this thing.

    Anybody knowledgeable about this stuff? Any suggestions??
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  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Not a Linux guy, but I'd guess that your monitor us unable to operate at the refresh rate or resolution required. Monitors react in different ways, some will show an out of range message and others will just say night night. If you have a higher quality monitor available, try swapping it as a test. Otherwise, the apps may be killing your box.



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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    Not a Linux guy, but I'd guess that your monitor us unable to operate at the refresh rate or resolution required. Monitors react in different ways, some will show an out of range message and others will just say night night. If you have a higher quality monitor available, try swapping it as a test. Otherwise, the apps may be killing your box.
    Yeah, I thought about that. On the other hand, there were two or three Linux distros that DID work with the monitor -- but they made it almost impossible to run my printer and/or share the hard drives and printer with the Windows home network.

    Ugh!

    BTW -- I'm eager to find something because the current Win XP Pro that's on the box is, um, how should I say this, not entirely legal when my buddy put it on there. Yo Ho Ho -- if you know what I mean??
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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Yep, I've seen lots of that kind of thing in my travels...



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  5. #5
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Just guessing - you may not have enough ram.

    Adding more ram seems to fix a lot of computer problems for me.

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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    Just guessing - you may not have enough ram.

    Adding more ram seems to fix a lot of computer problems for me.
    Yer absolutely right about the RAM. Gone are the days when Window will do much more than boot -- and that very slowly -- on 128 megs.

    But the problem is that it's a really junkie, almost-ready-to-gasp-and-die system as a whole, and my buddy who gave it to me explained that something really obscure about the type of RAM it uses makes it incredibly expensive to install more in the one lonely slot for upgrading RAM.

    BTW -- Just an hour or so ago, I tried to boot it up and got an error message telling me there was a mismatch on the RAM reported, i.e., the chip is failing, I suspect. I reseated it, and the message hasn't come back -- yet.

    Time to break out the begging bowl and hang around the corner a few days, see if I can raise some how-about-helping-the-old-fart-get-a-new-one computer. *sigh*
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  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    May I recommend a forum that helped me a lot when I had Linux questions. http://www.linuxquestions.org/ I still use it when needed. Plenty of helpful folks and they have a lot of the distributions for download.


  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    May I recommend a forum that helped me a lot when I had Linux questions. http://www.linuxquestions.org/ I still use it when needed. Plenty of helpful folks and they have a lot of the distributions for download.
    Do you use Linux on any of your computers, bumpaw? Curious about your experience and your opinions.

    I've decided after spending most of three days struggling with this antique hardware and Linux that I'll NEVER believe the "disciples of Linux" who tout it as the software equivalent of the Second Coming.

    In my opinion, the Linux distros (see? I'm even getting the lingo down) which would install on my old, underpowered computer 1) looked extremely "hand drawn" and amateurish as far as the interface, and, 2) with only one exception, made it incredibly difficult to figure out how to share the computer or printer on my Windows home network. Or, they simply couldn't find the home network.

    Ridiculous waste of time, no matter how enticing the "free" label on Linux may seem. Unless you're a geekier geek than I!

    FYI: I called around town and found a computer store selling towers with Windows XP Professional and specs perfectly acceptable for running my home network, printer, external storage drives, etc. Cost me $204, and I used the keyboard, mouse, and monitor from the old setup. Works great!
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  9. #9
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by writerguy
    Do you use Linux on any of your computers, bumpaw? Curious about your experience and your opinions.
    Yes I have and old PC with openSUSE 10.2. It's a Windows 2000 era machine with 128mb memory.

    I mainly use it as a development server and for the grand kids to play games on. It's my second stab at a linux distribution. I only do stuff like that to see if I can, and am not a died in the wool linux user.

    The networking was one of the harder parts, but the folks at linuxquestions helped me a couple of times and it worked. I don't really use it much anymore now that I have the WAMP server on my main PC.

    I would never advise anyone to do linux just to have a free OS. You've got to be keen to embrace the challenge and enjoy it.


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