11 Sep 2010

Linux Revisited

Well it did'nt take too long for me to become discontent with my new "Mepis" Linux installation - over this last year I had forgotten what it was like  trying out different Linux distro's as I had been quite happy with the Ubuntu system on my desktop, and had been doing more in the way of "Radio Operating",  be it CW or Digi, but the recent demise of XP on the olde laptop opened the oportunity to experimment once more - And this is really why I got the laptop in the first place, now I'm not programmer, and certainly no "guru" but I do enjoy looking at, setting up and experimenting  with Linux.
On this occasion the quest was to "try" and get a reasonably robust/modern system running on this old laptop, but I particularly wanted to get it running with my Pcmia network card as I did not want wires everywhere, plus I could run it in the lounge, as I'd already stated earlier I first tried  the latest "Puppy" distro as it's very fast and a dream to use for normal applications (More work though setting up Ham app's), but came unstuck as although it would recognise the card the modules would not load - I also tried an older version but the result was the same - "Mepis" vers 6.5 did work, AND it runs a full KDE desktop, and considering the age of the machine I was surprised at the speed at which it ran (Much quicker that XP)...  BUT for some reason on more than one occasion whilst trying to add comments to a blog Firefox "Bombed Out", it was using ver 2.00.2 and i  could not update it, also a couple of other wierd things occurred - like some windows becoming unstable, or not responding  - ending in me having to terminate, so I decided to take another look around - here's the list I tried
Sidux - Suse - Ubuntu 9.04 (Surprisingly Loaded and detected network card)  ran v e r y  s l o w l y . . . . .! Mint Linux (encouragingly ran from the live disk - but on installation halted half way through re-partitioning,  Bah!) Fedora - and  Now the HDD was messed up with grub still installed!  Now I had to do some disk swapping with some utils to clean up and re-format the drive ( you may be thinking by now I must be completely barking),  but having done that I decided to download Xubuntu on the other M/c and burn it to disk, this time it ran live ok, and the important part for me was the network card worked fine, just by using the utils supplied - Great!
Thankfully  it installed ok, and the desktop used is xfce, I have used earlier versions  and I am surprised at the choice of configurations available for changing the look of it, it's very smooth, Firefox is stable , and I have got Gpredict running (Satellite Tracking), next up - Probably Cqrlog - quality ham software IS still rather thin for Linux but I'll certainly be looking at Fldigi, plus trying a few other things, so far it's holding up and I 've been running it for about three hours having added some key Firefox addons (blog tools, and screen grabbers)... tomorrow I'll investigate the rest of the system -  network still up excellent !


  1. Hi Peter, I got Linux Mint working on a old Pentium computer. With XP I had no wireless connection anymore, and Windows kept telling me the wireless card was broken. When I installed Mint I had no problems and suddenly my wireless internet was back again !!! I tried Ubuntu too, but the looks of Mint are more familiar and Mint is in my opinion faster. The Mepis installation looks very promising. I mainly use the Linux computer for internet and listening webradio. 73, Bas

  2. Hi Bas:
    Well done - well it just shows you - I had a similar experience last year on another m/c, no sound with xp, but linux worked right off a disk - ham software is my gripe.



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