Archive for June, 2009

Issues in Linux

Posted by Vitalie Ciubotaru

1. Web camera. I downloaded and compiled the driver (kernel module). It gets loaded and the camera is recognized, but I can’t get the image.
2. Printer. It prints properly up to a point (probably an image), after which it starts printing lines (covering only 20 or 25% of what it should). I printed only pdf files so far, but I don’t think this matters.
3. WiFi card. Desktop “freezes” if I remove the card. Inserting it back does not help…
4. Display. Rebooting, or switching to virtual console, after changing screen resolution results in display turning black. This is definitely a hardware problem, because it appeared after I updated BIOS. BTW, due to this issue I wouldn’t be able to install Windows, even if I wanted to.
5. “osaka-u” wireless network. I can tune to it, can get an IP address from DHCP, but dhclient does not set the address of the DNS server (as it does when connecting to another network) and I have to edit /etc/resolv.conf manually.
6. Local network. I can’t share internet connection with my other machine. All I know at this point is that it’s not because of the firewall.
7. Infrared port. This is not exactly a problem — my notebook has such a port, the module gets loaded and most probably works properly. I just can:t find any use for it.

Today’s purchases

Posted by Vitalie Ciubotaru

I’ve just bought a web camera and headset. I was quite well off without them, but my family, our parents — they all want to “skype”! Now it’s me who will have to make it work with my weird set of software.
I tried my best to pick a well-known brand, so that there be a Linux driver and maybe even a nice tutorial in the net. Also I followed Georgi’s advice and avoided Buffalo, although their prices and system requirements sounded very tempting. What I got is a Logitech Qcam for Notebooks.
[sigh] Lately I seriously consider installing — No, not Windows! — a Linux distribution. Well, that would work out-of-the-box, but, my god, am I going to end up using Ubuntu???

X, KDE, CUPS and others

Posted by Vitalie Ciubotaru

At last Xorg-7.2 is compiled, installed, tried and found to be fit.
The automatic configuration script did not discover any new devices, so I just kept the old xorg.conf file and added a section for my Synaptics touchpad. Well, actually it was already there because I used to play with the touchpad driver before, so now I just uncommented it. Although the driver got loaded and behaved well (including tap-to-click and scrolling), I will probably get some graphical tool to adjust the parameters.
Besides this, I observed no other difference between versions, which is a good sign, because version 6.8.2 worked reliably.
X libraries don’t seem to mind the update. KDE somehow depends on the location of X. I could run it manually as a desktop manager, but session manager (with graphical login) got loaded automatically at runlevel 5 only after I created a “compatibility” link to /usr/X11R6. This means that Amr was right and I don’t need to rebuild Qt (which stays between KDE and X). Same is true for GTK — all GTK-based applications (like Firefox) run just as before.
I had no occasion to run Xfce with the new X. Shall I forego it and stick to KDE, saying “don’t fix it, if it ain’t broken”?
The last thing to be mentioned here is printing. Having my Epson PM880C print took some time and the result is not exactly stable. I’ll have to read more about postscript, filters etc.

Still building X…

Posted by Vitalie Ciubotaru

Compiling Xorg-7.2 is much more trouble compared to version 6.8 that I have been using for ages.There is a whole bunch of small packages to be downloaded, unzipped, built and installed in a pretty much identical manner. Well, not that it was a surprise. It’s the cost of flexibily that modular structure brings.
Most of the job is already over, the only thing left is X drivers (whichare one of the reasons I headed for the whole adventure). I hope to get a better control of the touchpad (e.g. touchpad scrolling is still a sort of luxury for me, because the driver I had run with Xorg-6.8.2 did not behave properly). I also hope Amr was right and X libraries, like Qt and GTK, will accept the new X. However, there is a number of reasons — like the change of default destination directory from /usr/X11R6 to /usr — to suspect that transition is not going to be all that smooth.
An aside of the story is a usual complaint about higher hardware requirements that come together with new versions of familiar applications.

Upgrading X

Posted by Vitalie Ciubotaru

It looks like Xfce-4.6.1 does not include an icon theme, so I’ll probably take this component from an earlier version.
I’m still not entirely satisfied with the idea of creating dummy .pc files, so I downloaded a bunch of X libraries from cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg and tried to install them in order to make Xfce happy. Well… they all pertain to Xorg-7 and mine is 6. Instead of trying to combine versions 6 and 7 of Xorg, which I think is a dangerous undertaking, I ended up upgrading my X system.
I wonder if Gtk, Qt and friends will accept it…

Xfce adventure

Posted by Vitalie Ciubotaru

I spent several evenings downloading, configuring, compiling and installing Xfce from source code. First of, the documentation for version 4.6.1 is not released yet, and following the documentation for 4.4 is sometimes incomplete or even misleading. Moreover, the configure script complained about a couple of missing libraries, which was not true. I solves this by creating two .pc entries for pkg-config, just out of the blue.
Now it works. Well, kind of. Some icons do not display, a couple of Xfce-related applications crash, but everything else behaves exactly as it did in KDE. So the only thing letf is to hunt down the cause of crashes and I’m done.
Shall I really switch from KDE-3.4 to Xfce-4.6?