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It's still far too difficult to set up and configure Linux -- XFree86 in particular usually takes even geeks 1-3 days to get running well on new video cards.

That is not my experience at all. When I first installed Red Hat Linux 5.0 on my old machine a couple of years ago (May 1998 I guess), it took me a couple of days because I did not know how I wanted things, and it had to share the machine with Windows 95, and my monitor was not in the list of supported monitors (although the video card was in the list and it autodetected it anyway). I had to install it a couple of times to get the partitionning right. Sort-of right. I had more partitions that made sense, in retrospect. My Windows 95 crashed so much that I wanted a lot of small partitions so if the machine scrambled one, I could recover more easily and lose less.

I installed Red Hat 6.0 last year when it came out. I had to install it only once, and I cut the number of partitions by 2, which was a step in the right direction. I dared to do this because the 5.0 version did not really crash, although either xvfm or X Window System locked up on two occasions when Netscape got in trouble. I just did control-alt-backspace to restart the window manager the first time OK, but that did not work the second time. I just rebooted it to fix it, though I have since learned a better way. There, too, they did not recognize my monitor, but it took only a few minutes to lookup the needed parameters in the booklet that came with the Samsung 4Ne monitor.

When I got this machine, it came pre-loaded with VA Linux's version of Red Hat Linux 6.0, but it was configured for SMP (the machine has 2 Pentium-III's), and it knew all about my SCSI disk drives, my SCSI DDS-2 tape drive, etc., so it worked right out of the box. I reinstalled it anyway because I wanted to change the partitions around, including the / partition. That reinstall took about 15 minutes. I have only 8 partitions spread over 2 9Gigabyte disk drives, and two of those are swap space. There is a 6 Gigabyte /home, a 6 Gigabyte /, two 2 Gigabyte partitions for a dbms, and two tiny partitions, /boot (on one drive) and /boot2 (on the other drive).

So I do not think installing the Linux OS is all that difficult anymore. It is easier, IMAO, than re-installing Windows 95, which I have to do from time to time when it destroys the registry so bad that I cannot restore the registry from backup media anymore. That is really no fun at all.
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