Best of Technical Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Radio Days

I run Linux Red Hat 6.0 and Netscape 4.7, and I am struggling to install Real Player. I successfully installed (using RPM) Real Player 5.0 (rvplayer) and verified using GNOME; RPM shows the program is installed correctly. In the Netscape options, I set up MIME for file RA and RAM to use rvplayer. When I click on an Internet site with radio, nothing happens. There is a message on a Linux newsgroup, saying there seems to be a problem with rvplayer 5.0 and the 2.2. —Yossi HaYored,

That is correct; you need the beta version of the G2 player. You can get it from —Marc Merlin,

I had trouble getting rvplayer 5.0 to work on a 2.2.5 kernel myself, but rvplayer 6.0 worked just fine for me. —Scott Maxwell,

Colorful Monitors Ensue

I have been trying to install Linux and have had one successful installation using a monitor other than my personal one. When I took it home to my monitor, it gave me a blank screen, and the monitor's on light goes from green to maroon, indicating a problem after it entered its graphical interface. When I try to reinstall Linux Mandrake or Caldera 2.2, it gives me a blank screen when it does its graphical interface or when I try to probe for a video card. I have a Compaq V50 monitor and Creative Labs 4MB video card. When I was able to get a successful installation, I was using a Micron monitor. Could there be a compatibility issue, and will there be a way to get Linux installed at all? This monitor configuration works with Windows just fine. —Andy Kissner,

What's apparently happening is that X is trying to drive your monitor too hard. For this reason, graphical installs are not necessarily going to work. At least with Red Hat, you can ask for a text-mode install when you boot the first floppy. Some distributions, like Debian, will install only in text mode, which is fine for you, and others expect to see a VESA-2-compliant video card and a monitor that can accept suitable refresh rates. Your best bet, once a distribution is installed, is to edit XF86Config (usually in /etc/X11 or /etc) and reduce the value of those two parameters:

HorizSync 30-50
VertRefresh 50-70

The values given here may work, but you should really put in the ones specified in your monitor's manual. —Marc Merlin,


I actually have several questions.

1. How do I access my Zip drive? I suppose I could try mounting and unmounting everything in /dev, but that seems particularly ungraceful.

2. How do I log out? I can switch to superuser and shut down, but letting my kids and wife be superuser defeats at least one reason for preferring Linux over Windows.

3. I tried to set my default shell to tcsh instead of bash. It doesn't seem to have taken. In particular, my .cshrc file (or .tcshrc) is not read at login. —Tim Allison,

1. The answer is very different, depending on whether your Zip is parallel, IDE or SCSI. There are two HOWTOs which you should read: ZIP-Drive and ZIP-Install.

2. In a shell, type logout. In X, you have to find the logout option. It depends on which window manager you are using and whether you use XDM (runlevel 5). When in doubt, CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE will kill your X session, but that's the sledgehammer approach.

3. To change your shell, you can use chsh or simply edit /etc/passwd and change the last field for root. Make sure that whatever shell you specify exists. To find out which shell you are currently running, try echo $SHELL. If you are indeed running tcsh, try doing an echo in ~/.tcshrc to see if it is run or not, and consult the tcsh man page which explains which files are being run, depending on whether your shell is a login shell or not. —Marc Merlin,