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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
Problems & questions with using Puppy as my sole OS
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paullecorde


Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 62
Location: Lexington, KY USA

PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 17:12    Post subject:  Problems & questions with using Puppy as my sole OS  

I have been looking at other distros of Linux and playing around with them hoping to find a replacement for Windows. Of all the distros I've tried, I still like Puppy best. The big reason is that Puppy works... It does a fantastic job of finding my hardware and getting everything to work. I am very impressed. Debian took over 3 hours to install and then didn't work the monitor with the correct resolution. Ubuntu installed well enough, but as a newbie I am finding it impossible to install anything not included in the original install. Puppy works great, installs to the hard drive easily, runs all my hardware, and I have been able to install alien programs.
Overall it is the best distro I've used yet.

With that said, I am having a few problems with Puppy. If I could get those cleared up, I would be very satisfied with Puppy and would use it as the primary OS on my practice computer and my laptop.

The things I do most often with a computer include surf the web (Puppy does this), type documents (Puppy does this), scan images (haven't tried this yet), listen to music and watch video. These last 2 give me the most trouble with Puppy. I can listen to CDs using the CD player, but I still cannot get gxine to play streaming audio or video or anything else. I have used Puppy on 2 different machines and I get the "engine failed to start" message on both. I was successful at installing the Linux version of RealPlayer but I got a message that it was unable to write to the drive. I have not been able to player music using any Linux distro that I've tried. So, it's not just Puppy.

The other problem I have is some programs crash to the desktop. I mean the program disappears and sometimes even the icons on the desktop disappear or some programs will freeze. Any ideas why this would happen? Is it a memory issue? I'm running Puppy in 128MB RAM and when I had it installed on the hard drive in 128MB RAM with a 330MB /swap. I'm using a Pentium II processor. Is it a processor
issue?

Other questions I have are related to installing to the hard drive...
*Do all the programs I use in Puppy get loaded into RAM? If so, does this mean that if I have a lot of programs open at the same time that Puppy will crash or freeze up?

*If I install Puppy as the primary OS on a computer and I install alien programs, can I install those in areas other than the top-level directories (/usr, /etc and /root). For example, can I install those in the Home directory for the computer?

*I understand that the goal with Puppy is to keep it small, but is it possible to install things like the full OpenOffice program or the full version of Firefox if Puppy is the only OS?

*And, if I install Puppy to the hard drive and then want to upgrade to the next version when it is available, I assume this would be a simple as replacing the vmlinuz and image.gz files on the hard drive with the new ones. Is that right? Will I have to reinstall the Pupget packages or other programs?

*As far as security goes on a Puppy run machine, I know that viruses can't affect the live CD, but if I install to the hard drive can the computer be infected by viruses? I understand that the advantage to Linux in general is the necessity of having the root login in order to make system changes, which prevents viruses from installing themselves. If Puppy works completely in the root login, what does this do to the security of a system with Puppy installed to the hard drive.
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Bancobusto


Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 168
Location: Vancouver Island

PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 17:23    Post subject:  

Very Happy That's a lot of questions at once, and not being an expert I won't try and answer all of them for you. There's plenty around I'm sure who will!

First, for playing music I would suggest the xmms dot pup from here http://www.goosee.com/puppy/wikka/DotPups

I find Xine doesn't work the best for music, and it has issues with video for me as well, so while you're there pick up the Mplayer dot pup. To install them you just click on them once you have them saved to disk and then follow the prompts.

As far as I know, you should be fine with the amount of memory that you have, you have the same as me.

There's an interesting thread about running Puppy as root here http://www.murga.org/%7Epuppy/viewtopic.php?t=1246&highlight=root

Search around the forum, there's lot's of info to be had.



Hope that helps Very Happy

edit; as of Puppy 1.04, Open Office is included through the Pup-Get package management program. If you have Puppy installed to your hard drive, you can pretty much install as much heavy programs as you like without concern
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4752
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 20:16    Post subject: Some answers  

Use the MUT utility to check that your swap file is really being used by Puppy. If it is, you will see "Swap Off", meaning, that it is already "on".

Using live cd: The usual practice is to put all your files in /root. This way, when you upgrade to a new live cd, files are intact in pup001. As to hard disk install, i suppose you make a backup of data before you reinstall. (The exact details of how to upgrade with hard disk install is not with me now.)

The use of files image.gz, vmlinuz and usr_cram.fs are in the use of Puppy as live "CD" (even if installed in hard drive that way). That is not the same as installing in hard disk, where all the directories are created on hard disk.

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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11049
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 20:29    Post subject: Re: Problems & questions with using Puppy as my sole OS  

paullecorde wrote:
*As far as security goes on a Puppy run machine, I know that viruses can't affect the live CD, but if I install to the hard drive can the computer be infected by viruses? I understand that the advantage to Linux in general is the necessity of having the root login in order to make system changes, which prevents viruses from installing themselves. If Puppy works completely in the root login, what does this do to the security of a system with Puppy installed to the hard drive.


Any specific virus you are concerned about?

You can put virus the scanner F-Prot on Puppy and scan if you like. It's all part of the deal.
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 20:34    Post subject: Re: Problems & questions with using Puppy as my sole OS  

Your prob with freezing sounds like you are using Chubby Puppy? with quite a small amount of memory - could be the processor - what do others think?

Puppy does not crash or freeze up in usage. Some programs will occasionally crash - use the bomb (top right) on them. I find I use it every few days. Puppy is very stable but we are increasingly using more diverse software . . .

Yes you can install programs in the home directory
HOWEVER Puppy only runs progs in the root and usr diretories - so you have to make the Home directory available.

*I understand that the goal with Puppy is to keep it small, but is it possible to install things like the full OpenOffice program or the full version of Firefox if Puppy is the only OS?

Yes you can install the full Open Office and Firefox

Viruses are not a Linux problem
check this out (could do with some work - anyone?)
http://www.goosee.com/puppy/wikka/Security

Welcome to the Kennels Wink

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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11049
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug 2005, 20:42    Post subject:  

Quote:
Your prob with freezing sounds like you are using Chubby Puppy? with quite a small amount of memory - could be the processor - what do others think?


Might have the Pentium bug. How does that affect things if he does?

I think I'd want to run a RAM test as a matter of isolating what could be or what is not the problem.

What program(s) crashes?
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menno
Guest


PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 05:43    Post subject: xgine  

I get the "engine failed to start" message .
Mostly it means that it cann't find the codec's decoders .
This is discussed somewhere on this forum before .
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Bancobusto


Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 168
Location: Vancouver Island

PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 12:18    Post subject:  

The Xine engine fails to start? That seems to Xine for you (sorry xine fans). I find that Xine isn't really the best media player for playing mp3's or video's that have spaces in their names. Maybe try renaming the media you're trying to play, or get Mplayer. Very Happy [/b]
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BarryK
Puppy Master


Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 7047
Location: Perth, Western Australia

PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 20:09    Post subject:  

Pup 1.0.5 will have a later version of Xine (lifted straight out of Vector 5.0STD), so maybe that will help.
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paullecorde


Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 62
Location: Lexington, KY USA

PostPosted: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 09:31    Post subject:  

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions!

First, I'm not using Chubby Puppy. Just the normal version. I figured Chubby would require too much RAM for me.

The program that has crashed most often on me is Rox - the file manager - and especially when the directory contains a lot of image files (jpgs,etc.) Rox just disappeared and many times took all the desk top icons with it. I just reopened Rox and continued. Then on reboot, the desk top icons returned. Rox also caused freeze ups - where the screen just froze as it was. The advice I read is to use "kill", but when the screen is frozen I can't use the mouse to click "kill". All I can do is reboot. I have had Puppy crash to desktop when I had multiple Internet
browser windows open and another program open such as the word processor. They all just disappeared.

** Yes you can install programs in the home directory HOWEVER Puppy
** only runs progs in the root and usr diretories - so you have to make
** the Home directory available.

??? What does this mean really?

** Yes you can install the full Open Office and Firefox

So, to install the full version of OpenOffice or Firefox I can just go to their websites and download the file and install it. Does it need to be recompiled? (I don't know how to do that yet...) Will I have to install from the terminal or will PupGet install it as an alien file?

Viruses are not a Linux problem check this out (could do with some work - anyone?) http://www.goosee.com/puppy/wikka/Security


*** I get the "engine failed to start" message .
*** Mostly it means that it cann't find the codec's decoders .
*** This is discussed somewhere on this forum before .

Actually, I've tried downloading more codecs and installing Mplayer and installing the Linux version of RealPlayer... With everything I've done, I have not been able to get sound other than directly from a CD using the CD player.


** First, for playing music I would suggest the xmms dot pup from here
** http://www.goosee.com/puppy/wikka/DotPups

Xmms did successfully play a CD for me last night. I haven't had time to search for streaming audio to try. But Xmms and Mplayer are actually running, unlike gxine.


*** There's an interesting thread about running Puppy as root here
*** http://www.murga.org/%7Epuppy/viewtopic.php?t=1246&highlight=root

That is an interesting discussion about security. However, I don't think it
gives me a definitive answer as to whether a computer with Puppy installed on the hard drive will be safe from viruses. It mostly says run the firewalls and the majority of viruses aren't aimed at Linux. What happens if increased use of Linux caused virus writers to look at Linux more? It sounds like I need more info about TinyLogin.

I love the freedom that Puppy gives me in dealing with programs and installing alien programs, etc. I don't want to see that hampered. With Ubuntu it seems impossible to add programs that the Ubuntu community hasn't gift wrapped for me. It sounds like Knoppix isn't much better in this regard. I have deleted Ubuntu from my test machine, reformat the hard drive and made Puppy the sole OS for that computer. Now I just have to figure out the right script to make GRUB load Puppy (or perhaps where I need to place the vmlinuz, image.gz and usercramfs so GRUB can find them).
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 09:43    Post subject:  

paullecorde wrote:

The program that has crashed most often on me is Rox - the file manager - and especially when the directory contains a lot of image files (jpgs,etc.) Rox just disappeared and many times took all the desk top icons with it. I just reopened Rox and continued.


That is very surprising I rate Rox as stable as Xtree (paws up who remembers that?) but far more usable and powerful.

The most usual problem is faulty ISO burns but I wonder what else it can be. Is there a diagnostic program someone can suggest?

Smile

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Jesse

Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 465
Location: Auckland, NZ

PostPosted: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 10:08    Post subject:  

I agree with Lobster, you really shouldn't be seeing crashes as bad as what you have described, considering I havn't seen any other posts mentioning anything like this.
The most likely explanation for it crashing like that is faulty hardware, I'd most likely suspect bad sectors in you swap partition, or second next likely is faulty ram chips.
I don't know how to scan for bad sectors in swap, but you could format it as ext3 and use e2fsck -c on it...

Jesse
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edoc


Joined: 07 Aug 2005
Posts: 4307
Location: Southeast Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 10:58    Post subject:  

paullecorde wrote:

Xmms did successfully play a CD for me last night. I haven't had time to search for streaming audio to try. But Xmms and Mplayer are actually running, unlike gxine.


I would love to hear if you succeed in playing the following:
http://www.mp3.com/tracks/926433/dl_streams.html
http://www.ktkz.com/ (their Listen Online feed)
http://www.thejoyfm.com/ (they play Jazz Sunday evenings)

Am still working out how I will implement Puppy here. The greatest complains of the family re. Suse have been uneven handling of audio and video online.

doc
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Pizzasgood


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 6270
Location: Knoxville, TN, USA

PostPosted: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 17:20    Post subject:  

When the screen froze, did you try control+alt+backspace? That would take you out of the gui and back to the console. Then you could restart x (startx) and be back in business without rebooting.
As for Office, I have no idea, but yes you can just take Firefox from the site. That's what I've been doing ever since I started using Puppy. Firefox is one of the easiest to install linux programs I've ever used Smile It comes compressed, so you uncompress it and run the installer and BAM Exclamation Firefox is installed. Cool

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paullecorde


Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 62
Location: Lexington, KY USA

PostPosted: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 10:54    Post subject:  

Thanks for the Ctrl+Alt+backspace suggestion. That has helped.

Installing Firefox was simple. I have had trouble with OpenOffice.

Looking at the directories in ROX, sometimes I see that program names, etc. are written in red. I assume that means these items are missing or broken. Is this so and how can I repair them. One example is F-prot. The icon associated with it in ROX is red instead of black.

I was successful at installing Firefox from the Firefox website. And I was successful, I thinkÖ in installing JRE java, but I could not install the beta version of OpenOffice from their website. It comes with rpms for the various distros, but I assume that none of those will work with Puppy. I tried using the Free Desktop version. Anyone have suggestions or comments on installing OpenOffice. Does it have to be compiled for Puppy? If so, has anyone looked at compiling it? I donít know how to do that. I will attempt it once it can be done from within Puppy and doesnít require installing another OS.

Is there a normal calculator available in Linus? I really donít have a practical reason to use a scientific calculator, but I do use a normal calculator frequently. Can someone direct me to a calculator I can install?

Thanks again for your help with my questions.
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