Foray Into Fedora…

I have, over the past 17 years, dabbled in Linux… with mixed results.  I have tried Slackware, RedHat, SUSE, Ubuntu and many others.  Usually, my jumps from Windows to Linux are a result of Windows doing something so completely stupid, that I can’t stand to look at the logo anymore.  Inevitably, I would install the OS and spend hours even days, trying to bend things to my will.  Make the video, network, sound and all the other cards in my system work. 

This time is no different.  I have a nearly brand new computer – i386-64, Quad Core Processor.  Vista gives the entire system a rating of 5.4 (hard drive space being the detractor).  However, over the past 45 days, I have had to reinstall Vista twice.  Both times for the same reason – the hard drive just kept running.  Now normally, I’d say the hard drive running is not that big of a deal – indexing, defrags, and other functions require it.  But when that hard drive interrupts me from being able to click or do anything… we have a problem. 

I checked performance counters, I checked task manager, I even tried talking nicely to it.  NOTHING!  There was no reason for the hard drive to be spinning like it was.  (for the record, I know that the computer can’t here me…no microphone).

After the second time – and realizing I was going to have to go through it all again – I decided it was time to head down the Linux road again.  The OS itself has matured greatly in the past couple years, and support for current hardware is common.

So I made a list of things I’d need to make work:

  • The nVidia 8600 GT would have to work.
  • Network (wired) would have to work
  • Sound, I wasn’t going to play around – if it was support, that distro was off the shelf
  • Ability to install Crossover Office (so that I could run windows apps if I needed to)

Not a big list, but it narrowed things down and after careful reading, I selected Fedora 9 as the OS to install.

I hopped on my bittorrent client and downloaded the latest DVD installer began the process.  That’s when things started to go wrong.

Install went smoothly (but took forever).  When it completed, the system tried to set up XWindows – which did not work.  I found a work around: 

  su –
  rpm -Uhv
  yum -y install kmod-nvidia
  init 3
  nvidia-config-display enable

IMHO, this should have worked perfectly – but NO!  My Kernel was out of date for the kmod-nvidia.

To fix this, I have now fired off a “yum update” which will download all the updates since the Fedora 9 DVD was build.  For the configuration of applications I installed, that’s 1.1GB (490 packages).  

On a side note, Linux installs default to boot in run level 5, which is the gui.  Well – my system boots the gui to a blank screen – so I had to disable this funciton.  I had some trouble booting to single use more then switching to run level 3.  To get around this, I changed the default run level to 3, this setting can be found in /etc/inittab. 

Once the update is done, I’ll do the drivers and post back how it went.

Wish me luck… I’m going to need it.

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