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Full Version: Got Fed Up With Win. Linux Newbie
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just started up with linux and i need a little bit of help if anyone is willing ....

i installed 2 days ago redhat 9 and managed to configure it. here are my questions:

1. i tried to play some of my mp3's and i got an error message saying that support for mpeg layer 3 has been removed?! is there anyway i can play mp3 songs or do i have to resort to mandrake or suse?
2. divx movies... is there a codec of some sort i can download or do i need to configure something....
i learned how to unpack and install so i'm not a lost cause (took me 3 hours to mount my fat32 partitions tongue.gif )
3. i heard that mandrake is more suitable for linux newbies but i have an USB mouse and the mandrake installer doesn't recognise it. MUST i get another mouse?
4. i have an intel HAM modem. as far as i know linux is having problems with some modems. will i be able to get this modem to work?
5. do you recomend i get other linux distributions?

ok that will be all for now..... any help will be highly appreciated. thank you
Ok, Red Hat 9 is a great distro and it is just fine for Linux newbies, personally, I do recomend Mandrake to newbies, but there is nothing wrong with Red Hat 9 except that it is dead. Red Hat is no longer offering updates for Red Hat so ounce you get it up to date your done, no more bug fixes, no more security hole fixes, nothing. Rumor has it there are a few independent groups doing some stuff, but I can't validate that.

Ok, as for mp3s, there is no reason why Red Hat shouldn't be able to play them. What media player are you using? If its not xmms, switch. Install xmms and you will be fine.

Divx, install xine or mplayer, either one comes choch full of codecs, including divx. I have never run into a problem with a codec with xine or mplayer. I thought I did ounce, but it turns out it was just a bad file.

Mandrake and Red Hat are about the same for newbies. Both have rpm based program installes which are a lot easier for newbies. This is what I would recomend, f you have some time, and maybe an extra hard drive, install Mandrake, dink around with it a little bit, and see which one you like more, in the end, your going to be happy with either, if you don't want to take the effort to switch your going to be just fine on Red Hat. Lots of guys will tell you Red Hat is better, I am just not one of them.

As for the modem, I can't answer that for sure, but my gut instinct is you will be fine. A module has been written somewhere by someone for just about every piece of hardware on this planet.

As for distros, we kind of already covered that. Truth is, all of the major distros are good and you can learn on any of them. Find one you like, and run with it for a wile.

RedHat out of the box will not play MP3s. This is due to a licensing fee issue for MP3s. Products (based in the United States) that play MP3s must pay a fee ($0.75 per decoder ... see this link). Since RedHat is a free product, they can't pay a fee for every product downloaded inside the USA ... therefore you must add that functionality for can do so by installing apt from

Mandrake, Debian and SUSE (not being based in the US) can play MP3s out of the box. Windows can also play MP3s out of the box, because they pay the fee (and pass the cost on to their clients).

Here is Red Hat's official response
thanks a lot. i ended up installing mandrake 10. works just fine with movies and mp3. next order of business is to install my modem, i guess i will be able to figure that out.
what i need a hint with is network. i made a LAN with 2 xp boxes and it was fairly easy even though i don't know much about it. now the question is what must i do to connect my new mandrake to the XP. i looked around for tools but found nothing. in XP i didn't even have to specify any IPs but i guess that winth linux is a different thing. can anybody guide me, or at least point me to a 'tutorial' or guide.... thanks.
Do you mean that you want to share files between the Linux and Windows PCs via the network?

If so, you need to install samba ...

The current packages are :


Short Version
Then you will need to edit the /etc/samba/smb.conf file ...

The important parts are:


Then add users in Linux that match the users and password in Windows.

Then start samba via the command:

/etc/init.d/smb start

then make it start on startup with the command:
chkconfig --levels 2345 smb on
chkconfig --levels 016 smb off

Create a directory on the Linux server to mount windows shares per this thread.

Long Versions:
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