Adventures with a red fedora

I decided I needed a new computer sometime in 2004. My old one, bought in 1999, was running on a Celeron processor with Windows ME – not a good combination. Since my dad has used the thing to surf the net without a firewall in the months he was working from home before he got himself a new computer, it now has a trojan horse porn dialler I can’t get rid of. In 2005, I decided to get a new computer.

Over the summer, I found a Dummies’ guide to Red Hat 9 in a factor outlet shop for less than a fiver. This got me thinking. I bought it, intending to install the thing on my old computer and buy a new one to run on Windows XP. I went through a lot of rigmarole when I got back to Birmingham, getting a new computer to my own spec. But then I found something which made me very angry. Windows XP costs around £100. It has neither Word nor Works – a new Microsoft computer cannot word process without spending another £100 on Office. This was the final straw – Red Hat 9 was going on my new computer…

DCS finally supplied me with my new computer after 3 weeks of waiting. It took Myself, Rose and Legolas taking turns to lug the damn thing half a mile down the road to where we live. After a few days, I set the thing up and began the installation. Everything went fine until I got the message saying Red Hat 9 couldn’t find my hard drive…

I went back to DCS. The bloke at the counter suggested that maybe it had something to do with the Intel Serial ATA mother board. Windows was havingproblems with finding hard drives a couple of years ago as a result. I could use the Intel CD supplied to find the driver, put it on a USB stick and use it to help set things up. So I did. And it didn’t work.

Option 2 was to get a more recent edition of Red Hat. So I went to Borders and bought myself a new copy of a guide to Red Hat Fedora Core 4. It set me back about £30 and I carted it home with excitement. I was sure this was going to be the beginning of a new era of computing for me. It wasn’t. I put the DVD in the drive and booted up. I got the opening screen. I pressed ‘enter’ to start the install process. I got the following message:

(Something about not Synching) Kernel panic! Kernel attempted to kill init!

Looking this up in the index of my big shiny new book, I discovered that the ‘kernel’ is the underlying programme that makes everything work and that ‘init’ is the process that sets everything in motion. A ‘kill’ command is an emergency stop. In other words, the disk had a schizophrenic episode and tried to destroy one of its subsidiary personalities. Great. I tried to run a mediacheck on it (a sort of self-testing system Linux discs have built in) and it did exeactly the same thing. Figuring the disc was fucked, I took it back to the shop with its attendant book.

I bought a new book with the same programme on a DVD in it (£35 – this is getting all the more expensive as I go) and tried again, mediachecking first this time. The same bloody rigmarole started – another bloody kernel panic…

I went back to DCS to complain. 2 discs from 2 different sources having the same problem tells me it may be the computer at fault. As it would cost me £10 in taxi fare to get the computer to the store and home again, the guy at the counter said a technician would give me a call tomorrow to see what could be done from home.

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~ by Scary Rob on 4 January, 2006.

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