Lothar's Build Log R0.2.2

Sep 01 2008

Ok lads and lasses.  Time for another update.  In todays edition: choosing a linux distribution.


First let me start out by saying that the Windows Vista portion of my dual boot system is still in tact.  However, due to a few stability issues that I'm having running Mythtv in Windows I thought I would take another stab at my linux installation.  Initially I had installed Fedora 9 64bit but ran into a few problems.  1) There is no 64bit version of Adobe Flash, and 2) I could not get the closed source ATI drivers running.  So then I ran under Fedora 9 32bit for a while.  Here I was able to do everything I wanted to except for the graphics drivers.  After doing a bit of research, I found a page on FedoraForum that explained that the X server used in Fedora 9 is too new?!  They detail instructions on downgrading it to what was used in Fedora 8.  I followed their directions but somewhere along the road something got messed up because after I rebooted and logged in again, I never actually got to the desktop.  It just hung there.

Then I tried Fedora 8 but it didn't see my hard drive.  I don't know if the issue was with the drive (640GB Western Digital) or with the motherboard (lack of support?).  But for whatever reason, it said that I had no media to install on.

The next OS that I tried was Cent OS 5.1.  CentOS stands for Community Enterprise Linux and is the open source version of Redhat.  You can read John's CentOS installation guides here, here and here.  It basically installs the same way that Fedora does since both are done by Redhat.  Installation went smoothly but it was immediately apparent to me that CentOS did not have drivers built in for my ethernet port.  Not wanting to spend lots of time downloading them on another system and moving them over manually, I decided to move onto something else.  Even if ethernet was fixed, who knew what issues I'd run into with video.

The next OS I thought I would try is Ubuntu.  Specifically version 8.04.1 AMD64, which is the most recent version available at the time of this writing.  It is worth noting that version 8.10 is scheduled to be released in the next month or two I believe.  I decided to go with this distribution because it is getting more and more popular with beginners and advanced users alike all the time.  Installation was actually quite simple (to the extent that I didn't see a spot where you could customize which software packages were installed).  Pretty much everything worked for me right away with the exception of flash.  As noted above, flash isn't available for 64bit Linux.  As soon as installation finished and I was at the desktop I got a message bubble saying that there were proprietary drivers available for my hardware.  When I clicked on it, it asked if I wanted to use the ATI closed source drivers, which is why I went through this all in the first place, and after checking the box it downloaded the drivers and I was off.  However, there was still that issue of Adobe Flash.

So as I write this I am downloading Ubuntu 8.04.1 Desktop 386, which is the 32bit version of Ubuntu.  I fully expect that I will have the same simple installation experience with it and that all of my hardware will just work.  Because of this, and because this is my first time working with Ubuntu, I intend to write up a beginning guide for the rest of you on installing Ubuntu and the steps that I had to take to get everything working with Mythtv (OS installation, driver setup, mythtv installation, etc).  Look for it in the coming month.  And if I don't publish something soon, please keep bugging me about it until I do.

As always, feel free to drop a line in the forums about this or anything else.

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