Old PCs and Operating Systems

After having dealt with Windows™ in my role as a financial clerk this week (for my church), I decided to dust off my old PC and see what she could do. Actually, I’d been planning on attempting to convert the PC into a kind of test-bed for my development work… “Why not? It just sits there anyway,” I reasoned to myself. And I’d kind of wanted to try my hand at FreeBSD again (I’d had a rather shaky first go at all things *nix in 1999, and I figured it must be easier to configure by now. So I started out reformatting my drive on my PC, partitioning it into two sections, and installing Windows XP in the first partition. Installation: easy. I’ve run so many Windows reinstalls that I can do it with my eyes closed. Then, I took to installing FreeBSD via some images I downloaded and burnt. Oh boy…
I will say this: FreeBSD has definitely come a long way in its supported hardware and initial setup. My first experience with a BSD install resulted in my not being able to access my network card, my cd drive (at least at first) nor could I start the X windowing system (that is, until I upgraded my video card). This time around, my only real stumbling blocks were networking and my mouse. Upon my first startup of Xwindows (KDE to be more precise), I couldn’t control my mouse at all. A quick trip back to sysinstall and some screwing with the settings fixed that. Things looked good. KDE is a rather nice package… and quite astonishing when you consider it is free. Menus, icons, etc, are all quite easy to use and good looking. I was excited to try out Konqueror, the browser that shares my fav Safari’s rendering engine. Only one small problem. No network connection.
I’m not exactly a computer moron. I generally pretty good with these blasted machines. However, it took me about 3 trips back to sysinstall to realize that my NIC was sis, and not the fwe (yes… i know… firewire. I smacked my head on the table for that one… damn firewire’s cool features that tend to confuse…). Anyway, I’m still stumped on the configuration. Those of you who’ve installed FreeBSD know that sysinstall asks for:

  1. Hostname
  2. Domain
  3. IPv4 Gateway
  4. Name Server
  5. IPv4 address for the device (ie, the computer or NIC’s IP)
  6. Subnet Mask

So, with my background in networking and whatnot, I figured no problem. Okay, problem. Hostname and Domain… uh… I’m not part of a Domain. Hostname, I figure, isn’t all that vital… I called it gbpc. IPv4 Gateway: wouldn’t take my cable providers gateway, so I figured that wasn’t it. So I gave it my router’s address. Name Server: I’ve tried both my cable provider’s name server and my local router address. Neither seem to be working. Can’t even ping my router…

Well… anyway… I’ll keep trying to be a computer geek when I’m more of an art geek. Any ideas, please throw a comment my way.