[Archive] Trials of Linux and the Free Software Revolution - Long


Well the story starts with me 3 months ago. I was fed up with windows. I had just installed a new video card and found that the windows drivers for is enable none of the advanced abilities of the card and they would in a later update. So I came to a crossroads. I couldnt play the Warhammer Online with my old card and after opening the box on the new card I couldnt return it to best buy as the card worked without issue. So I debated turning my main PC into a linux box for a few months while I waited for a new driver to come out.

The First Distro:

I decided to go with one I was familiar with, as I have dabbled with Linux and NetBSD in my High School years. I chose SuSe Linux. After the long download of a 3gb sized DVD image I burned and installed. I discovered to my horror that SuSe was no longer the great distro it had been in the past with the loss of much of the funding gifted from IBM. I found that it had only progressed 2 major revision (which is walking speed when it comes to linux) and supported nearly no new hardware… with my other computer with my wife. I managed to get my network card and burner working and set on choosing a new distro.

The Mandela Video:

As I stumbled around the net looking for reviews of linux distros and which was best for all around use, I tripped on a youtube video of Nelson Mandela talking to a Linux guy about a South African concept of Ubuntu. Loosely it was described as hospitallitym neighborlyness, and freedom. The video then went on to describe their Distro and their large community of helpers to get your questions answered. after signing up on their site. I posted my questions with read more like a list or a test than a regular post. and within 3 hours i have multiple opinions on every question asked. based on that i downloaded Ubuntu “Hardy” after downloading the small 532mb ISO and burning it. I started on my way.


Upon booting to the cd I was greated by a beautiful GUI interface for the installer. More stunning than any one I have previously seen. It walked me through the process. and when it got to the large boring part of formating the partitions and installing the OS and extra Packages It game be access to an applications menu with all sorts of games to play. After 10 or so minutes of playing a Clone of Warcraft 2, I noticed Firefox… I took a virtual stepback… no way would this work. I found to my amazement that the installer had placed a temporary driver that supported my Wireless - N adapter and after a 3 second task of connecting to my access point I was on the web with my OS installing. When the install finished it asked me if I would like to continue or have the page I was reading to be the default first page on the next bootup of firefox. I chose to continue and after finishing reading the news, I rebooted.

The Stately way of Computing:

After the first book I noted that everything worked. Sound, Printer, Network, Video…everything. even my off spec multimedia keyboard and 6 button mouse (weird one with 2 scroll wheels and 4 other buttons). I started with the ultimate test. speed. After finding a good benchmarking program I set it to work. 20 minutes later after reading through the log, I noted an Odd statement in my Video results. All of the advanced options which the windows driver didnt and wouldnt have for sometime were evidently installed and working properly. After thinking about it I decided to take a look at another program I remembered to see how it was fairing.

Would you like some WinE?:

WinE = Windows Emulator. But where as most other emulators require you to install the entire OS you wish to emulate all WinE requires is the systems files such as DLLs and some others to function peakly. This saves hundreds of computing cycles as only the program is running. not the entire OS. After an hour collecting the files i needed to get WinE working the way I would need it to I started it install. I tested with running some simple windows applications like calculator and wordpad… but the true test was yet to come.

WoWing the user:

Thats right I started by installing World of Warcraft. and found it installed and ran seamlessly on my PC… In fact i gained 22 FPS on average over my Windows install. I then got my Beta of Warhammer Online ready and installed… alas it didnt work at first and required some settings to be changes in the sound and video option of WinE but it in the end Ran with little trouble.

The stepback?:

At that point I had to take a stepback. I had just come from Windows to Linux over the period of 3 days and I hadn’t had a single windows withdraw. With WinE properly configured I could run whatever I liked without issue. Most of the Bread and Butter windows apps like word, excel Acrobat and the like all had free alternatives which were on par or better than the pricy counterpart (the only exception i found was Photoshop as i hated the Interface of Gimp) but WinE ran it fine.

Linux is it for me?:

I pan ahead folks to last night. I receive an email from Matrox stating that the windows driver is now available on their site. as I think to myself. I decide to delete the mail and keep on with linux. I mean It has been good to me. and then I notice a Red arrow on my system tray… a notice that there are updates… I had been putting this off for about 3 weeks and decided to just do it. there were a total of 134 updates (note: that the Updater updates all programs on the PC not just the OS.) after 2 hours it is done and asks for a reboot.


After the reboot… My computer enters Low Graphics Mode. so only 16 colors at 640x480 resolution. I start by thinking its a fluke and reboot… Again LGM. I try Manualing setting up my video… reboot…LGM… after 5 hours of back and forth trying to get my video back. the community was my last hope… after 12 hours the only response said to check the power lead to the card… It was fine and after reseating…LGM!! At that point I went into my case and grabbed the first disk in the page… Windows XP w/ SP2


So i reinstalled windows and installed my usual apps, Nod32 AV, Adobe CS2, Office, Skype. The only remnant of my short stint with linux was the Pidgin Program which is a Messenger app that hold 10+ IM and Chat protocols. I highly recommend it… just search google for Pidgin.

Maybe it was Karma. I just made up my mind to stay and the little grimlin comes out and eats my OS. well theres always BeOS!

Thanks for reading.

Viskar Zhragoth:

Ah yes…it is always great until the update! Too bad you had issues, sounds good, until the end. But glad they brought out your driver …now you can Play Warhammer Online!


thats just it… i was playing it on linux from day 4… and actually it ran better. lol

Pyro Stick:

So what was wrong in the end? Did one of the updates mess up the whole thing? Ive been thinking of installing Linux Ubuntu on one of my partitions but if its going to destroy itself the first time it updates im not sure i want to.

Next time you buy a video card buy an Nvidia!! Nvidia FTW!!!


I have Hardy Heron as a dual boot (you don’t even need a separate partition for this anymore). After severa; days of trying to get the wireless to work, it turned out that all I had to do we turn on a setting on one of the corner icons. Everything else works fine, but not as quick as I’d been led to believe. freezes on return from hibernation. Programs aren’t intuitive so it isn’t easy to work out how to do everything, although they have loads of options.

Long story short, the manuals are awful, but it works okay.


Yellowdog has been my distro of choice since I use macs, I do have a PC at home too and work on them daily at my job lest we decend down that road

I only have time to tinker these days… And not much at that. Linux is a great idea, in fact it makes perfect sense on the server side. In fact CDO resides in a server farm run on Red Hat.

Glad to hear it worked thou.


basically the problem ended up being that one of the hundred or so changes reset my x11.conf file and my backups… I assume it was one of the kernel ones… and when given the option of reinstalling Ubuntu and spending the next 4 days to get it back the way it was and reinstalling windows and getting it up and running in 12 hours i took the shorter route… though i made some good friends on there. and one of them is going to make my next PC with Ubuntu preinstalled and all the hardware specifically selected for it… (as I am currently seperated my computer is not complete…) Normally i have a 5 monitor setup. one of which is actually a 32" HDTV and 4 19" flats as far as I looked only Matrox and Sun Microsystems make cards to support that kind of thing. and still keep their quality.

One thing I am really missing is my Compix Fusion settings… I keep catching myself doing the keystrokes for some of the stuff… like virtual desktop change and the like