30 Oct 2000 thewatcher   » (Apprentice)

Well I'd have to say I am feeling rather out of place it seems like EVERYONE here either works for e-smith or works for (or used to work for in many cases) LinuxCare :-)

*SIGH* Once more this Friday night just past I was foiled again in my attempt to finally attend my first LUG meeting in this case SLUG. The gods definitely seem against me on this one.

However all was not lost as last week computer wise I managed to get past more than just a standard (or as standard as is possible) install of Debian. Every other time it's had to give way to one project or another at work. But thanks to a sick doctor and the resulting drop in income for the surgery. I have a spare machine which I promptly tried Debian out on. And even though I can see some downsides for the most part I'm impressed.

Due to a combination of work factors, low income and high hardware prices up until this point I've been an itinerant Linux user, having first played with Slackware then RedHat 5.0 and most recently Mandrake 7.1. It's been great to see the constant and sometimes VERY noticable improvement in Linux generally. I've never had the circumstances to be able to dedicate a machine to Linux but finally that's changed.

Now the hardest decision is what distro??

It's funny when you ask someone they tend to divide the options into experienced and newbie with the newbies being recommended Redhat (or equivalent RPM type distros Mandrake, SUSE etc...) and the hardcore users being recommended Debian. Now please save your flames for your barbie coz even tho these are gross generalisations on my part they reflect the trend of what I've heard in my time and it seems for the most part these recommendations work fine.

But what about the middle of the road user??

As I said I may have only been using Linux itinerantly but I've picked up a reasonable amount of knowledge about how it works and I classify myself as a fairly well informed newbie. So what would I be recommended?? Stay with my distro of choice... that's great except I don't have one. I've used a few.. what now??

Or what of the Newbie who's started off on RedHat and is now very adept at using Linux and many of it's features but if you take away his X and RPM and he's totally lost? Should he discard his RedHat in favour of Debian perhaps and learn the "REAL" way?

But what of apt-get?? How many ardent Debianites out there wouldn't know a config file or the like if it fell over them thanks to this great utility? Maybe everyone should go back to Slackware and it's traditional TGZ tarballs??

Well I'd have to say I'm defnitely not the person to answer this but it's something to consider. As for my personal preference, I was VERY impressed with Mandrake when I looked at it and I got that closer towards looking and working exactly the way I wanted it than any distro before or since. However I haven't been trying Debian long and it looks good.

After driving myself nuts with Intel's i810 chipset for a while I nuked the video on it and went with an old Rendition Verite 2100 card and X was up in a flash. Persistence probably would have paid off but I couldn't be bothered as this was more a trial run than anything. Once I passed my X problems I've managed to get HelixCode installed and get Enlightenment happening. so things are looking VERY nice.

Tonights task is mail and this is where my greatest dilemma lies. Particularly in the area of MUA choice. Previously one of the things that stopped me going fulltime to Linux was mail but now thanks to a great app oe2mbx my OE mail has been migrated to mbox format and after checking it out in balsa everything seems great not a problem at all.

I think I've narrowed it down to a choice between mutt and possibly balsa which looked ALOT better than the last time I checked it out. I'm really keen on seeing more of Evolution but I'm not sure if I'm "good" enough to play with 0.x software. Particularly mail which I use so much. I might move to it later when I get the IMAP server running at the office, so at least if it goes tits up I won't lose huge chunks of mail. :-)

Checking out Evolution is on the cards tonight along with some of the other Gnome stuff (both Helix and Standard)as Evolution looks to be exactly what I'm after. OTOH I have trouble going past the praise I keep hearing for mutt particualrly with PGP (or equivalent) intergration.. But I guess it's defnitely a case of YMMV.... Shit the hardest thing about Linux now is not getting it to work it's working out what the hell programs your going to use... lol

Who knows if things go well this "test" system might even turn into my fulltime linux box... now that would be a nice thought.. I wish

This weeks record: My e-smith box at work has now been up over three weeks (a record for me) previous best was (believe it or not) an NT box doing a very similar job to the esmith box. I "tinker" with things WAY too much to have long uptimes..


On the FreeSoftware front I'm very seriously considering a project called of all things NEWBIE another lovely recursive acronym (pity it's more than three letters <shrug>) standing for Newbie Education With Bonus Information for Experts. Hopefully a resource (of some description) to prevent newbies from reaching killfiles and 'faux paus'ing themselves into FreeSoftware oblivion. Alas I can't do anything about outright stupidity (except do my best to stop stupid people breeding :-)) but the good intentioned out there who dont quite have their finger on the pulse of the FS movement/community and would like to get involved but either don't know how or can't for fear of looking like a twit (or being made to look like a twit buy someone not entirely accepting). Hopefully this resource might also remind a few of our more experienced users that they too were once newbies (sure it may have been in the womb for most of them) but it happens to everyone and for the most part it's not a nice time. Surely if there's one thing other than technology us geeks know about it's not fitting in??? Well what baout those who don't fit in (or feel they don't fit in) with the geeks??

Well I've jabbered on long enough, after spending half of last night printing out various HOWTO's and FAQ's and doc left right and centre. I'm off to tackle the beast they call (or used to call) Potato :-)

Until Next Time

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