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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Thu, 24 Feb 2011

Check out my devio.us site

I got an OpenBSD shell account on devio.us. Here’s what I have in my web directory.

It won’t be long before I drop a FlatPress install in there.

Wed, 23 Feb 2011

I did a quick install of WordPress, then killed it — I’m looking for a flexible multiple-blog system

FlatPress has been working great, but I’m still exploring other blogging/CMS systems. I already have one WordPress install on my Hostgator shared-hosting account, and I used Hostgator’s automatic system to install another WordPress instance in a different domain.

That all went well, but what I really wanted was the ability to manage multiple blogs from a single WordPress instance. I made the first configuration change needed, but I couldn’t go further.

Why didn’t it work? I think that as part of the automatic installation of WordPress in Hostgator, it used the same database as my other WordPress instance, and due to that bit of database sharing, somehow I couldn’t get the “networked” blog feature to work.

The automatic installs, whether with Fantastico or Hostgator’s newer tool, are great because you click, click, click and have a service installed, but you then have no idea about how things were done unless you dig into the configuration files.

My database knowledge isn’t exactly broad, and I think the way to learn more is to create the database myself and install and configure the blog/CMS software the traditional way.

That’s what I like about FlatPress — besides not needing a database, you drop your files on the server via FTP, make a few changes, do some configuration (it’s not all text files; there’s a lot GUI in it) and you’re going. You can move it easily, back it up easily and look at the text files that hold your individual entries.

But I still want the multiblog, and I could do it with WordPress, Drupal, or even Movable Type, which I know very well. However, I don’t think that WordPress or Movable Type will allow me to do the one thing I really do want: the ability to write an entry and than target it to my choice blogs, moving it from one to the other (or running it in more than one) at will. That’s what I want.

The Epson Perfection V330 scanner and Debian (or any other kind of Linux, for that matter)

I got a deal on an Epson Perfection V330 scanner. It runs great in Windows 7 with the voluminous amount of software on the install CD. I hoped that it would work out of the box with Debian Squeeze. No such luck. Sane/Xsane doesn’t recognize it (although it's in the dmesg).

I Googled for and found a few packages that got me going. (Here's a report of this method working in Ubuntu.)

I downloaded, unpacked and installed the driver and scanning software from Avasys, and with a reboot I was able to scan from my Debian Squeeze laptop.

It all works great. Thus far I've only used the Image Scan! software (yep, the name has an ! in it), which does work fairly well by the way.

I imagine these same packages would work for Ubuntu. There are also packages for Mint, Mandriva, CentOS, Fedora, PCLinuxOS and a few others.

You would think that scanners, especially those by companies such as Epson, would either work out of the box or have packages within the Debian (or Ubuntu) repos, if only in non-free. Guess not.

But since the solution was fairly easy to come by, I'm accepting (and now using) it.

Is Ubuntu playing with fire?

How's that for an incendiary headline? Before I continue, here's how I got here:

First I tested the Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Alpha image, which I thought way too raw for a release two months and barely two weeks away, with the Unity layer on top of GNOME barely functional.

Then I tried a pre-alpha of Fedora 15, due May 10, a full 10 days after Ubuntu Natty, and found that while I didn't seem to be running GNOME Shell, it was GNOME 2.91.6 and pretty much worked as normal, and anchored a live system that was functional and responsive, though pretty darn ugly.

The comments on both entries were mostly written by Ubuntu defenders, telling me how wrong I was to judge Ubuntu by this alpha image, how it was going to rock at release time, and how I should a) do some research, b) screw my head on right and c) basically realize that Ubuntu can do no wrong, so shut the f* up.

I'm not a Ubuntu basher.

I always say that Ubuntu holds a very important position in the world of free, open-source software as well as in the wider world of all computer operating systems and environments, and for that reason I hold the Ubuntu project and its corporate entity Canonical to a higher standard than other software projects and companies.

I even run Ubuntu, albeit on one computer and not some or all (but certainly not none).

And I went back into my past entries and found a couple of reviews of previous Ubuntu alpha releases that … actually were functional, and Ubuntu Natty at this point in time running a desktop window manager (is that what it is?), Unity, that is untried, barely tested and not terribly functional does not bode well for a release in under three months time.

Here is my comment from a thread in LXer that explains the reason NOT why I'm anti-Ubuntu but why I see a frantically waving red flag in the path Ubuntu is taking toward its bleeding-edge push for new technologies in what people are expecting to actually use on their desktops:

What I'm saying is if you can't deliver basic functionality in an alpha release of the distribution you hope to deliver to end users in two months time, maybe you should consider holding the troublesome features until the next release so you can provide a better user experience. Fedora did this with systemd, which they could have put in Fedora 14 but instead chose to hold for Fedora 15. Debian is extremely conservative as to what they'll put in a Stable release. Testing is frozen very early, and development then focuses on eliminating bugs in those frozen packages. And yes, Gnome Shell has had considerably more development than has Unity. Along with that "edge" in development, Fedora is releasing AFTER Ubuntu. Fedora gets a reputation for being too "bleeding edge," and I am among those who have been burned by changes in Fedora mid-release. I left Fedora after F14 when I couldn't get my video to work. Now with the same hardware, F15 displays perfectly. And I don't think it's anything Fedora did; the bugs were fixed upstream. I'm still not happy that Ubuntu made a big deal about pulling from Debian Testing instead of Unstable to create the 10.04 LTS, yet they pushed many new or newish features/services such as Ubuntu One and the Me Menu which clearly could benefit from a lot more development before going into a release that is supposed to last three years on the desktop. More care and more conservative package choice should be the guiding principles behind a release with such a long support life. I'm sure that Ubuntu One and the Me Menu features have been improved for 10.10 and will be even more polished in 11.04, but that leaves LTS users to either turn off the features or be forced to jump on the six-month cycle to get better versions. Pulling from Debian Testing is just lip service if you're shoving a bunch of stuff on top of it that has not been through as careful a development process. I want to like Ubuntu, I still use it on one machine, and I support many of the project's goals. But when Fedora seems more conservative in its releases, you know there's something that's not quite kosher. I don't think newbie users are well-served by such raw software. I hope I'm wrong and Ubuntu 11.04 turns out to be a rock-solid, fast and functional release that gives those new to Linux the minimum of trouble. Of course, there's always Mint …

I'm on the record as thinking the Ubuntu 6.06 and 8.04 LTS releases were great ones, but I'm not as happy with 10.04 LTS (though that's the version I run on my remaining Ubuntu machine), which was advertised as conservative in the way packages were pulled from Debian Testing rather than the usual Unstable but which ran off the rails by incorporating features added to the Debian base and other upstream packages by Ubuntu developers that were in no way ready for what I think a long-term-support release should be.

And I fear that Unity is another piece of software for which Ubuntu is both the upstream and downstream, with what smells to me like a mandate to release in distribution form before GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell is allowed to get any traction via other distros such as Fedora and Mint.

Question for you: Do you think there will be a Canonical-supported "spin" of Ubuntu featuring GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell? GNOMEbuntu? Or will it be Linux Mint?

Debian Squeeze and the Liquorix kernels — I update with Aptitude

I’ve been using the Liquorix kernels on my Debian Squeeze laptop almost since I installed Squeeze in its late-testing phase, and while the GNOME Update Manager doesn’t seem to want to update those kernels from Liquorix, I run Aptitude in a terminal and am able to keep up with the latest kernels.

I’m not exactly sure why Synaptic won’t perform this upgrade. Whenever there’s a new Liquorix kernel in its repository, I get an update icon in my upper GNOME panel (most things on this installation are vanilla Debian). When I run the Update Manager, I get a dialog box asking me whether or not I wish to perform a “safe upgrade.” It seems that whether I answer yes or no, I don’t get the new kernel.

I prefer to update with aptitude anyway, so I run it in the terminal:

$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude upgrade

That brings in the new kernels and updates the GRUB bootloader.

Here is the output of sudo aptitude upgrade:

steven@lenovo:~$ sudo aptitude upgrade
Resolving dependencies...                
The following NEW packages will be installed:
The following packages will be REMOVED:
The following packages will be upgraded:
  linux-headers-2.6-liquorix-amd64 linux-image-2.6-liquorix-amd64 
2 packages upgraded, 2 newly installed, 1 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 38.6 MB of archives. After unpacking 128 MB will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?] y
Get:1 http://liquorix.net/debian/ sid/main linux-headers-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 amd64 2.6.37-10 [5,215 kB]
Get:2 http://liquorix.net/debian/ sid/main linux-headers-2.6-liquorix-amd64 amd64 2.6.37-10 [129 kB]
Get:3 http://liquorix.net/debian/ sid/main linux-image-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 amd64 2.6.37-10 [33.1 MB]
Get:4 http://liquorix.net/debian/ sid/main linux-image-2.6-liquorix-amd64 amd64 2.6.37-10 [129 kB]
Fetched 38.6 MB in 56s (687 kB/s)                                               
Reading changelogs... Done
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package linux-headers-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64.
(Reading database ... 157978 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking linux-headers-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 (from .../linux-headers-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64_2.6.37-10_amd64.deb) ...
Preparing to replace linux-headers-2.6-liquorix-amd64 2.6.37-9 (using .../linux-headers-2.6-liquorix-amd64_2.6.37-10_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement linux-headers-2.6-liquorix-amd64 ...
(Reading database ... 169099 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing linux-headers-2.6.37-1.dmz.1-liquorix-amd64 ...
Selecting previously deselected package linux-image-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64.
(Reading database ... 157981 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking linux-image-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 (from .../linux-image-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64_2.6.37-10_amd64.deb) ...
Preparing to replace linux-image-2.6-liquorix-amd64 2.6.37-9 (using .../linux-image-2.6-liquorix-amd64_2.6.37-10_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement linux-image-2.6-liquorix-amd64 ...
Setting up linux-headers-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 (2.6.37-10) ...
Setting up linux-headers-2.6-liquorix-amd64 (2.6.37-10) ...
Setting up linux-image-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 (2.6.37-10) ...
Running depmod.
Running update-initramfs.
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
Examining /etc/kernel/postinst.d.
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/postinst.d/initramfs-tools 2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/postinst.d/pm-utils 2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/postinst.d/update-notifier 2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/postinst.d/zz-update-grub 2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64 /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
Generating grub.cfg ...
Found background image: /usr/share/images/desktop-base/desktop-grub.png
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.37-1.dmz.2-liquorix-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-1.dmz.1-liquorix-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.37-1.dmz.1-liquorix-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-0.dmz.7-liquorix-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.37-0.dmz.7-liquorix-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37-0.dmz.6-liquorix-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.37-0.dmz.6-liquorix-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-5-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-5-amd64
Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sda1
Setting up linux-image-2.6-liquorix-amd64 (2.6.37-10) ...

Current status: 0 updates [-2], 906 new [-1].

I’m not the type to run off-distro kernels. While it’s generally not something I’m comfortable with, Liquorix packages these kernels specifically for Debian and optimizes them for desktop use. I have never had a problem.

The reason I’m using Liquorix kernels is that my hardware runs better on the 2.6.37 Linux kernel than it does on the stock 2.6.32 kernel that ships with Debian.

The big difference (and the only one that matters to me) is that the weak sound module (Conexant 5069) in my Lenovo G555 laptop. With the ALSA 1.0.23 driver (many distros ship 1.0.23 ALSA with the 1.0.21 driver in the kernel), I’ve been able to plug in headphones, get audio through them and have the speakers mute. Sounds like a given, but on some distros with the 1.0.23 ALSA driver I can do this with a configuration-file change. In Debian with 2.6.37, this works out of the box.

I’m not crazy about new kernels every few days (or even every few weeks if it’s not absolutely necessary), and I hope to try the Debian Sid kernel when it finally goes past 2.6.32.

But the whole idea of running Debian Stable, in which the apps aren’t yet completely ancient with selected newer bits like the kernel and maybe a few packages from Debian Backports (web browsers and such) is very appealing to me due to the fact that Squeeze is working well on my hardware and for my workflow.

Thu, 17 Feb 2011

A successful (mostly) upgrade from Debian Lenny to Squeeze

It’s by no means a production system, but I still maintain and occasionally use a 1999-era Compaq Armada 7770dmt laptop that I purchased as quasi-surplus when I was just starting to explore Linux and BSD in 2007 or ‘08.

I paid , and hence the machine became known as The Laptop. I spent an additional for a CD drive (and I’d like to spend on an extra hard-drive caddy — the thing’s built like a tank; a plastic tank, but a tank nonetheless).

The Compaq still has its original 3 GB hard drive (I think it’s an IBM drive, but it’s been so long since I’ve had it out of the case, I can’t remember).

The machine came to me with 64 GB of RAM. I boosted it to the maximum, which is a whopping 144 MB. The Pentium II MMX processor running at 233 MHz isn’t as bad as you’d think.

The machine has provided fodder for at least 50 blog entries, including a long series on which OS to run on it. I can’t remember if OpenBSD or Debian won at that time, but over the years it’s spent considerable time running Puppy Linux as well.

For at least a year I’ve had Debian Lenny on it. Since it’s a slow, memory- and disk-space-limited machine, I didn’t install the default GNOME desktop and all that comes along with it. I instead began with the “standard” install, then added X, the Xfce desktop (I could’ve gone with Xfce or Fvwm2, but I prefer Xfce …) and a very few (and select) applications: MtPaint for image editing, Geany for text editing, Opera for web browsing (although I added the much-slower Iceweasel/Firefox at some point), gFTP as the FTP client, and not much else.

I’ve actually installed the “full” Xfce desktop set of packages on it before, and there was enough room for OpenOffice. OO actually ran passably well on this old “kit,” as they say across the Atlantic. Not tolerably enough for regular use, but OK in a pinch as we say over here (and probably over there).

But it’s been a minimal Debian Lenny for a long time. Aside from a relative lightness that enables you to do more with the hardware than many systems (Ubuntu and Xubuntu wouldn’t even boot, let alone install), the length of support that Debian releases enjoy — lately two years as Stable and an additional year as Old Stable — makes it easy to “set it and forget it.”

And that’s what I’ve done.

But now that Squeeze is Stable, I felt it was time to give an in-place upgrade a try. And I wanted it to work, unlike my hasty and non-successful Lenny-to-Squeeze upgrade attempt last year, well before the Release Notes I used earlier this week were there to save me.

(This entry continues months later … June 28, 2011 to be exact)

I meant to finish this entry at the time, and since then I’ve done the upgrade, fiddled with the machine a bit, but have no idea where my notes went (or if I made any). Notes are a great idea when doing upgrades. My Linux guru Carla Schroder swears by them.

The reason this was a (mostly) successful upgrade from Lenny to Squeeze was that I used the Release Notes and did all the required preparation that resulted in apt-get dist-upgrade actually working.

The only problem I’m having with the upgraded laptop is that Grub2 isn’t working. Luckily the way Debian does the upgrade, Grub1 (aka Grub Legacy) chainloads to Grub2, and if Grub2 doesn’t work, you don’t have a dead system.

In the intervening time, I haven’t been able to get Grub2 to find the kernel. I’m not sure what’s wrong, but since I still have Grub1, the system continues to run.

If I haven’t misplaced it in recent weeks, I have a 20 GB hard drive floating around here somewhere that I could swap into the Compaq Armada 7770dmt to do a clean Debian Squeeze install to see if Grub2 works when it’s not an upgrade.

Sat, 12 Feb 2011

LibreOffice is coming to Debian Squeeze Backports

Debian Squeeze includes OpenOffice 3.2.1, which runs pretty well, I might add. But the buzz in the open-source world is all about LibreOffice, the fork of OO by developers less than happy with Oracle’s treatment of the open-source community.

But Squeeze is now Stable, and it offers OO 3.2.1. What if you want to try LibreOffice 3.3.x?

Well, according to this bug report, it looks like plans are in the works to bring LibreOffice to Debian Backports, where it will be packaged for Squeeze.

All quiet on the Debian Squeeze front

When you run Debian Stable, you get used to updates to the system being few and far between.

While there is certainly some truth to the open-source OS adage that bugs related to functionality (and not security) at release tend to stay unpatched, the emphasis in Debian on releasing when ready means there are theoretically (and practically) fewer broken pieces in the system and not as much need to push updates for non-security-related issues.

So a Stable installation of Debian doesn’t have the Update Manager (or apt or Aptitude) working all that hard.

While it might be boring (and make many geeks itchy for the kind of constant updates that many systems push to users), it’s also efficient. If you’ve set up the system the way you want it, then tested everything and are satisfied that things work the way you expect, a stable, boring Stable release can really boost your productivity.

Chances are, what’s not broken won’t break — and certainly won’t be broken with an update from Debian.

It’s not the cutting edge, the bleeding edge, the leading edge, but a comfortable, conservative build with nothing broken — for the most part.

Key to choosing any distro/project release of an operating system is whether or not it runs well on your hardware and performs your tasks the way you like and expect. If you have a favorite OS/environment in a general sense, I’d say be flexible — a different hunk of hardware might not respond so well, and the version of a particular software package in a given release might not work as well as a newer (or even an older) version.

Many, if not most application developers tend to fix bugs and then release a new version. They don’t backport those fixes to the versions in a given Debian or Ubuntu release. That’s where things like Backports (in Debian) PPAs (in Ubuntu) and what I remember being called “development” builds in Fedora can come in handy. If you really rely on a particular application, finding a newer (or older) version in a different repository, or with a .deb or .rpm package, or even building it yourself from source (or a port in BSD) can make a given OS installation work better for you.

In my case, that “holy grail” app is gThumb, the image organizer/editor. Fedora was a great place to run gThumb because the newest versions were always being pushed via the package manager if the “development” version was installed.

In my case, the gThumb version in vanilla Debian Squeeze does everything I need it to do. Same for OpenOffice and the dozen or so other applications that I rely on day to day.

But I’m not above using Debian Backports, pulling from Sid, or grabbing a .deb or the source to keep my workflow, uh, flowing.

As I’ve written way too many times, while I do have the stock 2.6.32 Linux kernel installed on my Squeeze laptop, I’ve been running the Liquorix 2.6.37 kernel for about a month, and I expect I’ll soon be seeing the 2.6.38 kernel (with the much-heralded 200-line patch that’s supposed to make everything faster and better).

I also plan to follow the newer kernels in Debian Backports; while Liquorix has been great, I feel better running as much out of the Debian repositories as possible (and I consider Debian Multimedia, which I use heavily, to be “official” enough).

Tue, 08 Feb 2011

What happened to Debian Live images for PowerPC?

I remember writing about the novelty of the Debian Live Project’s inclusion of PowerPC among the architectures for which it was producing Squeeze alpha images.

If you look at the Debian Live releases page and click through the links. You’ll see that live images for the PowerPC architecture were made for 6.0 Alpha 1 and Alpha 2. But the betas, the release candidates and the final release are i386 and amd64 only.

What happened? I praised Debian Live for taking care of PowerPC users in a way that most other distributions do not. These days you can’t even get an “official” Ubuntu ISO for PowerPC. Fedora dropped PowerPC, too. In my tests, Debian was always the best distribution for older PowerPC machines anyway, and the project still supports the architecture with installers.

But the live images were something else. It’s great to be able to “audition” a live image before committing to a full installation.

At this point, it looks like PowerPC users can’t do that anymore.

Comments from the original FlatPress post

Jeroen Diederen Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 16:35:16

I have tried several times to get support for powerpc Debian live. I always got the answer that he (Daniel Baumann) was on holidays. Never heard of it ever since. I guess you cannot stay in your holidays forever… This project is as dead as dead can be. In Debian Squeeze you cannot even get the easiest live cd made for PPC using the scripts. That’s the reason you don’t see those images. It’s sad, but there is no active support anymore.

steven Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 19:07:01

The fact that they had PowerPC support for the live images was so novel, I hardly could believe that they did it in the first place. At least with the Alpha images you can see how your PowerPC system responds to Debian Squeeze before deciding whether or not to install from the non-live (but up-to-date) PowerPC ISOs. I’ve written many times - I ran a G4 on Debian Etch for awhile, and it was a very nice OS for the hardware.

Kyle Reynolds Conway Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 19:06:23

So is Etch the thing to run on an ailing PPC Mac Mini? Live images really do ease the nerves though.

klhrevolution Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 19:32:25

While it would be nice I’m grateful for what we’ve got as this release is going well on the old eMac. Hopefully powerpc can be supported for years to come and if a live-image is spit out every now and again then even better.

steven Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 20:05:56

Don’t worry so much about the live image. I would just do an installation of Squeeze. Debian itself still supports PowerPC - and very well, too. It’s just the live images that aren’t available for the final release. The reason I’ve been keeping an eye on the Debian Live project is that I thought it novel that they were introducing a PowerPC live image just as everybody else was dropping PowerPC entirely (Ubuntu, Fedora).

I definitely encourage all PowerPC users to try the Alpha 2 image for Squeeze, or just jump right in and do an installation from the regular ISO.

Etch was great on my G4, and I think Squeeze should be just as good. I let the G4 go months ago, so I don’t have anything at the moment on which I’d run a Linux distro. I’m pretty much sticking to i386/amd64 these days.

zoobab Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 13:50:11

Debian developers still do not understand that users wants livecds, not debian-installer where you have to click 200 times to get your installation done. Kyle Reynolds Conway

Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 14:01:36

Sort of an update — I installed squeeze onto my ppc macmini to great success. The only two problems I’ve noticed is that wireless doesn’t work out of the box (any suggestions there?) and that bluetooth acts very strange indeed (recognizing devices and even setting them up… but then they don’t work at all). Can’t say I’m displeased though. Much happier than I was with the sluggish, no longer upgradable and increasingly obsolete mac os on that machine. Thanks for the help!

steven Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 20:45:05

Here’s my suggestion for wireless: Add the non-free repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list.

Try to figure out what kind of wireless card the computer is using. Add the firmware for that. It could be Broadcom http://packages.debian.org/squeeze/broadcom-sta-common …

You could also add the firmware-linux-nonfree package http://packages.debian.org/squeeze/firmware-linux-nonfree, which enabled my ATI video chip to use DRI and hence make suspend/resume work.

If you do a little bit of searching, I’m pretty sure you can get the proper firmware or driver to make wireless work.

Suspend/resume in Debian Squeeze with the stock 2.6.32 and 2.6.37 Liquorix kernels on the Lenovo G555

Suspend/resume. Or in words that non-geeks can understand, sleeping/waking up. It’s one of those things that not just Linux but also BSD and even Windows have been trying to get right for years.

It’s all about standards and drivers, which tend to be non-standard and poorly functioning in a given software environment.

I’ve never had a machine that I’ve used for my day-to-day computing that suspended and resumed properly in Linux. The Lenovo G555 (purchased early 2010) seems to do well with suspend/resume in Windows 7.

And our aging iBook G4 (2003-ish) does suspend/resume like a champ. That’s how it is with Apple’s OS X and their tight control over the hardware on which their software runs. That’s the holy grail for me; suspend/resume is fast, it always works, the network is back up within a couple of seconds.

Even OpenBSD is working on suspend/resume via the ACPI system in most computers these days. I have yet to try OpenBSD 4.8, in which this feature has received a whole lot of work.

But Linux? I haven’t had a whole lot of luck. Not with my Gateway Solo 1450 (now the 7-year-old’s laptop), the Toshiba 1100-S101, or the Lenovo G555. One reason I bought the Lenovo (the main reason being a nexus of “cheap” and “Lenovo”) was that I hoped it would benefit from the connection to Thinkpads of yore, which are traditionally well-supported by free, open-source operating systems.

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