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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Dr. SuSE
color cycle (slow)
kistaro
Anyway, I've finally gotten a vaguely operational instance of Linux on my computer! It's not Debian, I'm running SuSE. It actually managed to figure out my network card and almost figured out my graphics card.

However, I need suggestions for:
1. Where to get software packages for it, especially gVim and any AIM client. I can find those on my own easily enough, I just figured I'd ask while I'm here.
2. How to make the screen resolution get to the correct setting. My LCD is capable of 1024x768@60hz, 24bpp; even if I set the device configuration to that, though, SuSE (using KDE) keeps doing 800x600@60hz, 16bpp, and I can't change it. Where should I start looking to patch it? 800x600 is usable- it's a steaming load of a lot better than 300x240- but I'd really prefer the actual resolution of my monitor.


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Wow. If you're having that much trouble with Linux, I reckon I'll stick with Mac OSX and get the positives of command-line accessibility without the pain of administering the system. O_O

Hey, wait, I didn't know you were in the linuxfurs community.

Oh. Wait. Oops. Okies, crosspost time.

Linux is free only if your time has no value. It requires moderate skill to use and quite a bit to make it work correctly. SuSE is actually the nicest distribution I've seen so far (a friend of mine had a SuSE 9.1 CD already, I used it- 9.2 requires a DVD or downloading as you go from FTP); the screen resolution problem is the only major issue I'm having with it, which is a huge improvement from what Debian was doing.

Linux is free only if your time has no value.

Well, no. You will waste just as much time with Windows XP or OSX. You just waste them on different things. With XP you will get to pry spyware out of the OS with some regularity unless you never surf to strange websites and don't ever use Internet Explorer, for example. Linux means an exposure to spyware and trojans that is infinitesimal compared to XP.

Linux is unfairly blamed for being hard to install and configure. The problem is that the hardware manufacturers continue to resist it for the most part. They refuse to disclose their "secrets" to Linux developers, or ask for huge payments before they will do so. They decline to write Linux drivers for their own hardware, though they readily provide such drivers for Windows. When you buy a PC with Windows installed, someone else already did that difficult job of installation and configuration for you.

It is now possible to buy a PC with Linux already configured and installed. Dell offers this as an option on many of their lines, for instance. That would bypass the difficulties you are presently encountering.

I note on your crosspost that you are dealing with an Intel chipset for the video. Intel has in the past been one of the non-cooperators who keep their hardware setups "secret" from the Linux community. Most drivers for Intel hardware are reverse engineered, and they do sometimes lack features or have instabilities as a result. I have had such problems with an Intel-based ethernet card (solution: throw it away and buy an honest one from 3Com) and an Intel-based VGA chipset that was part of the motherboard (harder to resolve: live with the deficiencies or get a different motherboard.)

For AIM, ICQ, and IRC I recommend gaim. It handles all three smoothly, as well as several others like Yahoo, MSN, etc. Be sure you get version 1.03 or higher.

The limiting factor on graphics is not the monitor itself, it is the X driver, of which there are many. The driver must fit with the graphics chips in your PC, and because the makers of VGA and accelerated graphics are not always cooperative about releasing programming information, Linux installations don't always select the right driver automatically. This is not the fault of Linux, of course, but the fault of the cartel that continues to try to limit our options to Micro$oft/Intel products.

I've never installed SuSe myself, so I don't know how the installation handles driver selection. But there is a configuration file for X-windows that specifies the driver and also sets your default resolution and which other resolutions you are allowed to switch to. The name and location of this file depends on the version of X and the distribution of Linux, but should be something like XFConfig or XF86Config and it is normally found in /usr/lib/X11 or some related library location. Your distribution probably provides a script or other tool for reconfiguring it.

Modifying the XFConfig file yourself requires that you know with some degree of certainty the input frequencies of your monitor and the details of your graphics chips. Hopefully your PC manufacturer provided this, but many do not (because they don't like to be pinned down on it and tend to substitute whichever card or chipset is cheapest that month.)

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