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Tony4x4
Hi there,

Before I start, I am totally new to Linux and would appreciate some advice.

I have always stayed clear of Linux, because not being that technical and always needing a mission critical platform I have always stayed with "the devil I know" i.e. Windows (no rude comments please! wink.gif )

I have just bought myself a Panasonic Toughbook CF-71 Pentium II which I am going to be using in the field which is not so mission critical, so I thought I would give Linux a try. The main purpose of the notebook to to test and configure WiFi Radios, so I would need to be able to easily change IP addresses, Telnet'ing etc. Also I need to be able to add a PCMCIA Lan card and PCMCIA WiFi card with ease.

Can you please advice as to which Linux I should be using? Apart from the above requirements the version I use should be easy to install with minimum technical knowledge.

Just one other thing. My notebook has a external CD drive which I can't boot from, so I would need to advice on creating a bootable floppy to be able to load the system.

Thanks in advance.

Tony
DS2K3
Mandrake/Mandriva is IMO the most user-friendly distribution. Since it is a European distro (French to be exact) it isnt subjhect to US export controls, meaning that it supports some tihngs that Fedora doesn't (mostly MPEG (inc. MP3)). It also has a WiFi setup utility, no idea if it is any good though.

Linux' support for notebooks isnt great, but since the hardware isnt too new, it should work OK. Mandriva used to have a utility which allowed you to create boot disks using your Windows environment, but I have no idea if it still does.

You might want to consider Suse (now owned by Novell) or Fedora (which, as I mentioned is lacking in MPEG support, and also a few config tools), bot are considered pretty user-friendly. Gentoo or Debian are probably not a good choice for a new user, but might be nice to try once you get the hang of things.

D
Trio3b
Mandrake 10.0 is very stable. Avoid MDK 10.1 Spend a few evenings researching hardware compatibility lists. Linux has come quite a ways, but still need to check. Also try a live CD version to tinker with it.
Have been using dual boot with Wxp and Mandrake 10.0 for 6 months. XP did not have the drivers for my video, sound, or printer and took almost 1.5 hours to install with one crash during install.
Mandrake found everything but my modem and installed automatically in 23 minutes. Software based modems (winmodems) are an issue in linux, so I used an external serial port modem ($5 at the local thrift shop) and I was in business.

Most important - be willing to give linux some time. There are way more options to choose from in linux, and that just takes time! It will take several MONTHS before you get the hang of most things.

Good luck
Go Linux!
DS2K3
I never had probs with MDK10.1 - But it's irrelevant now since 2005LE == 10.2 which doesnt seem to have any majoor problems. (Although Mandriva x.2 releases generally dont, sine there arent normally any major changes since the last release)
jasontheodd
DS2K3 mentioned SuSE, as I am using SuSE 9.3 on a notebook right now. I like the way the power management works. I comes with a ton of tools for IBM and HP laptops, but for other models you may want to hit RPM seek to find tools for your make model.
h2gofast
I've used linux on that exact laptop. It was a p3 though, but it shouldn't make a difference.
I've used debian and been very happy with it. Installing new and upgrading software in debian is a breeze. I must warn you there is a learning curve. I can't speak for Mandrake, I don't know if it's what it used to be, but I can speak for debian.
My advice is to find a debian based distro such as knoppix, (not ubuntu, it may have gotten better since I tried it), mepis, (which has a very user friendly install), or zenlinux,( a good choice, but try the live cd first).
Scratch that I see you don't have a bootable cdrom. You should get one on ebay. Or else try DamnSmallLinux. It's a good way to go and pretty snappy on a p2. If you get a cdrom get used to using a window manager called fluxbox. It's the default on zenlinux, or you could install it from any debian installation that is connected to the internet. Simply apt-get install fluxbox.
for zenlinux.
goto
ftp://ftp.subterrain.net/pub/zenlinux/old/1.2/ and download Zen_Master_v1.2r.iso
zenlinux has moved to a dvd sized install and dvd drives for toughbooks are pricey.
pop the cd in the drive you bought from ebay. If you are not running modern amounts of ram which you aren't it's better to boot up disconnected from the internet. Zenlinux updates itself when running the livecd and needs ram to do this. Just boot it up. login as root password is root I believe.
Right click and you get a menu somewhere in the zen menu is an install option. Install to hard drive.
get a cup of coffee. Comeback and reboot. Once you're connected to the internet, Logon, right click, somewhere in the zen menu is a zen update. Click on that. If dialup, go take a nap. If broadband, get a glass of water.

You now have a sweetly configured debian install.
Now dorothy, you aren't in guiLand anymore.
There are a number of ways to do this, but here is the fastest and most efficient way to set and reset your ethernet connection for different sites.
Download a vim cheatsheet from the internet.
open xterm window.
type in sudo cp /etc/network/interfaces /etc/network/interfaces.bak
The above gives you a backup file for when you screw things up, and you will at least once.
type in vim /etc/network/interfaces
type i
edit this file to your needs (/www.google.com/linux is your friend) for a different wifi connection.
press the esc button.
type :wq
press enter
type sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

good luck.
DS2K3
IMO you are best not to use Debian until you know your way around. It's all very well using Debian or Gentoo once you know how things work, and they are excellent in many respects. BUT, for a Linux newbie Debian is a bit daunting, and not the "gentle introduction" that something like Mandriva is. KDE is an excellent desktop manager, and makes using Linux a thoroughly pleasant experience. "Hardcore" WMs like Fluxbox are all very well, but not really a nice way for newbies to meet Linux for the first time. I still use KDE, purely because it makes using my computer intuitive, while still letting me get to a terminal if I need to.

D
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