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Dear Andy,

Thank you for your Linux Red Hat post. I have been traveling the same road as you with Linux, as I got started around early May of this year. I first met Dos on a XT in 1986. Am self-taught in Dos and also taught myself programming in Dbase 3 Plus. Really like database work. I have continued studying Dos and Windows since. But I had never done any real hardware and software configuring until completing a Micro Computer Technician Repair Course at Syracuse University in 1999.

I still have my old Compaq 286, and my old HP 486 that I used for all of my Dbase work. Have become very familiar with Windows 98, and know more about that "distribution" of Windows than any other. Have built about 7 state of the art boxes since early last year, and present everyday setup in a 700mz Athlon CPU, SD11 FIC mainboard, 196mb Ram, ATI XPERT 98 Video, Mach One sound card, CD rom, and floppy.

That will give you some idea of my background. My computer background is no where near as extensive as yours, as I have been servicing, remanufacturing and teaching others all about copiers for the last 20 years while studying computers on the side. I am 59. When bit by the Linux bug, I thought that I would be able to build on my Dos and Windows experience while studying Red Hat 6.2 Linux. NOT SO. I have found the Linux Learning Curve quite steep, not impossible, but requiring much more time to understand than I originally thought. I must admit though that I did not read as much as you before I dove in. That sure was a big mistake, as I have had to do a great deal of reading since starting Linux. Wish I had done it your way.

Which book has helped you the most with compiling the kernel? As I am just at that point in my studies. In last night's class, we studied and practiced that kernel compiling, but not one of the six of us were successful in our attempt. I have spent today reading the Linux kernel chapter in a Sams book "SuSe Unleased" ver 6.2 Kernel compiling is much clearer now, but I still have much to learn before trying it again.

It is encouraging to read your post, as Linux has made me feel as I did in 1986 when I was just starting out with Dos. Although your background in IT is much different than mine, I have encountered many of the same problems. Never heard the word RPM around computers, except for hard drive speed. Andy, I am just now discovering the large amount of Linux information sites and how to use them. I haven't found a really good Linux text that asumes absolutely no Linux background. In 1986, I found them for Dos and Dbase and they sure made life easier. People that I know that really understand Linux and work with it everyday seem to have forgotten what it was like in the beginning for them.

I have only Dos and Windows background and did not understand the Linux file system. That caused me a great deal of grief in the beginning. After I purchased Partition Magic 5 that solved that problem and taught me what I was doing wrong. Some of the Linux distributions come with Partition Magic, and some do not. Caldera is one that does. I am very familiar with Dos fdisk, but did not know that it could not read Linux partitions - -well now I do, and now I realize that Dos fdisk is really a lame program compared to Linux fdisk that can read many many file systems. But my Linux education has been expensive in frustration, effort and time - - and sometimes,I have had to just not do anything with it for a week or so, to keep myself from just giving up altogether. Today, I am glad that I did not give up, and don't regret the effort, as I know that I am over the hump and definitely better educated in Linux. I am just beginning to see things through different eyes and build on my Linux experience. The big picture is just starting to emerge for me. I attend a Linux Sig group that meets once a month. There I am just beginning to be able to put my Linux problems into questions that I can get answered. It feels really good.

I did not notice you mention anything about the compatibility lists that all the distributions have on their web sites, no doubt you found them. In the beginning, I did not realize that Linux was particular about what hardware it supported. Did not know that it likes external modem better than internal. I learned that at the SIG group. Since starting Linux, I have taken two Linux 1 night classes at a company called "Team-Linux" here in Dayton, Ohio. I rememeber my instructor saying that Star Office was designed to be run from the KDE desktop environment, he thought that was strange. I have had Star 5.1 and 5.2 up and running, also have had Applix Office up and running. But use my Windows box with Office 97 Professional for all of my printed documents. As my brand new HP 3150se is not supported by Linux, as HP will not give the Linux printing group the info it needs to write the driver. Somewhere out there on the web there exists all of the compatibility info that can keep you from purchasing hardware that will only work under windows. Many people have walked this road before us, and persevered till it all made sense.

Your comment about the video fonts being not at all clear is shared by me, as all is clear and crisp under Win98 with my same hardware.

I did not have any real trouble connecting to the internet and setting up Netscape once I bought the external modem. It is a Diamond Supra Express, my Supra Express internal WILL NOT WORK under any version of linux. My video card (ATI XPERT 98) works great in RedHat 6.2 and Mandrake 7.0 and 7.1 My Monitor is a NEC MultiSync 90 RedHat 6.1 did not support it, but 6.2 does. Today, I can configure X with no problems, four months ago, I did not even know what it was.

So far I do not believe there is a utility that compares with Dos defrag, maybe that is because you do not need it. But I use defrag and sytem file checker in 98 on a real regular basis and miss them. But you said that your lap top only needed one reboot - - sure can't say that for my windows box.

Again Andy, thank you so very much for your post, it was extremely encouraging to me. Also in closing, If you would point me in the direction of the book that you studied when compiling the kernel, it would be greatly appreciated.

Andy, if you reply to this please use the address listed directly below, as it is far more stable (they are using an Apache server) LOL and I pay for it. Hot Mail is free, but it goes down from time to time and when it does, data goes off into the weeds somewhere.

From one "Linux Start Up Veteran" to another

Thank you very much,

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