OS Shuffle

Over the past few days:

– Decided win2k was just too slow on the laptop, so built a new 800MHz, 256 workstation.

– Backed up everything I needed from the laptop and moved it to the workstation.

– Put latest BeOS updates on the laptop and moved betips to the laptop, so I could use the betips workstation for a linux machine.

– CGI wasn’t working under Apache2 on the laptop and couldn’t figure it out. Finally copied the whole config directory from the betips workstation to the laptop.

– This fixed the CGI problem (still not sure what file(s) fixed that problem, but now the laptop wouldn’t boot except in safe mode. Fiddled with all the usual boot options, which didn’t help. Finally realized that in the process I had copied over ~/config/settings/app_server_settings. Deleting this allowed me to reboot.

– Backed up years of BeOS work to BFS and ISO CDs. My loyal betips workstation is now officially retired . It’s been a champ, but time to free up some resources (and the laptop is so much quieter to have as a 24×7 server).

– Over the past couple of days I had downloaded two 677MB iso images from Mandrake mirrors to the new Win2K machine. Now I needed to burn them. Duh! The SCSI card is in the old betips workstation and I’m going to want it in the Linux machine. So had to FTP the images to the betips workstation, which took forever because Be’s 3com drivers suck. Then burned the images with Be’s CDBurner. How ironic that the last official job of that machine is to burn install CDs for another OS. CDBurner sure does a nice job though.

– Detached all drives in the old betips and installed a 6GB IDE I had sitting around as primary slave (the only slot left in the IDE chain).

– Installed Mandrake 8 to the 6GB drive, which took forever. I have to say, this is the nicest Linux installer I’ve ever seen. Still had some problems with it, but fairly minor.

– Spent most of yesterday learning and tweaking my new Linux system. Damn, there’s so much great software out there. KDE 2 actually rocks pretty hard. Maybe Linux is destined for usability after all.

– Wanted to upgrade to KDE2.2, downloaded all the RPMs and learned how to use urpmi to do a system upgrade. Very nice.

– Noticed that the installer had failed to give me MySQL, Apache, and PHP, which I had asked for.

– This morning re-attached the Be machine’s other drives, just so I can get to it when/if I want. Booted from CD and ran bootman. Rebooted – oops, linux boot signature can’t be found. Probably because the installer wrote to the MBR rather than the boot partition. It didn’t even ask me. It was trying to be friendly and made a bad assumption.

– Figured I could boot Mandrake from floppy or CD and fix the location of the boot record. Yes, I could boot from CD, but no, I don’t see any way to fix the boot record. Searched the net, searched all options in the installer, didn’t find anything. In the process of looking for the answer, went into the text installer. It said “F12 for next screen” and I wanted to page through until I got to the part where the bootloader is installed. I assumed that F12 was basically cancelling each dialog, not the equivalent of hitting OK to it. So I’m tapping F12 and all of a sudden I see “Now formatting /dev/hdb1”. Crap crap crap! So now I’m reinstalling the whole damn thing again. Fortunately this time I found the advanced install options and made damn sure I’m getting apache, php, myql.

Linux installation is getting better, but they still have a lot to learn from BeOS. Not that they ever will… but every time I’ve messed with Linux I’ve gotten into trouble. Every time. It’s so damn frustrating. Copy and past hell, software installation hell, crashing apps… kind of surprising given all the stability claims I’ve heard. Well, the OS is stable, but many of the apps are not.

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