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Mandrake(Mandriva), Fedora, or SuSE

By JRod86 ·
Well, I've had Fedora Core 4 installed for sometime now, but haven't been booting into it as much as I would have liked. But, last night I did and was suddenly reminded why I haven't used it in a long time. It sucks! I can't play mp3's out of the box, much less does the soundcard work. Oh yeah, want to burn DVD's?? Not on this distro (or maybe it just doesn't work in Linux from what I've read).

Anyhoo, I'm trying to make an effort to learn Linux so I can effectively bash Windows as well, but so far have not found anything in Linux worthwhile. The only good thing I have found is that I can dual-boot easily with the Fedora Core install (what a relief that was). My question is then, which would you recommmend to me as the better of the beginner Linux versions? I am currently downloading Mandriva, and may download SuSE as well, but wanted some experienced users opinions.

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The scoop on SuSE

by stress junkie In reply to Mandrake(Mandriva), Fedor ...

You would probably be unhappy with SuSE. Although I use it as my primary desktop there are problems in the area of audio-video. These problems can be fixed but it is probably too much trouble for a new Linux user.

The main problem with the default SuSE installation is that it doesn't include the software to watch commercial DVD movies. This can be fixed by finding and installing the apt4rpm/apt4suse package, then replacing the SuSE installation of Xine with one that works.

In other respects Xine is good for playing mp3 files, music CDs, and other sound files. Before you give up on Red Hat Fedora you should try using Xine for your mp3 files. It is an X GUI application. I don't know if you are or aren't running an X desktop with your current setup.

As far as burning CDs and DVDs you can't beat the K3b software. This package runs in the KDE environment. If you want to burn a DVD all you need is the ISO file and a DVD burner. You just click on the Tools drop down menu, then click on DVD, then click on Burn, then choose the ISO file to burn onto the DVD. This has nothing to do with the Linux distribution. It is all about using KDE.

If you have KDE installed on your system you can run KDE applications even if you use a different window manager. I don't use the KDE window manager but the KDE applications work fine because the KDE software is installed. SuSE has done whatever is required to integrate these window systems so I don't know if there is any work required to get this configuration working the way that it does with SuSE.

Anyway, the problems that you are having may have less to do with Red Hat Fedora and more to do with the applications that you are using to achieve your goal. If you try the applications that I have mentioned using Fedora then you may be happy with the result. In any case you probably don't want to use SuSE.

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Sounds good

by JRod86 In reply to The scoop on SuSE

I'm running KDE and tried using XMMS for the audio, but that was a failure. I will definitely try Xine and see what that does. I just can't believe that it detects the Audigy Sound Card, and yet doesn't play sound. I went through a couple forums and tried the suggestions they had, but to no avail.

I will also try to burn the ISO from a DVD with K3b. I appreciate your candor about SuSe and will avoid that distro. Maybe I'm just looking for something other than what Fedora has, it is not bad in terms of the environment.

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Sound card problem

by stress junkie In reply to Sounds good

I've had problems with getting an Audigy sound card to work. The sound system in Linux is going through a change. Here are a couple of ideas. Keep in mind that I don't have Fedora so I don't know the exact actions to take for configuring a card.

If Fedora makes a boot log try reading that. You might look in /var/log/boot.msg for information about what happened during the system boot. Otherwise you could try the dmesg command right after you boot. Lastly you can just look at the boot messages when the computer is booting.

What you are looking for is some message about detecting the Audigy sound card. What you want to see is that your system is using the ALSA sound drivers. This is the newer version of the sound software for Linux.

What I did in SuSE to get the Audigy working was to use the GUI for setting up the system and looked in the sound card applet. I found that it had set the active sound card to number zero. I changed it to sound card number one. I rebooted and then Audigy worked.

I know that Fedora has a GUI for setting up the system. Information about Fedora can be found at

It looks like the documentation is in downloadable format which I don't want to do. But I know that they have a GUI system administration tool. I just don't know what it is called.

Give it a try. Don't worry about breaking things. You can always reinstall the OS.

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That's what I tried

by JRod86 In reply to Sound card problem

I went through the GUI to configure the ALSA output driver in XMMS and set it to use the Audigy, but then it said something may be blocking the sound card. I shut down at that time and didn't get a chance to go back in to check. Most forums didn't have much to say in terms of the error I received, but hopefully the reboot will take care of my blockage. Thanks for all the info!

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A couple of more ideas

by stress junkie In reply to That's what I tried

Log in as root.
Open a terminal window.
Enter the following commands:

hwinfo > t.tmp
less t.tmp

The hwinfo command may take several minutes to run. When you enter the less command you will should see a listing of all of the hardware on your system. The list is extremely detailed. See if you can find the Audigy sound card in the list. Then enter the following commands:

lsmod | sort > t2.tmp
less t2.tmp

You will see a list of all of the hardware drivers. There are several for the sound system. This is the listing for my system related to the sound system:

snd 62212 12 snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi_event,snd_seq,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_via82xx,snd_ac97_codec,snd_pcm,snd_timer,snd_mpu401_uart,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq_device
snd_ac97_codec 65668 1 snd_via82xx
snd_mixer_oss 18944 1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_mpu401_uart 8064 1 snd_via82xx
snd_page_alloc 11656 2 snd_via82xx,snd_pcm
snd_pcm 93832 2 snd_pcm_oss,snd_via82xx
snd_pcm_oss 56872 0
snd_rawmidi 25636 1 snd_mpu401_uart
snd_seq 55312 4 snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi_event
snd_seq_device 8456 3 snd_seq_oss,snd_seq,snd_rawmidi
snd_seq_midi_event 7680 1 snd_seq_oss
snd_seq_oss 31360 0
snd_timer 25860 2 snd_seq,snd_pcm
snd_via82xx 27812 0
soundcore 9056 1 snd

You can see the entry above for snd_via82xx. That's the driver for the sound chip on my motherboard. The computer that I'm using to write this doesn't have an Audigy. Anyway you should see an entry in your listing for the Audigy driver.

Lastly if all else fails do this:

Shut down the system and power off.
Remove the Audigy card.
Power on.
Enter BIOS setup.
Make sure that the motherboard sound system is disabled.
Reinstall Linux.
Shut down and power off.
Insert the Audigy card.
Power on and boot Linux.
Log on as root.

KDE will probably say that it found a new hardware device, the Audigy. It should ask if you want to configure the Audigy. Say yes.

I have found that it is sometimes a good idea to install Linux in a bare system and add cards after Linux is running. Only add one card per reboot.

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That's a good idea

by JRod86 In reply to A couple of more ideas

It sounds like that would be a good idea. It does detect the onboard sound, so I should probably try to disable it...thanks again.

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You Forgot Debian!

by gregunit In reply to Sounds good

Debian is about the only distro not owned by a commercial business. My Debian server is the only one without a battery back, we live in the South and experience thunderstorms and momentary power blips daily. Debian takes a licking and comes back ticking ? and it recognized my sound card during installation.

Hope you find this useful


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DVD playback

by filker0 In reply to The scoop on SuSE

As has been noted elsewhere in another thread -- Windows XP does not play DVDs out of the box either. I have found SuSE to be generally very good about hardware support and such, and having to obtain a DVD playback library may be a pain, but it's also a pain when you don't have the XP software that comes bundled with your video card.

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Sound card and Fedora

by jmgarvin In reply to Mandrake(Mandriva), Fedor ...

Out of the box the sound is muted in Fedora. Did you check this?

My SB Live works pretty well.

If you want to play MP3s, I suggest xmms (yum install xmms)

Burning DVDs is possible:

If you want to rip and burn, you need to go grab software, but I'm pretty adverse to piracy, so I'm not going to point you to it.*

*I'm not saying YOU are a pirate, but a lurker or 5 may be. I hate to give out that information and have people ripping and burning....

I prefer Fedora for a number of reasons, but may I suggest you try Ubuntu, Gentoo, or Knoppix if you wish to have more of a workstation?

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I guess that makes sense ...

by stress junkie In reply to Sound card and Fedora

... for the same potential reason that SuSE multimedia is crippled; not that I really know why SuSE is the way that it is, but if you want to make a distro for business workstations you may want to disable the multimedia stuff.

That was a long sentence. :-)

So how do you enable the sound system in Fedora?

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