Monday, January 29, 2007

A month of MSI S271 with Ubuntu Linux

I have now had my laptop for a month. The laptop is great in size, weight, and speed. Most hardware components I have tried works. So I am happy.

Okey, but what is not working? I have noted three things.

First, the earphone connector does not work. According to some info on the net there are a patch for Alsa that should make it work. Maybe it will work in Feisty. I have not been digging deeper into this, my need have not yet been that big.

The second thing is when you want to have dual head. I have had dual head running for years on Matrix and Nvidia cards on my desktop. But I do not get the ATI card to handle two screens with different resolution. It works fine if I have the same resolution, I can switch back and forth between only laptop and dual head. There are newer releases of the ATI-drivers on ATI's web site, but I have not tested these. I have until now only tested the drivers in Edgys multivers. I am using the closed source drivers since I want to use the hardware acceleration.

Third, I do not know how to turn of the tapping function on the touch pad. I thought I would get use to it, but I am not. It is time to look into that.

Until now I have not tested:

  • SD/MMC/MS card reader
  • Bluetooth
  • Microphone

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Signed CD

I just read at digg about Microsoft supplies Vista Ultimate distribution signed by Mr Gates. Will Ubuntu response with signed CD:s by sabdfl, that is of course much cooler! *smile*

The windows installer

Last few days it has been a lot talking about the MS Windows based installer for Ubuntu. I totally love the idea. Most Windows users get confused about burning an ISO. With this we get rid of the burning step, instead we install our Ubuntu as any other MS Windows software.

I hope we can trick even more people to use Ubuntu when it is ready.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Express card investigation

I have a Express Card slot in my laptop. Until today, I have thought it is just another name for PCMCIA/PC Card. Which it isn't. Express Card has a smaller connector an exists in two sizes 34 and 54 mm.
What I am looking for is a Compact Flash (CF) reader, since my Nikon D70 uses these. Unfortunately, a express card CF reader costs about $60 and a PC-Card CF-reader costs about $12. That's not funny. I can buy a USB connected CF-reader for about $12, but I want to avoid carry around a lot of loose pieces. I will wait a while too see if the prices goes down and coninu to use my desktop for the purpose a bit longer.

On the good side I found that Belkin has a docking station that you connect to the express card slot. The MSI S271 does not have support for traditional docking station, which was a drawback I did know when I bought it. Now is the question if Linux supports Belkins docking station.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Desktop in the enterprise

A few days ago I gave some support to people running a desktop pilot project. They are testing three different desktops; Novell/Suse Desktop 10, Fedora, Red Hat Workstation.

The task was to integrate Suse Desktop with an existing AD. Okay, lets start with using the configuration GUI that they are famous for. There is a selection for running AD. Nice! Click for SSL, the current AD is no configured for TLS. Fill in Group and User OU. This seems promising. But here are we entering the halt. MS recommends that you configure your AD to use a proxy-users before authentication. But the Suse GUI does not have support for a proxy-user, so we change direction and start editing the /etc/ldap.conf-file. Add the proxy-user. But things is not working. A normal ldapsearch works but not doing id username. Looking in the logs it shows that it tries to use ldap and not ldaps. Some searching using google gives that on Suse the parameter ssl on in the config file is not working, you instead have to point out the AD-servers using the uri ldaps://host parameter. The parameter ssl on works fine in Red Hat and Mandriva and is discussed in the man page at Suse. After some complaining to the consultant responsible for the pilot it shows up that it may be better to use the NDS connection to connect to AD. Why is the gui pointing os in the direction that is not recommended by Novell? And a few days later AD integration is still not working for them.

Now to the Red Hats. The pilot started out with testing the Desktop version, but it does not provides compilers and Emacs. This makes it not useful for the researches and developers that should use the desktops in this case. The project make a change to Red Hat enterprise Workstation on recommendation from Red Hat.
It also shows that Red Hat is removing all binary drivers from their distribution. I am not a fan of binary drivers either, but as long as they are needed to give the user a good experience we need to handle them. In this case they have removed some Intel wireless drivers that are needed for, among others, some HP laptops.

You probably ask: Why not Ubunt? I ask it too but have not got a good answer. I know that Ubuntu still not have nice interfaces for all system manager configuration, but what is the problem? Better to not have one than have one that not works. The important is that a normal user does not need command line and trixing to get the wireless etc working. So what is the extra value I got by paying Suse or Red Hat for a nice desktop instead of order or download a free Ubuntu CD.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Network-manager

I have tried to get the Network-manager working, but it does not want to. I have no problem at all to get the wireless net to work with the normal network configuration tool, it worked out of the box. But then when I install the Network-manager I do not get any wireless connection. It sometimes finds the network but can't connect.

My laptop is a MSI S271 running Ubuntu Edgy and have a MSI wireless network card with a RaLink RT2500 chip. According to the hardware listing it should work with WEP and unencrypted.

I also have a feeling that I only have 802.11b working, but not g. My router is a Linksys WRT54GS.

Update:
I have 54mbit/s according to:
$ sudo iwlist ra0 rate
ra0 12 available bit-rates :
1 Mb/s
2 Mb/s
5.5 Mb/s
11 Mb/s
18 Mb/s
24 Mb/s
36 Mb/s
54 Mb/s
6 Mb/s
9 Mb/s
12 Mb/s
48 Mb/s
Current Bit Rate=54 Mb/s

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Beagle

I have wanted to install Beagle for a long time. Due to my use of a home directory over NFS, it had not been possible in a smooth way. But now when I have a laptop and therefore it's not feasible to run NFS any more I will run Beagle. So today I read Christer Edwards blog about installing Beagel and thought it was time to activate it. I must say; just a few hours later and I am addicted to it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Is Linux growing into the Enterprise?

It is often hard to get a big picture of how Linux is growing. I notice at my work that the number of Linux clients and servers are increasing. But what had happened in the big world? Here is a nice summary of positive achievements in the enterprise during 2006.

Monday, January 1, 2007

KVM on Edgy

One of the requirements when i bought my new laptop was that it should have a CPU with support for virtualization in the CPU. I have since last summer been running Xen on my server using para-virtualization. It works nice and give me the possibility to separate external web and mail server from internal infrastruktur services like DNS, DHCP, and NFS. The lack of para-virtualization is that you need a special kernel and preferably a special glibc. When using virtualization support in hardware, you get rid of this drawback.
Recently another player entered the main kernel stage, KVM. KVM is built on qemu and Bosch that have been around for years. A nice thing with KVM is that normal users can get the rights to run their own virtual machines as their own user, not sudo to root. A quick search on Google gave me a nice howto. One thing has changed since Alan wrote his howto. The latest version at the time of writing is 0.8. Instead of just insert one kernel module (kvm.ko) you had to insert two. First kvm.ko and then one depending if you have an Intel (kvm-intel.ko) or AMD (kvm-amd.ko) CPU. In my case it's a AMD CPU so I did:
sudo insmod kernel/kvm.ko

After this I downloaded the latest Ubuntu iso and created a harddisk:
qemu-img create -f qcow edgy.qcow 4G
Then boot from the CD to install (I use sudo since I have not fixed the user privilegies on the /dev/kvm-device):
sudo qemu -cdrom ubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.iso -hda edgy.qcow -boot d -m 256
I recommend to run the liveCD with 256meg of ram, otherwise it will be incredible slow. When the installation is finished, shut it down and boot from the hard disk with:
sudo qemu -hda edgy.qcow -m 256

I have earlier been running VMWare Workstation and VMWare ESX-server. But I must say KVM is a much nicer experience when inside a virtual machine and it is much easier to set up than Xen. Perfect for my laptop.