Playing with C/C++ and The Linux OS

Computer Building and Maintaining UPDATED

My Toshiba Satellite 1805-S274 Notebook

My Personal Data Assistants (PDAs) UPDATED

PC Gaming, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Future Employment UPDATED

Playing with C/C++ and the Linux OS

I have taken some college level computer programming courses: BASIC, Turbo Pascal, and C/C++ using Borland C/C++ 3.0 and the Introductory Editon of Visual C++ 6...if only I can get it to quit crashing. I'm also taught myself to administer Unix/Linux, by way of Linux: I've tried alot of the flavors out there -- Mandrake, Suse, Red Hat, Slackware, Debian, TurboLinux, Libranet, and OpenLinux Base. Many of these are old but are what I cut my teeth on. The very first was Slackware 3.3 and am still using Slackware (9.1).

Those who want to learn and are willing to RTFM (search for that one), Linux (and the Unices) can free your mind and empower you. I now have employment as an Intrusion Analyst at a very large IT company. For those of you who just want something that isn't Microsoft-related but want MS functionality, there are Linux solutions for you: Mandrake, RedHat, and Suse. There's also Lindows, Xandros, and Lycoris. Nowadays, there's a Linux distribution for everyone, although one distribution I cannot stand is Gentoo. As an educational tool in understanding the innards of Linux, Gentoo is most like LFS (Linux From Scratch). From a perspective where you may want to use Gentoo in a production environment, Gentoo isn't going to cut it, as I feel its not mature enough and isn't mainstream.

Slackware is my distribution of choice. It's light, meets most of the Linux Standards requirements, and is very robust and stable. Dependency problems are next to nil. It's not one of the distributions out there that offers customer support, but if you're willing and smart enough, you'll find your answers to problems via newsgroups, email lists, and IRC channel chats.

The BSDs are also very nice. That's why I also run a FreeBSD machine as a workstation. The version I'm using is FreeBSD 4.9 Stable. What's the difference between Linux and FreeBSD? Not much. The BSDs are very robust and are excellent as servers, especially web servers. The commands aren't all that much different from Linux commands. Device naming conventions will take awhile to get used to, though....very different. If you want to run a BSD, I suggest (highly) purchasing a book as a reference because you will need it, unless you've been using Linux for some time and are migrating to a BSD (this is what I did and I still preferred a book for help).

I'm also in the Linux Counter database:

Registered User # 180338

I'm a registered Linux user and have all three of my machines registered there (an Athlon XP 2000+ tower of power, an Athlon XP 2000+ Shuttle box, and the Toshiba laptop). It's cool to be counted officially as a Linux user! You can check out some Linux user stats here: Uptime stats

Below is data that is old that I haven't hashed though yet:

I've been on the lookout for other PDAs that have the potential to run Linux and found this link, which is all about the Vtech Helio. There's also a Yahoo group about the Vtech Helio but it's kinda slow compared to newsgroups and mailing lists. I'd always thought that this was a cheapish PDA but after a bit of research, I found that it could actually run Linux (it probably runs Linux better than Agenda Computing's PDA). UPDATE: I just purchased me a Sharp SL-5500 and another (used) Agenda VR3...see those individual sections for my uptake on those.

22 June 2002: I'm running Slackware 8.0 on almost all my systems now, with the exception of one machine, which is running Libranet 1.9.1 (testbed). Right now I'm impressed with Libranet. I'd use it more but I've that one installed on a triboot system (XP, W98, Libranet). I tend to run XP on that system (I play Quake3 Arena a lot). Slackware was very smooth and the reason I wanted to start using it was so that (1) I could have a distribution that was as close to the Linux Standard Base as possible, (2) learn Linux without the bloat that Redhat/Mandrake/Suse has, and (3) I wanted to be able to add my own packages and hack without using a GUI (I know I could do this with RH/MDK/Suse, but they tend to rely heavily on scripts and GUIs so much that to install software or configure in any other way than theirs screws up those systems). I even got a 2.4.18 kernel working, one that I got from This wasn't a patched version, this was compiling a full kernel. At first it was a bit hectic because I kept forgetting to add certain kernel options. It sure was fun though. I now need to get my notebook to use kernel 2.4.18. On my 500mhz desktop, I'm now using Libranet 1.9.1, just for giggles. I'd been dying to try a Debian-based OS on my desktop. I tried it on the notebook but couldn't get the monitor working correctly, even by using a framebuffer. I will note, however, that I've tried the new Slackware 8.1 and am having an equally hard time running X (installed on the laptop). XFree86 version 4.2.0 is the version in question and I'll be moving down a version to see if I can get it up and running, although I really thought (and it's listed on the XFree site) that 4.2.0 supported the CyberBlade XP video card.

5 November 2002: Due to a newly installed hard drive (120GB WD 5400rpm) and a loss of partition tables and data, I've installed Debian 3.0. I got the seven .iso files using jigdo. You can find my notes on Debian 3.0 at my Blog, W|GGL|T, the Glass|Geek or at my Xanga weblog. I think I like Debian 3.0 better than Slackware 8.1 and Libranet 1.9.1! It's very smooth. If you use apt-get and dpkg, it'd be hard to mangle software installations. There's a HUGE repository of software. The only things I didn't like about Debian were while installing: The installation process itself seemed a bit aloof and the fact that it was so hard to get XFree86 working with the new ATI Radeon 7500 I have. OH...also, the .iso files of Debian that I downloaded were lacking source! That means I cannot build kernels and modules based on the install I already have...I'd have to download the kernel source and start from scratch, even if I just wanted a few modules built. That is lame. I still am enamored with Debian though! :o)

22 November 2002: Here's desktop shots of Slackware 8.1 (XFCE), Libranet 1.9.1 (Gnome) and Debian 3.0 (KDE3).

Slackware 8.1
Debian 3.0
Libranet 1.9.1
Slackware 8.1
Slackware 8.1

I've a few Linux links for the gearheads out there:

Links to people affiliated with #slackware on (IRC channel and server) --

** 22 November 2002: The above stricken sites have stopped being maintained. The one thing I hate about most people who maintain their own apache-run http servers is that they tend to not maintain their pages. Come on, people. Get with the program! **

22 November 2002:

Links to fellow Unix/Linux users on #linuxdojo --

Links to Debian sites:

Links to general Slackware sites:

Links to general Linux sites I frequent:

Libranet links and a link to Sara31's site(s):


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Copyright 2003-2004, Ronald Sinclair (Substitute 'AT' in the email address with '@' when attempting to email)
Revised: 22 March 2004