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As you can see I haven't updated this section in quite a while.  Due to time constraints I've had to put Linux by the wayside.  I don't think any less of it but something had to give!  With Windows 2000 out and Windows "Millie" on the horizon I'm running out of time.  Rather than do things half-assed I've decided to thin things out a bit.  I hope to come back to Linux when we get off the road.


Well, it looks like we're all still here.  Andy and I just finished building my new server (spare parts...of course).  SuSe Linux 6.3 is getting better and better.  My personal uptime record is 19 days.  The driver for the PeterCam capture card is kind of flaky and keeps causing kernel panic messages (NOTE: IP mask keeps working but the console dies.).  So we've moved the capture card off the server and we'll see how long we can stay up.  Andy's 'puter has been up over 67 days as of now without a reboot! (Try that with Win9.x!)  Our whole house is now backing up data to the server via Samba, and it's working great. I've been fooling with WinNT for the last few days and when I put it on the network it started arguing with my server about who should be "browse master". (All Windows networks need a "browse master".  The BM keeps track of which 'puters are on line or not.  Win9.x boxes are *normally* set to "auto" which means they'll do the job if necessary.  WinNT boxes will always *try* to be BM if the service is running.)  So what happened is this;  Since I don't know very much about NT, when I put it on the network it started fighting with the Linux server for BM rights.  It would keep forcing an *election* which would take 17 seconds...meanwhile the whole network would be messed up.  It would lose the election (of course) and try again.  I finally figured out how to turn off BM (NT calls it something else) in the NT box which resolved the problem.


Every time I turn around, I'm either amazed or frustrated with Linux.  I sometimes wonder if this love/hate thing will ever get better.  Andy seems to make it so easy (of course, he's been into Linux for quite a while).  We've been working on various scripts (he writes them, I just ask questions/make minor suggestions) for both PuterGeek.Com (the poll creator, the site search engine, the IP update script) and my "gateway" box at my home (the cam script, and various other scripts that makes life easier).  I know in time (hopefully) I'll be able to write these type of scripts.  Compared to Win9x, Linux is much more configurable!

Since I spend so much time in "console" mode I've been working on more alias's as well as other console tweaks like my prompt and "LS" colors etc...   Since I hate to type, anything that saves on typing is a plus (like how with "bash" you can complete commands, file names, and paths by hitting the tab key).

BTW!!!  Amy (my wife) has decided that maybe Linux isn't just for geeks!  She's actually clearing space on her laptop to give Caldera's "Open Linux 2.3" a try!  Maybe she should start adding to this page.  What do all of you think?   Be sure to let her know...

Here's a must read webpage.   It looks like Microsoft is finally thinking of Linux as a threat to them.


Well, some good news!  I now have a new used laptop that is strictly for Linux!   Of course, I just HAD to install the latest release of SuSE.  It's version 6.2 with kernel 2.2.10. (kernel 2.2.12 is out now)  The install went well, surprisingly no problems.  It seems like I really am starting to learn something after all.  The "neat" thing I'm working on right now is "alias's".  It's so cool how you can have your own name for a program, or if you always start a program with a certain switch (like "pico", I hate word wrap so instead of always typing pico -w I made an alias!) you can make an alias to reflect any/all switches for it.


I can tell that I'll have to re-read "Running Linux" a few times.  It almost seems like I'd have an easier time if I didn't know DOS.  I came to Linux thinking that it was DOS on steroids!  While true, it's much more.  Like I thought I'd do like I did with DOS, I'd just memorize ALL the commands.  It would take a while but it would be worth it.  Well, let me tell you, while that's a great goal, it won't be quite as easy as I'd thought!  First, there's a lot more commands.   Also the commands can change depending on the distribution and version you're using! (silly me, the only DOS is MS-DOS 6.22, right??) And so on, and so on...  But YES!  It is worth the trials and tribulations, it really is.  And in time ( it might be a long time) it too will become second nature to me (I hope!).


While on the road this week I've been reading "Running Linux".  It's a very good book.  It's true that I have my own guru to help me but some things I just plain don't "get" until I sit down and read about them.  For instance (this will sound pretty stupid but this is what I go through) If you want the change directories you'd type cd.  Now if you were in /etc and wanted to go to /usr you'd type cd /usr.  But if you were in /usr and wanted to go to /usr/doc you'd type cd doc.  Do you see the difference?  In the first example you have to use a forward slash "/", but in the second you don't.  Yes this is really basic stuff but I was truly stuck as to when I needed to use the "/".   This problem stems from the fact that unlike DOS, Linux doesn't use drive letters.   In DOS if you were in C:\games and wanted to go to C:\temp you'd either type cd\ to go to the root of the "C" drive then type cd temp, or you'd just type cd c:\temp.   Well, in Linux the "root" of the drive IS called "/"!  So this is how I think of it...   If it's a sub-directory you don't need  the "/", but if you need to back out of the directory you're in before going to the new one you need the "/".  Also that in this case I think of the "/" as being the same as the DOS equivalent of c:\.   And if I've really confused you I'm sorry, but when you're self-taught sometimes you  get stuck on the dumbest things!


Well, let's see... I've finally landed on a distribution to learn.  Man, what a difficult decision this was (for me).  It came down to Slackware, Red Hat, or SuSE.   Red Hat seemed too proprietary to me.  While (at the moment) it's the must popular distribution, I feel that it is going away from what "Linux" is all about and turning into something different.  Slackware is known as a hacker's distribution.  But while the fact that it doesn't hold your hand at all is good for the purity of Linux (is there such a thing?), meaning it doesn't do anything (or very little) proprietary, I feel that it would be too much of a step for me.  Which leaves SuSE.  Not last by any means (SuSE IS cool!).  True, it does some proprietary stuff (like YAST), but you can disable most of it if you wish.  Also it comes with so many goodies (plus Andy likes it!  Always a good sign.)!


After about a year of not doing anything, I'm finally getting started.  I've bought a couple of books; Linux for Dummies (ya I know!), Running Linux, and Linux in a Nutshell.  All are said to be great beginner's books.  I've made room on my laptop (almost 2 gig just in case), and I've started to use the server more when I'm home.   Now I just need to settle on a distribution.  Tick, tick, tick.

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Last Revised: 10/20/2000