Newbie Trials and Tribulations

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Newbie Trials and Tribulations

Postby Fergus on Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:20 pm

Hey all!

This is summary of the issues covered in this thread. Please note that these are for Bianca, so i have no idea how they will help for Cassandra and beyond.
Most of my content is based upon a Dell D620. (gradually content will be updated)
=================================================


Beryl + Kiba Dock

Beryl was a real pain in the backside for me, but again, all it takes it a little time and patience to really understand the mechanisms involved.
Assuming you have install the display drivers ok - see below for that follow the instructions here to the letter. Its an easy article to skip through but follow it precisely and you shall be fine.


For Kiba dock there are two options: - install one of the first versions from here or install the svn with a script from the official forums here. Both are quite straight forward, but be careful as the first one is good but difficult to isolate functions. The second is more refined but there are problems with the physics engine, but this version is so so easy to install. I would wait for the official release which shall be very very soon!

Unable to boot on Kernel Updates

Ok, this is probably your worst nightmare, thinking i'll update to make things better then you reboot only to find that mint cannot load X!
Follow the instructions to take you to terminal, log in as you then type one simple thing.

Code: Select all
sudo envy


alllow the nvidia installer to be download and install, then let it rebuild your xorg.conf. Don't worry if there are monitor specific stuff it usually tends to retain them, if not, there is a backup xorg.ocnf near by that you can copy most of the finer details from

HP Printers/Scanners

Quite simply see here

3G Datacard

Machine = Dell latitude D620 using 3G radio,
Card = Novatel Wireless EU740 internal card - t a mini-PCI express card that has a USB interface available.
Operator = Default is Vodafone, but I am using the card with 02, a uk cellular operator

Firstly you need install kppp from synaptic, and another little useful app called comgt.
You need to download comgt to your \home folder then navigate into the folder with terminal and type make and then make install.

Next you need to follow the instructions here, but avoiding any network specific settings and substituting for your own. There are loads of vodafone tutorials about but none for the smaller networks.

Kppp o2 settings:
login ID: mobileweb
password: password
make sure you select the correct modem device, e.g. /dev/ttyUSB0 and not /dev/tty0 - you will be sitting for hours trying to think why it is not working!
the Init String 2 in the modem commands box : AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","mobile.o2.co.uk"
authentication: PAP

There are more settings here

Default Booting OS

This again is really simple, but no one really has shown this explicitly.

In terminal navigate to
Code: Select all
/boot/grub/

and open the menu list with sudo gedit menu.lst

this has a mixture of comments and startup code, for the Grub menu. All of what i am about to say is in this file.
There are two ways to tell the grub the default OS to boot. I will document my way that worked.
Looking through the file you will see the various menu options (tagged with 'title') and their attributes below like root, kernel etc.

Now the grub numbers each title field- in my case i had two kernels (with two safe modes), a memcheck, a splitter and windows. Thus windows would be number 6 starting from 0 (so seven entries numbered 0 to 6).
You place this number decide the text 'default' now this maybe just below a section of comments that cover this issue so be careful you don't miss it. Its current value should be 0.

=====================================================

Hey all!

I'm been lurking for quite some time, trying to gather information and see if there are any potential issues that i will run into when installing and getting everything working correctly.
I am due to get a new laptop within the next week or two (Dell D620, C2D, 2gb RAM, 100GB HD, Quadro graphics) and i fully intend to dual boot with Mint.

I'm not a complete linux newbie, i have been using it at work for quite some time but i just feel now is the perfect opportunity to test the installation water.
I have a set of goals i want to attain with this installation - mainly familiarity with the OS before i attempt a Gentoo barney!

So i thought i could use my experiences to help newbies as i discover the road to mint heaven. This post will be where i post my problems and solutions hopefully from others that me. I just thought it would be a good resource to have a step by step newbie user guide to installation and configuration.

Ok, so my goals:
  1. Sort windows first, the resize the partition. Understand how the grub works with windows and the necessary config files
  2. Create the appropriately partitioned drive with ease of use file systems that can be seen and modified by both windows and mint. I really want to get this one right!
  3. Install wireless card, docking station, fingerprint reader, 3G module and resolve any hardware issues including the infamous display resolution issues. I'm reasonably confident the hardware will have support.
  4. Configure Beryl and kiba dock to look something like this
  5. Prevent any issues with greying hair during the process!

So i may as well begin- i remember scorp123 talking a while ago about the best files system configuration for linux/UNIX and although most of the arguments in the thread made sense there was certainly not a clear consensus!

From that thread i really like the concept of partitioning the drive to have 2 areas that would be backed up, one for mint and another for xp. This would have the been of reduce backup space rather that backing up the whole drive. At the same time i would like to have a few partitions as possible, more than 4 just gets complicated!
Currently i'm using about 60gb in windows, so i'm hopeful that i can minimise my apps move most into mint equivalents. Media i'm likely to keep on a 250bg external drive.
if i say 30~40 for windows, that leaves 60 for linux and any bits in between.

My first question, bearing in mind reliability and ease of use is paramount, is how to i divide this up, what files systems do i use and will i need a shared partition?

cheers

Ferg
Last edited by Fergus on Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Newbie Trials and Tribulations

Postby npap on Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:24 pm

Welcome to the party Fergus,
I am not a guru and I could not help people most of the time. :)
It's nice to have somebody here with some experience who is willing to help newbies.
Please take a look at the Wikimint to see if some of your questions and answers are not covered there already.

Best regards, Npap
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Postby will on Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:41 pm

Hey Fergus... When I first got into linux I was a bit worried about frying my computer forever! It was a relatively new Christmas present (Vaio laptop) and I really didn't want to destroy it. I overcame my fears, however, and used Gparted Live to partition my harddrive. It is a great tool that allows you to easily resize your Windows partition. You should leave the rest of the space (if you plan for linux to have to rest of it) unformatted...or at least this is what I did. When you install Mint, tell it to use the largest contiguous free space, pretty easy :)

This is a link to the Gparted live site: http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php

..and a link to the Gparted Live Cd .iso file: http://easynews.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/gparted/gparted-livecd-0.3.4-5.iso

Good Luck!

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Postby carlos on Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:56 pm

d00d your getting a dell!

As for the partitioning scheme, I went with a middle of the road approach:

hda1 partition for testing distros
hda2 / (mint)
hda3 swap
hda4 /home/<user>/storage


seems to work quite well so far. I'm also dual booting for now. But on my laptop its completely linux mint and working great!

Good luck and welcome aboard!
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Postby bodker on Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:14 pm

FYI, I have mint on a D620 and it rocks. Had minor issues on a D600 and a D610. The D620 was the easiest install ever.

Do you have the wide screen version?

/d
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Postby Fergus on Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:28 am

Hey guys, thanks for the encouragement!

I overcame my fears, however, and used Gparted Live to partition my harddrive. It is a great tool that allows you to easily resize your Windows partition.


Soccer monster- i already have a fairly recent copy of partition magic to put on my windows partition so i was thinking of resizing the windows partition that way.

Carlos - that setup is probably where i'll end up, keeping my user files separated in case something screws up. Xp on hda1, mint on hda2. How big should my swap be?
Yes i'm getting a dell, unfortunately no other company can match the support service in the UK.

Bodker - Great, i have someone who has gone through this! Yeah its the 1440x900 widescreen. What size of HD do you have?

One general thought that no one has touched on: what file system do i use? Fat32, reiserfs, ext3? Again compatibility with windows would be nice so i don't mind install a driver on windows to read ext3. I also read somewhere that you can share things like firefox profiles between windows and mint, does that mean my user partition must be fat32?

cheers! 8)
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Postby carlos on Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:49 am

For a swap file from what I've read 2x the installed memory. Also ext3 would be the way to go. Especially since there is a free driver for windows to access those type of formats.
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Sharing Partitions

Postby Hiko96786 on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:56 am

Aloha,
Also there is ntfs-3g http://www.ntfs-3g.org/ which will allow you to read ntfs in Linux. I believe there is an ubuntu package for it and doesn't Mint have it by defualt?
Mahalo,
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Postby Husse on Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:32 am

ntfs-3g
and doesn't Mint have it by defualt?

Yes
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Re: Newbie Trials and Tribulations

Postby allforcarrie on Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:11 am

npap wrote:Welcome to the party Fergus,
I am not a guru and I could not help people most of the time. :)
It's nice to have somebody here with some experience who is willing to help newbies.
Please take a look at the Wikimint to see if some of your questions and answers are not covered there already.

Best regards, Npap


haha i like you already.
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Postby Fergus on Tue May 01, 2007 1:17 pm

Right guys and girls my apologies for not continuing this thread as i had a delay in getting the laptop.

Now i'm ready to rock and roll i still want some partitioning advice.

I will go with Carlos's divisions but the numbers are beginning to concern me. 100gb Drive, 40gb for windows, 4gb for swap.... how much do i divide up the root and the home directory?

What i'm really asking is where does the bulk of the installations go?
When i install say, open office or beryl or any other application where does it go?
Is it better to have a larger root partition than home or the opposite way about? What is the average mint installation size?

i have this thread for anyone that wants a better reference, and i would say 25gb for the root and the remainder for /home, how does this sound?

p.s. would it be better to relocate this thread to the newbie forum?
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Postby Husse on Tue May 01, 2007 2:30 pm

I have this thread for anyone that wants a better reference, and i would say 25gb for the root and the remainder for /home, how does this sound?

p.s. would it be better to relocate this thread to the newbie forum?

Something like that. As for relocation you have some guidance in the wiki. I'll consider it though
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Postby scorp123 on Tue May 01, 2007 2:51 pm

Fergus wrote: I will go with Carlos's divisions but the numbers are beginning to concern me. 100gb Drive, 40gb for windows, 4gb for swap.... how much do i divide up the root and the home directory?
If you don't plan to use the Windows partition for anything serious but some casual gaming here and there you can of course make it smaller. :wink: Also, 4 GB for swap might be too much on second thought. The usual formula is to make swap about 1x or 2x the size of your RAM, but if you already have 1 GB or more RAM this formula is unreasonable. If you got 1 GB RAM then 1 GB swap is absolutely enough.

Fergus wrote: What i'm really asking is where does the bulk of the installations go?
/usr :wink:

Fergus wrote: When i install say, open office or beryl or any other application where does it go?
Most stuff ends up in /usr ... some might go to /opt but this depends :wink:

Fergus wrote: Is it better to have a larger root partition than home or the opposite way about?
Nope, /home should always be larger then all the rest combined or else you won't have enough space for all your MP3, pr0n and moviez collections :wink: (just kidding here :D )

Seriously: /home holds all your data. So it should be the biggest partition. The bigger the better. More mails, more movies, more music, more pictures, more everything that you can store there.

Fergus wrote: What is the average mint installation size?
In my case? With all the tons of stuff I download additionally from the Internet I usually end up with my disks like this:

This is from my current system:
    Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/hda6 2.0G 176M 1.9G 9% /
    /dev/hda5 152M 18M 127M 13% /boot
    /dev/hda7 6.0G 4.7G 1.4G 78% /usr
    /dev/hda8 4.0G 2.1G 2.0G 52% /opt
    /dev/hda9 4.0G 704M 3.4G 18% /var
    /dev/hdb1 280G 155G 125G 56% /data
    /dev/hda11 74G 32G 42G 43% /home
/data is an extension to /home (e.g. there is a subdirectory in my home called "data" which is a symbolic link to the other actual partition)

Fergus wrote: i would say 25gb for the root and the remainder for /home, how does this sound?
25 GB is way too big ... Unless of course you plan on hosting a files server, a mail server, a news group or web server? But then you'd do the partitioning differently :D You'd simply have to :twisted: I'd say for a normal home user 8-10 GB for the root partition is more than enough. If you don't plan on installing GNOME and/or KDE alongside each other (both waste a lot of disk space) and instead are more then happy with just one of them (GNOME or KDE but not both!) you could probably even halve the number, thus 5-8 GB would be more than enough. :wink:
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Postby Fergus on Tue May 01, 2007 3:01 pm

Gents, thank you very much for your input, most valuable indeed!

Scorp, i do FPGA design and likely will be installing quite a few development tools, hence i was a little nervous about how big they come. But i'll take the system partition down to 15gb. That should allow me some overhead.

I have 2gb of ram, so i'll stick with a 2gb swap just for ease. Give me more room for p0rn ;-)

oh, just quickly before i get underway, the bianca install disk will setup the different home partition, or will i have to do it manually after install?
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Postby Fergus on Tue May 01, 2007 3:46 pm

i am just underway.... :shock:

at the moment i have:

/dev/sda1 some dell utility to do with the security chip i need to keep 85mb
/dev/sda2 Win xp 40gb
/dev/sda3 / (Mint) 15gb
/dev/sda5 swap 2gb
/dev/sda6 /home the remainder

just a little nervous right now but i'll be back...
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Postby Fergus on Tue May 01, 2007 4:08 pm

Ok well i am up and running, the grub found my win xp partition and mintdisk has mounted it on my desktop.

I had a little scary moment during boot where things froze for a time but a cup of tea and everything was good.

Now i need to sort mint wifi and make sure my wireless card is working. I have a 3G network card which i also use but i'll leave that for the time being.
i found my dell drivers in a folder in the root of my xp install.

I think i am having issues with this, since i am using a USB dongle from another computer to create a network. I am entering the SSID and the passkey but nothing to indicate a network connection.

i'll be back with answers
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Postby Fergus on Tue May 01, 2007 4:45 pm

:D ok now i have the wifi connection working - didn't do anything special. Just install the driver from windows, then typed in the network details. Just checked that i was getting a connection with the network tools.

One question.... how do i get a connection logo like the one that displays and unconnected ethernet connection?

Next i need a general tut on installing and updating things, do's and dont's...

i will need help with a quadro graphics card in this machine and i believe there are drivers specific for nvidia? I'll look on the wiki first since i know there is a section there.
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Postby Fergus on Tue May 01, 2007 6:33 pm

Nope.... i am struggling here... i think i installed beryl before the nvidia drivers.
When i rean beryl manager it restarted the xserver i think.

Then when i installed the nvidia driver using sudo envy and option 1 it also restarted the xserver and didn't return to the logon screen.

Can someone help?
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Postby Husse on Wed May 02, 2007 5:16 am

Fergus, what you describe in your 11:33 pm post is expected - I think. Installing the driver after Beryl breaks things...
If you can get into the desktop it's fairly easy to proceed by removing beryl and reinstalling the driver and then install beryl again.
But if you don't get into the desktop you should be able to get into recovery mode and do the same thing there.
1) apt-get remove beryl
2) use envy to install the driver
3) boot into desktop (you type exit)
continue to install beryl again
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Postby Fergus on Wed May 02, 2007 7:18 am

Husse,

thanks for getting back to me!

I have uninstatlled beryl, but when i run envy - which is just typing envy into the terminal the screen goes blank and i have the flashing cursor.
Is this the tty?
I tried entering exit but still nothing... i have seen various ways to install this driver and envy is the simplest, should i try the nvidia script?

Should i have altered xconf or something before?
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