[nSLUG] Anyone Have An Extra: Monitor (CRT), Keyboard, Mouse?

Jack Warkentin jwark at eastlink.ca
Mon Jan 28 21:06:34 AST 2008

Hi Everybody

Mike Spencer wrote:
> Michael (Lauzon, not Spencer :-) wrote:
>> ...being an older computer I am going to have to forego KDE or GNOME
>> and just use a lightweight Window Manager...does anyone know of any
>> that will fit the bill?
> My personal opinion is that this is a *good* way to start with Linux.
> For a Windows user, the B&W console command line is a barrier to
> learning.  OTOH, a simple window manager makes it possible to have
> manpages, HOWTO docs, PDFs, config files and on-line docs up on the
> screen at the same time that you're learning how to use the command
> line in an xterm.  The value of man, apropos, whereis, locate and the
> like can hardly be exaggerated.

And grep, and sed, and basic pipelining, command substitution, ... .

I used KDE for several years but gave it up. It is just *way* too 
complex. It has gone completely away from the basic UNIX philosophy of 
having programs provide a single basic functionality, with the power 
being provided by the various ways of combining the basic programs.

The final straw was a problem with kmail. I would sometimes ssh from one 
of my machines to the other and run kmail across the link. After 
quitting kmail and exiting from the ssh session, the ssh connection 
stayed up. It turned out that kmail had started up the artsd daemon on 
the remote machine and because of the process ownership, the ssh session 
was held up. Killing the artsd process before exiting the ssh session 
solved the problem. For me there is absolutely no excuse for this sort 
of behaviour. What does email have to do with multimedia?

> A newbie who relies entirely on a desktop and versions of the standard
> utilities that are squeezed through pop-up windows will, IMO, be held
> back from learning the real power of Linux.  In learning mode, it's
> not all about getting all the peripherals and cute digital doo-dads
> working, watching full-motion video with surround sound or fluent use
> of a full suite of office and graphics GUI tools.
> My single experience with Ubuntu on an older machine (admittedly a
> rather early version of Ubuntu) was that it took forever to install,
> insisted on trying to boot into a desktop environment and, in the end,
> never did run usably (possibly because of a high and un-met RAM
> requirement.)

I installed Kubuntu 6.06/Dapper Drake from a live DVD and did not have 
the problems that you had. From the reviews of [kx]ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy 
Gibbon?) that I have read the live CD/DVD should work very nicely.

When I switched from KDE to XFCE, the version of XFCE available on 6.06 
had an annoying bug. To get a version without this bug I switched to 
Debian/Lenny and have never looked back. But I would *not* suggest 
Debian for newbies. A newbie needs a system that will install and 
configure itself pretty well with no manual configuration required. Then 
as part of the learning experience, she/he can acquire the expertise 
needed to become more venturesome/intrepid.

> To answer Michael's question, I would install Slackware (which now has
> a pretty good installation script on bootable CD) and run twm as a
> window manager.  This may, in fact, require a little help getting an
> optimal .xinitrc set up for a newbie.  I guessing (I haven't
> installed Slack 12 yet) that the initial X config (xorg.conf) will
> work without manual intervention.  The result will not, of course, be
> a UI "as much like Windoes as possible" but it should run on minimal
> RAM.
> I realize that Slackware for the newbie is deprecated by conventional
> wisdom and that is probably justified for "hasten to get a fully
> functional system running to contemporary standards" mode.  I'd be
> inclined to go for "learning mode" myself.

I would suggest a system where the basic hardware was configured during 
the installation - at the very least, X and Internet connectivity.

> Jeff> But, what Eugene and Donald (and I) are saying is that the list
> Jeff> is not a replacement for manuals, howtos, or just plain trying.
> Jeff>
> Jeff> Bad question:
> [snip]
> Yeah, well, I agree with that despite the fact that I have
> recollections of being completely baffled in some cases by available
> docs -- one of my personal gripes, but a 2-page rant would be out of
> place here.

I well remember teaching introductory programming as a university 
professor. I always told my students that there were basic things one 
needed to know that could not be found in the documentation. I tried to 
provide all of those to my students but was not always 100% successful. 
I insisted that students try for themselves before seeking help, but 
also said that they should not try unsuccessfully for more than 15 to 30 
minutes before seeking help - there might be something that I had 
forgotten to mention or that they had missed during the lecture.

There are so many if's and gotcha's involved in installing *any* 
operating system (Windows 98, for example, is just plain awful) that I 
don't fault anyone from wanting some handholding for the first time or two.

> Eugene> I think you may have missed my point....what I was saying was
> Eugene> that possibly this is not the right place to ask for free
> Eugene> hardware.
> Mea culpa.  I did miss your point.  Sorry.
> Not to be an argumentative grouch here :-) but if you ask in a general
> venue such as hfx.general or ns.forsale, there will, I surmise, be a
> fair number of people with PIIs or 15" CRT monitors who think they're
> worth $100+ while in a venue where at least a few otaku geeks may be
> expected, there may be people who feel that anything where the solder
> isn't still warm and the case smelling of monomers is obsolete and
> utterly valueless. :-)
> - Mike



Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email jwark at eastlink.ca
39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6

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