Linux and moms

February 14, 2006 at 8:33 am | Posted in Ramblings | 2 Comments

Now imagine that my mom uses a Linux system. And let’s also imagine that she just bought a new 20 inch LCD because her eyes are getting worse and someone gave her a nice video card because her old one didn’t have DVI output. Then the following conversation over the phone could take place:

mom: hi son, how are you doing?

me: fine, it’s just that….

mom: never mind that. I have a problem with my Linux system. I got a new video card. Our handy neighbour put it into my PC.

me: great! Does it work?

mom: well.. allmost. The system starts. But the resolution sucks (in reality moms of course never use the word sucks, but this is fiction, right?). So I entered the display configuration and you know what? My new card was recognized. It’s an nvidia geforce 4 something.

me: that’s a nice card. So just select the right resolution.

mom: yeah, but that’s where the problem begins. The optimal resolution of my LCD is 1600 by 1200. And it isn’t in the list. My neighbour advices me to install Windows XP and just use the drivers that come with the card.

me: hold on mom. I think nvidia has a great set of drivers for Linux. You have to download them from their site first.

mom: hm, why aren’t they on that installation disk you gave me?

me: that’s a bit difficult to explain right now. Just go to the nvidia site and download the driver.

(After a long time explaining the right url, the right version of the drivers, etc. etc., mom manages to download the driver)

me: now you have to chmod that file so you can execute it and it will install the right drivers for you.

mom: huh?

(more time passes as I explain how to open an xterm, chmod the file, become root and execute the binary)

mom: it doesn’t work. I get a message. It says that you should stop X windows first.

me: * sigh *. Ok, I will explain.

(a very long time passes before mom is in a console without X windows running)

mom: hm, it asks me if I want to compile the module. What does that mean?
me: just click on ‘Yes’

mom: I can’t click. The mouse doesn’t work anymore. Did I do anything wrong?
me: use the Tab key untill the Yes button is highlighted.

mom: this is very complicated, isn’t it?

me: maybe. Now have you selected the Yes button?

mom: yes. Something is happening. It says busy compiling.

me: great. We are almost there.

mom: it’s ready. It says that it can’t install because the kernel is compiled with a different version than this module.

me: arghhhhhhhh. Ok, I will come over next weekend.

Ok, this conversation never took place. Yesterday I just tried to install a video card which I bought cheaply second hand. It’s a geforce 4 and has DVI so that would be great for my new monitor, a Samsung 204B. It will replace my ancient Matrox G400 Max Dual Head. After spending the whole evening messing with the system it still didn’t work. And ok, this is partly my own fault since I am using gcc 4.0.1 while my kernel is still compiled with 3.4.

I have two choices right now: either downgrade my compiler to 3.4 or compile a new kernel with 4.0. The second option seems to be the smartest. More on this later…


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  1. third option: koop een mac 🙂

    Leuke site, zal binnenkort weer eens een loopje voorstellen.

  2. I think I’ve read something simillar a few days ago. I don’t remember where, might have been on or slashdot.

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