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Re: Switching from SuSE



In a message dated 4/20/03 4:43:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time, peter@whysall.net writes:

On Sun, 2003-04-20 at 20:19, TyagiAnupam@aol.com wrote:
>Hi,
>
>I do not yet subscribe to this list, so please copy your reply to my
>address. I am thinking of switching from SuSE to Debian and have a few
>questions to find out if Debian is for me---I know in the long-run it
>is, but can it do a few critical tasks now.

Actually, subscribing to this list might be helpful to you. Admittedly,
it is a bit like drinking from a firehose, but if you regard it as a
searchable resource that happens to turn up in email...


Thanks! I will try to subscribe sometime later today.

>Why switching from SuSE:  I have SuSE 7.1. For most part it works
>fine, until I want to configure it, get user support (I never used it
>because I could install and use it by myself, but when I needed them
>they tell me that my support period expired---thanks!). So, first I
>ran into Winmodem problems and could not connect to the internet.
>Now, I cannot use my Linksys wireless card with it. Without this I am
>stuck with MS-Win for my internet connectivity. Without this
>connectivity, I am stuck with my current internet provider that does
>not support Linux---but why ask them for Linux when I can't use it to
>connect to internet.  I am willing to upgrade to newer SuSE, buy other
>distributions (Redhat, Mandrake) if their distributions supports my
>needs for internet connectivity. But can't find info on this on their
>website (no reply to my e-mail from Mandrake yet):  they need to hire
>better business consultants---no point advertising new features, when
>you bury the information about switching at some obscure place on the
>website. As Shapiro and Varian write (in "Information Rules")
>user-base is key to success in this market---read it, SuSE, Mandrake
>(Redhat has been doing the readings---but they don't want individual
>users, only enterprise). If Debian can handle this transition, I will
>make a contribution equivalent to my purchase of another Linux
>distribution to Debian project---I would have *subscribed* one of the
>other Linuxes, so I will subscribe to Debian---continuous flow of
>funds to support open source, open support.
>
>What I need from Debian immediately: (1) Linksys network card support
>with Linksys router/access point that is configured with a Win-XP
>computer.
What is the exact model of your network card? The router should be
irrelevant - it'll just work as it doesn't care what your operating
system is. An access point is effectively just a bridge (admittedly with
knobs on) and as such is transparent to the devices that are clients of
it.


The card is Linksys Instant Wireless Series model WPC11 ver. 3, using 802.11b
It is said to support upto 128-bit WEP, but a search on the web shows a lot of posts with problems with using this card with WEP under linux.

>(2) Preferably Winmodem support, that can hopefully connect to AOL, at
>least for some time. I know there are issues on AOL side, may be they
>will give the info needed for connection.

This is going to be hard. WinModem support is difficult at the best of
times. Even though AOL uses a proprietary client, I'm not entirely sure
that they don't just use a regular PPP connection. Maybe someone else
can speak to this and other dialup issues (like Winmodems)?


I am using Fujitsu-E-6570 laptop, 380 RAM (128 original), 20GB HD.

>(3) Very little time spent doing system admin, fixing config files,
>etc. Step-by-step instructions for doing so.  I am mainly a user, and
>not an administrator---though I can do some if needed, but would like
>to automate these.  I have already spend way too many hours on
>winmodem problem and recovering from crashes while building SuSE
>kernel for Linksys wireless LAN.  They have put their own fixes on the
>kernel, which do not correspond to their sources when building wlan
>modules, so it fails.

To the very best of my knowledge, Debian's kernel sources and their
kernels correspond. "apt-cache search kernel-patch" reveals a large
number of patches that can be used with the kernel-package system to
safely patch your kernel. You'll like kernel-package. I mean *really
like* it.

>(4) Good security and virus protection.

Well, if you stick to "stable" (AKA Woody) then you'll be as secure as
the updates from security.debian.org. However, security is not just
about the software - it's down to you, too. Virus protection? Not an
issue on Linux.

>(5) My computing needs are modest (no gaming, etc.), primarily
>statistical (with open source software well supported on linux). If I
>switch, I am likely to stay with a distribution---but because of
>switching costs that I will have to incur I am posting this message to
>make sure this will work for me.

Well, if you're forthcoming with information, and ask sensible
questions, then people here will help you out all they can. A couple of
pointers:

1. Be as specific as you can - this means including device makes and
models, kernel versions, error messages.


The default kernel with SuSE 7.1 is 2.2.18. But I have rebuit and reinstalled so many times that the LILO gives the option of three: 2.2.18, something called SuSE kernel (don't know what this is), and the one I actually use 2.4.0-4GB.  The "4GB" part is the SuSE doing (I think to provide enhaced support), and it created problems because there is a complain while building modules that the kernel is different from the source. Sources are not installed when the system was installed, and Yast configuration tool does not seem to give an option to install only sources. The sources are not installed at their usual place, even when installed. So I am not even sure that some directories under /usr/src/linux* contains the needed sources. But that is a moot point, because of the "4GB" issue.


2. If you're trying to achieve a goal, and something isn't working, tell
us about the goal, as well as the thing that isn't working.


The goal is to get the Wireless card working securely, then I can do the installations, upgrades, etc from Linux, and get to use it more often---as a user I have worked more on Unix than any other system, so I am definitely looking forward to spending more time on Linux.  The current hurdle is making the wireless LAN work and getting used to some admin tasks and automating them.

Please also suggest a good intro book or printable web document on Linux administration  if you know of any.  I already have "Linux in a Nutshell" from O'Reilly, but this is a reference. I also have "LINUX network administrator's Guide" by Olaf Kirch and Terry Dawson (O'Reilly) and "Unix system administration handbook" by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder and Scott Seebass. The last two are dated, and don't even mention wireless, not that I know all that is in there. So, a good intro will be helpful. I know something about changing dot-files from *user* point of view.


>I will be thankful for any help with these.  I have been encouraged by
>some posts in your archive to give Debian a try, and have heard good
>things about user support on Debian.

Welcome aboard. I'm sure I'm not alone in extending a warm welcome to a
new Debianista!


Thanks a lot!

---Anupam.

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