Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mandriva - Day 2

Armed with my WEP key, retrieved from my security spreadsheet, I booted into Linux after managing my morning emails.

The configuration went without a hitch, and the wireless network burst into life using the Windows driver and ndiswrapper. I began to wonder whether I'd have been able to read this value using OpenOffice Calc.

The trick I was missing yesterday is that (as far as I can tell) there are two standard ways of navigating the filesystem, and an application can use one or the other. Some apps have an entry for each disk that uses the disk label. I wasn't recognising my original disk because it still has the manufacturer's label (a six-digit numerical value). I'll have to relabel this as "Windows". Other apps - and this includes OpenOffice - navigate below the Linux root only.

In this case - as I remembered eventually - all the hard disks are under /media. hd is my original Windows disk, hd2 and hd3 are the two partitions on the new disk. And there under '/media/hd', as if by magic, is all my familiar filestore.

One problem though. My security spreadsheet is secured with an Excel password, and this seems to crash Calc. It will happily open any of my other spreadsheets, but the password protected one is a certain app killer.

I had a brief poke around at some other applications, including the Gwenview photo viewer and KMail Mail client, but before long it was time to head out to pick the girls up.

On my return I discovered the network had stopped working. I tried reconfiguring it, but this threw some error about not being able to find the ndiswrapper service! I rebooted and the network came back to life, but after 20 minutes or so it fell over again. This time I managed to resuscitate it using the Network Center. Not sure if there's a timeout value somewhere I haven't seen, or it's just a bit flaky.

Anyhow, with a live network I published my first blog entry from Mandriva (the Brideshead book review below), and WROTE my first entry (this one). That's two activities I can tick off my list.

Problems/weirdness so far identified:
  1. The automatic update utility is failing to find one of the updates it says I need (rpmdrake)
  2. Whenever I click on "Help" it ALWAYS says the help file doesn't exist
  3. I really need to make a list and attack this in a coherent way, cos at the moment I'm jumping from one cool tool to another. A lot of fun, but not much discipline ;o) I noticed there's a personal organiser included in this distro - KOrganizer - which might be a good place to keep the list!
  4. Sometimes when I launch something, it'll say "oh, I need an update" and bugger off somewhere to get it. This has, on occasion, taken 20 minutes.
I'm loving it though. And Nat's already said "can you put Linux on my laptop, please?" lol. Probably not until I'm a bit more up to speed meself. I feel like I don't have a clue what I'm doing, but it's too exciting to leave alone.

6 comments:

Gloria Horsehound said...

I know they're all English words with the correct syntax and all that but I didn't understand a thing! Is it because I'm stupid or a girl;)

Don't answer that please.
Thank you.

Tvor said...

You're a braver man than me, Charlie Brown ;)

Paul said...

Gloria you're not stupid John is getting all geeky on us (again).

Fabrice said...

Don't hesitate to read the documentation :
http://club.mandriva.com/xwiki/bin/view/KB/Mandriva_Linux_2008_Spring_documentation

The visual Tour will give you an overview of the features availables : http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/2009.0_Tour

Fabrice said...

And BTW the network issue may come from a bug in the ndiswrapper. You can guess that using a Windows drivers under Linux ( which is completly different ) may not be 100% reliable. I do hope that a native driver for your wireless card exist, or will exist in the future :)

Digger said...

Thanks Fabrice :o)

I've checked out the Netgear forums and apparently they have no intention of providing a Linux driver now or in the future, and claim that support for Linux is not offered on the packaging. This despite the fact they use Linux in their routers. Bad form. I'll be revising my support for Netgear products forthwith.

There is a generic driver for the Atheros chipset that's in my USB wifi stick, but it's not yet supported for the USB version! Doh!