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upgrading RH 9


I have a PC of the following configuration

Intel Celeron 1200MHZ
Vesta I810 chipset
256MB SDRAM (PC133)
Samtrom 15"
2 x 40GB HDD, Combo, FDD
DLink Internal Modem
LQDSI 5235

I am currently running WIn XP and RH9
On windows I have Win XP + MSOffice 2003+NVU
I use RH9 for internet, and for latex, gcc, xfig.
The principkle packages of interest are am using gnumeric, latex (kile ide)+ xfig+ gcc+openoffice (mainly for presentation ymessenger, opera 9.1, thunderbird.
RH9 works well except that I have to mount usb drive manually, openoffice is quite old. Similarly the other packages such as kile are also  old.

I tried to upgrade RH9 with  the idea of using evolution and more recent version of  gnumeric with FC4 (Fresh installation) on a different partition. The installation was OK but after i shutdown, before the pc shuts down there is a colored border on the monitor.

I also tried upgrading wiht openSuSE 10. There was no problem
Similarly Mandrake 10 download version.
I do not want to go for higher version of these packages as my hardware is old.
But with OpenSUSE10, Mandrake 10  and FC4 the internal modem did not work.

I felt that perhaps a lower version of linux may help in running the internal modem.
So I tried installing FC3 I had to install in text mode and after installation the display had coloured lines.I feel there is a problem with display.

The dlink modem comes with linuxant driver version 7.18 and as witten on it it is for kernel 2.4 and 2.6 With kernel 2.4 for I have absolutely no problem.

To overcome my problem i propose that inplace of a fresh installation to upgrade my existing RH9 with FC3 or FC4.
Now my question is that if I upgrade with FC3 or FC4, will my modem continue to work?
Can anybody tell me which scanners / webcams are linux compatable?

My idea is to completely replace or displace windows from work with linux.


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