View Full Version : Which Linux?

07-23-2007, 08:13 AM
I have an older laptop that XP runs like a slug in, so I thought I might give Linux a try. Thing is though, which version is the best?

I took a look at Ubuntu, but while my belkin card (F5D7010) works, it refuses my wep key for some reason, so I cant get a web connection.

Are there any other flavours worth trying? - Its a bit confusing having so many variations of the same OS!

07-23-2007, 08:18 AM
There are also a few different versions of Ubuntu. Not sure if they are different enough to work with your card though.

07-23-2007, 08:20 AM
Ubuntu is one of the best free mainstream OS's. I use it personally. Other than that try Ark Linux. It's a really well-done distribution.

07-23-2007, 08:25 AM
If the card is recognized, not sure why the WEP key wouldn't work. Ubuntu is your best bet. If you need something a little lighter, Xubuntu is a lighter version of Ubuntu.

Not sure if you are aware of this or not, but this site http://distrowatch.com/ lists pretty much all distros and you can often find screenshots and reviews.

07-23-2007, 10:37 AM
If you are into a nice Linux Sabayon is a very easy wep setup. The distro runs most everything for basic office and entertainment. The revision of software for install is not always the latest which is my only issue with this distro.
For more artistic work an Italian linux release is Dream linux. Nice Mac like interface with many art/media packages installed with the OS.
I run 90% Linux for my work now and love Ubuntu, Sabayon and Dream linux.
Some of the best video editing and compositing pakages are written for Linux.
Have fun.

07-23-2007, 10:50 AM
Fedora's pretty good. Version 7, (the latest version) comes with a live cd so you can try it out before you install. As for drivers my best experience is with Knoppix another live distribution that you can install.
Best of luck

07-23-2007, 10:54 AM
Thanks for your suggestions. So all with all these options, is the basic functionality the same and its just a different GUI? Or is there fundamental differences that will prevent some Linux apps from working between different builds?

07-23-2007, 11:12 AM
IMO, it's mainly how it "feels". I prefer Gnome over KDE, that's why Ubuntu rather than Kubuntu. It's probably not an invalid comparison to thinking of LW vs. XSI (or LW vs. Paris Hilton). You can get pretty pictures to look at in the end, you just take a slightly different route to get there. ;)

It seems like with Ubuntu, there is a sweet spot of user-friendliness without sugar-coating it to the point of being dumbed-down.

07-23-2007, 12:43 PM
I'm giving Ubuntu another go, but I still got weirdness. I can see my data card connected to the network and its connection strength. I click the network connection and get prompted for the wep key. I enter it and try to ping the router, but get 'Network is unreachable'.

I'm thinking, is this because I'm running it from a CD and it somehow can't save the wep key info?

Any ideas as to why this happens is greatfully recieved!

07-24-2007, 01:51 AM
Network manager is your enemy here; it doesn't play well with various cards. There are workarounds. You need to edit /etc/network/interfaces.

You should find an entry in there for your wireless card. You need to add some voodoo to it :

Note that the 'dhcp' will be 'static' followed by various other lines if you are not using DHCP to get an IP address. If those additional lines exist, insert the pre-up....pre-up block after them

iface ra0 inet dhcp

pre-up ifconfig ra0 up
pre-up ifconfig ra0 down
pre-up ifconfig ra0 up
pre-up ifconfig ra0 down
pre-up iwconfig ra0 essid “myessid”
pre-up iwconfig ra0 mode managed
pre-up iwconfig ra0 key "mykey"
pre-up ifconfig ra0 up

If you are running WPA, replace the key line with the below :

pre-up iwpriv ra0 set AuthMode=WPA
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set EncrypType=TKIP
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set WPAPSK=”Your Password here”

07-24-2007, 12:00 PM
Get a few mags, or download some live disks - whichever will get your hardware started!

Personally I like Linux Mint - it has codecs for MP3 and Video included in the base install.

There are all sorts of variations out there, I think some 'studio' versions have loads of graphics stuff. MattClary is correct - take a look at Distrowatch, to get a feel for what is out there.

08-02-2007, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the details Phil, I'll take a look at that!

08-02-2007, 11:10 AM
Steve, you might want to contact Lots, I think he is a heavy Linux user, if I remember correctly.

08-06-2007, 11:38 AM
Thanks Matt. I'll bare him in mind when I try to get this Linux thing up and running again. Bit busy with other work related stuff right now, but no doubt Windoze will upset me again soon and I'll be back on it with gusto!

08-07-2007, 05:46 PM
There's also Ubuntu studio https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuStudio

that aims toward multimedia and graphics creation. Have some pretty nice stuff. I haven't tried it, but you might.


08-07-2007, 06:16 PM
Your wep key won't work most likely because it gets hashed differently by linux than by windows and/or the wireless router. I had this same problem with connecting to an apple Airport with a windows machine. You have to enter the correct HEX code rather than the 13 digit normal code, and it should work. Finding out what the HEX code is over the normal code is something you should ask the manual or website of your wireless device. The HEX code is always right, the WEP code is just an interpreted ASCII version of it. Like translating a secret code with the wrong lookup table.