22 April 2008

Mandriva One 2008.1 and old laptop: it works \o/

Yes ! Eventually Mandriva One 2008.1 works in my old laptop !
(And it means I have to apologize to Mandriva for my previous post).

This is what happened:
- out of curiousity, I created the CD again, this time I burned it at the slowest speed
- run the CD and, same as previous, after three second of initial boot splash, the booting instantly stopped, the screen become blank and the laptop remain silent
- previously at this stage I would reset the laptop, but this time unintentionally I left the laptop on, I forgot to reset it
- then after about 3 minutes, suddenly the screen showed the initial boot splash again the cd started to spin, the booting process continued !
- about 7 minutes later, the desktop came alive perfectly :)

I knew it. I knew that somehow Mandriva would work, I just did not know how.

And I found some very interesting stuff:

1. When I inserted my USB flash, one application called "Drak Snapshot" came out. It is a back-up application and it is very nice and user-friendly.

2. My USB wifi adapter recognized out of the box and I think the wifi setup in Mandriva is the easiest ever.

3. The Control Centre is superb, it even has Parental Controls !

Also I have to mention that some Mandriva users have been kindly tried to help me.
In my previous post, meta and fabrice immediately dropped their comments offering some suggestions.

When I posted my problem on their forum, immediately it also got attention and very nice responses from Reebus (a very active and helpful user) and the famous moderator himself: Adam Williamson.
Thank you guys !

Well. now this is the hard part: shall I install Mandriva to replace Mepis....

16 April 2008

Mandriva One 2008.1 and old laptop: alas ....

Several months ago, I had a chance to try running the live cd version of Mandriva One (version 2008) on my old laptop.
At that time I was very impressed, it was beautiful, very user-friendly and everything just worked flawlessly. I really like it so much that I decided to install it permanently replacing Ubuntu Gutsy.
Later on I postponed the plan in view that the new version (2008.1 Spring) was under development, I thought I better wait for it.
So when Mandriva One 2008.1 Spring was out several days ago, I was very excited.
Although I prefer the Gnome version, I also downloaded the KDE version to try this beautiful distro.

Alas, my excitement did not last long.

Both CD did not manage to boot, all I got was initial boot splash and then the booting instantly stopped, leaving the screen in black.
(Strangely both CD works fine on my desktop).

I have tried many distro on this laptop and that was the first time it failed to boot, so I was very curious.
I tried to boot using boot parameters combination (adjusting the screen resolution, set the acpi off, remove splash, etc) without any success.
For several days I tried and tried, searching any information on the net, hoping to find any clue, but so far I could not find any.

Well, for now I have to give up and forget installing this beautiful distro on my old laptop.
I guess this time I am not lucky :(

10 April 2008

xorg.conf - Ubuntu Gutsy for Toshiba Tecra 8200 Laptop

Content of xorg.conf file of Ubuntu Gutsy for my laptop:

# xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "Files"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "0"

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "stylus"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
Option "Type" "stylus"
Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "eraser"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
Option "Type" "eraser"
Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "cursor"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
Option "Type" "cursor"
Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY

Section "Device"
Identifier "Trident Microsystems CyberBlade/XP"
Driver "trident"
BusID "PCI:1:0:0"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Generic Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 28-51
VertRefresh 43-60

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "Trident Microsystems CyberBlade/XP"
Monitor "Generic Monitor"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Modes "1024x768"

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen "Default Screen"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"
InputDevice "Configured Mouse"

# Uncomment if you have a wacom tablet
# InputDevice "stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
# InputDevice "cursor" "SendCoreEvents"
# InputDevice "eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
InputDevice "Synaptics Touchpad"

08 April 2008

Old laptop and Mepis 7.0: very nice indeed :)

This is my note for Mepis 7.0 installed on my old-linux-friendly laptop :)
(it's Toshiba Tecra 8200 PIII, more here).

KDE fonts
By default Mepis already rendered the fonts correctly on the laptop's LCD screen, but I did some mess.
To restore the correct displayed fonts, open from menu: Control Centre > Appearance & Theme > Fonts go to "Use anti-aliasing" and select "Enabled" then click "Configure" check "Use sub-pixel hinting: RGB" and select "Hinting style: Full"

Firefox fonts
At first I was a little confused because Firefox rendered horrible fonts of the websites.
After several trial and error, it turns out that the trick was very simple.
This is what I did: in Firefox menu go to Edit > Preferences > Content and go to Fonts & Colors section and click Advanced.
Then un-check this box "Allow pages to choose their own fonts, instead of my selections above"

My usb wireless adapter (it is 3Com OfficeConnect Wireless model no: 3CRUSB10075) works out of the box with Mepis.
But first I had to activate the Network Manager (it was not activated during system boot).
This is what I did: from the main menu, open System > Mepis > MEPIS Network Assistant.
In the General Tab go to "Interface Configuration Mode" section and check "Automatic (networkmanager)". I left other sections as it is.

In the Wireless Tab: because I am using WPA encryption in my wifi set-up at home, I fill in the SSID name and WPA-key.

In the Interfaces Tab: choose "Start at boot" and "DHCP".

To connect to other available Wireless Network, just right-click the KNetworkManager applet and click the desired network from the list.

(Later on I found this detailed and excellent guide by Zerias).

Suspend to RAM
At first suspend to RAM did not work, then I found the work around from Mepislovers.org forums, which is very simple:

open /etc/powersave/sleep
find this line:

insert the word "yes" between the quote marks, so it looks like this:

Save it and reboot (in my experience, it seems reboot is compulsory in this step, otherwise suspend to RAM will not work).

To suspend just right-click the KPowersave applet and click Suspen to RAM

Suspend to Disk
Works out of the box.

OpenOffice Impress
By default OpenOffice Impress is left out in Mepis and since sometimes I need to open presentation files, I just installed it from Synaptic.

Over all
This laptop works great with Mepis 7.0, it feels light and stable.
I have no problem with sound and video.
I feel it is faster than Ubuntu, yet with 256MB RAM, running Firefox and OpenOffice together is still not that fast :)
Over all, with Mepis on it, I must say the laptop is very nice indeed.