[nSLUG] Re: Any nsluggers in Valley?

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Sun Aug 28 14:44:14 ADT 2005


On Sat, 2005-08-27 at 14:56 -0300, Jack Warkentin wrote:
> Again, I would advise caution. Once a GNU/Linux system is installed 
> and working anyone who has used M$ Windows can use it (assuming the 
> system is running KDE or something similar). But installing and 
> getting everything working can be a real challenge.

Yes.  And the key here is that recommending Linux for random hardware is
tricky business.  Laptops, doubly so.

> Example. I just bought a cheapy laptop computer at Zellers for $799. I 
> had a lot of trouble getting the sound card to work. The reason was 
> two-fold. First, the hardware detection software was picking the 
> winmodem up and setting it up as a sound card. Second, because 
> hotplug detected the winmodem before the proper sound card, udev was 
> assigning it device files dsp, etc, and the proper sound card was 
> assigned dsp1, etc. The sound programs all were trying to use dsp.

Which hardware, and which distribution?  The reason I ask is, I have a
friend who was looking at one of those laptops.  If you finally did get
things working, perhaps we could put up a page on the nSLUG server
explaining how to do it, saving other people the 20 hours.

> I would guess it took me at least 20 hours to come up with this 
> preventative. (I don't call it a solution. A solution would be to 
> find a way of specifying that that particular device must be assigned 
> some specific driver.)

Well, fortunately, the built-in winmodem is something some users might
be willing to live without.  The user I have in mind wouldn't care if it
didn't work.

> Giving an inexperienced user a set of 
> installation CD's and telling him to give it a try could be 
> exceedingly frustrating for a potential devotee.

I would never do that if the target machine were a laptop.  Also, I'd
start the user on a live CD first, and say "this may work for you;
please let me know if you have any trouble with it."

> (By the way, I still have not been able to get music CD's to play on 
> this machine. I am also having a great deal of difficulty getting 
> used to the 1024 x 768 resolution - the titlebar, menubar, toolbars, 
> etc, take up so much space that there is not enough left for the bulk 
> of the window. I plan on returning it to Zellers before the 30 days 
> are up.)

Ah ... then the documentation exercise above may not interest you if
you've already made up your mind.  Still, I'm not sure what you mean
with the resolution issue.  1024 x 768 is what I use on virtually every
machine I have.  I don't know what the trouble is with space allocation.
Perhaps you could save and post a screenshot (if you're interested in
fixing it)?

What I've cautioned my friend is that although an inexpensive laptop
such as you might be able to buy today at Zeller's looks appealing,
she'd probably have less hassle and get more mileage out of a second-
hand IBM Thinkpad, and in any event, if she sees something she's
interested in, to contact me first so we can look at compatibility
issues with the hardware before buying.

Ben


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