Best of Technical Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Ethernet Module Destruction

Why does running sndconfig get my Soundblaster 16 card recognized and up and running with the correct modules but destroys my Ethernet modules loaded by kerneld?

I have tried both my Intel Ether Express and SMC Ultra cards (not at the same time) and the same thing happens with both network cards as soon as sndconfig is run. Running the Kernel Daemon Configuration in X has no luck in getting the Ethernet module loaded again.

—Alan Kendall Red Hat

I'm not sure why it happens, but sndconfig basically just messes with /etc/conf.modules. You might want to back that file up, run sndconfig, backup the new file, and replace it with your old file. Then merge the sound config lines from the file sndconfig created into your original one. If that doesn't fix it, chances are you have hardware conflicts with your sound card and your Ethernet card. If you have further problems, e-mail

—Donnie Barnes

openwin Setup

How do I set up openwin? I have a Trident 9750 card and a Cybervision C70 monitor, and I have tried numerous times using xf86config, but I cannot get it to work. I am relatively new to Linux. Thanks for all the help.

—Jim Brewer Slackware 3.4

You should try the latest XFree86-3.3.2 server. According to some Usenet discussions, the 9750 was not supported before 3.3.2.

—Pierre Ficheux

Distribution Questions

I'm getting ready to install a version of Linux. I'm leaning toward Slackware because I'm told it's very powerful and not very fancy. I'm going for more of the learning factor by installing it.

Anyway, I was wondering if someone could basically explain the correlation between the different distribution names and the kernels. Are the kernels universal for all the distributions, or are they built separately? To what degree, if any, are they compatible? If they're not, I may take a look at the available software before I install any one version.

Thank you very much.

—Brian Crowe

Free software (in the sense of freedom) is developed by independent programmers or research groups, who donate it to the user community (sort of—authors do retain a copyright on the programs). A distribution is an independent effort to put together all of the needed software to build up a complete operating system with applications and all that's needed. Usually, distributors modify some of the original packages to suit their view of the overall system. The kernel is one of the first packages you update; they are all compatible.

At application level, there is a lot of standardization between the different distributions (thanks to the “Filesystem Hierarchy Standard”, an accepted document), the only real difference being in the organization of their graphical tools to administer the system.

—Alessandro Rubini

The distributions are built around the Linux kernel, but they each have their own way of doing installation, packaging and configuration. After one installs a particular distribution, they can download the newest kernel and install it themselves if necessary.

—Mark Bishop

FTP Problem

When doing an FTP install and encountering an FTP problem, the window with some detail of the problem is immediately overwritten by the FTP setup window. How do I determine the problem and attempt to fix it?

—Mike Newsome Red Hat 5.0

The FTP install tries to get each package twice. Once that fails, it errors out. Apparently the error window is getting overwritten with a new setup window.

In general, if you got an error like that, it means you lost your connection to the FTP server. There aren't many other “errors” that can occur in the FTP install. FTP installs are not recommended over crowded networks (i.e., the Internet), because it's getting impossible to reliably move 200+ MB of data without some sort of problem. Handling error conditions created by this situation during the install of a complete operating system is very difficult. The FTP install does work very well over local or semi-local networks where you are guaranteed at least some bandwidth.

—Donnie Barnes

Configuration Question

My notebook is using the CT65555 VGA chip set (2MB) with a 13.3-inch Active display (1024x768), and I can only get 1024x768 8-bit colour. How can I configure Red Hat to use 1024x768 16-bit colour?

—Corne Red Hat 5.0

First, edit your /etc/X11/XF86Config file and add another “Display” subsection to the “Screen” section. The subsection you add should look like this:

Subsection "Display"
 Depth 16
 Modes "1024x768"
 ViewPort 0 0
 Virtual 1024 768

Then run X this way to tell it to use the 16-bit depth:

startx -- -bpp 16"

—Scott Maxwells