General advice solicited

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by Charles Hudson, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Charles Hudson

    Charles Hudson New Member

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    Plain old opinions are okay, too.


    I had been using OpenSuse distributions since v. 10, upgrading to v.11, v.12 and recently v.13. After the OS v.13 upgrade my video would no longer display, and no attempts would recover it.

    I know I'm going to have to wipe the machine and start over with a new install, but I didn't want to lose the contents of my Home directory. I finally found Knoppix, created a live CD, booted from that and copied the files to a flash drive.

    I was impressed with the relative ease with which Knoppix recognized and configured the hardware - particularly the 802.11 G wireless PCI card, which the OpenSuse v.13 distribution couldn't handle. It's time to try another flavor, I decided.

    My questions: should I go with Knoppix or Debian? And which desktop? And why? Machine is an HP Pavilion, AMD x64 dual-core processor, NVidia 61 video, SATA 250 GB drive, 4 GB RAM.

    Thanks for your replies.

    clh333
  2. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    Best Answer
    Debian has a strict policy regarding non-free drivers so out of the box may not support everything on that machine, but they are available.
    Knoppix has always been great for hardware detection so in order to decide - try knoppix live disk then try Debian or one of its many children and see which performs better.
  3. Charles Hudson

    Charles Hudson New Member

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    Thanks, I'll follow the Knoppix fork and see where it takes me. I think I'll opt for their desktop, too.
  4. GrumpyOldMan

    GrumpyOldMan Active Member

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    FWIW, Knoppix is Debian-based, much the way Ubuntu is.
  5. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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  6. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    One of the first live distros I believe.
  7. Charles Hudson

    Charles Hudson New Member

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    So do I. A progress update:

    I ran KillDisk and wrote zeroes across the HD, then downloaded the Knoppix DVD iso, burned it and installed to the target machine. I had to create a partition, file system, Linux swap file and MBR, but Knoppix recognized these needs and handled them; I accepted the defaults.

    I find several things I like better than OpenSuse: The hardware config, as I mentioned earlier, is more seamless and seems to do a better job of recognizing what's there. The package manager and several other programs seemed to do a better job of recognizing what was needed and getting it installed; I liked the way the Synaptic package manager not only recognized dependencies but handled installation including configuration - even adding an entry to the main menu.

    I have had (two) recurrences of the video display problem, requiring a hard reboot; I haven't got enough evidence to know what's causing that but for the most part the system seems stable. I also am unable to launch the jackd daemon successfully - but I never could get that to work under Suse either.

    I got the wireless NIC going with minimal effort, configured an email client and am using the machine now to create this message. Iceweasel, indeed. All in all it's quite impressive, both in what is provided on the distro and the potential it seems to have. I have a lot to learn but look forward to the adventure.

    Thanks again to all who responded.
    -CH-
  8. Charles Hudson

    Charles Hudson New Member

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    Just a quick update:

    Having booted from the HD I tried each of the desktop options. When I selected KDE, the display scrambled and the machine hung, as noted before. I was unable to recover from this crash; I could still boot from DVD but didn't know enough about the KDE boot sequence to keep it from loading. And KDE would not load to completion.

    I even tried re-installing to the HD from the DVD, but KDE remained as the default desktop even after reinstall, and failed with each boot. I found threads on the Internet suggesting that the culprit might be the NVIDIA display chipset, so I purchased a Radeon video card and stuck it in the PCI Express slot, disabling the on-board video.

    Thereafter KDE booted without further problem. I believe therefore that this was a driver issue. I still like the Knoppix distribution andf KDE is a very powerful desktop, but I am using the Knoppix default for now. I would suggest avoiding the NVIDIA chipset for Linux desktops, or at least the combination of KDE and NVIDIA.

    -CH-
  9. Richard Rodriguez

    Richard Rodriguez Member

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    never used it, but I do like Ubuntu though, either way if you are happy with it, awesome...
  10. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    Great that you've found a way to work around your issue.

    However, there are rather easy methods to boot into the command line, install other window manager and desktop environment and set them as default.

    I wouldn't say NVIDIA+KDE was the root of the problem. I've seen KDE run very well on machines with NVIDIA graphics cards. It can be sometimes tricky to make it work... But the same goes for Radeon.

    Hardware support out of the box is "random", to a limited extent, of course.

    If we consider that the motherboard (also its revision) has major influence on the way attachable devices behave, things get even more complicated.

    Anyway, I also love Knoppix, great choice :D
  11. Archonsg

    Archonsg Member

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    It is definitely NOT KDE + Nvida.

    I am currently running Ubuntu with KDE-Full (sudo apt-get kde-full) 13.10 , nvidia's 331 drivers on a 660GTX gpu. (sorry typo, not 670gtx)
    Not an issue.
    Still suffers from screen tearing / rendering split that plague *all* glfx games but all in all have no problems playing all linux native steam games as well as some windows games that I got running with playonlinux.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  12. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    660GTX is not an old card, there's hope.

    I got absolutely no screen tearing on all games, with Radeon Catalyst drivers, when "tear free desktop" is enabled and vsync is forced "always on".
  13. Archonsg

    Archonsg Member

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    Seriously?
    Looks like I'll need to get me a Radeon card in the the near future. Thanks for the heads up.
    I just can't understand why Nvidia can't get its drivers to work right.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  14. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Their drivers do work correctly. I use exclusively Nvidia for my machines with no issues.
  15. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    Yes, no screen tearing on my 2 APUs and 1 GPU (all Radeon HD).

    You may also want to try other window managers and xorg configurations before changing cards (which would probably solve the OP problems, for instance). From quick googling, it seems people can enable v-sync properly with nvidia on Linux (no idea on their specs though :p).

    I only suggest AMD if you don't have issues with hot stuff. My Radeon HD 7970 keeps on 90ÂșC with 20% overclock at full load - it didn't set the computer on fire after 48 hours furmark test, nor was it damaged (I opened the thing). Lil devil hah
  16. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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