Windows XP, Windows 7, ….and Mac OS X Linux is an operating system. An operating system is software that manages all of the hardware resources associated with your desktop or laptop. To put it simply – the operating system manages the communication between your software and your hardware. Without the operating system (often referred to as the “OS”), the software wouldn’t function.it acts as interface.
Display settings of Linux:-
- Linux uses a free version of the X Window System calledXfree86 to control your display. Xfree86 supports VGA,Super VGA, and some accelerated video adapters. If youhave a new video card, or new motherboard with on-boardvideo, you may want to download the latest version ofXfree86 from ftp://ftp.xfree86.org
- unfortunately linux settings are not easy
- The configuration for Xfree86 is in a file namedXF86Config located in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11. This file iscreated and edited by a program called Xconfigurator.
- In Windows, the monitor is viewed as a “dumb box” drivenby a video card which is controlled by a video driverprogram. Xconfigurator seems to think that video cardsdon’t exist and it requires you enter all kinds of obtuseinformation about your monitor such as horizontal syncrange, vertical sync range, the amount of video memory,and which clock chip you have.
- If you have a no-name monitor like I do, you may notknow all of these parameters. You may get stuck in thedisplay configuration step of Linux installation. This isone reason why I say “Linux is not ready for prime time”.
- This is how it should work: Linux detects your video cardand configures itself.
- On rare occasion, Xconfigurator does detect your “monitor”,or you can select your monitor in Xconfigurator’s list.In most cases you can get through the installation byselecting “Generic VGA, 640 x 480 @ 60 Hz”. Then aftercompleting the installation, you can use Xconfigurator totry to set a higher resolution.
- To open Xconfigurator, log in as root and click on the”Terminal emulation program” button on the task bar. Inthe terminal window that appears, type Xconfigurator.Xconfigurator will probe for your video card. If thatfails, you will be presented with a list of monitors. Ifyou can’t find your monitor in the list, select one ofthe “Generic” options.
- You will then have to select a “color depth” and “videomode”. After making the required selections, Xconfiguratorwill display the message “Can you see this message?” Ifyou do not click on the “Yes” button within ten seconds,you will be sent back to Xconfigurator’s starting screen.Then you can select different settings and try again.
- If none of the Generic options work, select “Custom” andenter some horizontal sync and vertical sync numbers.Ultimately you should find a setting that works. You mayhave to make some adjustments to your monitor to resize,reposition, or remove pin cushion.
Sometimes changing your display setting is not as easy inLinux as it is in Windows, but the alternative is tocontinue to use Windows and beg for Bill Gates’ permissionto upgrade your hardware (XP product activation)
The Linux File System:-
Linux uses a whole different file system philosophy than
Windows. Windows automatically assigns a drive letter to
every partition and drive it finds. But Linux makes every
partition and drive a subdirectory of the root (/)
partition. If you are a Windows user, you may get confused
when you try to use Linux.
No matter how many partitions, hard drives, or floppy
drives your computer has, the Linux File Manager displays
everything in a single directory tree under the root
directory indicated by a slash (/). Every partition or
drive is “mounted” onto the directory tree, and appears in
File Manager as a subdirectory.
Linux needs at least three partitions to work, the root
partition, the /boot partition, and the swap partition.
The root partition is mounted at startup. The root
directory itself doesn’t contain any files, just
subdirectories. The /boot partition contains files used to
boot the system. The swap partition is used as “virtual
When the operating system needs more memory than there is
available in the system’s RAM, it can use disk space to
emulate memory. As the system operates, data is swapped
back and forth between RAM and the swap partition. The
swap partition doesn’t have a mount point because it’s a
system file and is never accessed directly by the user.
Note: Linux, the Internet, and the rest of the computing
world use forward slashes to form directory paths. Only
Windows uses back-slashes to form directory paths. The
back-slash also represents an ASCII escape character,
resulting in all kinds of bugs in Windows programs.
In Windows you just insert a floppy disk into the drive and
it’s accessible. With Linux, before you can access devices
such as a CD ROM or a floppy drive, you have to “mount”
the drive. For example, to mount the floppy drive, insert
the disk into the drive and then select Main Menu |
Programs | System | Disk Manager. The “User Mount Tool”
utility will appear. In the “User Mount Tool” click on the
“Mount” button to the right of /dev/fd0.
Note: Linux abstracts every device attached your computer,
including the hard drive and floppy drive as a file. Files
in the /dev/ folder are equivalent to device driver files
in Windows. Linux provides device files for most common
devices, but if you install an uncommon device, you may
need a special device file.
After mounting the drive, you can access the floppy disk.
Before removing the disk, you have to “unmount” the drive.
If you find yourself frequently mounting and unmounting
drives, you can right-click on “Disk Manager” in the menu
and select “Add this launcher to panel”.
When you installed Linux, information about devices on
computer was stored in the file /etc/fstab. If the device
that you want to mount was not configured during
installation, use the LinuxConf utility to configure the
device before you mount it.
For example, if you wanted to configure a floppy drive to
access DOS floppy disks, insert a DOS floppy disk into the
drive, then log in as root and open LinuxConf – Main Menu
| Programs | System | LinuxConf. In the LinuxConf window
Config tab, click on “+” next to “File systems” to open
that branch. Under “File systems” click on “Access local
drive”. The “Local volume” windows appears.
In the “Local volume” window, click on the Add button. The
“Volume specification” window appears. In the “Partition”
text box type /dev/fd0. Then click on the drop down button
for the “Type” text box and select msdos. In the “Mount
point” text box type /mnt/floppy. Click on the “Accept”
button. Then click on the “Mount” button.
Note: To mount a partition or drive you have to use an
existing subdirectory as the mount point. By convention,
drives use the /mnt/ subdirectory as the mount point.
Setting Up a Linux Modem:-
Almost all modems manufactured today are software modems,
usually referred to as “winmodems”. Even though we pay a
lot for a winmodem, they are cheap to manufacture because
they use very little electronics. The functions that
should be performed in hardware are emulated by software.
This places an extra processing burden on your computer’s
CPU. Winmodems will not work with Linux unless you can
locate a special “Linmodem” driver.
A hardware modem contains its own on-board controller and
DSP circuits. This takes a major processing load off your
computer’s CPU. A hardware modem will make your dial-up
connection work much faster. Hardware modems are difficult
to find and very expensive. Hardware modems will work with
Some hardware modems known to work with Linux:
Zoom 2920 Fax Modem 56K PCI $76.00
Actiontec PCI56012-01CW 56K Voice Faxmodem PCI $75.00
ActionTec PCIV921201CW Call Waiting Internal V.90/V.92 Modem $59.99
On rare occasions Linux will locate and configure your
modem during installation, but most likely you will have
to configure it manually. If your computer is plug-and-play
(PnP) compatible, the BIOS should detect the modem on
power-up and allocate resources to it. To determine which
resources were allocated to the modem, log in as root and
click on the “Terminal emulation program” button on the
task bar. In the terminal window that appears, type the
In the screen output that results, locate the entry for
your modem. Below is a possible example:
Bus 0, device 9, function 0:
Unknown class: Lucent (ex-AT&T) Microelectronics
Unknown device (rev 0).
Vendor id=11c1. Device id=480.
Medium devsel. Fast back-to-back capable. IRQ 11
Master Capable. No bursts. Min Gnt=252. Max Lat=14
Non-prefetchable 32 bit memory at 0x80100000 [0x8010000].
I/O at 0xdc00 [0xdc01]
I/O at 0xe000[0xe001]
I/O at 0xe400[0xe401]
Record the IRQ number and the first I/O address.
Linux uses a device file to communicate with a modem.
Device files are located in the /dev directory. A modem
must use one of the serial ports (/dev tyS0 – /dev tyS3).
First determine which serial port to use for the modem.
You should use ttyS1 because ttyS0 is usually assigned to
a back panel connector.
To configure the serial port, use the setserial command
with the information that you recorded above. Using the
example values above, you would type the following into
the terminal window:
setserial /dev tyS1 uart 16550A port 0xdc00 irq 11
You can verify that the modem is working by sending it the
command to dial. For example type the following into the
echo “atdt5555555” > /dev tyS1
If you hear the modem dial, close the connection by typing:
echo “atz” > /dev tyS1
If you didn’t hear the modem dial, make sure you have the
modem speaker turned on by typing:
echo “atv” > /dev tyS1
Then try dialing again.
To have Linux automatically configure your modem at boot
time, add the setserial line that you used above to the
Assuming that you are using the GNOME window manager, click
on the “foot” icon on the taskbar to open the menu. Select
“Programs” and open the “File Manager”. In File Manager,
navigate to the directory /etc/rc.d and right-click on the
file rc.local. Select “Open with…” in the popup menu. In
the “gmc” dialog box, select “gnotepad+” and click on the
“OK” button. At the bottom of the file, type the setserial
command line and then save the file.
For complete information about modems related to Linux,
visit “Winmodems are not Modems” at:
Sometimes configuring a modem is not as easy in Linux as
it is in Windows, but the alternative is to continue to
use Windows and beg for Bill Gates permission to upgrade
your hardware (XP product activation).