kaze on Sat, 6 Oct 2001 09:20:11 +0200

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[PLUG] Continued newbie questions thread !-0

Wow, thanks for all the answers! I rearranged all the posts into a more
threaded format so I could really read it and query farther:
I put my new questions in below prefixed with "<kaze>:"

:-) Just installed RH 7.1 on my laptop (dual booting with W2K AS), but want
to patch it prior to putting it on the Internet. How do you know what
patches are needed and where do you get them from? Are there Linux patches
in addition to distribution specific ones?

It has been long enough since I used RedHat that I don't remember how
they work this stuff.  In any rate, go ahead and get the machine
connected to the 'net -- you'll have to be online to get any newer
packages anyway.

<kaze>: What I meant was before I took it out from behind the firewall and
tried out wwwd or whatever, or even dialed up the 'net raw.

"patches" usually means that you are downloading a newer version of a
package from your distribution.

<kaze>: OK, So there's no RH7.1 SP1, instead it's RH7.2, makes sense.

The "Linux" patches are usually provided by your distribution, as well.

RedHat has a tool called ... up2date? ... that lists all security
fixes/patches for their distribution. Additionally, you can download all
their patches off their website (somewhere ...). Plus, they have a mail list
that will alert you to any new patches released.

<kaze>: Will try up2date...

Oh, and start subscribing to BugTraq or similar security lists. New
vulnerabilities (and the patches to fix them) are also announced on these

<kaze>: Does BugTraq list both kernel bug/fixes and dist specific ones?

Security is a proactive thing, regardless of OS.

Generally one would subscribe to the security mailing list of the maker
of their distribution.  I couldn't find it right away on redhat.com, but
it *is* there, I've seen it before.  In the mean time,
http://www.redhat.com/support/resources/howto/rhl71.html has links to
documents covering errata and security advisories.

<kaze>: Great link!

:-) How do you set up hibernation under Linux? (Like where you save memory
and state to disk and shut down totally, then power back up to exactly where
you were insofar as windows open, programs running etc..)

There is a utility around, something like suspend to disk, but I don't
know how good / useful it is -- check on google or freshmeat.net

<kaze>: Cool, will search it

You mean like a laptop does? You're running Win2K Advanced Server on a
*laptop*? :-) I used to have a friend who ran an Exchange server off a
Toshiba Libretto sub-notebook ...

<kaze>: Why not, it's basically the same to me as plain server but looks
more impressive, can drop it into some networks and take over tasks while
rebuilding or tweaking them.

Hibernation under Linux is very model-specific. What kind of laptop is it?
www.linux-laptop.net is a great resource. Hibernation usually involves a
special partition to hold the data.

<kaze>: ThinkPad A20m

Good luck! I just ordered a Dell Inspiron and I'm looking forward to getting
linux running on that beast. :)

That might be a hardware-specific thing; I'm not sure.  There are
userland tools for sleep mode (like /usr/bin/apm).  I've never attempted

<kaze>: Ah, great, Advanced Power Management!

:-) I know you can run *n*x just as a CLI. But can you just run X-Windows
_without_ Gnome or KDE? What would you get?

well you need to run some window manager...  there are many to choose
from.  Search at freshmeat.net for window managers and see what you
get..  They span the spectrum of functionality, size, and speed -- I
like blackbox a lot -- it's small and quick, but still is quite useful

You'd get a different window manager. :-) There are ... what, like a dozen
you could use. Black Box, IceWM, Enlightenment, etc. GNOME and KDE are full
desktop environments.

It's not like Windows, where just about everybody uses the one GUI/shell
(yes, there are alternatives on the Windows platform, but they're really
rare, few and far between).

I'm not sure if you mean just running X by itself, or with another
window manager.  I'll answer both questions:

1.) Try it. ;)  Invoke 'X' by itself  at the command line.  (If you
already have X running and don't want to close your X session, try
running 'X :1.0' to start a second X server on a different virtual
console.)  Not very interesting, eh?  Generally, you'll want to have at
least one program for the X server to start up and monitor, so that the
server will exit when that program dies.  This can be as simple as
saying 'startx /usr/bin/X11/xterm' or as complicated as running KDE or

2.) That's not to say that KDE and GNOME are the *only* window managers
out there; many people prefer others.  I currently use Sawfish.  A
friend of mine uses Enlightenment.  A lot of people still like fvwm.
IceWM, fvwm95, AfterStep...

KDE and GNOME are NOT window managers, never where never will be and no how.
KDE and GNOME are desktop enviroments, afterstep and friends are window

If you want something that is just X and then a window manager then get
box, it is fast and small.  If you want to run as an XTerminal you can also
XFree86 -query <ipaddress>
To attach to a remote server.

For X to be usable though you will more than likely need a window manager.

I understand that, but I didn't think the distinction was that important
for the purpose of this conversation.  KDE and GNOME *provide* their own
window managers (well, KDE does, GNOME requires a separate window
manager like Sawfish or E) in addition to some other services.

One might consider KDE and GNOME to be a WindowManger++.  ;-)

We're helping out a newbie.  I figured that this is most opportune
time to clear up that common point of confusion.  GNOME and KDE
are desktop environments that rely on a window manager.  Window
managers rely on X.  They each provide separate functions.

And also it would be confusing to realize that different wm's can be used
under kde or gnome.

This is important to realize b/c it gives users choice, stability, and
control over their environment far beyond skinning.

Point taken.

That said, I've seen the term "window manager" defined before.  I've
never seen anyone give a definition of "desktop environment".  I feel
like I know what it is, but when I think about it, I realize that I only
have a vague notion of what such a beast is.  (Perhaps even a recursive
definition -- "What is a desktop environment?  It's a collection of
software like GNOME and KDE that provide window-management and other
services.  What are KDE and GNOME?  Desktop environments.")

Anyone have a good, unambiguous definition of "desktop environment"?

Another thing you can say is that desktop environments strive to be
seamless. They offer cut and paste in b/w apps, drag and drop, a familiar
interface for all apps, office is to word as desktop environment is to
window manger, the first encompasses the second and so much more.

Personally, I don't use a desktop environment nor do I use an office suite
b/c I like it stripped down and modular. If I want these big bulky things
I'd run another OS, but I like having them available under linux to show
off. there's less and less that linux can not do.

you missed the meeting last night ;)

if you would like a recap check out:
	-ian reinhart geiser

Ok. So, according to that, "desktop environment"s provide consistancy
for both end users and programmers,

In comparison, what exactly does the wm do?

A window manager is responsible for giving focus to windows, drawing
window decorations like frames, title bars, minimize/maximize/close
buttons, letting you move windows around on the screen, etc.

According to this definition, a desktop evironment is a window manager
combined with a compiler, a file manager, a toolkit that provides
widgets, a defined API, and possibly an IDE.

desktop_environment = window_manager++;  /*   ;)   */

<kaze>: Wow, a lot of feedback there - still not sure I understand. Do
people try out _all_ the desktops and window managers and then pick one they
like? Is there a site which does a clean, easy to read, feature comparison
btwn them all?

<kaze>: Let me put it another way:
<kaze>: (1) Say I do most everything CLI; then I launch a chess game like
"startx /some_path/chess_game", and also do a "startx
/some_path/mp3_player". Now I could flip btwn the CLI and the two X-Windows
sessions with like F1, F2, and F3, but _not do anything_ btwn them.
<kaze>: (2) A desktop evironment then gives me icons, a GUI way to launch
apps, virtual desktops, copy and paste btwn windows within the larger
X-Window (of which there is only one)?
<kaze>: (3) A Windows Manager tweaks those app windows more?
<kaze>: Questions: Can you run a wm alone or only on top of a desktop? Do
you need a wm with a good desktop?

:-) Is it straightforward to upgrade to new versions of kernels or
distributions or easier / better to reinstall? Is this all about planning

There are a couple of ways that upgrading the kernel can be done:
 o  Wait until your distribution has packaged a newer version of the
    kernel and just upgrade using the newer package
 o  do it yourself:  go to kernel.org (use a mirror such as
    ftp.us.kernel.org), download the new kernel source, and then read
    about compiling your own kernel in the how-tos at www.linuxdoc.org.
    This option means you need to know what options to compile in the
    kernel to support the hardware you have

Well, partitions and kernels aren't really related. Actually, it's not
*that* hard to update a kernel (and these days, many people DON'T need to
re-compile a kernel, since many distributions come with loadable modules for
like EVERYTHING; you can just load the appropriate modules).

Of course, re-compiling your own module is practically a rite of passage in
Linux ... <G>

<kaze>: Guess I wanna do that then - any howtos? This is for unique hardware
and/or getting specific stuff running within the kernel? Definitions of
kernel vs. module? Why would you recompile each?

However, planning partitions *is* a good idea - you put /, /usr, and so on,
on separate partitions. Makes upgrading easier, among other things. Bit more
difficult to do AFTER you've installed the OS, but still possible.

Reinstalling can be a real pain, because then you have to reconfigure
everything, make sure you get all the stuff installed that were using
before, back up your data, restore, etc.  However, it often can be
simpler.  Also, if your system is serving you well and there's not some
new feature in the latest version that you really want, it's not a bad
idea to just keep using what you have until there's a compelling reason
to upgrade.  You'll want to keep on top of the security updates from
your vendor, though, and install those as they come out.  Red Hat, for
example, will provide security fixes and RPMs of newer kernel versions

As to the second part of the question, I'm not sure what you're asking.
Certainly, if you have a good partitioning scheme, it can make
reinstalling (and to some degree, upgrading) easier.  For example, if
you have /home on its own partition, you can always install another
distribution without having to back up your data (although it's a good
idea in case you mistype which partition you want...) and simply
mounting the /home partition under /home in your new install.

<kaze>: I guess I'm not clear on the difference btwn reinstalling and
upgrading Linux. If you make all the nice recommended partitions and you go
from RH6.1 to RH7.1 is both a reinstall and an upgrade essentially removing
the OS and then installing the new one there; is the only diff keeping the
config files?
<kaze>: Another question based on the answers above is do you / can you
change kernel releases independently or distribution releases? Could you
have the 2.2.2 kernel running and alternately boot into two different

First of all, www.google.com, groups.google.com, and www.linuxdoc.org
are your friends :)

Thanks, this stuff is awesome - I hope this post isn't annoyingly huge.

Philadelphia Linux Users Group       -      http://www.phillylinux.org
General Discussion  -  http://lists.phillylinux.org/mail/listinfo/plug