Spiritual convert lost in Linux Hell -- Help!

Basically, I've had a spiritual conversion and really believe it is time to leave the Microsoft stuff behind, but I didn't know I was going to have to tie both arms behind my back to get the most basic stuff running on Linux! When technology meets ideology, sometimes things just don't work out so well I guess. Read on if you think you can help.

My name is Ben. I'm a complete newbie to Linux. Now I do consider myself to be a poweruser with Windoze, but unfortunately, that "power" has not helped me to be anything more than a total invalid with Linux.

I am having all kinds of problems. Installation with Fedora Core 3 (gui install) was fairly easy. But since the install, besides basic web browsing, i'm having all kinds of issues! For example: can't get my sound card to work, can't get the second monitor on my dual display working (even though I found the "enable dual head" thing on the options area), having trouble seeing other machines (all of which run XP) on my network and vice versa, and now, can't even get my network card to see anything!

I've spent about 10 hours already (after install) playing with this box, trying to get things to work, and it just seems stubborn as hell!!! I also tried to install gDesklets, but that was a huge mistake... in the terminal window, I keep getting what looks like some progress, but after a bunch of song and dance on screen, it just says "nothing to do". I've searched linuxquestions.org forums for hours, the CINLUG forums, and a slew of other websites, but it seems like there is SO much info out there, that finding answers to questions can be hard with all the distros available. I've also been listening to John Watson's "Linux User Show" podcasts which are very informative and entertaining, but still I am lost!

I see that your next meeting is Wednesday, August 3rd, but I have to work that day and I'm a firefighter so I'll be on shift for 24 hours (meaning there is no way I can make the meeting), but I am off the day of the Boot Camp in Terre Haute, so I'm going to sign up for that asap. In the meantime, I don't want to put all of my Linux aspirations on the back burner. What do you suggest? My wife and I are trying to raise our 19 month old son and between that and us both working full-time, I don't have a full-time slot available to f*#% with Linux 8-10 hours a day.

Any thoughts on how I can get some help?
Thanks to everyone on the forums who takes a look at this.

Ben

ps: Seeing as it's been asked in a lot of other posts here's what I run:
Dual PIII 933s (this was actually cool at one time)
512MB PC-150 Kingston Ram
Soundblaster Audigy MP3 sound card
ATI Radeon 7500 (dual head)
Acorp 6A815/EDP1 mainboard
Dlink 10/100 card (don't know the model)
LiteOn DVD-rom drive
LG supermulti DVD writer drive
80GB Western Digital HD (where I have Fedora Core 3 installed)
40GB Western Digital HD (where I have XP installed)

Btw, if anyone is still reading (thanks!) my goals with this machine are to run it as a media server for my LAN, an FTP server for when I'm away but need access, get a TV card and run Myth TV, and use it to run a closed circuit TV system with my X10 equipment. Of course all other standard desktop ops apply: web, email, office apps. Just fyi.

Thanks everybody out there. Someone please throw me a lifeline!

Comments

Re: Spiritual convert lost in Linux Hell -- Help!

go to suse.com download the iso's and that shuld solv your problems or if you like red hat witch is what you basicly got then go and get the iso's for mandrake there bolth a hole lot easer to understand for us newbees...i prefer suse 9.3 its like a linux version of windows... hope this helps

Re: Spiritual convert lost in Linux Hell -- Help!

[quote="db"]I think you might find it interesting. For a full day of Linux training people would pay hundreds of dollars. I'll let Michael comment on the sylabus since he is running it.[/quote] The Boot Camp focuses on installing and using [url=http://www.ubuntu.com]Ubuntu[/url], a [url=http://www.debian.org]Debian[/url] derivative that's very easy to use. The first part of the Boot Camp covers getting Ubuntu installed, then we demonstrate how to accomplish various tasks (web browsing, checking e-mail, etc.) and end up with a security presentation. We've had excellent feedback regarding our previous Boot Camps.

Re: Spiritual convert lost in Linux Hell -- Help!

I think you might find it interesting. For a full day of Linux training people would pay hundreds of dollars. I'll let Michael comment on the sylabus since he is running it.

Re: Spiritual convert lost in Linux Hell -- Help!

Looking very forward to coming to the Sept meeting since I can't make the August. Thanks for the quick reply. Do you think the Boot Camp would be beneficial for me? If it's a glorified install session, I think I'd do better to save my loot. But I am game if there is going to be more extensive help there.

Thanks!
Ben

Re: Spiritual convert lost in Linux Hell -- Help!

Michael is the MythTV expert. Also Core 4 is out, perhaps you should chuck the install and start over, or go ahead and try a different distro. To get some graphics and sound and other things running like burning DVDs or playing them, you have to use "yum" to "yum update" your machine with various packages. Fedora Core 3 and 4 are both very minimal installations, and you have to get much of the other "non-free" licensed stuff off freshrpms...which you can do by editing your /etc/yum.conf file and pointing to:

[freshrpms]
name=Fedora Linux $releasever - $basearch - freshrpms
baseurl=http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/$releasever/$basearch/freshrpms

After you do a "yum list" you can pick packages you want to install like "xine" by saying "yum install xine"

If you can make a meeting, go ahead and bring your machine and we might be able to help you out???