The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 11 Apr 2019, 11:34

My laptop has but one hard drive which is why I chose to multi-boot. You are correct about the last OS installed being the one which sets up Grub. Since Windows boot store doesn't know what Linux is that is the reason why it has to be installed first. Windows writes it's own boot routine to the MBR and would ignore anything Linux.

My desktop is a different situation. I have multiple hard drives in that tower precisely to isolate Windows from the rest of the world. Windows is on the first hard drive and set to boot unattended. When I want to use one of the other Linux distributions, I must do it from BIOS because they are physically on a different hard drive. It turns out that I have three versions of Linux and three versions of Grub. Each partition for Linux has it's own Grub installed on it's own partition, and in theory I can boot from any one of them. Never tried that, but they say it's possible. I use Ubuntu's latest LTS to control all three by installing its version of Grub on the disk's MBR where Ubuntu resides on the primary partition. Thus I get a menu to select one of three Linux systems, or Windows.

This seems convoluted, and it is. The problem is that there is no option to not install Grub. Thus when I install a version of Linux, I must also install Grub. I could do what you suggest and write over the existing Grub on the master boot record each time I install Linux. It turns out to be unnecessary. I just install it on a partition that is never used for booting purposes. As long as the OS is where the working Grub thinks it is, I have no problems. So far Windows 7 has been working side by side with multiple versions of Linux without incident. This is only possible because Windows is on a physical drive of it's own with it's own boot record.

I'm pretty sure my laptop problem is going to result in a new machine dedicated solely to Windows. If I can fix the Toshiba by short circuiting the cmos battery, that machine will be exclusively for Linux. It's a shame they don't play nice together all the time. Then again, how many nerds want Windows and Linux in the same box? :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 12 Apr 2019, 09:22

Hmm, I have Windows on all of my machines, although I never boot into Windows, except on the machine with XP which I only use to play an XP based game or two. A cold boot always brings them up to Debian Linux, except one I've got set for Linux Mint at boot.
I was going to finally forgo Debian and run with Linux Mint, but it wouldn't install on my netbook. This surprised me since I have Debian on there with no problems. I tried straight Ubuntu and it wouldn't install either. Since those are both built on top of Debian, I'm at a loss as to why they won't install for me when Debian installs easily.

As far as I know, all LInux Distro's require Grub to fire up stage one of the boot process, but if you have only one LInux OS on the machine, you won't see it if you are set to boot straight into the OS. If you use a log-in you will still get that screen though. Could be either Grub is just hidden or the wait timer is set to zero so the screen doesn't appear.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 13 Apr 2019, 09:22

Your solution is one configuration guaranteed to work all the time: Windows and Linux installed side by side without ever booting into Windows. LOL

You are also correct about Grub. What's the point of having an OS if you don't have a way to boot into it? Grub provides that way. The thing I don't like about Grub is that it automatically takes ownership of ALL the OS's it can find. Windows does not do that. There are pros and cons argued constantly regarding these two different approaches, but I think it's gosh darn arrogant of Linux to just hose over any Windows boot routine.

From what I understand Linux Mint is Ubuntu with a different desktop, typically Cinnamon. Thus if one has a problem, I'd expect it to be a problem for every distribution. If it were merely the desktop environment that caused the problem, the solution would be simple. But it seems as if you are seeing something generic. This is scary.

I tried a deep dive into my Toshiba laptop in order to locate the cmos battery. The construction of this laptop isn't exactly clam shell. The top and bottom shells could be separated, but the motherboard is attached to the top where the keyboard is located. Thus, in order to release the motherboard for inspection, the keyboard must be removed. I knew this was not going to end well but I did it anyway and found the battery. It's unlike any I've ever seen and is soldered into place looking a lot like an electrolytic capacitor. Well, the long and the short of it is that the computer has some other problem and still will not boot. I removed the hard drive and memory chips and may tear it down again one last time to recycle it.

So ... now I have an MSI laptop designed for gaming inside Windows 10 Home edition. I made numerous backups every which way I could think, and then decided I'd switch out of the standard Windows and go back to the Insider Preview I was using on the Toshiba. That Toshiba version, by the way, was free because I converted from Windows 7 when they were handing out free Windows 10 Pro as an incentive to migrate. As you know the Home edition of Windows isn't exactly what us advanced computer nerds are happy with. Thus I had some reservations about putting in the product key for the Pro into the Home computer. Microsoft, however, wasn't ambiguous about it at all. They said I can't just upgrade because I have a product key. LOL So, yes, with my tail between my legs. I paid off Microsoft to upgrade the MSI laptop.

Now I have a laptop whose manufacturer refuses to support Linux, but the tech savvy folks on their support site say it's OK to do but expect a thing or two not to work. I decided not to install Linux just yet because I have some other mischief up my sleeve which needs to be done first. I bought some ROM to upgrade from the 8GB that comes standard with the laptop, AND I bought a 500GB SSD to replace the mechanical one that comes standard. Any hardware upgrades I make will void the warranty, and MSI isn't shy about saying so on their web site. So, I'm going to wait a while to be certain the laptop will not break down from the trauma I will impose upon it, and then begin the upgrade. This is scary too.

The new MSI has a 1TB HDD as standard equipment. Windows 10 uses less than half, but there are recovery, data, and blank space partitions which consume the entire 1TB of disk space. Obviously that won't all fit on my 500GB SSD, but do I really care? I dunno. I backed up and image copied the whole OS and it fits into about 50GB of disk space. Thus in theory my 500GB will work just fine. All I need to do is repartition things before I transfer the system from HDD to SSD. And this is the scary part. I never did the transfer the way they suggest doing it. I would need migration software (abundantly available) and a USB to SATA cable. I have a USB to eSATA but don't think that will cut it. So, I may have to add another cable to my tool kit in order to make the migration.

And if I should be successful, I'll have a nearly new upgraded laptop that is out of warranty, I could also run into problems from Microsoft given that the OS will now have hardware other than what it is licensed for. I did this exact thing with Windows 7 and all they wanted then was my product key. But given their recent refusal to recognize my old Windows Pro license from a defunct computer, I doubt that I will want to pay for a license a second time.

I expect the greatest challenge of all will be installing Linux because at the moment Windows uses a secure boot via UEFI. There is a disk partition for this and I have absolutely no experience using it. All my experiments have been confined to the now deprecated BIOS, which I believe I can ditch but may not be able to undo the Windows secure boot. I've yet to look at the BIOS control panel on this MSI machine and have totally ignored EFI on this desktop. So I know I can ignore it, but I don't know if I can turn it off once it has been turned on. The glitch here is that I don't have a working OS install CD. It's all on a recovery partition which I would like to blow away once I set up the multi-boot.

So, right now I'm asking myself if Linux is worth all this trouble.

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 13 Apr 2019, 11:25

Well, I use Linux all day every day for everything I do, because it is fast, efficient, and easy to use. Plus there are several things I can do with Linux I never could do with Windows. I do know Windows has added some Linux like features but at what cost.
Windows thinks it God so does not play nice with any other OS.
A couple of years ago I totaled up what it would cost for me to go back to using Windows, including all the software programs I currently use. That price was well over six-thousand dollars, and I still wouldn't have access to all the programs I only use occasionally without forking over more money.
The only thing one has to be wary of when running Linux is to make sure the hardware you buy is compatible with Linux and not designed for Windows ONLY use.
With the proper computer and peripherals, Linux can outshine Windows hands down, and without all the headaches caused by Windows bassackwards way of doing things. And the Linux user has complete control of their own computer! We don't have to get permission from Windows or pay a fee to use our computer the way we see fit.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 13 Apr 2019, 14:08

I think we both are computer savvy to the same degree. You are comfortable with Linux and I am not. I think that says it all about the capabilities of each OS.

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 14 Apr 2019, 10:41

All the years I did use Windows computers, I never became what you would call proficient at using most of the programs.
I can't say I know a whole lot about Linux either, I still have to look up how to do things on-line. But when it comes to using the programs, I find them normally to be easier to use than the Windows counterpart, mainly because they are more logical.

What Windows does have going for it, you don't need to know much of anything technical to keep it working, or adding new programs or hardware.
Linux is not that far along in many areas.
That being said though, you should see the number of people who have problems playing Farm Town on Windows computers. Most of the time it is simply because they don't know how to do something. Not even something simple like holding down the control key and turning the mouse wheel to make the screen larger or smaller. If they sit down to a large screen, they just don't know how to fix it. But then too, that is one thing they really should learn about the OS they are using from the git go. My point is, it is normally user error and not a problem with the game, even though they blame it on the game most of the time.
Ironically, most of them are now trying to play this game using a cell phone, which is total masochism, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 14 Apr 2019, 14:53

I've had some intimate exposure to the workings of computers and the software that drives them. I knew enough so that my boss would not have to fire me or reassign me to some less demanding job, but I was no engineer and had no university degree in my resumé. I did become smart enough to recognize how complicated things are and when I should ask for help. That understanding of the complexities of computers still lingers in my mind. One of the responsibilities I had was to teach other people how to use the fancy equipment we put into the factory for testing the products we built. That particular aspect of my job made me very aware of how difficult it is to merge high tech and semi-educated people. Of course I could not explain everything, but I was able to pick out the salient points and make sure my users clearly understood what was needed to perform the task. I'm sure you have heard the joke about computer instructions to "Press any key to continue." The immediate query is to ask where is the "any" key. Well, I'm here to tell you that is not as much of a joke as you would think, Only about half the people I dealt with had English as their native language.

My job was made easier by the fact that I had face to face sessions with the less than computer literate people using my creations. That doesn't and cannot happen when you design a computer for a general audience. All the operations needs must be intuitive or easily derived. I would agree with you that Microsoft has gone further in that direction than Linux, but then those are two separate communities with two different mindsets. There are trade offs in each system. In my own experience i have grown fond of systems that "just work" with little effort or need for thought on my part. I can overcome any difficulty Linux might pose, but it irks me that there are so many difficulties. The logic to which you refer is a layer of complexity that means nothing to a guy who just wants to complete a task. And, it is totally confounding to the person who is looking for the "any" key. :eek:

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 15 Apr 2019, 08:50

I hear ya loud n clear Yogi, been there, done that, hi hi. Only in my case, working with folks, they cut it off twice and it's still to short, hi hi.
One of the major drawbacks for Linux is EVERY OS that uses the Linux Kernel is called Linux, when in most cases, they are as different as night and day. There is as much of a difference between RedHat and Debian, as their is between Windows XP and Windows 10, they are not the same animals, and run totally different software programs.
There is only ONE Windows per se. But their are numerous flavors of Linux OS's, and just as Windows is not compatible with Ubuntu, Ubuntu is not compatible with BSD, or RedHat, etc.
I've been around folks who have worked in companies who used RedHat for years. Plop them down in front of a Debian based OS and they are just as lost as a Windows user sitting down to Ubuntu. Well almost, they do know the Linux basics, but you get what I mean.
We are thankful to Windows for standardizing a lot of things in the industry. But it is still the things they got bassackwards that drive folks nuts. Windows users learned how to do some things the hard way, then when they hit the proper way, they are lost. For example: Looking under FILE SYSTEMS to do a PAGE FORMATTING JOB in msWORD, instead of under FORMATTING as is done in almost all Linux based programs. And they say Windows is easier, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 15 Apr 2019, 13:50

Technically Linux and Windows both depend on a kernel that is common among all the distributions of each. Everything that distinguishes the various flavors are simply additions to the basic kernel. And that's the thing. The kernel is pretty much useless by itself. It has a certain amount of basic functionality but with nothing connected to it those functions stay inside the kernel. Building upon the kernels involves a file system architecture that is as different as night and day when we examine Linux vs Windows. However, it takes a fair amount of understanding to appreciate what is going on and why. The end users don't care for the most part because they don't have to know how a word processor works in order to benefit from using it. All the technical mumbo-jumbo behind the scenes means nothing to a kid trying to finish his homework or a job applicant writing a resumé. The end user likes how the product has been branded and not much more. It's like the soccer mom who buys a Chevy because the color matched the dress she was wearing that day. LOL

I feel your pain when it comes to MS Word, and all the other Office products that seem to be a staple of today's computer systems. But, it's misplaced to say Windows is flawed because MS Word isn't logical. Windows in an operating system and MS Word is a program run on it. I abandoned all of MS Office programs about twenty years ago and have been using free software in its place. Based on your observations, I'd have to assume you would love Windows operating system if Open Office worked well on that kind of kernel. Well, I'm here to tell you it does. I've been doing it. Of course I don't need it to generate an income as you do, but Open Office or LibreOffice both work well regardless of the platform upon which they are installed.

The proof of the pudding, or in this case the value of the operating system, is down there on the command line (BASH) level. That is where you will see who outshines who. I realize you have problems in that area, but that just goes to prove my point. You don't need to know about the kernels in order to benefit from the operating system. You are doing quite well using the software installed on your Linux kernel. You really don't need to understand Linux in order to be successful using it. The same can be said of Windows.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 17 Apr 2019, 10:36

This may be old hat, but Windows uses NT on a hybrid kernel. Debian uses GNU on the Linux kernel.
What OS is above that is really what an OS should be named. Not use the word Linux as Linux does for everything.

Open Office and LibreOffice do work a little differently on a Windows machine than they do on Linux machines, and even on Linux machines, it may have a few differences depending on the actual Distribution OS it is running on.
This is not as noticeable on Writer as it is on spreadsheets, and there are a few big differences on how GIMP works on Windows vs Linux boxes, and between the various Linux OSs.

Logically one would think there shouldn't be any difference, but I think it has a lot to do with how the processor talks to the kernel and the overlying NT or GNU systems. Also not all Linux Distro's use GNU.

I sorta understand this from back when I did Basic programming, although you could write a perfectly running Basic program for the 6502 processor, you had to make changes to the program for an 8080a processor, and also the brand of processor could make a difference as well. What worked on Intel may not work on another brand.

Although Intel is a great processor, probably the best one now. But most of the years I did work with computer programs, I always found the AMD to be faster, ran cooler, and cost a lot less, for the things I was doing. But for those who were into gaming and high speed graphics, for them Intel was the best. Talking about AFTER we had to have separate math co-processors installed as in the early days. More around the 286 and 386 days. It was AMD only for me during the 386 days, but now I really don't have a preference as to which is used, until I open my billfold. AMD is still cheaper!

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 17 Apr 2019, 16:37

One of the aspects of open source I consider to be a problem is the lack of continuity, or standardization. Some folks think that is a good thing because specialized OS's can easily be designed as opposed to working with the unknown contents of an API into a proprietary OS. But even so, if all the kernels were identical programs would still be as unique as the developers who create them. Just because software engineers have certain tools available does not mean they will use them. The variations in OS's and processors gets even crazier in the mobile device world. Fortunately the big three all have the same software development kits, more or less, so that apps end up looking and working similarly across platforms. I like the fact that so many options are available, until the time comes when I want to make a change. Too many choices. :grin:

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » Yesterday, 15:13

Honestly, that was my biggest downfall when I went back to using Linux full-time, and for almost everything.
Most of the time, there was only ONE program on top, if there was another possible selection in Windows.
However, in Linux, there was often 20 or more nearly similar programs and each had major differences.
It would take forever to try out each one to see which worked best for you.

But technically, I had the same problem with Windows in some program areas, especially graphics programs.
Each time I bought a new printer, it came with several programs, including graphics programs.
There was something unique about each of those programs in what it could do best, and some couldn't do it at all.
I used to keep a chart above my desk where I made notes about which graphics program did what.
This way, when I wanted to do something, I would use one program for one thing and another program for another thing.
I think I had five different programs I used when modifying and/or restoring images.
Then I hit a big snag. Some of these programs looked to see if you had the printer they came with installed, and if not, the program would not work. Some of those printers also became obsolete and no new drivers.
So I was forced to buy a program similar to photoshop, but nowhere near as robust.

So for me, Windows really wasn't much different than hunting through a lot of Linux programs looking for the ones I like the best. I was back to doing the same thing as I did on Windows.
Then the problem was not finding software for Linux, it was out there, under funny names, and folks to tell you which they liked best. The problem was Hardware, and in some cases still is. 100% of Hardware manufacturers cater to Windows, and IF they happen to work on Linux with 3rd party drivers, great, but don't expect miracles.
It has only been in recent years when hardware vendors started including Linux drivers with their hardware, and/or pointing to the 3rd party software that worked with their hardware.

Once they started writing drivers for MAC, it was only a small step to write for Android and Linux OSs. So we are finally seeing more and more hardware compatible with almost all OSs.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » Yesterday, 18:48

It's been a long time since I've not been able to find a driver for the hardware I have. Most of that is due to the fact I rely on Ubuntu so much. They put a lot of effort into making things work, but then I don't have a lot of demands. The biggest problem maker was nVidia. For some reason they didn't get along with anything Linux for a long time. While their drivers were not in the repositories they were downloadable and installable if you knew how to do it. It involves shell commands but it's quite routine once you get it down pat. These days nVidia is playing a lot nicer with Linux and the world is good again.

I can't say the same for UEFI. Linux is giving me a hard time on that new laptop I bought. I'm pretty sure I can do what I want to do but the version of Windows on this laptop is installed with a secure boot sector on the hard drive. This is causing Linux to puke during the boot process. I am now confronted with the fact that I will need to have some intimate knowledge of the differences between BIOS and GPT not to mention CSM. The strategy I have in mind will involve replacing the hard drive that came with the computer and putting an SSD in its place. This boils down to a clean install of Windows and any Linux OS's I care to load up. The only reason I'm hesitating is because the warranty will be voided once I break the seal and open the case to replace the HDD.

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » Today, 10:36

Have you checked your BIOs to see if you can use the multi-user UEFI? Or let the Linux Distro let Windows keep its MBR as is with only adding an extension to jump to GRUB.

Most computers have UEFI now, especially if they came with windows already installed. I've installed Linux Mint on the little new computer I bought for Debi with Win10 and it has UEFI. Been several months since I did this, but I did use GParted to repartition the disk after shrinking Windows down enough to give me like 80 gigs for Linux. Seems like the install asked about adding link share to UEFI on the MBR to protect Windows.
On that machine, Windows will always appear to be starting, then Grub appears, only with Windows as the default instead of Linux which is the normal way. Last Linux install always takes first place in Grub, but not on this machine, Windows is the default and will continue to boot if you don't hit the down arrow while the Grub screen is up for like only 3 seconds.

Never heard of a computer you couldn't open to add more cards or drives and it would cause the warranty to void. But may laptops are different. Why not just wait until the warranty runs out?

My youngest sister had a knock down drag out with one of her laptops. The place she bought it from added extra memory for her before she ever took it home the first time. She never had a problem for about 8 months, then the screen began flickering so she took it back to the store. It was supposed to be covered under I think a 2-year warranty. In any case, they said the computer was modified from original which voided the warranty.
If you knew my sister, she was going to get it fixed, and at their expense, and NOW.
What she doesn't know is if the store bought the bullet and just fixed it for her, or if they got the repair and parts cost back from the mfgr. All she knew for certain was she got it back fixed in only two days, no charge.
They did tell her their was a defect in the screen, had nothing to do with drivers or memory or the motherboard.
The screen never gave her any more problems, but after a couple more years of usage, her keys started missing what they were supposed to do. To replace the keyboard would be on her dime, and the store had a new computer within a price range she liked, and they did take her laptop in on trade, so she was a happy camper.

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