Monday, September 25, 2006

Installing Linux from scratch (cont.)

Today, I tried it, and it doesn't work. It works everywhere, but the hardware, where it should be connected.

I had several ideas what to do. Either I hunt out some PCI graphic card and keyboard with DIN connector or null-modem cable to connect it to other PC by serial (rs232) port. First I did the latter. I have a friend, who lent me a null-modem cable without data flow control pins connected (just RXD, TXD, ground and other two I can't remember now). Cable was long only 25 cm (approx. 1 ft), so he lent me a cord extension set with male-female connectors. Nice. The first thing I want to know if wiring is OK. One windows station and one linux. I ran hyperterminal on Windows and send data from linux. Nothing came, weird. I investigated, that the cord extension set wires bad pins.

I needed to know if at least the null-modem cable is allright. I made loopback COM1-COM2, ran 2 hyperterminals and after 3 tries I understood, that I hadn't switched off flow control. Doesn't matter. It worked from that timestamp.

The problem was with router. Nothing appeared on the hyperterminal console, just x sign just after I switched the power on. Strange, maybe grub can't initialize itself – I am going to enable serial support in grub tomorrow to see what happens. I'll have to disassemble the router to get the disk out again (I had to do this to provide console= kernel parameters), write configuration file and assemble the router back.

For the time being I still have no PCI graphic card, so the former thought I had in the beginning won't be perhaps realized, although it may be desirable.

Freecom DVB-T under linux

My friend bought a Freecom DVB-T reciever and apply me to make it working under Linux operating system.

I asked him to put the usb device into the slot to see what Vendor and Product ID it is. I found out by lsusb command it has 14aa:0225 IDs. I started to investigate which driver could take control of that device, unfortunately there was no such driver in vanilla kernel.

Ok, he has kubuntu 6.06 installed, so I compiled a little bit altered vanilla kernel with make-kpkg and he installed it and rebooted. Unfortunately changes from v4l tree, that I used didn't helped, there were some unresolved symbols, so I decided to compile clean vanilla and install modules from v4l snapshot. Yup, this worked (I was able to load those modules). The driver requested firmware and the device switched to warm state with product ID 0226.

The rest was on him, he tried to scan with absolutely nothing in return. He tried hard. No way. He forgot to change the location of search. He changed it and he stopped to communicate with me, because he is watching TV all the day 8-). Nice co-work.

Furthermore, remote controller works better than in Windows and he is very glad.

Installing Linux from scratch

Heh, I have a hard-disk from my router here with idea to install there some later system (Mandrake 8 was there with absolutely no support nowadays). I put the disk in my local linux (Fedora Core rawhide – devel) installation, wiped and created partitions with fdisk, made filesystems and the work might start.

I was lazy to write boot image from CD/DVD to a disk partition as usual and reboot ;), so I mounted its root partition, made lib and bin dirs, copy bash, all ldd bash libraries plus some other stuff such as ls, mkdir, rpm (with libraries) and so on. I had iso of the distribution on my laptop, I exported it by nfs to here. Here I loop-mounted it to created mnt/fc dir and chrooted into this new root with shell and mounted iso.

I had a small system with almost nothing, I thought, I need to expand it, so I inited rpm database – rpm --initdb and started to install yum with all what it needs as dependecies from mounted iso. About 30 packages were needed to be installed (very long command line). Now I set a new yum repository pointing to a mounted iso up and run yum install whatever-I-needed. The final step was to setup daemons and finally grub. One well-aimed grub-install and the system was ready to boot, I rebooted.

Fine, just some misspells in /etc/fstab, otherwise OK. I tried all servers it would serve (httpd, dhcpd, named, sshd, proftpd) and it worked, also network was okay, so I am looking forward to try it back in the server tomorrow – there is no monitor and keyboard. I hope it'll work (I'm a little bit naive, I know).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Playing with Vista RC1

Vista RC1 is out for some time and the first computer (with directx 9 graphic card) with Vista preinstalled came to me today. Cool. First impression is the system is cool, at least skin seems to be very impressive. Fine. I started to work with that, mainly system configuration.

I don't know why did they change almost everything including configuration and control panel, strange – I was unable to find network configuration for a long time for example. Nevermind, we have to get used, but why the hell does it ask when changing some system settings if I really know what am I doing (continue-cancel question)? Aaargh. It can be switched off in user profiles, but what is that for (i.e. what kind of security enhancement? every user will click on continue, doesn't he)?

After configuration of network I can finally test Internet Explorer. That nice thing with tabbed browsing hangs in 5-10 minutes intervals. When you click on something in domain (mainly the menu on the left), it does nothing – Loading...; Done, no change, as if you never clicked. I had to copy and paste that address into address bar and click on go-to. IE7 needs much work and is still not eligible to be a superb web-browser like Firefox or Opera are, blaah. Furthermore IE wasn't able to open, I really don't understand why. When I tested it on laptop the domain worked.

If Microsoft is prepared to release final version of this piece of *), I have to utter the system is not ready until SP1 is released. System behaves strange in some situations, we can call it Microsoft Hell for the time being.

*) whatever you want

Monday, September 18, 2006

School begins

School started to exist for me today. I have 68 credits in enrolled subjects and need to reduce them to about 35.

I'm so tired after the first school day, it was exhausting. I hope it'll be better in next days to choose right subset from courses.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Suffering with WXP

Okay, the first post and I'm going to object. Windows is the Evil(TM). Period. Grrr.

The story started by notebook coming to me to install HP drivers for a brand new bought printer. Ok, I inserted shipped CD and started with installation process. In the middle it stalled and nothing was going to happen. Reboot. Hard. Again, the very same issue. Hm, windows reinstall came on my mind.

So I inserted WXP home edition CD and started reinstall process. Installation has been done and the new system boots, nice. Let's use hangs about a minute after logon (let me clarify, what do I mean by hangs in this case: mouse is moving, _some_ apps may be executed, no answer to ctrl-alt-del, ctrl-alt-esc keys, no response to clicks of mouse on start menu, i. e. explorer.exe hangs plus some other parts of system).

Fine, I agreed, no SP2+connection to Internet, it's error-prone, nevermind. I'll reinstall it again with no connection to the Net and installing SP2 right after reinstallation. No way, it didn't help!

It may be a hardware error, appeared on my mind. I downloaded and burned memtest86+ and tried it out. No error for a couple of hours, weird. Then, I'd test harddisk. I used for this smartctl from Fedora 5 rescue CD. I ran short S.M.A.R.T. with no negative results. I tried also a long one, no results too (and also no records in log).

It almost excluded HW failure, but I found out, that it recovers in 30 minutes or so and the system is usable again for a while. I let it update by Microsoft updates and it succeeded. The situation after this big update is a little bit better, but it still hangs, however for much more shorter times. Ok, I installed rest of software back, also the HP driver and returned the notebook back. I want to Kill Bill.