May 30, 2009

NEWB's adventure's in Linux From Scratch

hello again,

 I've taken some time tonight to reflect on where I've been over the past 3 weeks.

   I sparked interest in myself on trying Linux and soon realized that the "GUI" alone would not suffice. I poked around a bit, started to ask questions. Installed Ubuntu on a dual cpu Amd box. It ran fine , was stable and it wasn't Windows. Except  for that hideous brown default desktop all worked fine untill that computer's power supply died.

          I started looking into other distro's and ran into the LFS liveCD.. I booted fast and loaded entirely onto my ram, all the programs were snappy. Something I wasn't used to on an old Pentium4 machine with 256 mg of ram. I soon remedied the ram problem as I was ordering a new power supply for the Amd machine I got 2 512mg stick for this Dell 4550. That is the max this machine takes.   

   Well, curiousity got the best of me and I went and started reading on the LFS site and saw that there were only 3 books needed as prerequisites ???????????? I can do this , I thought to myself. That started my journey. After reading about 1/3 of the  first book and blasting thru the software building book. I tried unsuccessfully  to build LFS. I went into the IRC channel and after 7 pathetic attempts  to build . I realised that I needed more knowledge 

    I went back and started being specific, getting a couple   of notepads to keep notes.  And have I kept  notes !!!  I even made a laminated overlay for Vim  for my keyboard shortcuts and bash. I've used Google alot,  sometimes it helps sometimes not.I've used IRC.... Pastebin has become my friend, I've adapted the  approach that I can write down what I've done first before I go into IRC and document all that I've read and what I've done step by step instead of trying to explain it to someone , and half way into it they interrupt you and assume the wrong thing.

    I as a newb am sure that I speak for all newb's in saying everything is not in the blankety,blank , blank, blank, manual.  Each situation is different, many times even the most experienced guys are not going to have the answers In IRC.   I realize this. That's why it's so important that I exhaust every possible avenue before I go to IRC.  At the same time, It's important to note that many new users like myself are not acedemics, we are blue collar regular guys,we understand regular words, not scientific words. Many of the top notch people in Linux and free software as a whole have a computer science  background , with formal training where they have the interaction with their teacher to reinforce what they've learned. When us blue collar guys learn from a book, we don't know what works until we get some experience under our belts to know  ... build confidence. With experience we will gain confidence in ourselves, but when things go wrong, with no interaction it's easy to lose prospective.

    Case in point, my pata cable incident , the night before I started installing I stayed up and read an online Grub "tutorial" the whole book, drive mapping and all, dealing with windows etc. I get up in the morning (note the drive in question just had windows on it and had no problems). I get the idea that I'm going to put another linux on my second drive, when I try  to reboot it doesn't work. I'm like , I just read that book, I couldn't have made a mistake??? I nuked it off and redid the whole thing.. about 10pm that next night I'm ready to reboot again this time the computer hangs????? oh crap how do I deal with this? I power off and now it won't boot, I thing I've messed up the drive powering off. So, I use fsck. and no errors.  Anyway I'm taking note of specific errors and I get a live cd and boot in and copy mtab, fstab, and grub conf and pastebin the whole thing. While I'm in the room waiting for someone to help I'm talking about the options in grub and here we go again , I'm being accused of not following the install guide and not reading the manual, I'm beginning to think that , it's the easy way of saying I'll talk to you but I'm not willing to invest the time to fix it, or I don't have the answer so, I'll just say you're not following the manual,  In the end it wasn't my lack of knowledge, it was a hardware problem. 

     Oh, and what the heck is this deal where fdisk list hda and when you boot the kernel says sda??, and even grub is getting into the act and wants sda or sdxx whatever and some versions I see used the uuid even? , I've got the system up and running and I'm not quite right yet as there are answers I need but , at this point in time, I'm looking for a local users' group to join as I can do without the accusations. I've worked very hard to learn what I've learned in the short amount of time I've been at it. I'm not going away anytime soon.

    I'm going to say one last thing on this subject and that is a very big Thank You to "Cosmo" on the LFS-support channel for being a great guy and straight forward person. Thanks again for all your help.

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