Installing Windows 8 Release Preview on a Dell Inspiron e1505

This is an update to the previous post. I have updated the laptop with release preview.

Laptop Specification and Challenges

Name Dell Inspiron e1505 / 6400
CPU Core Duo T2500 1.7 Ghz
RAM 2 Gb
Screen 1280 x 800
Video ATI Mobility Radeon X1300
Optical Drive DVD+-RW
Ethernet Broadcom 440x 10/100 Ethernet
Wireless Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g
Bluetooth Dell 350 Bluetooth
Modem Conexant 56K Modem
Card Reader Ricoh R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Card Reader
Other Connectors ExpressCard Slot, USB and 1394a Firewire

The Dell Inspiron e1505 (also call Dell Inspiron 6400) is really not all that old. It uses a Core Duo, a predecessor of the Core2 Duo. The CPU is more than fast  enough for everyday use. The CPU however is 32-bit and will not run 64-bit windows. I believe there are later versions of Dell e1505 with 64-bit Core2 Duo processors.

The challenge to installing Window 8 is that the machine is not even Windows 7 Certified. Dell does not support running Windows 7 on it. It is however Vista Certified so we at least have Vista drivers.

Despite not being Windows 7 certified, Dell e1505 worked mostly out of the box for Windows 7 except for the video card, the card reader and bluetooth. Since Windows 8′s internal are similar to Windows 7, this would be a good indication of what windows 8 would be like.

Installation Experience

I downloaded Windows 8 release Preview and burned it to a DVD. I swapped out the laptop’s hard disk with a blank hard disk. The installation was fairly uneventful.

  1. Install blank hard disk into the laptop.
  2. Insert Windows 8 Release Preview into the laptop and press the on button. Immediately press F12 to go to the boot menu. Select boot from DVD and when prompted on screen, press any key to boot from the DVD.
  3. Follow the instruction and install Windows 8 using the default options. What was a surprise is that by default Windows 8 by default partition the drive into two partition, reserving a small 350 Mb partition for what appears to be for recovery. The instruction also prompts you for a Windows Live ID so it can integrate your login with a windows live ID account, but a windows live ID is not necessary to continue.

The OS boots into the new Metro interface. However, when I examined the screen closely, the screen appear to be running at 1024×768 instead of the usual 1280×800 and there are some devices missing.

Component Description Status Notes
CPU Core Duo T2500 1.7 Ghz Working
RAM 2 Gb Working
Video ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 Not working Video card not detected. Using basic VGA
Optical Drive DVD+-RW Working
Ethernet Broadcom 440x 10/100 Ethernet Working
Wireless Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g Working
Bluetooth Dell 350 Bluetooth Working
Modem Conexant 56K Modem Working
Card Reader Ricoh R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Card Reader Sort of working SDHC card can be read, but device manager shows problems
Other Connectors ExpressCard Slot, USB and 1394a Firewire Working I was only able to test the USB, but device manager does not show errors. I assume that they are working.

Basically, everything appears to work except for the video and the card reader. Actually, the card reader appears to be working too but the device manager shows 2 “base system device” as not working.

Fixing the Video Card

Dell does not provide any Windows 7 drivers for the x1300 card. Windows 7 does have a x1300 in their windows update, but forum posts indicated that that version has a bug where the video driver will crash after resuming from hibernation (I believe they are using version  8.561.0.0 ). Based on the post, I should be using the drivers provided by AMD.

The lastest AMD driver for the card is AMD Catalyst 10.2 legacy display driver, but it appears to be available only for Vista. The Catalyst installer will not work on the Dell e1505 because  Catalyst won’t install on Dell laptops, but you have to run a tool call Mobility Modder to make the installer work. The instruction for modder instructs the user to download the driver and then run the modder on it to fix the configuration file and then run the modded installer. Rather than messing around with this, I notice that Donotargue.com has already created a modded version of the driver. You can download that driver here. Make sure you download the 32-bit version and not the 64-bit version.

The drivers are Vista 32-bit drivers and won’t install normally. You have to run them as Vista drivers by doing the following:

  1. Go to control panel and select “Turn Windows Features On and Off”.  Make sure that the checkbox for the “Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5.1″ and all of the checkbox underneath is checked. This will enable and install .Net for Windows 8. Failure to do this step will result in “MOM.implementation or CLI.implementation” error when you open  Catalyst.
  2. Right-click on the Installer setup application and select Troubleshoot compatibility.
  3. After it runs through the compatibility detection, select “Troubleshoot program”.
  4. On the screen “What problem do you notice”, check to make sure that the option for earlier version for windows is checked. Press the next button.
  5. On the screen “Which version of windows”, select Window Vista and press Next.
  6. On the screen “Test compatibility”, press the Start the Program button. Press Yes when you get a UAC prompt.
  7. Now follow the instruction to install. I used the option for express install.

The installer appears to crash at the end of installation, resulting in a blank screen. However, when I rebooted the machine, the screen was now in 1280×800. The device manager correctly identified the display adapter as “ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1300″ with a version of 8.593.100.0 and indicate that it’s working correctly. I attempted to play some youtube video at 720p and it displayed properly. Running 3dmark05 displayed a score of around 1027, which sound about right. Resume from hibernation appears to work, as does the Catalyst Control Panel.

Fixing the Card Reader

Windows 8 does intall a SDA Host Adapter and when I plug in a SD card, it appears to work. However, the device manager still report that there are two base system device that are not working. Perhaps the built-in Windows 8 driver only enable SD card, and not other formats.

To fix this, I install the Ricoh driver from Dell, which you can download here.

Fixing the Synaptics Touchpad

Touchpad driver is not installed by default. You can download the driver from here.

Conclusion

Other than the video card, installation of Windows 8 on Dell Inspiron e1505 has been mostly trouble-free. The system seems to work properly most of the time, but sometimes lockup or behaves strangely. Since Windows 8 is beta, it’s hard to tell if the crashes are due to old video driver or due to the product being beta. In addition, this is no guarantee that the release version of Windows 8 will work with Dell Inspiron e1505, but based on what we know there’s a really good chance that it will.

June 24, 2012 at 11:59 am 3 comments

Installing Windows 8 Developer Preview on a Dell Inspiron e1505

We have a laptop that’s currently running Windows XP. We have had no complaints about XP and was satisfied with the OS, but Apple recently released iCloud and it wasn’t compatible with XP. Originally, we were thinking of upgrading to Windows 7, but since Windows 8 preview is available, we can test if the new version of windows will work with the laptop.

Laptop Specification and Challenges

Name Dell Inspiron e1505 / 6400
CPU Core Duo T2500 1.7 Ghz
RAM 2 Gb
Screen 1280 x 800
Video ATI Mobility Radeon X1300
Optical Drive DVD+-RW
Ethernet Broadcom 440x 10/100 Ethernet
Wireless Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g
Bluetooth Dell 350 Bluetooth
Modem Conexant 56K Modem
Card Reader Ricoh R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Card Reader
Other Connectors ExpressCard Slot, USB and 1394a Firewire

The Dell Inspiron e1505 (also call Dell Inspiron 6400) is really not all that old. It uses a Core Duo, a predecessor of the Core2 Duo. The CPU is more than fast  enough for everyday use. The CPU however is 32-bit and will not run 64-bit windows. I believe there are later versions of Dell e1505 with 64-bit Core2 Duo processors.

The challenge to installing Window 8 is that the machine is not even Windows 7 Certified. Dell does not support running Windows 7 on it. It is however Vista Certified so we at least have Vista drivers.

Despite not being Windows 7 certified, Dell e1505 worked mostly out of the box for Windows 7 except for the video card, the card reader and bluetooth. Since Windows 8′s internal are similar to Windows 7, this would be a good indication of what windows 8 would be like.

Installation Experience

I downloaded Windows 8 Developer Preview and burned it to a DVD. I swapped out the laptop’s hard disk with a blank hard disk. The installation was fairly uneventful.

  1. Install blank hard disk into the laptop.
  2. Insert Windows 8 Developer Preview into the laptop and press the on button. Immediately press F12 to go to the boot menu. Select boot from DVD and when prompted on screen, press any key to boot from the DVD.
  3. Follow the instruction and install Windows 8 using the default options. What was a surprise is that by default Windows 8 by default partition the drive into two partition, reserving a small 350 Mb partition for what appears to be for recovery. The instruction also prompts you for a Windows Live ID so it can integrate your login with a windows live ID account, but a windows live ID is not necessary to continue.

The OS boots into the new Metro interface. However, when I examined the screen closely, the screen appear to be running at 1024×768 instead of the usual 1280×800 and there are some devices missing.

Component Description Status Notes
CPU Core Duo T2500 1.7 Ghz Working
RAM 2 Gb Working
Video ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 Not working Video card not detected. Using basic VGA
Optical Drive DVD+-RW Working
Ethernet Broadcom 440x 10/100 Ethernet Working
Wireless Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g Working
Bluetooth Dell 350 Bluetooth Working
Modem Conexant 56K Modem Working
Card Reader Ricoh R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Card Reader Sort of working SDHC card can be read, but device manager shows problems
Other Connectors ExpressCard Slot, USB and 1394a Firewire Working I was only able to test the USB, but device manager does not show errors. I assume that they are working.

Basically, everything appears to work except for the video and the card reader. Actually, the card reader appears to be working too but the device manager shows 2 “base system device” as not working.

Fixing the Video Card

Dell does not provide any Windows 7 drivers for the x1300 card. Windows 7 does have a x1300 in their windows update, but forum posts indicated that that version has a bug where the video driver will crash after resuming from hibernation (I believe they are using version  8.561.0.0 ). Based on the post, I should be using the drivers provided by AMD.

The lastest AMD driver for the card is AMD Catalyst 10.2 legacy display driver, but it appears to be available only for Vista. The Catalyst installer will not work on the Dell e1505 because  Catalyst won’t install on Dell laptops, but you have to run a tool call Mobility Modder to make the installer work. The instruction for modder instructs the user to download the driver and then run the modder on it to fix the configuration file and then run the modded installer. Rather than messing around with this, I notice that Donotargue.com has already created a modded version of the driver. You can download that driver here. Make sure you download the 32-bit version and not the 64-bit version.

The drivers are Vista 32-bit drivers and won’t install normally. You have to run them as Vista drivers by doing the following:

  1. Right-click on the Installer setup application and select Troubleshoot compatibility.
  2. After it runs through the compatibility detection, select “Troubleshoot program”.
  3. On the screen “What problem do you notice”, check to make sure that the option for earlier version for windows is checked. Press the next button.
  4. On the screen “Which version of windows”, select Window Vista and press Next.
  5. On the screen “Test compatibility”, press the Start the Program button. Press Yes when you get a UAC prompt.
  6. Now follow the instruction to install. I used the option for express install.

The installer appears to crash at the end of installation, resulting in a blank screen. However, when I rebooted the machine, the screen was now in 1280×800. The device manager correctly identified the display adapter as “ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1300″ with a version of 8.593.100.0 and indicate that it’s working correctly. I attempted to play some youtube video at 720p and it displayed properly. Running 3dmark05 displayed a score of around 1027, which sound about right. Resume from hibernation appears to work, as does the Catalyst Control Panel.

Fixing the Card Reader

Windows 8 does intall a SDA Host Adapter and when I plug in a SD card, it appears to work. However, the device manager still report that there are two base system device that are not working. Perhaps the built-in Windows 8 driver only enable SD card, and not other formats.

To fix this, I install the Ricoh driver from Dell, which you can download here.

Conclusion

Other than the video card, installation of Windows 8 on Dell Inspiron e1505 has been mostly trouble-free. The system seems to work properly most of the time, but sometimes lockup or behaves strangely. Since Windows 8 is beta, it’s hard to tell if the crashes are due to old video driver or due to the product being beta. In addition, this is no guarantee that the release version of Windows 8 will work with Dell Inspiron e1505, but based on what we know there’s a really good chance that it will.

January 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm 4 comments

Fedora 15 on Acer 3680

This blog documents my experience with running Fedora 15 on Acer Aspire 3680-2633. Previously, this laptop had been running Linux Fedora 14. I decided t reformat all of the drives to ext4 and reinstall from scratch.

Why use Fedora 15?

Fedora is for people who wants to run on the bleeding edge. It is for people who want to try new things. In this case, Fedora 15 is one of the few distro at the moment using Gnome 3. Fedora is not for people who wants a mission critical system because it can be unstable.

Installation experience

The instruction is fairly straightforward so I won’t rehash the basic install here. According to uname -a, my machine is running kernel 2.6.38.8-35.fc15.i686. This is after we apply all of the updates.

Hardware Component Status under OS Notes
Intel Celeron M520 1.6 Ghz CPU Working Note that there is no frequency or voltage scaling on this Celeron.
Intel 943 GML Video Working Gnome 3 is able to use the 3D mode.
14 inch LCD Working Brightness function keys works.
Intel 82801G HDA Audio Working Correctly detected headphone and disable speaker.Volume function keys work. For some bizarre reason, you can set your volume control to 150%, which makes the laptop speaker actually audible (this laptop has terrible speakers). Mute function key works.
2 Gb RAM, DDR2 Working The full 2 Gb ram is available.
Western Digital WD800BEVS 80 Gb SATA Hard Drive Working
Optiarc CD-RW CRX880A Working
Keyboard Working Many of the Hot keys works.
Synaptics Touchpad Working
Marvel 88E8038 PCI-E Ethernet Working
Atheros AR2413 802.11bg Wireless(Keep in mind that Acer used several different type of wireless, so your hardware may be different) Working with modifications I encountered a problem where the wireless is discovered but i unavailable. The front switch to turn on and off network apparently does not work under Fedora 15. This appears to be the only distro where the native ath5k appears to work properly and I didn’t need to install madwifi.
Battery Working
Modem Untested I can see the soft modem driver, but did not test it.
USB Working
TI 5-in-one Card Reader Working Tested only with SD card
TI Cardbus Untested Probably works
Sitecom Bluetooth (third party install) Working This is a USB module that plugs into the Acer 3680′s internal bluetooth connector. Note that this is a third party module.
Laptop Power Management Working Note that Celeron do not have frequency scaling. Sleep and hibernation works properly.Gnome 3 apparently remove the option to set your laptop lid close.
Suspend to RAM (suspend) Working
Suspend to Disk (hibernation) Working However, there is no suspend menu item, so you end up programming the sleep or power button to trigger a hiberation.
Multimedia playback Working with modification Fedora never comes with flash and codec. I had to manually install flash and VLC.

 

Problems with Wireless
The Atheros AR2413 was detected, but failed to detect any wireless. This was because the wireless was turned off. Pressing on the physical switch did not switch it on. I fixed it by doing the following:

  1. Open a terminal and su to root.
  2. Run yum install rfkill to install rfkill.
  3. Remove the driver by running rmmod ath5k, apparently we have to run rfkill when ath5k is down.
  4. Run rfkill unblock all.
  5. Reinstall the ath5k by using modprobe ath5k.

July 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Artisan 835 Printer Issues on Windows

Recently, I received an Artisan 835 Printer for Christmas. The printing was perfect, but I was unable to scan or get the printer ink level to work. The problem turned out to be all firewall related. When I turn off the firewall, everything works just fine. Using process monitor, I was able to locate the programs to add as an exception to the firewall.

Symptom

When you attempt to check your ink level, the ink level is blank. When launch the Epson status monitor, you get “searching…” and then the following error:

Check all connections and make sure all devices are on. If the power was turned off during printing, cancel the print job. If the error does not clear, see your printer documentation.

Solution

The connection is being blocked by the firewall. Open windows firewall in the control panel and click on the exception tab. Click on add program and enter the following program:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\EPSON\EBAPI\eEBSvc.exe

After the progrom has been added. The ink level should now appear and the Epson status monitor should now work.

 

Symptom

When you select Epson Scan application, it errors out with the following error:

Cannot Communicate with the scanner.
Make sure the scanner is on, correctly setup and connected with no errors indicated.
For detail information, see Solving Problems in the User’s Guide

Solution

Open the windows firewall from the control panel. Click on exception tab and add the following program as an exception.

C:\WINDOWS\twain_32\escndv\escndv.exe

Now Epson Scan should work when you launch it.

January 29, 2011 at 11:59 am 5 comments

Sata2 hard drive does not work on an older machine

I recently purchased a 2TB SATA2 drive to use for backup on my old computer. The computer is old but have a SATA 1.5 Gb connector on the motherboard. The drive uses a SATA2 (3.0 Gb) interface. SATA2 uses the same connector as SATA and I thought they were backwards compatible with eachother. Apparently, this was not the case. The drive was powering up and spinning, but is not able to autodetect the slower interface.

I went to the drive manufacturer’s web site and looked up the manual. In the manual, it indicated that you can set the jumper to the slower interface. I added the jumper and the drive worked right away. Since it is not a fast drive, I am doubtful that SATA2 would have made much of a difference in the performance any way. So if your SATA drive do not work with an older machine and the power and connection appears to be correct, you may want to see if you can lock the drive at the lower transfer rate to get it to work.

 

December 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Cannot set the background of Windows XP, caused by Logmein

I help my mother out by using a product call Logmein to remote login to her machine. As long as the network is working, I can fix most of the problem she has at the other end. Recently, she encountered a problem that me stump for a long time. Apparently, her background picture on her PC disappeared. I login using Logmein to fix the problem but no matter which picture I select, it won’t appear as a background.

Normally, this sort of thing would be either a policy or registry issue. Since she is using XP Home, there are really no group policies. Playing around with Regedit, I was able to trace the cause down to the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoActiveDesktop

The key was set to 1. I deleted the key and reboot. Much to my surprise, it recreated the key and set it back to 1. After hours of playing around, I discovered that this is caused by Logmein itself. At some point recently, Logmein updated with a new version and with that update changed a setting where the desktop background is turned off while I am logged into Logmein. The way it does this is to set NoActiveDesktop to 1 when logmein is on and set it back to zero when logmein client is disconnected. The machine must have crashed when I was using Logmein, causing the computer to be stuck in a picture-less state.

December 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm 2 comments

Novell Opensuse 11.2 on Acer 3680-2633

This blog documents my experience with running Novell Opensuse 11.2  on Acer Aspire 3680-2633. Previously, this laptop had been running Linux Mint 8. I decided to give Opensuse a tried again.

Why Opensuse

Suse used to be one of the most popular distros. It is still popular but its popularity has been eclipsed by Ubuntu. One reason to try Opensuse is that it’s a fairly Gnome / KDE neutral distro. Unlike Ubuntu and Mint, which comes in separate Gnome and KDE editions, Opensuse allow you to install either Gnome and KDE from the same disc.

Opensuse also worked a bit to tweak their desktop and supposedly have better integration with Microsoft stuff. They also have a build service where different developers can share build packages. I used it to get a build of the wicd. My reason for trying Opensuse again was to play around with mono and just plain curiousity since I use Suse a long time ago and was wondering how they improved.

Installation Instructions

According to uname -a, my machine is running kernel 2.6.31.12-0.1-desktop2.6.31.12-0.1-desktop. Note that I install the Gnome desktop.

Hardware Component Status under OS Notes
Intel Celeron M520 1.6 Ghz CPU Working Note that there is no frequency or voltage scaling on this Celeron.
Intel 943 GML Video Working Compiz seems to work perfectly.
14 inch LCD Working Brightness function keys works.
Intel 82801G HDA Audio Working with slight modifications Correctly detected headphone and disable speaker.Volume function keys work. For some bizarre reason, you can set your volume control to 150%, which makes the laptop speaker actually audible (this laptop has terrible speakers).

You can mute by pressing Fn+F8, but cannot unmute. This is apparently a Gnome configuration issue.

2 Gb RAM, DDR2 Working The full 2 Gb ram is available.
Western Digital WD800BEVS 80 Gb SATA Hard Drive Working
Optiarc CD-RW CRX880A Working
Keyboard Working Many of the Hot keys works.
Synaptics Touchpad Working
Marvel 88E8038 PCI-E Ethernet Working
Atheros AR2413 802.11bg Wireless Working with modifications Connection is only reliable if you install madwifi,which is available as a package, but the package turned out to be unreliable. I ended up building madwifi from source.You’ll also need to use wicd to maintain a steady connection. Wicd is available through the Opensuse build service.
Battery Working
Modem Untested Unlike Linux Mint, no soft modem driver is offered.
USB Working
TI 5-in-one Card Reader Working Tested only with SD card
TI Cardbus Untested Probably works
Sitecom Bluetooth (third party install) Working This is a USB module that plugs into the Acer 3680′s internal bluetooth connector. Note that this is a third party module.
Laptop Power Management Working Note that Celeron do not have frequency scaling. Sleep and hibernation works properly.
Suspend to RAM Working with Modification Suspends works fine with ath5k. Too bad ath5k doesn’t work with the wireless. Need to add ath_pci to the unload modules list.
Suspend to Disk Working
Multimedia playback Working Was unable to get Totem to work, but was able to install vlc and mplayer and play virtually all of the video formats without issues.

Unlike Fedora 12,  I encountered no strange install errors during installation. Unlike Linux Mint, there were no mysterious kernel panic lockups. Madwifi was also available as a package, which means I didn’t have to compile madwifi. Wicd package was available in Opensuse’s build service, but was more tricky to install than Linux Mint.

If you like Mono, this may be the distribution to use since MonoDevelop is almost always available for Opensuse. However, I was able to easily found the latest MonoDevelop for Ubuntu based distros.

Install instruction

You will need an ethernet connection since your wireless will not be working during the install. One gotta to watch out for is that Opensuse defaults to automatic login. If you don’t like automatic login, you should keep an eye out of the option and uncheck it. The automatic installation option makes the installation faster, but it doesn’t give you an option to set the host name. You can set it later. Another nice touch is that Opensuse automatically detected my “/”, “/home”, and swap partitions on my hard drive.

  1. Install Opensuse 11.2 on the laptop. I used the default options except for partitioning, which I setup with a 3 partition for “/”, “/home”, and swap. When setting up partition, make sure you have a swap that’s at least 2 Gb. The reason is that when you hibernate, it will save the memory to swap and you will need swap space that’s the same size as your RAM or larger. I also make sure that I did not use automatic login. I also disabled UTC because I plan to run windows under Virtualbox. It’s not easy to make windows use UTC time.
  2. Shutdown and hook  the laptop to Ethernet.
  3. Restart the laptop. The Opensuse installer will use the connection to download the rest of the software.
  4. After installation, login, click on YAST and go to Network Settings and set your host name (since I didn’t like the default one set by the installer.
  5. Do a software update.

Opensuse has GUI method of installing madwifi, but it’s faster to copy and paste from the command line. So a lot of the following madwifi install will be using the command line.

Fixing the Unmute issue

When you press Fn+F8, the volume mutes, but pressing the hotkey again does not unmute. According to Novell, this is because they are following Thinkpad convention; this is contrary to the behavior on the other distros. To correct, do the following:

  1. Run Gnome Configuration Editor.
  2. Go to /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/
  3. Set toggle_mute to true (default is false).

Installing MadWifi

As in both Linux Mint 8 and Fedora 12, ath5K is not yet reliable enough for use with the Acer 3680′s Atheros wireless. I encountered massive drop outs and low performance of less than 1 Mb. Based on my previous experience with Linux Mint, the NDISwrapper will not work with WPA authentication. Note that I am using WPA2 with AES.

I originally use the wireless from the repository in http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/driver:/wireless/openSUSE_11.2 using the madwifi madwifi-kmp-desktop. Initially, it worked great, but then would mysteriously stop working completely for several hours. WPA authenication which worked fine before would stopped working. Reboots and removing the battery did not resolve the issue. Eventually the problem will clear on its own only to return again. To resolve the problem, I downloaded the madwifi and installed it.

  1. Download the madwifi to your home directory. I use the following driver: http://snapshots.madwifi-project.org/madwifi-0.9.4-current.tar.gz
  2. Extract the archive.
  3. Open a terminal window and become super user.
  4. cd to the madifi directory you extracted and run the following commands:
    zypper install gcc make linux-kernel-headers kernel-desktop-devel
    make clean
    make
    make install
  5. Add a file “50-blacklist-ath_pci.conf” to the /etc/modprobe.d directory with the following lines:
    blacklist ath5k
  6. Add a file “60madwifi” to /etc/pm/config.d and add the following line:
    SUSPEND_MODULES="ath_pci"

    This will tell the OS to unload ath_pci during suspend, otherwise suspend may fail.

  7. Reboot the computer.

Installing wicd

The Gnome network manager does not work reliably with the madwifi. Every 10 minutes or so, it would drop the wireless connection and then reconnect. Normally, this will not interrupt a download because it recovers before download times out, but it is very annoying to get URL not found when you are web surfing and will disconnect your remote desktop sessions. From my experience with Linux Mint, the KDE network manager has the same problem. There is an alternate network manager call wicd which appears to be entirely stable and do not have the disconnect issue.

Wicd is not available in the standard repository, but it appears that it is available through the Opensuse build service.

Wicd do not co-exists well with Network Manager. After install wicd, the Network Manager should be removed to avoid conflict.

  1. Open a terminal window and become super user.
  2. Enter the following lines:
    zypper -v ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/dmitry_serpokryl:/Enlightenment-cvs-core-metapackage/openSUSE_11.2/ Wicd
    zypper mr -r Wicd
    zypper install wicd
  3. When prompted about the key, enter a and return.
  4. Answer y to install the package.
  5. We need to delete the network manager:
    zypper remove NetworkManager
  6. Answer y to remove the package.
  7. Reboot.
  8. In YAST, Network Configuration. change the network method to “Traditional Method with ifup”. Click on OK.

Install Multimedia

Like most Linux distros, Opensuse comes with no restricted codec support. Fortunately, Opensuse now offers a one-click install. However, part of the installation can be confusing.

  1. Go to http://opensuse-community.org/Restricted_Formats/11.2.
  2. Click on the one-click for your desktop (gnome, kde, etc).
  3. Press OK to use the Yast Meta Package Handler to open the ymp file.
  4. Keep clicking on next until you get a warning asking if you review the changes. Press Yes. You may need to enter your admin password.
  5. When prompted to enter a key, press Import.
  6. At some point, you will receive several prompt stating “There are some conflicts on the transaction that must be solved manually”. The dialog wil list a bunch of packages with a conflict issue. Each package listed will be have several options including options to install, not install, and break dependency. For each package, make sure you select the radio button for install (with vendor change).
  7. Press Apply to do the actual installation.

Unfortunately, after you complete the installation, you’ll find that streaming from your web bowser does not work for a lot of the podcast. Many of the podcast will start playing and then stop with an error. Apparently, the built-in Totem browser plug-in does not work very well. An alternative is the vlc browser plug-in, but that is unacceptable because player has no visual controls, forcing you to navigate by keys. I eventually settle on the using the Gecko Media Player. It should available in the Packman repository that you have setup using the one-click.

  1. You have to had run the one-click for multimedia to add the Packman repository before you start.
  2. Open a terminal, and go to root.
  3. Next you want to remove the totem plug-in and replace it with the Gecko Media Player plug-in. You don’t want to remove totem entirely. The Nautilus file manager uses a Totem plug-in (a different one than the browser plug-in) to generate thumbnails. Remove just the Totem plugin by running the following command:
    zypper remove totem-browser-plugin
  4. Once removed, we can install the Gecko Media player by running:
    zypper install gecko-mediaplayer
  5. This should install both Gnome MPlayer and the Gecko plug-in.
  6. When you first run the Gnome MPlayer, you may get this error:
    Failed to open VDPAU backend libvdpau_nvidia.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
    

    This is caused by Gnome MPlayer attempting to use the default VDPAU for outpput, which does not exists. To fix, open Gnome Mplayer, select Edit->Preference, and enter xv into the video output.

  7. You may need to go into the browser’s preference and Manage Content Plug-in to add set each MIME type to use the new plug-in.

March 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm 14 comments

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