Friday, February 18, 2005

Update on the Suse side of things

So I spent a hour or so screwing around with the problematic Suse install and discovered a couple of things:

Using the GUI to access the network card was doing next to nothing. If I added DNS entries they did not show up in the resolv.conf file, if clicked it off the file did not modify upon recieving a DHCP update.

Using the GUI, I could never create a default gateway, I had to add a default gateway via the command line. This should also be learned via the DHCP packet.

So basically somewhere in the process of the system/kernel update DHCP got screwed up. I can only grab a DHCP address, I don't appear to learn anything else from the DHCP packet - although firing up Ethereal shows that the information is contained within the packet.

I am not sure whether I really want to troubleshoot any deeper or whether I want to chunk the machine and try again. I would prefer to run Fedora, I know the OS better and seem better able to dig around within the file structure but then the company I am working for has their tool ported to Suse argh choices.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Problems with Linux

So in an effort to keep my mind fresh I decided to set my laptop up to dual boot - Windows XP and Suse 9.2. This is a usual occurance for me. I have built dozen such laptops but I think I have finally reached my boiling point. I have an IBM Thinkpad R51, Pentium M 1.6, 768 Meg RAM, 40 Gig HD, built in ethernet, and 802.11b/g. This is a nice little laptop, shouldn't have any problems with Suse 9.2.

Where things went wrong - I decided to patch the box - patching is similar having your teeth pulled.

I began the patching process, everything appeared to go correctly, and then I did the reboot as I had also told YaST to upgrade my kernel. Well everything appeared to be working, so I decided to browse the web. It didn't work. It took me a couple of tries before the onboard ethernet grabbed an ip address. I still can't browse the web. I grab an ip address but DNS doesn't appear to work. I hard code DNS entries, still nothing, disable firewall, still nothing. Threaten to toss the laptop out the window, still ntohing. So I am left with an upgraded SUSE 9.2 professional that can't speak to the internet.

I used YaST, a tool that does always leaves me wondering what is really going on under the hood. A lot of people have commented on the efffectiveness of this tool. I miss some of the tools that RedHat has in comparison. I am going to have to take things apart now.

So where does this leave us? This points to the underlying probelm with why there aren't more Linux desktops - the complexity. I don't mind getting under the hood, but then my dad handed me a lawn mower engine when I was a kid so that I could understand how motors work. Most people want things to work, straight up. I didn't have that experience, in fact I mumbled under my breath at one point that I was either going back to Fedora or FreeBSD over the weekend. Why? They work, I have had little to no problems with upgrading them, and when I patch them things keep working. I also know that the whole problem could be somewhere between the brain and the keyboard. ;)