Why is this so hard!!

I've got an old Dell XPS R350, with a STB nVidia ZX 8MB video card. I lost the windows disc, and the one my friend lent me wasn't working, (Possibly Dell propriatary disk?) and I didn't want to shell out another 90 bucks for a disk, so I tried Linux. I chose Debian as my first install. Everything was way over my head, but I'm slowly learning. I chose default or recommended on everything, which was alot. I must have installed everything I thought would be slightly useful! I made it to the cusor though. (Side question: is it prompt, or what is it in Linux?) I've learned rudimentary command skills, and have gotten to correcting mistakes. My first job is getting X working, though I hope not to use it that much. I'm having trouble, though. I ran xf86config, but it doesn't have a file for my videocard. I used the STB nVidia 128, since my card uses the RIVA128 chip as well. However, when I try to start X, it says "No screen found." I entered the screen statistics asked by XF86Config specificly for my monitor. I don't know how to access the log files. I type ./whatever log I'm trying to get to, and it says "Permission Denied". I just want a GUI for 5 seconds! Help for a newbie?
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  1. Sounds like you're doing it the "old-skool" way... On the bright side, you'll learn more this way :-)

    You've got to the prompt, but you must be logging in as yourself if you get permission denied errors when viewing logs. Type 'su' and then the root password to get into "God Mode".

    No screens found means that /etc/X11/XF86Config doesn't have a section defining a screen. Or it means that something went wrong. Try running 'XFree86 -configure' as root, to generate a sample file, then try to launch X using that config file with 'XFree86 -xf86config <your new file here>' ('startx' is the command to use normally, btw).

    To view logs, the command 'less /var/log/whatever.log' should work ok. Use the command 'tail /var/log/whatever.log' to just get the last lines.

    Edit: fixed the command syntax...

    <i>Do I look like I care?</i>

    PS, As you probably worked out, Debian is one of the harder distros to learn on (it was my first one, on a 386 laptop - getting X running was interesting...). If it all gets too much, grab a copy of RedHat 8, Mandrake 8, or SuSE 8.1. You'll be up and running within an hour.
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by poorboy on 01/13/03 12:09 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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