Talkback for article: 157, January2001

Slackware 7.0 part II: Configuration Guide

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From: John Puhalski <johnandsdsheryl(at)> [ date: 2001-01-04 ]
It's great to see articles on Slackware. I fairly new but it's my
favorite distro as well. Keep them coming.
From: László L. Orosz <lorosz(at)> [ date: 2001-01-05 ]
Hi Jeffry,

Occasionally I read on configuration-related articles because "simple issues" can become awfully complicated if you find yourself all alone. Unfortunately, thorny items are frequently swept under the rug, or are blamed on complexity, number of layer, e.t.c. instead of exposing the weaknesses of the involved programs, or better, fixing them once for all. The first time users have no idea what they are facing. No one tells them it straight that you have to be ready to play the silly game of giving stupid answers for stupid questions. My first Linux configuration has left a lasting impression, but I can hardly notice any improvement in this area. This is the primary reason that I want to show how one feels when carrying out the process on one's specific not necessarily "typical" equipment.

When I first configured X using S.u.S.E. Linux 5.3, I had to start with xf86config since XF86Setup or SaX did not work with the Rendition driver needed for the Diamond Stealth II S220 graphic board. In the whole process, I found the mouse configuration to be the most confusing and most frustrating one. I had a 3-button Logitech FIRST Mouse. Unix has traditionally required using 3-button mice. What I have expected was one single relevant question: "Do you have a 3-bottom mouse?". But, what I got was a request of selecting from a hodgepodge list of eight choices in which in one option the 3-button was coupled with Microsoft compatible protocol, and the other closest looking type was the Logitech MouseMan (Microsoft compatible), and some additional rather silly questions. Well, even in the middle of Linux installation, one cannot completely get away from Microsoft! And, more importantly, how is that none of the good Linux people has ever realized that the American desktops are home to at least 500 various kinds of rodents, and just how one would know that what brand with what else is compatible. Prototype, and other fictitious items are only the figments of the imagination of some system people. They should use terms that can be obtained from the documentation of the particular hardware item. Well, the proper answer is Logitech MouseMan mouse. (Never mind that FIRST is different from MouseMan.)

"Please answer the following question with either 'y' or 'n'."
"Do you want to enable CordMiddle?"

Now, what on earth is CordMiddle? How to find out whether it is enabled, or disabled? As far as I know I have a fully functional mouse. Regardless of how silly this question may sound, I have to answer it.
The "correct answer" is 'n'.

"Please answer the following question with either 'y' or 'n'."
"Do you want to enable Emulate3Buttons?"

But, my mouse has three buttons, why should then they be emulated? (Because the program was written primarily for 2-button mice?)
Never mind, the answer is 'y'.

A variation of these questions reappears in XF86Setup and SaX. One of these programs is also needed to clean up the mess that xf86config cerates in /etc/XF86Config. A wrong answer in SaX will freeze up the screen that invites some additional complications!

Actually, the basic problem as I see is that instead describing how to compose /etc/XF86Config, and what else to do, we are conditioned to be reliant on these tools, and to make haphazard decisions on the fly, and declare victory without fully understanding what we are doing. I think, we need better documentation, and less emphases on tools.

I had fewer problems with the video part, but I had to settle with less than full control. The XFree86 Video Timings HOWTO is a good introduction to the subject, but somewhat catchy, and at a degree it is reliant on magic numbers. I got no clocks values besides the limiting value of 135MHz for the monitor (Samsung SyncMaster 17GLsi), and I really do not understand the sequence of numbers in the example. How many of them are needed? Why are not they sorted? What is the meaning of the zero values?
From: Emmanuel <eduplaa(at)> [ date: 2001-01-12 ]

After the install of the Slackware 7.0, when I try to boot on my Linux OS, the Error 0x80 occured. What's it ? What can I do ?
From: James Howard [ date: 2001-04-04 ]
Good articles. I'd like to see some configuration articles that are somewhere in between newbie and guru though. How about something like configuring openssh or virtual hosts options in apache? I seem to fall into this intermediate category myself with slackware: I'm not a beginner but getting some of these other configuration issues worked out seems to take me forever. I understand writing these articles is time consuming reguardless of the material involved. Maybe next time?
From: Jeff Jones <trauma_ems(at)> [ date: 2001-12-28 ]
Great article! I couldn't find a simple how-to on configuring the kernel anywhere. It was either complicated for some documentation, or too simple for others. Thanks alot.
From: Robinson <rpizzio(at)> [ date: 2002-02-27 ]
I have installed Slackware 8.0 in my computer.
I suppouse everything runs ok, but when I start X I can't use mouse.
It don't work. Any hint?
From: Ryan <snidx2(at)> [ date: 2003-01-22 ]
i ahve the same problem as you Robinson, i need help, anytips?
From: ziegel <ziegel(at)> [ date: 2003-06-06 ]
Die Seite war mir eine grosse Hilfe beim Einstieg in Slackware sehr gut erklärt und leicht verständlich :-)

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