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Linux newbie needs help :)

hardware

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Fae

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 04:35 AM

Hi all,

I finally decided to be adventurous and install Debian Linux (The latest stable version, I don't recall which version exactly) on my laptop. I've got it mostly working, but still have some kinks to work out before I start exploring it properly. I have a few questions, if you wouldn't mind indulging me :)

1: I don't seem to have any drivers for graphics (NVidia GeForce GT 330M), sound (Realtek something) or LAN or WLAN. Not sure about the other drivers, as I don't yet know how to find an equivelant to Device Manager in Linux. I searched google for the WLAN drivers, but found few results, and less when I included 'Linux' in the search. Is there a place where I could obtain these drivers? It's my understanding that Linux contains an automatic driver update utility; I could use that if I had a network connection to my router, but obviously I'd need those first.

2: I did get a network driver that I think I might work for my RealTek LAN (Although the RealTek site did not ask me for the specifics of my NIC, hopefully it's just a big general driver file and not a 'connects to the internet and download the right one' variety thing). I chose the correct kernel of Linux, I think (I used the version number that displays on startup, but wasn't sure how to find the exact kernel version I have), and when I tried to install it as root, it told me that the installation file was compiled using a different version of the kernel compiler or somesuch, and that I could do it if I know what I was doing, but it might not work. I clearly didn't know what I was doing, so I left it. I think I have correct drivers for the graphics and sound (but still not the WLAN unfortunately, which would be necessary), but haven't tried them yet, as it had reached 2.30 in the morning and I have work today :)

3: My first install put the GRUB boot loader thingee on so I can choose my OS on startup; it comes up with two Windows loaders (both register as Vista/Longhorn, even though I'm running 7, but I guess this is normal). One seems to be my Samsung Recovery program, and the other is windows proper, but after my first install, when I'd used, say, windows, I'd start Linux up on next boot and experience a kernel failure, at which point I would reboot into Linux again, and it would work. The same is true for shutting down from Linux and booting into Windows; it would fail once and work the second time. After this happened a few times, GRUB simply stopped working and I ended up with an endless loop of booting, getting to GRUB and restarting, and reinstalled the whole thing to fix it. Is this because I've done something wrong during the installation? I also noticed another boot loader, LILO, availible on my setup disk. Would installing this instead of GRUB help at all?

4: I installed the Intel x86 version of Linux (As I'm fairly sure my Windows 7 is 32-bit), but have since realised that my processor, the Intel i3, is 64-bit. Would this cause problems, as I have it now? Would it be better to put a fresh install using the 64-bit installation? And if I do do that, will that cause any problems while running Windows applications in Wine, being as Windows is likely 32-, and Linux would be 64-bit?

Thanks in advance for your help, all! I'm looking forward to seeing just how well Linux lives up to its hype ^^

~Fae
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I'll ask a lot of questions (most of them probably stupid stuff). Bear with me, i'm still learning! ^_^ Also, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can as well, but I'm not very good yet. I'm sure I'll be of more use once I get better :)

#2 Milyardo

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 05:55 PM

I don't seem to have any drivers for graphics (NVidia GeForce GT 330M)

There are open source and closed source drivers for Nvidia hardware. The last version of Debian Stable is a little over a year old now and likely still uses the old depreciated version of the Open Source driver called nv. You should instead use Nvidia's closed source driver which is not distributed with Debian(obviously because it isn't open source) which you can download from Nvidia's website.

I don't seem to have any drivers for...sound (Realtek something) or LAN or WLAN

No drivers? Or just not configured? Is there a device for your Ethernet NIC in the Kernel's device directory(/dev/)? Ethernet NIC are usually named eth0 by default.Many Linux distributions aimed for Desktop use come with a service like NetworkManager that Autoconfigures network settings, Debian however does not come with NetworkManager installed(unless you opt'd to install GNOME during the initial install).

It's my understanding that Linux contains an automatic driver update utility; I could use that if I had a network connection to my router, but obviously I'd need those first.

Not just drivers, but all software on your system. Its called the APT(Advanced Packaging Tool).

I also noticed another boot loader, LILO, availible on my setup disk. Would installing this instead of GRUB help at all?

LILO is an alternative boot loader to GRUB, and it is even less user friendly than GRUB is. As for your kernel panics, can't say what happened without more specifics in your description. What was the Kernel error you received? What GRUB installed in the same partition as Debian or in its own? Did you make any changes to your Kernel before this happened?

I don't yet know how to find an equivelant to Device Manager in Linux.

I'm assuming in this case you're looking for the Linux equivalent to Device Manager for the purposes for listing what hardware you have, and what drivers they are using. For this purpose you can use the lshw command(lshw stands simply for List Hardware).

There is a graphical version called lshw-gtk for GNOME, but I'm uncertain if that will help. When you said your graphical drivers don't work, you did not say how they aren't working, so I don't know if you have a graphical desktop environment or not.

Would it be better to put a fresh install using the 64-bit installation?

You would get a performance gain from switching to the 64-bit version. Also when running with the 64bit version your CPU can use its NX feature, making a 64 bit installation more secure.

And if I do do that, will that cause any problems while running Windows applications in Wine, being as Windows is likely 32-, and Linux would be 64-bit?

None at all, even in 64bit distributions of Linux, WINE still runs as a 32-bit application.
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#3 Fae

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 10:34 AM

Hi, Milyardo, thanks for the reply :)

As for the graphics card, I have downloaded them and have a .run file, however, this tells me that I need more compilers in order to use, so I've downloaded GCC, but I'm currently unsure of how to install it... or if Ieven can. The list of prerequisites is quite large, and I don'thonestly understand a great deal of it... but learning is why I decided to get it in the first place :)

As for the NIC, the installation process did not detect an NIC at all. After I finish this post, I'll check for anycompatible NIC drivers, but I doubt there will be any. My NIC is a Marvell Yukon 88E8059 PCI-E Gigabit, and my WLAN is a Realtek RTL8192E, which I couldn't find a driver for, but after a quick Google search, I've found that the Windows drivers may work, if I use NDISwrapper with them, but I have no idea how to install that either...

LILO is an alternative boot loader to GRUB, and it is even less user friendly than GRUB is. As for your kernel panics, can't say what happened without more specifics in your description. What was the Kernel error you received? What GRUB installed in the same partition as Debian or in its own? Did you make any changes to your Kernel before this happened?


There are no specifics to report, really. I'd get past the boot screen, it would say that GRUB was loading, then restarted every time.

I'll try the lshw command now, and install 64-bit once I get the chance.

basically, I have some software I wanna try, but I have no idea how to use it all ^^ It's all part of the learning process.

Also, another question: When you type a program you want to run in the terminal window, what's the significance of the "./" ? Why is it needed to specify you want to use a program in the current directory?

Thanks again for the help :)

EDIT: Just tried lshw, and lshw-gtk, and got:

Bash: lshw: command not found

...and same for lshw-gtk

Checked the /dev/ directory. To answer your question, I have no idea if there are network drivers in there or not. Here's a screenshot of my /dev/ folder:

Posted Image

...if that helps at all.

Thanks again! :)

Edited by Fae, 02 October 2010 - 11:26 AM.

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I'll ask a lot of questions (most of them probably stupid stuff). Bear with me, i'm still learning! ^_^ Also, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can as well, but I'm not very good yet. I'm sure I'll be of more use once I get better :)

#4 Milyardo

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 01:25 PM

As for the graphics card, I have downloaded them and have a .run file, however, this tells me that I need more compilers in order to use, so I've downloaded GCC, but I'm currently unsure of how to install it... or if Ieven can. The list of prerequisites is quite large, and I don'thonestly understand a great deal of it... but learning is why I decided to get it in the first place

The Nvidia drivers works using a system called DKMS. It allows closed source drivers to stay closed source by only compiling the interfaces between your kernel and the driver. The only thing you need during installation the header files for your kernel. You'd have to install these as a package to compile the driver's interface.

As for the NIC, the installation process did not detect an NIC at all. After I finish this post, I'll check for anycompatible NIC drivers, but I doubt there will be any. My NIC is a Marvell Yukon 88E8059 PCI-E Gigabit, and my WLAN is a Realtek RTL8192E, which I couldn't find a driver for, but after a quick Google search, I've found that the Windows drivers may work, if I use NDISwrapper with them, but I have no idea how to install that either...

I did a search for your NIC and came up with this Bug Report-https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/543314

It looks like it was a confirmed bug fixed in the 2.6.33(Debian Stable has 2.6.26) version of the Linux Kernel. You should try switching to a Debian Unstable(Which always has the latest version of the Linux Kernel) or maybe another distribution with that Kernel version or newer(Ubuntu's Maverick Meerkat and the latest Fedora are on 2.6.35 I believe).

Also, another question: When you type a program you want to run in the terminal window, what's the significance of the "./" ? Why is it needed to specify you want to use a program in the current directory?

When you type a program's name into a shell, your shell uses an enviroment variable named PATH to find where that program is. If you wanted to add the current directory to the list of paths to where it searches, you can just add it the PATH like so:
# export PATH=$PATH":."

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#5 Fae

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 07:14 AM

Hi Milyardo,

Thanks for the reply. Sorry it's taken a while for me to post again, I've been horrendously busy recently, I have been having a go at Linux when I've had time, though. I don't have much time now,so I'm gonna have to post quickly :)

I've tried installing GCC, and I'm honestly not sure if it worked or not. It told me it was setting up GCC, and then didn't report on either success or failure, so I'm not sure what to think. I've found some GCC directories lying around here and there, but I'm still not sure if it'son properly. There's a lot of requirements for GCC in Debian that I'm not sure I have.

Either way, on trying toinstall the NVIDIA drivers again, it tells me that a needed program 'CC' is not in my $path. I've looked around for a CC programto add it to the $path, but haven't been able to locate one. I've just read something that says it's usually installed to /opt, so I'll check there while I have some offline time.

I updated my kernel using the .deb package, and again, I don't know if it was successful or not. It still hasn't detected either network card, but then again, I may have picked 'no network card' when I re-re-installed Debian. Would this have any effect? Just found out that uname -r will check my kernelversion; I'll check this as well to make sure it's updated the kernelproperly. If it has, how would I go about detecting my hardware?

Thanks again ^^
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I'll ask a lot of questions (most of them probably stupid stuff). Bear with me, i'm still learning! ^_^ Also, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can as well, but I'm not very good yet. I'm sure I'll be of more use once I get better :)

#6 Milyardo

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 08:07 AM

The build-essential package will have gcc, automake, libc and everything you'll need for building c/c++ applications as dependencies. Just installing this meta package should get everything you need.

The program cc is just a actually a symbolic link to your real compiler set up by the alternatives system(ie if you prefer to use icc to gcc, you can tell alternatives to make cc symlink to icc instead, programs that use cc can't tell the difference). Installing build-essential should solve this problem too, it'll set up alternatives to point cc to gcc.

zpowers@zion:~$ ls -l /usr/bin/cc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 2010-03-01 14:55 /usr/bin/cc -> /etc/alternatives/cc
zpowers@zion:~$ ls -l /etc/alternatives/cc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 12 2010-03-01 14:55 /etc/alternatives/cc -> /usr/bin/gcc
zpowers@zion:~$ 

Let me know once you've found out what Kernel version you're using.
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#7 Fae

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 09:26 AM

I'm fairly certain I'm using 2.6.33.3 'Soultrain' as mykernel version, I've installed it (I think, I've never had a message telling me that something's been successfully installed, it just goes back to the command line). When I try

dpkg -i linux-source-2.6.33.3-soultrain_2.6.33.3-1_all.deb

it says it's replacing 2.6.33.3 Soultrain with 2.6.33.3 Soultrain, but uname -r still returns 2.6.23-2-686.

I tried running the build essential .deb package, but I get compatibility errors. In fact, I'll just type out everything I've tried to install and whatit's said, as I've been making notes :)

CPP_4.3.2-2_i386 - Said 'Processing triggers for man-db' before sending me back to the Bash command input thing.

gcc-4.3-base_4.3.5-4_i386 - got to 'Setting up gcc-4.3-base (4.3.5-4)' before taking me back to the command prompt. I've since downgraded to 4.3.2-1.1, as all of the other things that I have relating to gcc seem to want that version, and some of them don't like the slightly later version. I assume I can fix this with an apt-get once I FINALLY get some form of network driver. I assume I'll have to be using the XP driver with ndiswrapper, though, as the new kernel (if it has indeed updated) has not done anything about my lack of network card.

gcc-4.3_4.3.2-1.1_i386 - dependant on gcc 4.3.2-11, 4.3.5-4 installed (this was before I downgraded), libgcc1 is not configured yet, libgomp1 is not installed

libc6_2.7-18lenny4_i386 - libgcc1 is not configured yet

libgcc1_4.3.2-1.1_i386 - libc6 is not configured yet

libgmp3c2_4.2.2+dfsg-3_i386 - libc6 is not configured yet

libmpfr1ldbl_2.3.1.dfsg.1-2_i386 - libc6 is not configured yet

build-essential_11.4_i386 - libc6-dev not configured yet, libc-dev not installed, g++ not installed, make not configured, dpkg-dev not installed

make_3.81-5_i386 - libc6 not installed

...so, yeah. it all seems to come back to libc6 and libgcc1. They are dependant on each other, and therefore, you can't install either first. The 'not installed' errors, I'm fairly certain Ican handle myself by finding the relevant software requirements and installing it, so I'm not so bothered about that, but most things seem to boil down to a libc6 dependancy, which has a libgcc1 dependancy, loop while true etc...

Also, it might be worth mentioning these other points too... Every time I log in (since I instaalled it, not just since I tried to upgrade the kernel), it tells meI've had a kernel failure, and asks me whether I want to submit a report. I'm pretty sure I did have a kernel failure on my very first boot up, but I've re-installed it since then, so I dunno what's going on.

When I tried to view what was installed using the GUI (the first option down in my 'system' tab on the top menu bar), it said 'Failed to check for installed and availible applications' and told me that this was a serious error. I wasn't trying to do anything special, just poking around, but apparently the error is serious, so I should probably say.

...Last point, I am still running the 32 bit version, as I got the 64-bit .iso torrent (from the same site as before), but this simply fails to run on boot up. Used the same burning software (active@ iso burner) and everything , and checked around in there for a 'make bootable' option, but haven't seen one (And I'm pretty sure that option is presented when you're making the .iso anyways, not when burning it).

...So, yeah. Sorry it's taken a while to get a full report... I'm about at my wits' end with it now. I downloaded it for a challenge, which it promptly gave me. But now with these dependancy issues, it seems to be bordering on an impossibility. But still, I'd hate to admit defeat and go to Ubuntu. I want my Linux to be challenging, not easy.

And again, thank you for your wisdom and patience ^^
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I'll ask a lot of questions (most of them probably stupid stuff). Bear with me, i'm still learning! ^_^ Also, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can as well, but I'm not very good yet. I'm sure I'll be of more use once I get better :)





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