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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard bbolte's Avatar
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    Unhappy running linux woes

    i've been contemplating dual-booting my box with some flavor of linux. so far, out of the several live cds i've tried, all have failed to run. only 1 has even gotten as far as the desktop - but it wouldn't display a mouse cursor.

    here's what i've tried so far: ubuntu 7.10, kubuntu 7.10, freespire 2.06, fedora 8, and opensuse 10.3. opensuse was the only one that actually made it to the desktop (but no mouse cursor but i could see it highlight stuff as i moved my mouse around), all the others just seemed to fail around the time it tried to display something.

    computer specs are: AMD XP 2500 (1.83 ghz), 1 gb ram, Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 and plenty of hd space.

    i've found that the ubuntu (or derivatives) seem to dislike Nvidia cars with the latest releases, so thought the opensuse or fedora would run - but no dice. i have one left - mandriva - that i'm going to try yet.

    so here's the big question - anyone have any pointers?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member graemep's Avatar
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    I doubt its your graphics card: it might cause a loss of performance (if the driver is not accelerated, for example), but it should not cause nothing to display.

    Things to try based on problems I have experienced:

    1) If you have downloaded the various distros and burnt CDs yourself, have you verified the CDs?
    2) Have you checked your RAM is OK? The Ubuntu CD can do a memory test.
    3) Try running specialised live CDs: Knoppix, Puppy or Slax. I have never known Knoppix or Puppy to fail to boot, except because of a faulty CD. You could try booting them text only as well (in case it is the Nvidia video).
    4) Could your CD drive be faulty? No idea how to test this.

    If you get really stuck, you might try a local Linux User Group. A lot of them are helpful to new users, and a good many have installfests to which you can take your box and have the installation done for you.

  3. #3
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    I've had the same problem with Ubuntu 7.* supporting my ATI Radeon card, can never get to the live CD or boot to the GUI cause Xserver crashes. But to get it to work I had to install the drivers for the card though command line, lots of fun I might add.

    It has to be the latest version of xserver because Ubuntu 6.10 works like a charm on the same hardware.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  4. #4
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    I have incredibly similar specs to you (slightly faster cpu only) and I dual boot two different distros, including Ubuntu 7.10 without any issues. Something else is definetely going wrong. The above advice is good you need to find someone who has done an install lots of times and see if they can help you out.
    http://www.glasys.co.uk
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    fwiw, I've run Ubuntu live cd on a PIII at 550Mhz with a nvidia card, plus a laptop and one other desktop. I've also run Knoppix and FreeBSD CDs with no problems along with one other I can't recall.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bbolte's Avatar
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    alright, i'll keep at it. there are some guys here at work that may have some insight. oh and the Mandriva live cd failed also. so far, only the OpenSuse seems to be working, I poked around for some mouse settings but didn't find anything about cursors. the only mouse cursor I see is the "busy" one.

    thanks all...

  7. #7
    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    I have an nVidia card (although a little older) and I have Ubuntu installed and have booted to at least four other distros via live disk.

    I'm thinking it might be your CD drive. Just last week I had one that would read and write but wouldn't boot. Even with correct BIOS settings, it was DOA on boot. Go figure . . .

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bbolte's Avatar
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    but i was able to get OpenSuse to boot (albeit without a mouse cursor), but it worked and I could get out to the web. I have a hard time thinking it's the CD drive when it hasn't been acting up at all. I've been playing games with CDs on windows and ripping MP3s. I'm not ruling it out, but it seems a bit of a stretch to me.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bbolte's Avatar
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    I read those quickly and it looked like they were talking about installing the drivers for nvidia whereas you are using a live cd where the drivers will not be directly installed.

    In any case, I don't understand why they are not working for you.

  11. #11
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    The problem with Live Cd's is that they are only for the majority of users not ALL users, the best way to really test a linux distro is to make space on your drive and install it, that way the correct packages are unpackaged/installed. Live cd's have very little space they can utilize for the running packages, keep in mind everything that they create is stored in RAM, so chances are the things you need for the distros to run on your pc are not in the stuff that is out and about on the cd.

    Best of luck.
    Shawn Stratton
    PHP, ASP.NET (C#) Developer
    mFace Marketing
    I produce W3 compliant HTML and CSS.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard bbolte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
    I read those quickly and it looked like they were talking about installing the drivers for nvidia whereas you are using a live cd where the drivers will not be directly installed.
    you're right...
    Quote Originally Posted by mfacenet View Post
    ... the best way to really test a linux distro is to make space on your drive and install it. ...
    that's what i've been thinking as i've been looking around the web at things. now to decide which one...

  13. #13
    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    Take a look at the wubi-installer. It will install Ubuntu in Windows program files - no partitioning necessary. It installs GRUB and gives a choice at boot which OS you want. If you don't like it, uninstall via add/remove programs. If you like it you can install on a partition from the Wubi install. Pretty slick.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Member graemep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbolte View Post
    I have a hard time thinking it's the CD drive when it hasn't been acting up at all. I've been playing games with CDs on windows and ripping MP3s. I'm not ruling it out, but it seems a bit of a stretch to me.
    I do not know about games CDs, but I think CDs of media files are comparatively tolerant of errors (and audio CDs will play will small holes in them). On the other hand, OS install discs are fussy: one bit wrong and it plays up. I would have saved my self a lot of time when I first installed Linux if I had bothered to verify the burned ISO images.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfacenet View Post
    Live cd's have very little space they can utilize for the running packages, keep in mind everything that they create is stored in RAM, so chances are the things you need for the distros to run on your pc are not in the stuff that is out and about on the cd.
    It is true that everything you run will be in ram but the things you can run are only limited by what they can fit on the cd and they can fit a lot on the CD. Knoppix, for example, had Gnome, I think, OpenOffice, graphics programs, browsers, and much more. It takes a little longer for them to load but, once loaded, they ran very well.

    I think live cds are a great way to test drive an OS but working with an installed version for a few weeks is the real way to go.

    With that in mind, I highly recommend the BSDs instead of Linux. Essentially your choices are three: FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD with FreeBSD being the most used. It, too, comes with a live cd and also has two or three easy to install desktop systems along the lines of Ubuntu; PC-BSD and DesktopBSD (I think). I've used PC-BSD and recommend it though it uses KDE and I prefer Gnome.

    In any case, even the three BSDs are very similar and it's easy to switch between them while it appears that trying to decide between the many Linux distros is a trying experience by itself; especially if there are significant differences between them.

  16. #16
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    I forget about all the hassles of portioning my HDD and setting up booting options. Instead I just use virtualization to get my feet wet before I ever try to go live with any install of an OS.

    Lets me practice and get the hang of installing the basics I can then focus on troubleshooting for those problems with different hardware issues.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    But that's what a live cd does without having to set up virtualization or installing anything.

  18. #18
    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    Wubi anyone?

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    wubi doobey-doo
    de doobey doobey
    doobey doobey doo
    --Frank Sinatra

  20. #20
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
    But that's what a live cd does without having to set up virtualization or installing anything.
    I agree a live CD is great for getting into the basics. But for more in depth one needs to install it to the HDD.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  21. #21
    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    Wubi does that but without the hassle of partitioning.

  22. #22
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    What is this Wubi?
    http://www.glasys.co.uk
    Noli Illegitimi Carborundum

  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast calash's Avatar
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    Odd, I run 3 systems with Ubuntu and all 3 have worked off of the Live CD with no problem, 2 of them being NVIDIA based cards (6200 and 5700)

    Have you tried Knoppix? It is a CD based Distro that has some very good hardware detection built in. It may be worth running it and seeing if it will get you to the GUI or not.


    What is this Wubi?
    It is explained a few posts above. In basic terms it is a non-destructive Windows based installer for Ubuntu. Great for testing it out while leaving a method to remove it easily.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    There's a new thing out called Google.

  25. #25
    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leonglass View Post
    What is this Wubi?
    From a previous post . . .

    And this from the Wubi homepage . . .
    Wubi is an unofficial Ubuntu installer for Windows users that will bring you into the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other application. If you heard about Linux and Ubuntu, if you wanted to try them but you were afraid, this is for you.

    Wubi is Safe

    It does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader.

    Wubi is Simple

    Just run the installer, no need to burn a CD.

    Wubi is Discrete

    Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and If you do not like, you can simply uninstall it.

    Wubi is Free

    Wubi (like Ubuntu) is free as in beer and as in freedom. You will get this part later on, the important thing now is that it cost absolutely nothing, it is our gift to you...


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