The Reluctant Geekess

I’ve been dragging my feet as far as the soon-to-be Linux Laptop goes. There are a couple of issues that I haven’t quite resolved.

First, Knoppix came up in the GUI. It didn’t seem to support the wireless card. But it communicated with it, which is better than Windows 98 did.

I found what might be the ADM8211 chipset driver on SourceForge, then promptly lost the info again. I’m unclear on how to integrate a new driver. Do I have to recompile the kernal – which I’ve never done – or can I simply compile it as a stand-alone driver that I drop into place somewhere in the file system? Maybe a reference goes in what in uCLinux is called (I think) /etc/.rc? That file has startup info for things like ipconfig. I can prevent it from coming up in the GUI by entering a run-level command in /etc/inittab.

RH 5.2 used to come up with the command line and if I wanted to play with the GUI I’d type startx. I did it for my Senior Project, upgraded a trash computer and used it for software development from the command line. I have the notes here somewhere… The *first* gotcha was that I was trying to use an unsupported CD. You get the idea. But eventually it all cooperated.

Anyway, I’m told that Fedora changes too fast, still requires too much babysitting. Apparently Centos 4.2 uses the source code from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That might work.

The laptop has no way to cut a new CD. Oh, wait, that’s vinyl talk. *Burn* a new CD. So if an install CD is needed, I would have to transfer the image – a .iso maybe? – to a Windows computer to burn it. I would have to get to the other computer by dial-up modem through one of the free services. Egads!

I am aware that some OSs allow you to update the kernel on the fly. The name of the capability escapes me. Preemptible kernel, is it?

I’m going to attempt to upgrade the Windows 2000 computer to Windows XP this weekend. Believe me, Windows 2000 is solid as a rock, Which is probably why Microsoft is no longer selling it. In XP Home which I use at work (go figure), I had to disable a lot of unnecessary things to stop it from hanging when I opened a couple of windows. Who needs shadows under the cursor, 3D everything, and font smoothing? It made a big difference. The only reason I’m upgrading to XP Professional (not Home) – actually it’s a lateral move – is because I bought a USB printer with a card reader and it turns out I had already boffed up those drivers trying to install an internal 9-in-1 card reader. I removed some of the boffed-up stuff from the registry, but haven’t tried to reinstall the printer. Obviously I’m not particularly confident it will work. To that end, I have already backed up all the really necessary stuff, except email which I will backup last thing before I do the install.

I know what I have to do, the questions are mostly things I can work out through trial-and-error. I’m confident that I will eventually get the laptop running Linux AND this computer running Windows XP. I must make a couple of decisions and then “Just Do It”.

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