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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.

Wed, 23 Feb 2011

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.