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    A Moogle

    As the title may say, I’m looking for advice on the pros and cons of different Linux distros. I’m somewhat familiar with Fedora, as it was the first I used, and the only one I’ve used for any extended period of time.

    For reference, I have two systems (hoping to get another up for data storage). The two I have now were built with mid-to-highrange gaming in mind, and the third will be used as a seperate data storage/backup-and-archive system.



    What do you want to do with the linux box?


    A Moogle

    As stated at the end of my initial post, two systems for mid-to-highend gaming (both local and LAN games), and a third as a network storage server.

    To elaborate:
    The gaming systems should be able to run most WinXP games, whether through Wine or a VM. Ability to run Halo2 would be a nice plus, but I would guess that that depends more on Wine.

    The storage server needs to be accessible from WinXP.

    Specs on first gaming system:
    XFX 680i LT mobo, ATX
    XFX GeForce 9800GTX+, 512MB
    C2D 2.13GHz core, 1066MHz FSB, 8x unlocked mult, CPU-Z reports B2 rev, 6 stepping (Upped to 2.3GHz core, 1150MHz FSB)
    4GB DDR2 PC5400, 4 DIMMs

    Specs on second gaming system:
    EVGA nForce 610i, GeForce 7050 SB, microATX
    MSI GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit (Currently running a GeForce 7500 LE while waiting for new PSU)
    Pentium D 2.2GHz core, 800MHz FSB, 11x locked mult (upped to 2.32GHz core)
    2GB DDR2 PC4200, 2 DIMMs

    Both have aftermarket CPU coolers. The network storage system has not yet been built, but will likely recieve the Pentium D from system 2 after it is upgraded.



    After using Ubuntu for 3 years. I am thinking about switching to linuxmint or debian.
    And yes the gaming has more to do with wine. Although some games are coming out that can be played on linux natively.
    For the network file server I would use debian or freenas.
    If you like redhat go with centos.
    I setup a debian box so that I can surf through public hotspots more securely. Works great.

    and the linux distribution chooser


    A Moogle

    Ah, thanks Irish. I had no idea that that distro chooser even existed.

    Few more questions, then:
    1. Freenas? Am I to assume from the name that it essentially turns the machine into a network-attached HDD?

    2. When you say there are games being released that run natively, do you mean the ones often found in repos? Or do you mean ones more often found in (insert retailer name here)? It will be a miracle if MS ever stops trying to force incompatibility…

    3. I had not realized until recently that nVidia cards are not natively supported, driver-wise, due to the drivers being proprietary. After trying (and failing) several times to install the drivers into Fedora 12, I installed ubuntu (due to its automated driver installer). The automated or semi-automated installation of drivers is a must. Do any of those distros allow/have an automated installation of nVidia drivers?



    The closest to an automatic install of Nvidia or ATI drivers, that I’m aware of is the Debian based distros, that can use smxi, such as Sidux or Mepis.

    More info:

    smxi are command line scrips, however they work very well (IMHO) and after reading the docs on the smxi site and diving in they are fairly intuitive.

    Good luck!



    The major distros all have Nvidia drivers in the package manager as far as I’m aware (although they never seem quite as good as the propietery drivers, they’re still fine for most applications).
    It’s extremely easy to install Nvidia drivers anyway.

    Download the Nvidia driver (for this it’ll be named and saved to /home/example/Documents/)

    Install kernel source for your distro (through package manager)
    Open a terminal
    type “su” (to switch to root user and enter password)
    type “init 3”
    type “cd /home/example/Documents”
    type “sh”
    Follow onscreen instructions.

    When finished
    type “init 5”



    A Moogle

    Unfortunately, PR, it’s not that easy on Fedora 12. I can’t really speak for the other distros, but I attempted that method several times on Fedora 12 – occassionally adding different steps found on the nv and fedora forums. Each time, upon reboot, X would fail to start and I could not start it manually. According to one post I found, SELinux “blocks” the nv driver from being used by default. While I doubt that, I know no other explanation for why the first terminal would be unusable and all others would be unable to start X. When I say unusable, I mean completely. It was simply a black screen with a cursor – that’s all that would be displayed on terminal 1. The others were usable, but could not start X.

    Although, now that I think about it, all the instructions I ever found never used the command “init 3”. Am I to assume that that switches to ‘runlevel 3’? I tried both the drivers from nVidia and the drivers from RPMFusion.

    Also a change to the requirements:
    PAE preferred, so 64bit is unnecessary.

    somewhat unrelated: I have to wonder why MS disallows use of 4GB of physical memory on their 32-bit OS’, even though they claim to use PAE.

    I, for one, long believed the (false) “information” that a 64-bit OS was required if you wanted access to over 4GB of physical memory. When I found out that that is untrue, describing my feelings as simple outrage would be a massive understatement.

    EDIT: This may seem like a stupid question to some, but are there any other GPUs that are NOT nVidia or ATi (or cards with non-NV/ATI GPUs), still have decent processing power, AND have free (non-proprietary) drivers? The only GPU manufacturers that I recall offhand are nVidia, ATi, and (I think) VIA – and I haven’t seen VIA cards/GPUs at all.



    Yes init 3 takes to runlevel 3.

    It’s like that for Mandriva and Open Suse (the two I use most often).

    M$ only allow >4GB on their mid-high level server OSs (however I’ve not had a supporting motherboard previously).

    Intel do graphics accelerators, however they don;t even compare to ATI)AMD/Nvidia. For linux Nvidia is still the best, although ATI are catching up with quality Open source drivers.


    A Moogle

    Another question here (although this time my research provided some results).

    I have a tv tuner card that was in an old XPMCE system, and I’m hoping I can get it to play and record. So far I’ve found Mythbuntu and/or LinuxMCE as possibilities for this. I imagine that there are programs I can use as well, like MythTV, but this is an area with which I’m quite unfamiliar. Any suggestions?

    P.S. The card is a Hauppage WinTV-PVR-500. In fact, I’m not entirely sure if it will function now, due to the switch of NTSC signal format/type(proper term?) in the US. You know, all that hype about “going digital” and stopping RF broadcasts. Thanks, US, for making my portable TV useless.



    Try MythBuntu, its a distro built on ubuntu specifically to run MythTY. As far as the card, that should be able to read from a vcr or you can use a digital converter box to get “off the air” programing into it.



    It’s a very tricky area currently (HTPC software) both on windows and linux.

    Just for tv, linux is a bit of a bastage due to dirver support. I image your card with have the support within the newer kernels (my HVR-900 which is a USB tv stick has had since 2.26.6 I think it was) making it a lot easier.

    I’ve yet to manage to get tv channels working yet, only a single channel stream, I can’t remember exactly what I was using altho I THINK it was mythtv.
    Other options are tvheadend which will work XBMC (my current fav HTPC software) altho I have yet to try it.

    As for digital switchover, the analogue signal in my region of the UK won’t be switched off for another 2 years, which is every annoying due to the crappy digital signal we recieve, this will be boosted 100 times over when analogue is switched off and those frequencies are freed up for digital use.
    The switching off of analogue signals will be annoying for a few, but it’s a worthwhile step until IPTV and IPradio take over.
    Imagine still using an analogue cell phone, isn’t the digital switch worth it?



    Here in the US, the analog signals were pretty darn good, making the switch seem less necessary. Here the extra bandwidth from analog television is going to be used for more cell phone type communications *sigh*. (Like we NEED that..)



    @tumbleweed wrote:

    Here in the US, the analog signals were pretty darn good, making the switch seem less necessary. Here the extra bandwidth from analog television is going to be used for more cell phone type communications *sigh*. (Like we NEED that..)

    The analogue was fine here, it’s the digital that sux because of the existance of analogue.



    I have had Mythtv working for 3 years on Ubuntu. I only use it to watch tv occasionally and copy movies from vhs to dvd or vcd. Works well for what I need. I have a cable connection that provides normal analog signals for about 24 channels. I dont use it like a tivo. Its an old hauppauge 150.

    XBMC looks interesting I am installing it right now. Will have to try it and see if I like it. Works fine it appears for watching movies and things on your computer or shows recorded on another system but tv play back looks like a pain. At some point I need to take some time to fix it( or get it to work).

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