I of course, being the kind of guy I am, broke my laptop again. What did I do. I put in a new kernel of course. *laughs* I do this all the time. Naturally the thing that gets me once always comes back to get me again. While in a hurry to get my kernel up and running the way I wanted it, I messed up its configuration.
After posting on the Gentoo Forums, the best place you can go for Gentoo knowledge, I finally got it figured out. Turns out another guy had the exact same problem at the exact same time. Luckily he figured it out, because I didn’t. I think I’ll add another page to my website, which I still find very lame, about not configuring your kernel correctly. The error I was receiving was “Can not mount root file system, please append a correct root=” I’m sure many who have read this have seen that same error before. For me its the most disappointing. Unlike an error 15: no kernel found error, this error means you got to boot up half way and then stop. That’s really disappointing. Your so close to having a new working kernel and them BAM, not today.
I did get it fixed though, so there is no need to worry. Turns out I did not include an option that you have to have. Something about PC_BIOS support. Oops! That one sounds obvious to me, so how I missed it is really beyond me. So much for streamlining. All it did for me was ruin my ability to boot. On the flip side though, recompiling to allow me to fix my sound. I’m now using alsa-drivers instead the kernel option. Which is cool I suppose. Either way I now have sound and that’s all that’s really important.
So in the end I’m up to my fourth revision of the 2.6.17-gentoo-r7 kernel before I got one that works exactly like I want it to. That’s quite a lot of redos, but its worth it, for me it’s worth it. I hope its worth for the rest of you too. Enjoy the Penguins!
Since installing Gentoo on my laptop I’ve spent the past several days making it “mine.” Just like I would with any OS I go through and install the programs I want, uninstall the ones I do not, and configure and tweak it till it runs exactly the way I want it to. I don’t how I could ever use anyone else’s computer at this rate being so picky with my own.
The first thing that I have noticed with my laptop is that I do not feel like the compile times are any where near as slow as I hear people complaining about constantly. My laptop has a 1.6GHz Pentium 4 M, 512M of DDR RAM, and a 30G 4200RPM HDD. Those are relatively slow specs considering the average new machine or my desktop computer that is almost a year old now. To me though it doesn’t feel like compiling a kernel takes any more time. It compiles in under 30 minutes on either computer. Obviously is it much faster on my 3.7G desktop, but my laptop is not slower by much, no more then 10, 15 minutes tops. Another thing I hear a lot of Gentoo-ers complain about with older hardware is sync time for Portage. My laptop syncs within the same amount of time as desktop does. Again no more than 5, 10 minutes more max. That is not that great amount of time. Not in my opinion anyway. Perhaps these people are running even older hardware than mine, I don’t know.
The only thing at the moment that is truly broke is my sound. Its really making me mad too. Because the live CD knows which drivers to use. My SLAX live CD knows which drivers to use. Yet my install with the drivers built into the kernel can’t seem to figure out how to setup ALSA to use the right drivers for my sound card. It makes absolutely no sense. I would guess its all my fault, but that doesn’t help any. Either way I don’t have sound, and I don’t know how to fix it. As of this writing I’ve posted on the forums and I have yet to find a answer. Wish me luck!
Enjoy the Penguins!
Continuing where Part 1 left off, I then tried CRUX. I could never get it to work though I wish I could of, I think I might of liked it, but then again, I thought I would enjoy Zenwalk Linux as well. Either way though that was two distributions down the drain.
So I decided well maybe since I’m in a hurry I’ll try Saybon Linux. A Gentoo offshoot that installs a binary system for you but lets you retain the ability to use Portage. It also comes with a splashy version of KDE and boot logos. I really thought I would like this one, after all if I were desperate I could just redo my make.conf and then emerge -e world and emerge -e system. Well that never got to happen because I couldn’t get the live CD to boot on my laptop. Why not? I don’t know, it just hung every time. So there goes new distribution number three down the hole.
With new distribution number three down the drain, I decided to go old school. So I installed Slackware 10.2 with a 2.4.xx kernel. Well somehow during the install Slackware managed to fail to write my computer an fstab. So I wrote it one of those using, you guessed it, my Gentoo LiveCD. After that things continued to go wrong. So I gave up on “old school”and decided I had had enough. It was time.
That only left me with one other choice. With four new distributions tired and failed what else could I use? Gentoo, of course. Long compile times be damned the only distro I could find was Gentoo. So here I am again, using Gentoo on my laptop. The one piece of computer hardware that has been XP for a solid four years has now entered a fifth year and a new start as a Linux PC. Congratulations DELL Inspiron 8200, you’ve finally made it.
As a side note. My laptop hard drive was starting to grind right before I took XP off of it. Now with Linux on it, using a ReiserFS file system, the grinding has stopped. I have also noticed this on my desktop. It to has Linux with a ReiserFS file system and it no longer grinds either. What is it about Windows and NTFS that makes your hard drive grind? And what is it about Linux and Linux file systems that do not? Just a thought.
Enjoy the Penguins!