This weekend, I have been mostly trying to make Debian work on my PC.
I should have realised that something was wrong when my boot sector virus scanner picked up LILO as an enemy (it seemed fine with GRUB before). Nine CDs later I logged in. The CDs don’t seem to support my graphics card, or my network card. So no Gnome or X-Windows, and no easy way of updating them. (I tried several installations with different graphics configurations and no success).
I eventually figured that the best thing to do would be to get connected, then apt-get in any updates. I have a Linux network driver. Unfortunately it didn’t like my setup and requested the kernel source so that it could compile an interface for itself. Debian does come with kernel sources, but none of them seem to match the default installation. So I found one of the others and learnt how to compile a new Linux kernel. In that respect, the Debian experiment was a great success; it taught me a lot about Linux and how it works.
Getting my network driver out of its zip on the backup CD was also a mission. I’m afraid I resorted to the use of my Windows partition. Note to self: when backing up Linux stuff, use tar.
The network driver needed another module as well as the source. No idea where the module can be found. I spent 20 minutes looking for this information. Eventually sanity dropped in to point out that I was on the path that leads to the zoo and the shaving of the yak.
20 minutes after that I had Ubuntu up and running, with Gnome at 1280 x 1024, full connection to my LAN and the internet, and my email restored to its usual place.
I hereby apologise to the gods of Ubuntu. I’m sorry that I ever doubted you. Appropriate sacrifices will be made on the altars of chaos next time I play nethack.