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Linux Video Tutorials From 1995 104

Posted by Roblimo
from the mumbles-from-the-past dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Given that this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Linux kernel, it is hardly surprising that anyone digging into their media collection might pull out something interesting, such as video tutorials on how to install early version of now popular distributions, like Slackware or Red Hat"
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Linux Video Tutorials From 1995

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  • by jhoegl (638955) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @01:50PM (#36322618)
    Ha! Those take me back. Back when we thought bezel smooth text with drop shadow was the best ever.
    Rock on you crazy hippies, rock on.
    My first HTML page had a whole bunch of line dividers. Different types, like one was a saw blade, another was a moving color animation.
    It was terrible, Im glad the internet wasnt archived as much back then.
    • by pilkch (1467025)

      My first HTML page had a whole bunch of line dividers. Different types, like one was a saw blade, another was a moving color animation.

      I had a website with a javascript skateboard wheels following the mouse and a graffitied wall as a background. It was *sick!*

    • 12 minutes in and still at a DOS prompt .....ah the nostalgia ...

  • 1997 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BigBadBus (653823) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @01:53PM (#36322650) Homepage
    A little bit later than the video, but I tried RedHat (5.1 or 5.2? I can't remember) in the summer of 1997. From my Uni days, I had the impression that Linux was hard to install, but although it was simple enough, getting XFree86 to install and run was a nightmare. I decided to try Redhat since we were promised xxx number of days of support. What they didn't tell you was that it would take a couple of weeks for them to get back in touch with you and then it was simply to go over what you'd done. I think I managed about 3 support tickets before my time was up. I abandoned Redhat and it was a couple of years before I tried Linux again. I was a SuSE distro and it was a doddle to install. SInce then I've moved onto Mandriva and then Ubuntu and have been using this ever since.

    I've never used Redhat since and don't feel the need to ever go back to it after the shoddy aftercare service I got.

    • by nman64 (912054)

      A little bit later than the video, but I tried RedHat (5.1 or 5.2? I can't remember) in the summer of 1997.

      No, you didn't. Either your timing or your version numbering is a bit off. Timeline [redhat.com]

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        I also dispute the whole "Xfree86 nightmare" thing.

        X has done auto-detection when available and has fallen back to Win3x style config wizards otherwise.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          No it is a nightmare....

          Why? because most people had 14" or 15" monitors and most X software was written for 1024X768 or larger screens, which only started at 17" monitors that cost an arm and 12 legs.

          Netrek on anything smaller than a 17" was impossible.

        • Just because autoconfiguration worked for you doesn't mean it was reliable. By that time, it wasn't. And the config wizards were lacking.

        • by suso (153703) *

          Nobody should doubt your own story since your Slashdot ID dates from 1997. Obviously you were there. But no doubt getting X working on the wide variety of video chipsets at the time (probably 10 times the selection we have now) and CRT monitors which really could be damaged with the wrong config was a royal pain in the butt. Count yourself one of the lucky ones that didn't spend weeks in the console wondering when you'd be able to use Netscrape and hear audio from x11amp.

        • by isorox (205688)

          I also dispute the whole "Xfree86 nightmare" thing.

          X has done auto-detection when available and has fallen back to Win3x style config wizards otherwise.

          I couldn't get X working with my machine in about '98 due to the graphics card. I believe it was a sis6326 (which, 12 years later, is still in my head!).

          When Redhat 6 came out (I still have a "Mastering Redhat 6" book on my shelf) was about the time I got a voodoo banshee, and everything came together.

          August 2000 I switched to debian potato, and then ubuntu in 2006. Managed to get it in under the radar at work (MS shop) and now have about 100 networked ubuntu servers from New York to Singapore, with one goi

        • by djp928 (516044)

          No, he's right, it was often a nightmare right up through the early 2000s. It all depended on how well the auto-detect worked--which, unfortunately, was often not well at all. I can recall banging my head against X config files trying to figure out the magic strings to put in that would make my display work.

        • by Bungie (192858)

          Yeah but in the 90's XFree86 auto detection was about as reliable as Windows 95's Plug and Play. Video card and CRT manufacturers were plentiful and each of them would do all kinds of non-standard things with their devices. We also still had people transitioning from old hardware like 486's...with old school VGA adapters that fit into an ISA slot, and 14" CRT monitors that don't do resolutions over 800x600 comfortably.

          There was never a nice Win 3x style GUI ever.

          XFree86 couldn't detect if there was a proble

      • by BigBadBus (653823)
        It must have been the summer of 1998 then. I'm very surprised as I got my first PC in the summer of 1997 just after I got my first job and I can't believe I waited a year to try RedShat. It was definitely 5.1 or 5.2- more likely 5.1.

        Why don't I try Redhat again? Remember the old proverb; fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Or you use George Dubya's garbed version. Whatever. I had a shit experience and all I had was a command line prompt.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Lurking and getting support online has always been "what to do".

      Fighting with video issues back in the day sucked. (I started experimenting in 1999.)

      Then as now, the most efficient way was "distro churning" and throwing as many at your PC as it takes for your hardware to work.
      Mandrake was the least hassle in 1999 IMO.

      • by N0Man74 (1620447)

        Lurking and getting support online has always been "what to do".

        My vague memories of looking at Linux in the late 90's included going online, lurking in discussion groups and looking for others who had similar problems setting up as I did, more often than not met with the response of "RTFM".

    • by AvitarX (172628)

      That's about what I first used, I remember it being pretty easy to install, there was some mild PITA about having a Mitsumi CD drive, but it wasn't bad.

      The problem I kept having was with the sound, I'd screw it up somehow futzing about, and the only way to get to the easy soundcard set-up I could do was to re-install (well, later I learned it was sndconfig or something that ran during install).

      This eventually lead me to SUSE as they let you use the install program (yast, it was a pretty nice console app) ev

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "The video amuses me, as it's 10 minutes in, and he's still futzing with DOS, bootable CDs have really changed things."

        Indeed. Even when motherboards (supposedly) supported booting from CD, it was useful to have a collection of boot floppies, including one with Smart Boot Manager:

        http://btmgr.sourceforge.net/about.html [sourceforge.net]

        I still have my floppy image collection (Winimage was my friend!) on CD. I used that to crank out boot floppies aplenty for self and friends.

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      Even in 2011 their service is fairly shoddy. We had major problems with Xen and despite lots of back and forth, and prompting them after they seemed to 'forget' our tickets a few times it turned out they couldn't help. And this is with a few dozen machines on commercial support contracts with them.

      Surprisingly, the Novell SLES support people were very responsive. And provided extremely detailed answers that covered all the possibilities of what we were trying to do. Consequently the Xen servers are now goi

      • I've pretty much had the exact same experience with them, I think I opened up about 5 tickets with them, only got 1 response worth a damn. In fact, for the one ticket I had to teach the guy what I eventually found out because there was no way he was ever going to be able to solve it on his own.
    • by polymeris (902231)

      I started with linux around '98 - was a SuSE box that came with a lot of CDs and a nice printed manual (6-point-something, perhaps?). Really easy to setup. Tried a lot of different distros then, but kept going back to SuSE. I think they did a lot to ease the first steps in Linux.

      Must have been at least 5 to 6 years later I finally switched to debian.

  • The Year of the Linux Desktop!
    • LOL! Yeah, almost... I remember a lot of hair-pulling back in the mid 90's just trying to get X to run. Graphics cards were less reliable and seldom had good technical docs; most drivers had to be reverse engineered, with unpredictable results. Then KDE and Gnome came along in the late 90's and "Linux Desktop Dominance" has been "just around the corner" ever since.

      Personally, after all these years, I don't much give a shit anymore about how many other people are using Linux (desktop or otherwise), I'm just

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Back in the mid 90s, you were likely fighting with technology that was not designed with Plug-n-Play in mind at all.

        It's a lot easier to deal with something when you can reliably determine what it is.

        Latter day PC users really don't have any appreciation of this.

      • To be fair, Windows users were still messing with config.sys and autoexec.bat during all* the 90's, and later also Windows auto-discovery, that hanged the system and didn't work most of the time. Video cards didn't use to be reliable at Windows either.

        * Ok, officialy 2000 was at the 90's, so I'm off by a year.

        • True enough. But at least Win users had the advantage of hardware vendors actually trying to provide drivers that worked. (Maybe the difference was that Linux geeks had to "Pay-n-Pray" instead...;-) But I think a lot of that was simply due to changes in the industry. Heck, they were still selling 80286's into the early 90's, and the ISA bus was already groaning under the strain of all the new hardware hitting the market.

          Can't remember the last time I had to manually set an IRQ vector... damn glad about that

        • by dave420 (699308)
          You forgot Windows NT, which didn't have either, and was released in 1993.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Of course, had the competition stood still the YotLD would have come and gone. Around 2000 and Windows ME I thought it was close. Around 2007 and Vista I thought it was close again. Then Windows XP (playskool variant of win2k, but a consumer OS) and Windows 7 made some big leaps ahead again. So it never caught up, but it's still chasing...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Like the machines in 1995 the videos too are slow - several minutes of soul crushing dir /w on dos prompt to navigate various directories!

  • Brings back memories of building the 2.2 Linux kernel on a 486 in 2000. I was a poor freshman CS major and this was my introduction to Unix. Took 8 hours to build it I remember right. After someone told me I'd have to repeat this process after each update, I quickly looked for another Unix based OS. I think OS X was released within a year. I'm very happy Linux and my hardware have made this process less painful.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > After someone told me I'd have to repeat this process after each update

      Don't be so gullible. There was no good reason really to subject yourself to this unless there was some particular bleeding edge (or broken) feature you were interested in. This was true even with Linux 2.2 in 2000.

      2.0.0 might have been the last time I actually needed to build a kernel. Although defecting to another distribution solved the problem.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      um yea we had distros like mandrivia (mandrake) by 98 which even by early 2000's was a drop cd in thingie and reboot distro into graphical installer

      heck I just installed debian running the 2.0 kernel on my 386 laptop and outside of farting around getting the install disk to boot in 4 megs, it was a painless install, it came out of the box with dpkg and nearly 600 megs of *.debs, and I dont even have a compiler installed yet, even after a week.

      That was discontinued in 1998, you read the wrong books, but hav

  • Back then many universities ditched MS-DOS for Linux, essentially getting the power of an older Sun-Workstation for the price of a high end DOS-PC... at a fraction of the price. And you didn't need to port your software, everything was already there, sed, awk, bash, grep, even larger packets like emacs were already there at a time when Windows 95 didn't even have IPv4 enabled by default or a usable telnet client.

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      I'll grant you the usable telnet client (hasn't changed much in that regard), but ipv4 has always been enabled by default on Win95. That was one of its biggest selling points over Win 3.1(1).

      • by Casandro (751346)

        I'm sorry, but at least in the German version you had to manually install it. Maybe you are thinking about one of the many later Windows 95 releases. (or maybe the German version was based on an older codebase)

      • by gnarfel (1135055)
        Not until OSR2.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Could someone watch these for me and give me the edited highlights? I've got better things to do with 77 minutes of my life.

    • by Mongo (7168)

      Could someone watch these for me and give me the edited highlights? I've got better things to do with 77 minutes of my life.

      Obviously you never had to add a driver to a pre-module support kernel with make zImage before going to bed.

  • This takes me back to my first linux distro that I tried (A redhat variant). Never got the bootloader to work properly then, but it was still exciting to try some windows alternatives for a change.

    ...Just makes me think what a realtime gentoo installation video for ~2000 hardware might look like :p

  • Video tutorials? I still have Red Hat 7, Caldera eDesktop 2.4, Caldera eServer 2.3, and Mandrake (don't recall the version but it was from 98) disk sets sitting in my desk near the computer. I actually installed eDesktop 2.4 (kernel version was 2.2.16 out of the box I believe) a year ago on an old HP Omnibook laptop that was designed for Win98. Found a mirror for updates for Caldera and updated it as much as I could...including Netscape. The experience did not feel all that slow on a P2 processor and 128MB

  • by sourcerror (1718066) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @04:04PM (#36324232)

    They used a non-free codec.
    RMS

  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @04:05PM (#36324244) Journal

    I watched the videos, and say without hesitation, that they show the exact reason I never started with Linux back then. At least with Windows it was setup.exe and away you go.

    Don't get me wrong, when I actually stated in Linux, you still had to mess around with configuring x and the graphics resolution on first install, but by that stage you did not have a reliance on DOS, and you had a sort of graphical representation of what is on your hard drive, so you don't install into the wrong partition.

    Today Linux is MILES better than it was and is easy to install, the only problem is convincing people that it is usable instead of Windows.

    • by ajo_arctus (1215290) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @04:53PM (#36324812) Homepage

      And it's exactly the reason I did try Linux!

      My first exposure to Linux was Slackware on a PC Pro cover disk in 1995. The magazine just bundled all of these disk images and packages on the CD, and in the magazine contents had a tiny entry for it that simply said "Slackware Linux version x.y." Then, in capital letters: "We recommend you do not install this. You will probably break your PC!". Well, of course, what could I do? With a warning like that I had to install it!

      I re-partitioned the drive (600MB Windows, 200MB Linux) and spent a huge amount of time trying to figure out how to not permanently kill my monitor with the settings in xf86config (another dire warning message) and getting my modem to dial out by editing the networking config files.

      The annoying thing is, once I did get it all working, I had nothing to do with it. All the packaged software was academic -- no word processors or any of the stuff I liked doing on computers back then (drawing, music, etc). I played reversi I think, used pine or elm of whatever, compiled a really simple c programme, and went back to Windows. I could see it was awesome, but as a 16 year old with no Linux using friends I couldn'y really make use of it back then. Looking back, I wish I'd learned C at that time. Learning C on Windows was impossible for me because compilers were too expensive. Ah well.

      It has been really interesting to watch Linux grow and evolve over the years. I use it today mostly for serving Rails and Python apps.

    • Not to go into grumpy-old-man mode, but by 1995 the distributions were pretty damn easy to use. At least, for the types of people who would have been interested in using Linux.

      My roommate and I, both comp-sci students, built our first box in early 1992. This was before the advent of "distros". Just getting the sources was hard... we started out trying to them off a local BBS using our trusty 14.4k. Eventually we gave up and used sneaker-net by burning floppies at our Uni's lab and carrying them home. I

  • Slackware was never popular, just well known.
    • by Mongo (7168)

      Slackware was never popular, just well known.

      I would argue that in 1993 it was very popular.

      Compared to SLS is it was a dream.

      I did actually buy a CD-ROM drive to install RedHat's Mother's day release in late 1994.

      Mostly because I got sick making floppies with dd

  • I remember my first distro was Slackware, I had talked and talked about getting into linux in the mid 90's but never took the leap. A buddy of mine came over and we'd hang out go play pool etc. He knew the thought of formatting my pc and starting from scratch stopped me since I was bit lazy. Anyhow when I went to get a drink refill he formatted my hard drive, therefore forcing me haha. Anyhow long story short, I installed slackware, but never could get my modem to work. I bought 3 different modems and took
  • There was a video on how to install Slackware??? NOW you 're telling me?!?!?
  • I've still got the beta ISO from Ygg, and an image from it loaded here on the workstation.

    Boots up just fine in a VM.

  • by equex (747231)
    ITT: Linux hardliners coming clean about how awful Linux is. /ducks
  • Who needs ambien when you got this video.
    • by RL78 (1968236)
      and the laughs are all in good fun Randy. That video is nostalgia, plus there was no Red Bull in '95 ;)
  • Digging into the CD rack beside me I came up with a 2 CD set for Caldera Open Linux 2.2. I know for sure that I didn't get it working. Don't recall what machine I had in 1999.

    I know that I made at least a couple of other attempts before that at getting Linux to work from bootable floppies, and I think one other boxed retail version, so I can count at least twelve or thirteen years of trying various distros at about ten or twelve month intervals. Mandrake. SUSE. A couple that I've forgotten.

    Few wor
  • by nester (14407) on Friday June 03, 2011 @01:30AM (#36328512)

    I first saw Linux on a public access show. John Maddog Hall was on, demo'ing linux/alpha, on I believe an 21164 @ 600mhz, (64bit, but little-endian - seemed weird and exciting to me). There was also an Mklinux demo, Irix on an O2, and a Sun box (my memory of back then is hazy tho).

    Having finally gotten a handed-down 7100/80, I installed mklinux. I quickly discovered a bad simm causing fs corruption (explained the random mac os 8 lockups too). Pretty white-on-blue console, just like QNX. Once it was working, it was onto dial-up. The amic serial driver was making a function call for every byte copied into the ring buf. I in-lined it and got about 2x less cpu load. That also helped when irc kiddies smurf attacked. For syn floods, I modded a firewall patch to rate limit syn's and icmp.

    Later on, I was finally was able afford my dream machine: a dual 21264 @ 833mhz, on a UP2000 mobo. (Before that, I had a 600au miata tower.)

    I made a minor fix to the palcode call in the reboot/shutdown switch statement, in linux (accepted by Alan Cox). Tho he rejected my patch to check for MD partitions for raid auto-detech (wanted proof that 0xfd or whatever it was, wasn't used by osf/1 already). That issue still pops up on the linux-alpha list.

    I still have my old 7100/80, with a working 5v source jumped to the adb line that went bad. Maybe someday I'll reinstall DR2.1 just for fun. I still have the CD.

  • Video tutorials were hard to come by back then. I have no idea how I got my hands on...Red Hat I think. I don't know. Never got around to using it. When trying to install I just messed up my entire computer,had to format everything and reinstall, and hoped no one would notice. My aunt, who lost all her work documents in the process, did. It was quite painful.

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier

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