Linux Issues & Resolution


    As you'll see below, it was pretty rough going for early RedHat users.  I started on Slackware in '94, which I consider ideal for customizability.  I've also tried Suse and Mandrake with less success than Redhat.  I have been forced to admit that for most users accustomed (or rather, inured)  to windows, linux is a daunting experience.  Thought processes are assumed; drag and drool won't do it.  I myself found linux a refreshing, even mind-expanding, experience.  M$ was the first to make pc's accessible for non-technical people, and windoze98 may still be the best gaming platform.  However, its monopolistic tentacles now stretch everywhere.  It has become the greatest blight on the computer industry, spreading grief and frustration, corruption and resistance to progress.
    Windows is a mindset.  The Windows Icons Menus Pushbuttons interface lulls the user into accepting that all computer problems have been solved by someone else, and all you have to do is click "OK" to share in the rewards (like any good pavlovian conditioning).     The reality is that proprietary software is an attempt to territorialize the information landscape.  "Ease of use" is the bait for lock-in.  Inevitable bugs create lucrative support and upgrade requirements.  The history of M$ is littered with the corpses of competitors.  Those that remain are "M$ partners" allowed a share in the spoils.   The extent and implications of M$ monopoly have been described well enough elsewhere.  I will just say that, many people are mad as hell and won't take it anymore.
    Linux represents community software.  Millions of people have now tried it and hundreds of thousands spread across the internet are developing for it (far more resources than even M$ has).   Linux also progresses on internet time-scales.  It encourages user involvement.  It truly is software of, by, and for the people.  M$ recognizes linux as the biggest threat it has ever faced - linux cannot be absorbed, bought out, or under-sold.  Indeed, it is only a matter of time before companies realize how silly it is to pay the enormous M$ tax, when a free and superior alternative exists.
    For what it's worth, my experience with linux has been enormously positive.  I find that on average it takes me about 5x time longer to accomplish any system change (hardware, drivers, os installation/upgrade)[on the same dual-booting hardware] on windoze98 than on linux.   The only time I have to reboot into windoze is for the latest game - oh, and to install some software which I will use from wine.  Every other application on windoze has a usually superior alternative in linux.   It truly amazes me that people are convinced the "desktop belongs to windows" when I experience, using them side by side, that linux is faster, more responsive, more intelligently designed, more stable, and more  reliable than windows.  It is also nice not having to steal software whenever I want new functionality, altho I have paid for a few linux applications (to reward and encourage the authors)  I also refuse on principle to buy any windows software or hardware with an implicit windows license (except the latest game - no choice there yet).

    So, words of wisdom for the linux newbie:

RedHat 5.0

RedHat 5.1


UPGRADE to kernel 2.2.x

What broke after upgrade to dual-333's (750 MHz overclocked!)

Upgraded to Redhat 6.2

All I remember is a number of problems balancing glibc2.0, glibc2.1 and a.out programs simultaneously. - they did put dircolors in /etc/profile.d/, but if you want to modify the colors in /etc/DIR_COLORS, you will have to modify this to:
	eval `dircolors --sh /etc/DIR_COLORS`
Tweak Hint
Redhat, unlike Mandrake, still comes with most packages compiled for i386! After exhaustive research and trial and error, I went with these compiler optimizations. Copy /usr/lib/rpm/rpmrc to /etc/rpm/rpmrc and make these changes there. Change the line that says:
	optflags: i686 -O2 -march=i686
to say this:
	optflags: i686 -O3 -fomit-frame-pointer -Wall -march=pentiumpro -malign-functions=4 -funroll-loops -fexpensive-optimizations -malign-double -fschedule-insns2 -mwide-multiply -fno-strength-reduce -ffast-math
and then when you rebuild src.rpm's, use
	rpm --rebuild package.src.rpm --target=i686
also consider - some things are better NOT optimized. These make significantly larger executables and the time it takes to read them off slow hard drives should be a factor. Also, the optimizations frequently break the build or cause unexpected executable behavior, so I drop back to i586, or even the default, i386. It can become quite a game, finding packages that will build without too many other dependencies.