Since coming back to school, the install of XP on my laptop has gone to pot. I can’t log in as admin. Thats as good as gone as far as I’m concerned. Imagine not being able to su to root in Gentoo (on your box mind you, not cracking!)? Think of all the things you couldn’t do? Well that’s what happened to my XP so its gone. That install of XP was less than a year old, that’s what pisses me off the most. It usually takes me at least 2 years to ruin an XP install.
With that in mind I decided to trash Windows totally and just go all Linux. Which means I now need a distribution for my laptop. After a bit of thought on the topic I decided to go binary. With the number one complaint about Gentoo being the compile times and my laptop being in the neighborhood of 4 years old, that sounded like a valid complaint. My first choice for binary distros has always been Slackware. I use SLAX (for now) as my live-cd why not have its parent distro go on my laptop. The only problem with that was I wanted a 2.6.xx kernel, so I went looking for a slack derivative that could get the job done for me. The first one I found that I felt suited my needs was Zenwalk Linux. It got the job done actually, I won’t lie to you. It did everything I needed it to do. I did not stick with it though. My biggest issue with it was its package manager. It still feels very “beta” and the selection of packages they have for you is small to say the least. It basically boils down to if its not on your install CD, then its probably not in the online repository. That really bothered me. I would like a larger selection of hardware. The next thing that bothered me was it more or less forced me into using XFCE. I have no problems with XFCE, its very nice, but its not my bag. I have my favorites and XCFE isn’t one of them. Between the two of those I gave up. I’m going to have to go with something else. I will note though that Zenwalk is an excellent distribution, if they continue on the track they appear to be on, don’t be surprised if I try it again some day or even whole heatedly recommend it to other people. I liked it a lot, but for now its just not for me.
Well, it’s official, school has started. Which is great because I was getting tired of being home to be honest. I love my home, but I need something to do besides play on my computer. If I were working on my computer from home I would have no complaints, but all I really do is goof off, so I’m glad to be back at school.
Sadly, because you only pack so much stuff in one Jeep along with four people, I couldn’t bring my Linux desktop computer to school. Have no fear though, because Linux is such a versatile operating system, I can still have Linux, even though it isn’t installed on my DELL laptop. Which by the way I think is dieing. I keep getting “ntfs.sys” errors on boot. Seeing the “blue screen of death” before your computer even finishes booting is an all time low for Windows. I’m sure Windows has done worse, but in my experience with it, this is about the worst the I’ve seen.
So since I can’t have my Linux computer here, and I haven’t made a Live-CD of my Gentoo install, which I plan on doing first chance I get, I’ve started using SLAX. I’ve actually reviewed SLAX in the past and now that I’ve burned my own copy of it, I can honestly say it is definitely worth it. After downloading and burning a copy on a CD-RW, I started reading the page on modules. Well it took me all of two seconds to realize, I wanted to try it! So I copied my CD to the hard drive, erased it, downloaded my modules, placed them inside the /modules folder on the hard drive copy of my CD, and then re-made the ISO. Its that simple to add the modules of your choice to your own custom ISO of SLAX. I wish all distros were that easy! Its very small too. I have four modules on my custom SLAX, and it is still barely over 300MB (303MB to be exact). So if you haven’t tried it, try SLAX I think you’ll like it, even if you are a hard core Gentoo-er, SLAX will hold you over till you get home.
Enjoy the Penguins!
I’ve got everything reinstalled without problem. Well everything I can remember needing or using. I’m sure there are going to be those programs I forgot or thought I emerged but didn’t. Either way though all I have left to do is run startx and see how things work out. I didn’t get any errors while emerging anything so I should back to where I was. I just need to get my stash of car pictures back on to my /home and some other small things. I don’t think that will be a problem though, that should be easy. Here’s a list of the programs I’ve got so far. It’s probably not complete, but it should be pretty close.
- X version 7.0
- The GIMP
Notice there isn’t a music or movie player there yet. I’m not a hug fan of mPlayer and I haven’t decided on one to replace it yet that is a stable build in the AMD64 repository on Portage. For same reason, I don’t have a picture viewer yet. I really like the look Comix, but again, not stable yet. I would for now like to only use stable software. I have used unstable ebuilds in the past, and nothing happened, so its not usually that bad, but still not something I want to do. I also don’t have a mail program there, mainly because I don’t use them. I used to have Thunderbird, but all it did was download my Gmail off the pop server. If I’m on the computer, odds are Firefox is open, and I use the Gmail Manager plugin, so it was worthless to me to have Thunderbird download it for me. It felt worthless anyway.
On my Google Web page that I’m still working on, I think I’m going to post my make.conf file along with some other configuration files that I think a lot of people have trouble with. Configuring your computer is probably one of the trickiest things to do in Linux. There are a lot of variables out there, a lot of which aren’t always easy to explain. So seeing how other people do it is always helpful. I’m the clean and simple type as well, so if any one else out there is the clean and simple type, they can see what a clean and simple make.conf looks like.
Enjoy the Penguins!
After much delay, which was totally on purpose, I have finally moved on and I am currently in the process of setting up a graphical environment. Almost exactly like before, I’m going to use Fluxbox and GDM. I really like Fluxbox. I never really thought of myself as much of a ‘minimal’ kind of guy, but even without all the buttons and whistles of KDE I still really enjoy it. KDE is nice, don’t get me wrong, if I switched, I would go back to KDE. Espeically over GNOME. I am not a GNOME fan by any means. It bothers me. The longer I used GNOME the more I felt like they were restricting what I could do with it. That sounds odd, especially considering we’re talking about open source software here, but KDE lets me play with just about everything. Fluxbox, bless its heart, doesn’t have much to play with, but they do let you play with all its got. On that note, I have to leave. Enjoy the Penguins!
I finally have a fresh working install. By that I mean the computer boots the command line and works perfectly after that. I had a problem with the modules not having been created when I compiled my kernel, but I had that fixed after a quick post on the Gentoo Forums. Somehow I forgot to compile them, I could of sworn I did it, but I guess I will never know. After that I did a full update, updated my configuration files, and then re-configured any of them that were overwrote. I have since then setup both etc-config and dispatch-config to properly merge all of my configuration files for me as well as putting some extra variables in my make.conf so that some programs will get their configurations updated even though their in /etc which is protected by default.
Somethings I recently found out that I wish would of known before now:
- In X server version 7, the nvidia drivers are included. If you try install them after you install X, they won’t work.
- If you have ALSA compiled into the kernel, not as module, but as a full part of the kernel, you don’t have to run alsaconf. If you do, it will claim you don’t have a sound card it recognizes.
- Gentoo is only a bitch during the install, after that she’s the perfect woman.
- To turn lock on at boot requires, to my knoweledge as of right now, three different tasks for me to complete. First, I turn it on in my BIOS. Then I add /etc/init.d/numlock to run-level default (or boot). Finally, after fluxbox starts, I have to emerge numlockx and then add that program to my start up script for Fluxbox. In other words, “Hated it!”
- The phrases “Linux is stable” and “Gentoo is stable” are only true, like most things in life, if you use them properly. Which in my case means you have to know what your doing. That last part I’m still working on.
The funny thing about number five though, is that no matter how unstable I make Linux when I toy with it, it always manages to beat Windows. There are three computers in my house right now that run Windows, my one computer running Linux has more up-time then all other three combined. Sorta sad isn’t it?
Enjoy the Penguins!
OK, I’m sorry about the bad pun, but it was to good to pass up. If there is one thing that Gentoo teaches you though, its that when using Gentoo you have to be patient. After I crashed my system the other day I’ve tried unsuccessfully to rush through Gentoo’s install guide and hurry up and get my system back. Not going to happen. I botched both of those installs trying to hurry, so this time I’ve taken my time and tried very hard to follow the handbook as closely as I could to the letter. Which in this case, is a good thing. So if anyone out there wants to try Gentoo, don’t worry, its a bit on the technical side, but with patience, its definitely something you can do. Hell, if I can do it, anyone can. Enjoy the Penguins!
My fresh install of Gentoo is slowly going to pot. I don’t know what happened really. I’m at the, “I’ll issue any command just to make it work” stage. Somewhere I’ve been once or twice before. I really wish I wouldn’t of stupidly crashed my computer now. Everything was going great until then. I had the most stable operating system I’ve ever had. Now I can’t get the damn thing back. Tomorrow I might just start another reinstall. Who knows. It took me roughly eight times to get it right for the first time, maybe another eight won’t hurt me. It all started when after I compiled my first version of kernel 2.6.17-gentoo-r4 for my reinstall. It said I hadn’t compiled my sound cards drivers in and that madwifi needed some crypto stuff I didn’t have compiled in either. So that wasn’t a big deal, I’ll compile that in. I recompiled making sure this time I had my sound card compiled in along with the crypto. The sound card still didn’t work, so I tried compiling it a third time, this time taking ALSA out completely so I could just use the drivers from the internet. But that didn’t work either! So I tried my nvidia module, screw sound, I don’t need it. Now my nvidia module won’t load!! It says unknown parameter or something I don’t care about. So thats when I got mad and started issuing random commands to portage like “emerge –prune.” I don’t know what it did but some fairly important looking packages just got removed. Until tomorrow when I start a new, Enjoy the Penguins!
I compiled the kernel I had before the crash last night. Version 2.6.17-gentoo-r4. I thought everything was dandy. Until this morning when I came down and tried to configure ALSA. Apparently I’ve not put my sounds cards drivers in my kernel. I could of sworn I did it, but I guess I didn’t. I let that slide though. I don’t have any speakers hooked up to my computer anyway, so that wasn’t really a big deal. So I move on to get my wifi back. The madwifi driver won’t take though. Modprobe says it dosen’t exist. Not a biggie either, I’ll just re-emerge the drivers. NOPE! Apparently the madwifi driver requires some special parts of the kernel involving cryto stuff, stuff I totally left out, because I’ve never needed it before. So here I go again, recompiling my kernel. Man what a pain in the butt crashing your computer is. Take my advice and don’t ever do it. Enjoy the Penguins!
Well, my computer is just about back to normal. I have almost all of the programs I want and/or need re-emerged. Like Gimp, aDesklets, ruby, firefox, etc. I’ve just about got everything setup properly too. The last thing I really need to do is configure the latest kernel so I get my wireless back along with configuring it properly for ALSA and nVidia, something I didn’t really take much time to do with the kernel from the install. I also found out during my fresh install a lot seems to have changed. For example my picture viewer, xvgf, is being taken completely out of portage. I don’t know what I’m going to replace it with yet. When I find out I’ll let you guys know. I haven’t picked out a new media player yet. I’m not a big fan of mplayer though I have been using it. It, as far as I know, lacks a repeat feature so that what ever your watching or listening to will just constantly loop. I really miss that.
Finally, I’m going to get back to continuing to set my system back up the way I want it, including my new kernel, replacing my /home files, and some other small things like numlock on boot. Enjoy the Penguins!
First off, I have good news to report. Only my root file system crashed, not my home’s too. So I booted up Knoppix and burned everything that was on /home to a CD-R. Which is awesome because I must of had at least a 100 pictures I use for backgrounds saved there, not to mention other files I’d rather not loose right now.
I’ve just finished the install and have moved the computer back downstairs so that it can connect to the Internet through a cable. I did a net-less install, so I had to come back down here to update, upgrade, and install. The install went very smoothly, as it should considering this is probably the 8th or 9th time that I have install Gentoo on the same computer. I am currently syncing portage so that I upgrade portage itself, then upgrade what is on the computer from the install, and finally install all the new programs that will eventually end up on it. I plan on just emerging 4 or 5 of the huge programs and then letting the computer work all night and maybe even some of the next day. I know from experience it takes a long time emerge X, KDE, Gnome, and for some reason firefox. Yes, I’m going to install the base of KDE and Gnome. Mainly because I use a lot of KDE and Gnome programs, which in turn require all of the Gnome and KDE dependencies. So all I have to do is just issue
emerge x-org fluxbox k3b firefox anjuta
and that should keep the computer for a very long time. While installing all the KDE and Gnome basics. Well the KDE basics for sure, I’m not so sure about Gnome suddenly. I’ll be glad when I get portage updated. The latest version must be 10x faster than the version on the 2006.0 install disk. Either way, that’s the plan at the moment, I’ll keep you posted.
Enjoy the Penguins!