First of all, I got a copy of SuSe and FC2 with a magazine. SuSe was a Live CD so I used it to play around with Linux and to see what I could expect. I had always intended to install FC2. My research told me it was the best distro - though it was close.
I read this forum thoroughly and took my first steps gingerly.
The first issue I had to work through was the dual-booting issue. I read that sometimes the install would change my harddrive parameters and make the XP partition unbootable. I decided to take the advised precautions rather than try to fix it after the fact.
My install went pretty well and XP would dual boot. Victory #1 and I was pleased.
Up2date configured itself and downloaded and installed everything I needed to update my install. Victory #2.
The first problem I encountered was that my monitor would not line up properly in FC2. It was too far right leaving a black band about 2" wide down the left side. It was centered properly in the vertical. I could manually adjust it but then XP was off.
My video card is an Nvidia so I did some reading and decided I wanted to download and install the updated Nvidia driver for Linux. However, after some more reading I realized that was pretty complicated because I had to edit configuration files. So I read some more. Then I discovered Yum and Apt-Get. I found out what "RPM" meant so I decided to wait and see if someone would come out with Nvidia drivers as RPMs.
In the meantime, I discovered a little utility that came with Linux called "xvidtune." I was able to realign my display without using the manual controls on the monitor. Victory #3
Next I learned about terminal and "going root." I read some about the *.conf files and which ones did what and where they are located. I learned how to open an "editor" to make changes to Up2date and Yum to add repositories. Then I took a look at some of the other files. My first attempts to edit these files caused some problems. I was able to get the syntax right but I still got some errors. Nothing would download. Then I read about GPG-KEY.txt files.
I imported the KEYS and worked on the yum.conf file and got it to work. Victory #4
Then I found RPM versions of the Nvidia drivers on Livna.org. I decided to use the RPMs so I typed "yum install nvidia." No luck. I went to the ftp site for Livna and found out that the file is actually called nvidia-glx. So I went back to the terminal and typed that command. It worked!! I also downloaded the MP3 plugin, Firefox, Macromedia Flash plugin, and Gnome-extras. At first the Nvidia driver would not work. What I found was that even though I downloaded the RPMs I still had to go back and edit the *.conf file to change "nv" to Nvidia and then restart X. It worked!! Victory #5. Well, almost.
The display still won't center properly and there does not seem to be an Nvidia utility that does this. I had to use "xvidtune." This is still a problem. I am looking to see if there is a configuration file for this that I can manually edit and input the proper display settings. I won't call this a "Loss" yet.
Anyway the second issue was sound. When I ran the SuSe Live CD I had sound, but when I installed FC2 I had no sound. I heard everything from I needed an audio cable to I needed different drivers. After I downloaded the XMMS.mp3 plugin I just started fooling around with the mixer settings in Gnome and running "Alsamixer" in terminal mode and finally it started working. I have no idea what I did right. Victory #6. I have sound!!
A related problem is the default CD player. Gnome starts its own CD player and there is no sound there. XMMS does not start by default when I insert an Audio CD and the only way I have found to manually start it is more complicated than it should be. I found the place to enter the command to start XMMS, but I cannot figure out the proper command. Still not a "Loss" because I know it can be done.
Fonts are also a problem. I have installed some new fonts from a Wordperfect CD, but I want the Windows Core fonts installed. I have instructions on how to do this (mount the XP partition) so I'm not worried. Once I do this I'll copy my files (as well as fonts) from my XP partition.
I also don't have a driver for my Lexmark multi-function printer. (X6150) I have not experimented with other Lexmark printer drivers, but I know the fax and scan functions will not be available. That is a shame because its a good printer. The good news is I have an HP 5500 and it is supported by Linux. Loss #1
The last issue I am dealing with is Email. I am using Ximian Evolution and though I can send mail I cannot receive it. It says my username or password are incorrect. I've checked them several times and they are not wrong. Somewhere I am missing a setting in the email setup.
So all I have to do now is: (1) fix the display settings so they will save between uses; (2) get XMMS to start as the default music CD player; (3) get my email account setup properly; (4) install Windows core fonts and copy XP files over (mount the XP partition); and (5) get a printer working.
Once this is done its goodbye Windows!!
By the way. I have played around with Gnome and KDE. KDE takes too long to load up and Gnome does not have many built-in themes and no wallpaper. Its just a plain vanilla desktop. However, FC2 tries to incorporate the best of both by default and I can download some themes for Gnome if I want to. In my opinion Gnome is better because it uses less resources and is faster. All of the apps are available in Gnome.
OpenOffice is great. I can't wait to see how my MS Office Docs look.
I also like Firefox. The plain Mozilla Web Browser was OK and I could have lived with it, but Firefox has a better appearance. All I need is an Adobe Acrobat reader. I have not found an RPM version so if anyone knows of one let me know.
This is my first 30 days with Linux Fedora Core 2.