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[K12OSN] Install problems (was: Re: K12OSN digest, Vol 1 #216 - 12 msgs)


It sounds like you have some permissions problems.  Sorry if this is at
a too-basic level; I don't know enough about your background.

Linux has much, much tighter security than Windows.  In Windows (at
least the 9x/me variety) there really is no concept of security; anyone
can do anything.

In Linux, ordinary users have very, very limited permissions to mess
with the OS itself.  'root' is the 'superuser' - the one who can do
anything.  Normally, you should run as an ordinary user, and only login
as root to do specific tasks like installing new system-software.  You
can install 'personal' software in your /home/user directory, including
any libraries you need, but then they'd only be available to you and not
to other users.

The other important philosophical difference between Windows and Linux
is that Windows apps trust each other, whereas Linux apps don't.  In
other words, a Windows application will assume that other pieces of the
OS are 'good' and not malicious, and thus overlook some basic
configuration problems.  Most Linux apps are 'paranoid' - if there is a
basic configuration problem, the app will not work.  This is due to the
heritage of the two OSs - *nix grew up in academic/research
environments, where intentional and accidental breakage was common, and
damage was minimized by untrusting apps.  Windows was designed to be as
easy to use as possible, and implicitly trusting other parts of the OS
makes even grossly misconfigured systems work.  This is why, for
example, viruses are much, much harder to write for *nix than windows.

The problem is that the 'untrusting' nature of *nix apps makes the admin
part a lot harder.  Things have to be 'just right' for *nix to work,
otherwise they will not work, often with no clear errors.

There are a few tools you can use.  There is extensive logging
available; /var/log/messages is the main file for system messages.  You
can read the file as root only.  I usually use 'tail -f
/var/log/messages' - this will echo all messages to the terminal window.

Most *nix apps have a 'debug' mode. For printing, for example. you can
run lpd (the printer service daemon) with the -D option; this will give
you debugging messages in /var/log/messages.

See inline for some more generic help.

> From: anthony baldwin <mrbaldwin school-library net>
> To: k12osn redhat com
> Subject: [K12OSN] Re: K12OSN digest, Vol 1 #215 - 8 msgs
> Date: 06 Jun 2002 21:13:53 -0700
> Well, I have satisfied myself with using Linux to access the internet and a few other things (love the Gimp) but I think the time to get this thing working for real has come. The tone of this message may seem more severe than intend, I think, but all the same, I regard the issues I present as serious and in need of resolution.  
> As a teacher one of the things I primarily need from a computer is the ability to produce and PRINT documents.  I still have not been able to get my printer to work.  It is a Compaq IJ1200/Lexmark z42 and the driver was included in the K12os.  I get a "localhost/localdomain bad" msg.  What does this mean and how do I fix it?  

You can set the hostname using the /bin/hostname command.  Each NIC can
(and does) have its own hostname, as it is tied to the IP address.  You
can also set the hostname.domainname via DNS or /etc/hosts.

For starters, make sure you have an /etc/hosts files; it *must* contain
the line localhost localhost.localdomain

Unless you are running DNS, it should also contain a line setting the
name of the NIC on the local machine:

my.ip.add.ress mymachine.name.com

This should make your localhost errors go away.

> Someone asked if I set the domain during installation, but I don't know what that's all about.  When it asked for a domain I though it was asking for an IP, and my IP is server assigned.  In using other distros I found that I could install the driver for this printer, but still could not print.  The printer dialogue box would come up and jobs were even sent to the queu and then dissipated as though the machine really believed it had printed them, but the printer never even burped. Now, with RH7.2 based k12os, it simply gives the localdomain/localhost bad msg and no further response. (admittedly, this printer gives me trouble in windows, too, occassionally--no dough to upgrade or replace presently)

*nix uses name resolution as part of its security.  Basically, it takes
the name you give it and resolves to an address.  It then takes the
address and resolves it back to a name.  If the names don't match, you
either have a misconfiguration, or you have a possible security
violation.  In either case, apps will break.

> Also, I have tried like the dickens to install a number of programs with absolutely no success and am becoming increasingly frustrated with this endeavour.  I have tried over and over with several distros to install kHangman and always get a failed dependencies msg.  I went and acquired the missing libraries AND couldn't install them either!  Have had simliar experiences trying to install and use gnErudite (scrabble clone).  Other products I have tried to install and/or use with no luck include Corel PhotoPaint for Linux, PostgreSQL (for which I paid dough), and Quanta, as well as more edutainment/games from Linux4kids.org .

Without some detailed errors, it's hard to tell what's going on, but it
sounds like you may be trying to install as user instead of 'root'.

> the inability to install and use software built for this OS is maddening.  There is a great deal of awesome software available, it seems, but I can't get half of it to work. A very valid question, I should think, is why don't developers release programs WITH all necessary libraries included?  

Windows does this; this is IMHO one of the main reasons for its famed
instability.  Every app installation messes with the OS; so a single bad
isntallation can trash your entire system.  Pick your poison;
installation problems or broken systems.

That being said, I've had good luck with most of the stuff from

> Perhpas I shouldn't complain if it were simply a matter of finding easily accessible files in one location and readily installing them, but I have spent hours and days trying to find libraries for programs, only to find that I can't install them without other libraries, etc, etc, in an infinite regression, world without end.

www.rpmfind.net is usually a good source.

> I can not, for the dickens, play an audio cd, either, although realplayer and xmms will play mp3s and a few other formats and I can mount the CDRom with data/program cds (such as the PostgreSQL that I couldn't install).

At least with RedHat, audio CDs should play out of the box.  I can't
speak for other distros, but I've not had any problems in many installs
since the 7.x series came out.

> Okay, perhaps I should harass the PostgreSQL folks about their program, since I paid them for it...There is no install, configure, make, or even readme file on the entire disc they sent, so I'm lost.
> These kind of things I have more or less accepted for a while as I have played in Linux, but now that I have been using this OS for a while, I expect to be able to do these basic things and I can't.  I NEED to be able to do these things if I am to bring Linux to school as anything more than a curiosity and/or break out of windows.  I would like to have these issues resolved over the summer, at least.  I could install software, play cds and print in Windows within the first hour of using it.  Don't get me wrong, Windows crashes all the time and M$ are a bunch o greedy capitalist pigs to whom I wish to pay no more money, so I want to use Linux, but do I have to get a degree in Computer Science to perform routine functions like print documents?  Ease of use is precisely why Windows has such a monopoly.  I am interested in learning about software development and kernel hacking and all, and I know that those things will require great time and commitment, but printing should not!
, !

Perhaps a good book on linux administration might help...

> nor should installing a program, in my estimation.  I suspect more reading might be helpful, but as a teacher, grad student and  single parent I get aobut 4 hours of sleep a night as it is.  No more time for reading...
> Everytime I do up2date it seems I have to reconfigure the entire desktop and half the ui tools (mouse, etc), too.

Something is definitely broken.... I just installed RH 7.3 on top of
7.0, updated *all* of gnome from RH to Ximian, and lost *none* of my
settings (and they are extensive - multi-lingual support, etc).

> Am I just too stupid for Linux?  Too impatient?  I fear that my frustration is more apparent than suits me, but how can I hide it?  I have always been candid.

The learning curve is steep.  There are basic books on *nix and linux in

> I do not expect everyone of these issues to be solved immediately, of course, but wish to make some major progress, now.  I have received some excellent assistance here on other issues, so submit this request with all respect and hope of meeting with similar success.  Please keep in mind that I am an English teacher whose only real programming experience (accepting Basic on an Atari 400 back in the dark ages) is writing web pages in html.  Over half of what I have read on this list might as well have been Chinese to me.

Again, the learning curve is steep.  *nix is not easy to administer;
there are many disparate parts that need to work together.  The good
thing is that *nix is modular; you can learn about each part in relative
isolation.  The trick is to isolate the problems.

printing, for example, is (usually) run by a program called lpd.  'man
lpd' will bring up a basic help page.  At the bottom of the page is a
list of references, including a link to a mailing list and a web site. 
The web site will provide *tons* of information.  So you can break it

1) read the man page
2) visit the web site
3) read the maillist archives
4) if that doesn't help, join the mailling list and post your questions

This process can be used for almost anything.

Let's say you need help with 'hostname':
man -k hostname will bring up all of *nix commands that have anything to
do with hostname.

'man man' will tell you how to use the manual.



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