Linux Annoyances

Not much online time today, sorry. I am fighting a (losing) battle with my technology.

I have spent most of today trying to set up my main PC as a dual boot Linux/windows box using openSUSE 10.2 (64 bit) and Windows XPSP2.

Sadly, I have been far from successful.

The problems began with Partition Magic. The PC I have came with WinXP installed on its 180gb HDD. As I had around 100gb free space, I thought putting 20 gig aside for Linux would be next to no problems. I ran diskeeper and checkdisk to make sure everything was fine (it was) then I rank Partition Magic to resize the disk – I planned to make a 1gig swap file and about 14 gig for the linux install.

Sadly, each and every time Partition Magic rebooted (claiming it was going to resize the partitions) it came up with “Error 1513 Bad Attribute Position in File Record” and suggested I looked at the help files. I honestly spent over an hour doing this (reboot, choose partition sizes, restart, get error message, check help files, find nothing, reboot, choose partition sizes…. etc). Nothing I could find in the help files was any use.

Eventually I cracked and went to a web search engine (why didn’t I do this the first time!) and found out my Partition Magic 8 needed an upgrade to 8.01 and then a patch applied. Isn’t software great?

This done, everything went fine. The install interface for openSUSE is easy to use and easy to understand. I did spend about an hour choosing which packages I wanted but that was just because I’d become a kid in a sweet shop at that point. In the end I settled for Gnome and about 4gb of software. Linux is fantastic.

The install went smoothly…right up to the point at which it needed to connect to the Internet. It found my Belkin USB WLAN adaptor and identified it perfectly. It even found the SSID of the network. When trying to connect it (as it should) asked for the WEP key, so I entered it. After what felt like a week, it came up asking for the key again, so I entered it again. This happened five times before the computer gave up and I had to restart the network connection.

After two hours of trying different things (converting the key from HEX to ASCII etc), I had pretty much exhausted everything I could think off. I have been back to windows to check the settings (they are fine) and I have tried the USB device on other linux machines (although it was an Ubuntu machine) and it works fine. Nothing I seem to be able to do will make my openSUSE installation connect to the wireless router. I have hit a complete brick wall now and I am fed up of entering 26 hex characters every ten minutes so I have given up and come back to windows (yes, sad, I know).

I will try a brief google search to see if I can find the answer, but to be honest I dont know if I can be bothered any more. There is more to life than spending almost an entire working day trying to make software do what I want it to do. The idea is that computers (etc) make our lives easier and less stressfull. If people are writing such bad code that I have to give up all my spare time to get their software to work, I am not really interested. The same applies to Symantec and their fundamentally broken Partition Magic.

I love linux. I have two linux machines running fine here (one openSUSE 10.1 [32bit] and one Ubuntu). I used to love openSUSE and hate Ubuntu. Times may be changing.

If any one has had similar problems, or knows and answer, please let me know!

[tags]Technology, Linux, Windows, Software, Operating System, Wireless, Networking, Rants, openSUSE, Ubuntu, Belkin, Netgear, Partition Magic, Error Messages, Symantec[/tags]

6 thoughts on “Linux Annoyances

  1. If you can connect to the Internet in some other way, try doing a complete update… maybe something was buggy in the release version. It happens, sometimes (and even more so in Windows 🙂 ).

  2. Sadly, I cant get on to the internet in any other manner. I have tried a complete, fresh, reinstall on the off chance something had gone wrong but I got the same errors.

    There is always the risk my installation media is corrupted somehow but I get the feeling I am clutching at straws here. I may have to give up and install Ubuntu instead.

    A shame 🙁

  3. Sadly, I cannot offer advice as to solving your particular problem. But have you perchance tried creating a vmware image of Linux hosted on Windows? It will virtualise the hardware and avoid odd problems like the one above (but will introduce others unfortunately – such as not emulating 3D acceleration hardware).

    The best to be said of this approach is that at least it allows you to sample all of the candy you found.

  4. Thanks for the info / links.

    Andrew – I will give vmware a look next weekend. As it stands I still have my ageing SuSE box (32 bit version of openSUSE 10.2). This box works fine, but I can rarely bother making the effort going to the room it is stored in 🙂

    On Sunday, I will give Ubuntu 6.10 (64bit) a try and see if that works better. I hope it doesn’t but time will tell.

  5. I didn’t have the patience to wait. I tried openSUSE again and seem to have massively corrupted the installation to the point at which it will only get as far as a console login screen – it wont actually let me log in.

    I tried Ubuntu 6.10 as a LiveCD and it was up and running in about 3 seconds. The liveCD version itself is fantastic and I would strongly recommend this to any one thinking of trying Linux.

    Sadly, while Ubuntu found the network and seemed to accept the WEP key, it would not actually connect to the wireless router. This really does make no sense to me. The exact same WiFi USB device works find in 32bit versions of both SuSE and Ubuntu. Can it really be the case that the 32bit versions wont work properly?

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