May 30, 2009
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Read More Linux Section


I started my computer education with DOS, then moved to Win 3.1 -> Windows 95 -> Windows 98. I loved DOS and the degree of control it allowed me to have over my computer. When I switched to Windows 95 (Kicking and screaming about it as my sister loves to remind me) I lost a lot of the control. I could no longer control the interrupts to let one of my programs take over when I pressed a particular keystroke. It got worse with Win 98. Thus I was a pretty unhappy person. Oh sure the computer worked fine and I could work on it (When it wasn't crashing on me) but I wasn't really enjoying myself, it was like I was missing something.

Then I learned about Linux and decided to try it out in Dec 2001 during my winter vacation. I downloaded and installed Red Hat Linux 7.1 on my computer on an extra 6 GB HDD 'donated' by a friend for this purpose. It installed perfectly and then I found what I had been missing since I switched to Windows from DOS: "An OS which let me have absolute and total control of my computer" and I loved it.

I won't say that the learning process was easy but it sure was a lot of fun. I have learnt more about computers since installing Linux than I had with any other OS. I needed a lot of help and a lot of people were more than happy to help me with it. I would like to take this opportunity to credit the good folks at Just Linux Forums for sharing their expertise with the rest of us. I also like to thank and credit the following people from NJIT who have helped me a lot with figuring out Linux and getting my stuff to work on Linux. Their help is one of the major factors which enabled me to switch completely to linux as my primary operating system. They are: Kevin Walsh, Mark Miller and Matt Hoskins.

I am creating this section as a way of saying thanks to all the people in the linux community and document my experiences for future reference

Finally a warning. I am not responsible if you manage to mess-up your system when using any of the stuff on this page. I have tested everything in this section on my system but they might work slightly differently on your system. Meaning? Make a good backup before you try any of the following, and don't complain to me if it doesn't work, but if you have some tips you like to share with the rest of us let me know and I will put it in.

With that said I hope that you find this section useful.

- Suramya
   12th May 2003

My History with Linux

Before I started using Linux full-time in 2001, I experimented with it in late 1998 when I tried installing Redhat 5 on my Pentium 100. Unfortunately that experiment failed due to a lack of knowledge and time on my part. After that failure I didn't touch Linux till 2001 when I installed Redhat 7.1 on my system. Soon after that I upgraded to 7.2 and then 7.3 as soon as the new versions were launched.

When Redhat released 8.0 I upgraded to it but immediately rolled back to 7.3 as I didn't like the interface changes and the way they had moved the menu items around. Basically they tried to make it more accessible to novice users and in that process removed a lot of functionality which I used so I went back to 7.3.

I stayed with 7.3 till Redhat kept supporting it. Once Redhat ended its support for 7.3, I started searching for a new distribution. During this search I tried Slackware, Gentoo, Debian and Linux From Scratch and a couple of lesser known distributions. Finally I settled on Debian 3.1 as my primary OS.

Installing Debian for the first time took me ages and I had to do a lot of research to get all my devices working. But once I got everything working, it worked like a charm without any major issues for a couple of years. Once Debian 4 came out I upgraded to it and kept using it till early 2007 on my personal system. On a professional level I got to work with Slackware and Redhat Enterprise on various servers.

In 2007, I switched companies and I was mainly working on MicroSoft technologies so I had to switch my laptop to Windows XP so that I could run the required MS programs. However my desktop was still running Debian. At this point I was using the Kanotix Live CD to do a quick install of Debian instead of manually installing Debian on any machine just to save time.

In 2008, I switched companies again and was again working with open source technologies. So my laptop again got Debian Testing installed on it from the Kanotix Live CD followed by pointing the system to Debian repositories and an upgrade. This is how everything stayed till I upgraded by desktop hardware and had to switch hardrives (from IDE to SATA). At that time I saw some performance issues that I assumed were due to Debian so I switched to Ubuntu 9.04. I used it for a couple of months till Ubuntu 9.10 came out and then I upgraded to 9.10. However once I upgraded I saw a lot of issues with the system which people on various forums said was due to the upgrade process.

I then did a clean install of 9.10 but that didn't fix all the issues so I decided to try Debian 5.0 Testing. I tried it, liked it and thats what I am running on all my systems currently. Othen than Debian I have virual systems installed where I experiment with Redhat Enterprise and Linux from Scratch.

Thats a brief history of me and Linux. More details on what I have been through are in my Blog in the Linux section

Linux Tutorials

A newcomer to the wonderful world of Linux can be easily intimidated by the Techno-Babble of the Guru's and most struggle with the tools and programs available to them in Linux before they are able to be productive with them.

This section contains all the articles/tutorials I have written about Linux and applications on Linux so that you can avoid/solve some of the problems you may have to face while working with Linux and be more productive. Hopefully you will find this stuff useful.

Title Description Date Added
Converting video formats with ffmpeg Explains how to convert different video formats with ffmpeg 8th July 2006
How to Install Debian From Scratch Explains how to install and configure a Debian From Scratch system which allows you to install a Debian system with a very high level of customization 11th May 2005
How to compile and Install GIMPShop Explains how to install GIMPShop which is a modified version of GIMP that has the same menu layout like Adobe Photoshop. 2nd April 2005
How to Setup a Jabber Server Explains how to setup a Jabber IM server with conferencing capabilities 14th Feb 2005
How to Reset Forgotten Root Passwords Discusses the various ways you can reset your root password incase you have forgotten it. 19th July 2004

Linux Tips

As I have mentioned earlier, I am an avid user of linux and this means that I am constantly trying out new idea's and keep experimenting on making my life in Linux a lot easier and smooth. So I have started keeping a running log of my experiences with Linux and here I log things that make life a bit easier when using Linux.

Access the Linux Tips section here.

Section Update History/Change log

Current Version: 3.0
Last updated: 27th Jan 2010

Version 3.0:

  • Released on 27th Jan 2010
  • Removed dead links and added new content
  • Moved the section to the new theme and cleaned up the html

Version 2.0:

  • Went through a couple of layout changes. Dead links removed

Version 1.0:

  • Released on 12th May 2003
  • Section created. All intitial content added
Updates and corrections

If you think that any of the infomation in this section is incorrect or you would like to suggest some changes/updates please contact me. If you have a site which is related to India and would like to add a link to it on this page, please contact me.

- Suramya
  27th Jan 2010