Re: It isn't what RHL 5.2 was
From: Phil Dybvig (fedora_at_ducksoup.afree.net)
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2004 23:19:03 -0500 (CDT) To: firstname.lastname@example.org
You raise some interesting general and specific questions. Starting with the
specific, I had initial problems with NICs (the onboard 3M gigabit circuitry as
well as several old cards I tried) until I found the instructions in the
release-notes to run as root the command
chmod -x /sbin/mii-tool
Unfortunately, I don't think this can be done until after a lot of the default
installation fails, and the release notes should make it clearer exactly when
and how this should be done -- I am have been around a long time and I don't
know the answer. (I interuppted the installation after the RPMs were installed
chroot but before the first boot, changing the command for the changed root.
However, I am not sure that was early enough to get all of the network
installation working, and of course a newbie would have no idea how to do this.)
Generally, FC2 has been more stable than earlier redhats, although I am using
Windowmaker which may avoid some problems people are having with gnome (and
probably avoiding some capabilities they want, too). Installation was painful
at times, largely due to bleeding edge hardware. Nonetheless, hardware
compatibility seems better in the past:
* After the patch above, the onboard gigabit ethernet has worked fine. In
the past it was hard to get compatible drivers for many cards.
* SATA hard drives worked immediately. Getting high-speed SCSI drives
recognized was an ordeal in the past.
* The NVIDIA driver was not available for about a week, although the built-in
nv driver is fine for most things. In the past, NVidia drivers were always
available, although I never used a brand-new kernel before. To NVidia's credit,
they have done a good job of keeping up with new kernels and providing a
seamless installation procedure. It is hard to tell whether residual problems
some people are describing are due to X, the NVidia driver, motherboard chips,
* The 64-bit architecture works fine, although broken shared libraries
(especially for gtk) still keep a lot of existing 32-bit binaries from running
correctly. The wonderful open source statistical package R
(http://www.r-project.org/) is even more awesome in 64-bits, and is very fast
and can work with large vectors in core.
* Compability with earlier binaries and packages is better than in the past
for ``big'' packages, and a lot more packages are supported than used to be.
Changes in gcc etc. continue to be a problem for running older binaries (e.g.
plug-ins using proprietary source code). Also, compiling for 64-bit is hit and
miss if the developers did not make their code robust enough, which is more of a
problem for small projects done by volunteers who are having enough trouble
getting the program working on one platform and OS version. Specifically, this
was a problem for some of the dockable applications I used. A lot of my main
applications are fine: Window Maker interface, R for math/statistics and
sylpheed for mail.
Default security is a lot better than it used to be, even without SELinux.
There are still lots of unnecessary processes running (especially with ``install
everything''). However, I am not objecting: when setting up a machine, this is
less of a problem than if something doesn't work and it is not clear how to get
it started. Also, extra processes pose less of a security risk than open ports,
especially since just about all the programs are less buggy and more secure now.
Overall, installing FC2 has been more work than earlier RH installs, but
mostly because I was more ambitious in using new hardware and a new kernel. The
payoff is a great machine. There is some legitimate disappointment by people
who liked having stable RH versions that were free for download but better
seasoned than FC2. Personally, I usually bought the box sets (internet was
slower then and DVD burning unavailable), so for me, buying RH Enterprise
Edition would be priced similarly to buying one of the old versions.
A lingering irritation is dealing with proprietary formats that other firms
don't support in linux (e.g. Quicktime and MS Word). These formats aren't
anything special, but are needed sometimes for compatibility with other people.
I think RealPlayer 10 by Helix may be a good practical solution for the
multimedia formats. I am interested in the political and economic issues. For
example, patenting what is mostly a technical standard rather than an
intellectual innovation seems like patenting a particular shape of power plug
and is an abuse of the patent system. However, as a user I mostly want a clear
license and the ability to interact with other people who aren't using linux
yet. I know several approaches to these problems, and I am not entirely happy
with any of them.
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