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Re: Had enough with windows....going insane.....need advice

On Fri, Jan 11, 2002 at 07:28:53PM -0800, David Csercsics wrote:
> Ok so I've tried 5 versions of windows all of which crash quite a bit no
> matter how much you mess with them. And dang it I liked linux a heck of a
> lot when I was able to use it. I have a set of SuSE cd's here but the
> trouble is that suse-blinux no longer detects my braille display (had to get
> a new one recently because I needed a portable braille display.) so I cannot
> install that on this machine. I have a braille lite 40 here now. I don't
> really think it matters to me which linux I decide to use. Got some

It's a matter of personal preference. I use Redhat for the longest after I 
installed Slackware in 1994. RH is most widely used in corporate world. At 
home I use Mandrake, one of the best distributions for workstations. 
Debian is also good with it's packaging tools.

> questions though. I've got a 45 GB hd sitting in this box with an athlon 4
> chip and 768 mb of ram. How should I partition my drive for linux? What

My partition suggestion, based on experience is the following:

/  150 - 200 MB
/usr 3 - 4 GB
swap 2 times RAM or 512MB
/var 200 MB
/tmp 300 MB
/home the rest of the space.

That way you can save things under /home and reinstall the OS completely 
without wiping out your config. For example, you can 
tar cvfp /home/etc.tar /etc
to save your current /etc

Some people create boot partitions which I believe it's silly. /boot 
doesn't give you anthing while bootable / partition with 
/bin /boot /etc /usr /sbin is a working Linux in case you have problems 
with /home or /var or such. That saved me many times on systems that did 
not have bootable CD or floppy drives.

> would be the easiest distro to hack a boot disk for so that I can install
> without sighted help as I don't trust a lot of people with my computer and

Many say Suse but I don't have much good to say about it suing other 
distributions mostly. I would prefer Debian over Suse because it has good 
way to update packages over the network.

> most of the people I know would faint if they had to install anything other
> than windows so it looks like I'll be doing it myself. Also is there a way

I wouldn't mind helping you but we are most likely more than 100 miles 
appart. I live in Sunnyvale, CA.

> to read ms word and excel documents under linux? I get a lot of those and it

Yes, there is a way to read word etc. with Star Office. I don't know how 
good Staroffice is for blind users. There are other tools that might be 

> seems saving things as plain text is a foreign concept to a lot of people. I
> assume that I would have to sacrifice ocr for a reliable operating system.
> By that I mean that there is ocr for windows but the os crashes too often
> and I am forever reinstalling but I've treid to put up with it because I
> haven't been able to get a dual boot to work at all. All that seems to

Dual boot is the easiest to install with Grub. I replaced lilo from 
default Redhat 7.1 installation with grub this week. The system was Dell 
with 9 GB SCSI drive that needed W2000 and Linux. I split the drive 
partitions so that windows got 4.5 GB and linux the rest. Partitions were 
about the same as mentioned above. Since lilo failed to boot from second 
partitions which fell beyond 1024 cylinders I decided to use grub. Grub is 
very easy to deal with after you  get the grasp of it. You can edit file 
from it's prompt if the system doesn't boot for some reason. Anyway, it 
works as expected. Oh, I used grub rpm package from Redhat 7.2 and it 
worked fine.

Grub resides in /boot/grub with grub.conf file being the configuration
file. You install it with /usr/sbin/grub-install

/usr/sbin/grub-install --root-directory=/boot/grub

> happen when I try to dual boot si windows becomes twice as unstable. So am I
> correct that there is no useable ocr for linux? Any

I believe there is some OCR software and that was discussed on this list 
recently unfortunately I did not pay attention being busy with other 

> comments/suggestions/advice/whatever would be greatly appreciated at this

One way you could go around your problems is with VMWARE and install 
windows with it. That way you can roll back if windows crashes. For 
example you can install it under /home/vmware where you dedicate let's say 
2GB for windows. To linux it's just another file. Anyway, windows would be 
able to connect to the network just like it's runing on it's own PC. I use 
it that way to manage Checpoint firewall with no need for dedicated PC.

You could dedicate a VFAT partition to exchange files between Linux and
windows. But then again, you could connect windows over the network
(virtual net) to Linux/Samba and move files back and forth that way.

> point as I'm going to slowly go insane and I've got a huge programming
> project I've gotta get started on (studying computer science in college) and
> I need to use my computer for a lot of other things and I really can't
> afford to waste a lot of time and torture myself with instability. The lack
> of ocr is probably going to hurt but I suppose that I can figure something

OCR should work under vmware/windows I believe.

> out. I should also point out taht I have a fast internet connecdtion and a
> cd burner and half a dozen different linux iso's sitting on my drive. Oh,
> almost forgot, I don't have a hardware synth. If you need more details about
> my setup you can always ask. Thanks for taking the time to read this and not
> pressing the delete button already. :) I will quit before I cause more
> trouble here and I will go back to insanity for a bit before I freeze up
> again.

Don't let the monopoly drive you insane. It did drive me almost insane 
about 2 years ago when I was solo administrator and had to support windog 
besides Unix. Now we have a guy that deals with that terrible thing.

Don't be afraid to send us more questions. Telling a bit more about the 
hardware helps sometimes.

Good luck,


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