So I’m installing Linux in between other things today. Start the PC with the boot CD. Click through the install screens. Stop dead at the “no network installed” message. Click backward through the screens to the network card option. Select the proper network card in the list. Stare at the next screen, “Enter parameters for the NIC.” Enter nothing. Go forward. Network fails. If I can’t install the network card, I can’t download the rest of the installation files to the PC.

Look around on the Internet. Apparently I need the documentation. The documentation is supposedly easily available, but exists nowhere in downloadable form.

Find the documentation, but you need to be running Linus already to download/install it.

Try several parameters blindly–IRQ, base address, hex numbers.

Find out later on that I don’t need to enter any parameters. Hmmm. Why didn’t it work then when I left it blank?

Later in the day, come back to click other options. Amazingly, using the Install with ACPI disabled option works. What is ACPI? A new power management standard for PCs, which seems to kill the network card. Clear as mud.

Leave it to download and continue the installation. Realize that it will fail, since I won’t be there to click through the next screen that comes up, since I’ll be home. It will drop the connection (it installs over the network).

Linux, easier than ever. Definitely a learning experience, but how could this ever be for the casual, everyday user?