id="info"

Hardware

Linux: The Great Equalizer

Grrrrr... Y'know I'm not a dummy when it comes to working with

computers, but working with new technology sure does make you feel like

one sometimes.  It can quickly make even an expert feel like a

typical run of the mill 'user'.


Case-in-point - Linux. On my test machine, I decided to swap out the

video card it was running. In WIndows that would be a simple enough

task. Take one out, put another in. You might have to fumble around in

VGA for a while until you got the right video driver, but that would be

it.


When I swapped out the video card in my SuSe 10 workstation, I was

greeted with a friendly text console login prompt. X saw the new card

and refused to start.  As a Linux Newbie, I went to Google for an

answer about how to reconfigure it. After a bit of slogging about I

came up with the xf86config command.


xf86config makes anyone who came up learning DOS feel right at home. No

fancy GUI, just a simple user-hostile set of menu choices poorly worded

and properly confusing. Ok. It wasn't that bad, but still.


After about a dozen tries, I finally got the machine back up and

working. The problem wasn't getting the video card to work. The problem

was getting the stupid MOUSE to work. I have the machine connected to a

KVM switch, so any mouse choice I made either caused KDE to fail to

load properly, or when it did, the pointer would run around insanely

and refuse to respond properly.


Google this time was no help at all. Finally, I hit on the right combination. During xf86config, you had to select Auto for the mouse protocol and then /dev/input/mice for the port. Now the KVM, mouse, and new video card all work together properly.


I guess I can't really blame Linux for the problem. It's a case of

shooting myself in the foot. I should have learned the lession OS/2

taught me a long time ago - once you get a system up and running -

Don't Touch It!





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