[nSLUG] Re: Any nsluggers in Valley?

Jack Warkentin jwark at eastlink.ca
Sun Aug 28 22:00:06 ADT 2005

Hi Everybody

On August 28, 2005 02:44 pm, Ben Armstrong wrote some good comments and
suggestions. I will try to provide some concise answers all in one place
rather than interspersing them with his remarks. I should point out that
I have already wiped GNU/Linux from the laptop in preparation for
returning it tomorrow morning, so a couple of the fine details are from
my desktop system, not the laptop.

The laptop hardware was an Acer TravelMate 2310 series. To be precise,
its model number is 2313LCi. The distribution was Libranet 3.0.

There is a directory called /etc/hotplug containing a file named blacklist.
I appended the name of the sound driver that I *did not* want to get loaded
to the end of this file. There are several ways of discovering the name
of the sound driver, including sysfs, which Libranet 3.0 mounts on /sys.
But the easiest way is to enable logging of boot messages (the ones, or
at least some of them, that flash by on your screen as the system is
booting but which you can't read because of the speed with which the messages
flash past). To enable this logging, edit the file /etc/default/bootlogd
and change the default BOOTLOGD_ENABLE=No to BOOTLOGD_ENABLE=Yes. Then look
in the file /var/log/boot for an entry like

Sun Aug 28 13:58:44 2005:      snd-intel8x0: loaded successfully

The key here is the prefix snd- or snd_. The name I appended to the
blacklist would correspond to the snd-intel8x0.

Of course, there will be two such modules loaded, one for the winmodem
and the other for the real sound card. The first to be loaded is the
one not wanted.

Re screen resolution, etc. My desktop system has a 17" flat CRT screen.
The height of the laptop's screen is just about exactly the same as the
height of this 17" monitor. I use KDE. On the desktop system I have fonts
set 12 points for text and 10 for window titles, toolbar text, menu
text, etc. I can't remember *exactly* what I set the fonts to on the
laptop, but they were roughly 9 and 7. This brought the width of the
titlebar down nicely, and on KDE apps, the width of the menubar, toolbars,
etc were ok. But on Mozilla, for example, these were about twice the height
of the corresponding items of KDE apps. It felt as if most of the window
space was taken up by menubars, etc, and not enough left for the bulk
of the window. Sorry, no screen shot available as I didn't get back to
my email before removing GNU/Linux from the laptop.

I realize that this is very subjective and I can't explain it any
better than that. I guess I got spoiled for small real estate screens
by the 19" 1280 x 1024 screen I was given at work way back in 1992.



> On Sat, 2005-08-27 at 14:56 -0300, Jack Warkentin wrote:
> > Again, I would advise caution. Once a GNU/Linux system is installed 
> > and working anyone who has used M$ Windows can use it (assuming the 
> > system is running KDE or something similar). But installing and 
> > getting everything working can be a real challenge.
> Yes.  And the key here is that recommending Linux for random hardware is
> tricky business.  Laptops, doubly so.
> > Example. I just bought a cheapy laptop computer at Zellers for $799. I 
> > had a lot of trouble getting the sound card to work. The reason was 
> > two-fold. First, the hardware detection software was picking the 
> > winmodem up and setting it up as a sound card. Second, because 
> > hotplug detected the winmodem before the proper sound card, udev was 
> > assigning it device files dsp, etc, and the proper sound card was 
> > assigned dsp1, etc. The sound programs all were trying to use dsp.
> Which hardware, and which distribution?  The reason I ask is, I have a
> friend who was looking at one of those laptops.  If you finally did get
> things working, perhaps we could put up a page on the nSLUG server
> explaining how to do it, saving other people the 20 hours.
> > I would guess it took me at least 20 hours to come up with this 
> > preventative. (I don't call it a solution. A solution would be to 
> > find a way of specifying that that particular device must be assigned 
> > some specific driver.)
> Well, fortunately, the built-in winmodem is something some users might
> be willing to live without.  The user I have in mind wouldn't care if it
> didn't work.
> > Giving an inexperienced user a set of 
> > installation CD's and telling him to give it a try could be 
> > exceedingly frustrating for a potential devotee.
> I would never do that if the target machine were a laptop.  Also, I'd
> start the user on a live CD first, and say "this may work for you;
> please let me know if you have any trouble with it."
> > (By the way, I still have not been able to get music CD's to play on 
> > this machine. I am also having a great deal of difficulty getting 
> > used to the 1024 x 768 resolution - the titlebar, menubar, toolbars, 
> > etc, take up so much space that there is not enough left for the bulk 
> > of the window. I plan on returning it to Zellers before the 30 days 
> > are up.)
> Ah ... then the documentation exercise above may not interest you if
> you've already made up your mind.  Still, I'm not sure what you mean
> with the resolution issue.  1024 x 768 is what I use on virtually every
> machine I have.  I don't know what the trouble is with space allocation.
> Perhaps you could save and post a screenshot (if you're interested in
> fixing it)?
> What I've cautioned my friend is that although an inexpensive laptop
> such as you might be able to buy today at Zeller's looks appealing,
> she'd probably have less hassle and get more mileage out of a second-
> hand IBM Thinkpad, and in any event, if she sees something she's
> interested in, to contact me first so we can look at compatibility
> issues with the hardware before buying.
> Ben
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Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email jwark at eastlink.ca
39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6


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