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Re: Possibly stupid newbie questions

On Mon, 10 Dec 2001, Rohan Nicholls wrote:

>1. Is the hardware support completely to do with the linux kernel, and

Generally, yes. However, you should be aware of couple of big exceptions.
The videocard driver is in the XFree86 server. (And a minor exception,
PCMCIA-drivers are in PCMCIA-cs package. Oh well, and there are two
set of sound drivers, the kernel drivers, and ALSA, which is also an
external package).

I think the situation may be even more complex: with certain recent
video cards there may be a kernel driver in addition to the driver
in XFree86.

>so the same across all the distros, or do certain distros have more or
>less support for hardware according to their business rules?  e.g. If

Some distributions might have a special version of drivers, that other
distributions do not have. However, this very rare. More common, if
some distribution has drivers while another doesn't, they have different
versions of the driver packages (eg. older and newer version of XFree86).

Another important thing to know is that while hardware might be
automatically detected and the required drivers set up with one
distribution, with another you may need to specify explicitly what drivers
you want to use.

Debian is quite well known for its lacking autodetection. That's the
main reason why it isn't often recommended for novices.

>Red Hat had a deal with Dell would they be developing drivers of their
>own to give that support?

It is possible, especially for video drivers for which the source code
doesn't need to be released (as with MIT X license). However, more
often, even if a certain company makes the drivers, it releases the
source code which is soon integrated with the mainstream XFree server.

>2. Does Debian have a different Lilo than Red Hat, because it seemed to

A slightly different version maybe, but otherwise same. More probably
the systems have different parameters set up by default (especially
look for "linear" option).

With this RedHat 6.2, LILO allows me to put kernel image on a partition
which is too big. However, it issues a warning. Despite this, it worked
first, but when my hard disk started to fill up, the computer didn't
anymore boot after running LILO.

>3. Stupid I know, but I have wiped out the boot sector on the hard disk,

I heard lilo makes backup of the boot sector before overwriting it.
Mayber you can find the backup...

>and at the very least figure out how to read my data partition, but I
>don't seem to be able to mount them.

What happens then? What error messages you get?

>5. It has occured to me to just stay with Red Hat until I have more
>experience with Linux before diving into Debian, is this a good thought

Yes, often Debian requires a bit more experience. If RedHat works for
you, I'd advice you to stay with it.

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