Archive for January, 2007

Running Puppy Linux 2.14 on Averatec 2370

Puppy Linux is a live CD distro designed to be small, fast, and bootable from a removable device. I like the idea of a portable OS on a CD or a USB stick that can boot into another computer and leave no trace. I could lug a CD or USB stick instead of a computer. I decided to try installing Puppy Linux on my Averatec 2370 laptop. This is a relatively new machine, so installation may be difficult due to new hardware.

What works out of the box

  • Optical drive
  • Hard drive
  • USB ports
  • Sound

What doesn’t work out of the box but can be configured

  • Wireless
  • Fan
  • Power Management

What doesn’t work out of the box and still needs additonal software

  • Nvidia video – need to download video driver dotpup file

What doesn’t work period

  • 4-in-One SmartCard Reader – there appears to be no drivers currently.

Installing Puppy Linux to a USB Key on an Averatec 2370

  1. Download Puppy Linux from the Puppy Linux site. At the time of this writing, Puppy version 2.14 comes in a SeaMonkey edition and a Unleashed edition. The SeaMonkey is the standard Puppy with its default set of application. The Unleashed version allows you to custom configure your own Puppy live CD. Since Unleashed requires a spare partition and because I really don’t have time to fiddle with setting up a free partition, I am going to use the SeaMonkey edition.
  2. Burn Puppy to a CD. If you don’t have a burner software like Nero, you can download a freeware burner such as CD Burner Pro.
  3. Place the new CD into your computer and boot from the CD.
  4. When the CD boots, you’ll be prompted to enter the boot option. If you just wait, Puppy will boot into the default settings.
  5. Next you’ll be prompted to enter the keyboard layout. Select the one appropriate to your keyboard.
  6. Next you’ll be at the Puppy Video Wizard. You are given the choice for xorg or xvesa. If you select Xorg on the Averatec 2370, it will fail, so select Xvesa.
  7. The graphic should appear. Select the highest resolution at 1024x768x24 and press OK.
  8. Close the Puppy welcome window.
  9. Plug in the USB drive.
  10. Click on the drives icon, find the USB drive you inserted and press Mount.
  11. Select the menu item Menu->Setup->Puppy universal installer. This brings up the Puppy Universal Installer window.
  12. Select USB Flash drive and press OK.
  13. You’ll be prompted to select which drive to install to. Make sure you select the USB drive and press OK.
  14. Click on the normal install button.
  15. Press OK again when asked if you are sure.
  16. Press the CD button when ask where the Puppy files are located.
  17. Make sure the Puppy CD is in the drive, and press OK.
  18. When ask if you want to do with the MBR, select default and press OK.
  19. Select “Just Keep Going” and press OK.
  20. Press the enter key on the final sanity check.
  21. Press the enter key when finished.
  22. The CD will eject. Remove the CD, turn off machine and then turn it back on with the USB key in place. Press F11 when immediately after you switch on the machine. You’ll be prompted with a list of device to boot from.
  23. Select USB.

If everything works, you should end up being prompted to enter the keyboard. Repeat steps 5-7.

Getting the Network card to work with WPA-PSK

Averatec 2370 comes with a RT73 chipset, but Puppy does not automatically detect the right driver, so you have to explicitly install it. In addition, the network wizard does not work, at least not for WPA, so you have to edit the config filie /etc/Wireless/RT73STA/rt73sta.dat. You should also avoid clicking on scan network button. It does list all of the wireless access point in the area, but you can’t pick any of the access points on the listing and you can’t make the window go away.

  1. Click on the Setup icon.
  2. Click on “Connect to Internet by network interface…”.
  3. Click on Load Driver button.
  4. Make sure the Averatec wirelss switch is on. Select rt73 and press OK.
  5. You should get a message that loading has been successful. Press OK.
  6. In the Networ_Setup, you should see a rausb0 button. Normally, you would press the rausb0 and configure the wireless. For some reason, the GUI config does not work, so press the Exit button.
  7. Select Menu->File Managers->uXplor 2-Panel Manager.
  8. Browse to /etc/Wireless/RT73STA.
  9. Right click on the file “rt73sta.dat” and select the menu option “SendTo” and then select “Text Editor”.
  10. Edit the rt73sta.dat file and save. In my case, I have WPA-PSK using TKIP, so I needed to edit the fields SSID, AuthMode, EncrypType, and WPAPSK:
    SSID=<your access point’s ssid>
    AuthMode=WPAPSK
    EncrypType=TKIP
    WPAPSK=<the key>
  11. Click on the Setup icon.
  12. Click on “Connect to Internet by network interface…”.
  13. Click on the rausb0 button.
  14. Click on the Auto DHCP. There should be a brief pause and then you should get a dialog that the DHCP is successful. You are asked if you want to save the configuration.
  15. Press Yes.
  16. Press Exit to exit network setup.

Launch the browser and attempt to access the internet. The wirelss should now be working.

Installing Nvidia driver

Averatec 2370 comes with Nvidia 6100 video with a maximum resolution of 1280×800, but Puppy linux does not include the driver for the card. Puppy actually has two different Xserver: the standard Xorg and XVesa. XVesa is a light weight version of Xorg but does not support direct rendering and is limited to a resolution of 1024×768. Even without direct rendering, the machine appears fast enough to display movies on XVesa. If you can live witht he lower resolution, sticking with XVesa allow you to avoid tainting your kernal with the Nvidia proprietary driver.

A fellow Puppy user has made the Nividia driver into a dotpup file. Unfortunately, some tinkering is needed to get it to work. The following instructions are based on this post. Some manual editing of the xorg.conf file is needed to get the video working.

  1. Download the Nvidia dotpup file InstallNvidia.
  2. Select Menu->File Managers->Rox-Filter file manager.
  3. Browse to where you download the pup file and click on it to run the installer and press the Run button.
  4. You’ll be prompt to delete the pup file, I would press Yes to get rid of it or it will be save when you shutdown Puppy.
  5. Select Menu->Exit to Prompt.
  6. Type the command installnvidia to bring up the install screen.
  7. Options 1 does not work, so select option 3 to bring up the Puppy video wizard.
  8. Press xorg to bring up a list of monitors.
  9. Select “LCD Panel 1280×800” and press OK.
  10. Select the resolution 1280x800x24 and press OK. This takes us back to the installer screen.
  11. Select option 6 to install the 9629 driver.
  12. Select option 0 to exit to command line.
  13. Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
  14. Scroll to the section “ServerLayout”, you’ll notice a line for “Screen 1” Right of “Screen0”. Delete this line.
  15. Scroll to the section “Monitor” with “Monitor1”. Delete this entire section.
  16. Scroll to the section “Device” with “Card1”. Delete this entire section.
  17. Save the file and exit the editor.
  18. Type modprobe agpgart. If you don’t, startx will fail, and you’ll get error messages about “unknown symbols”.
  19. Type startx to start up the GUI. You’ll notice the Nvidia logo briefly.

Enabling Averatec Power Management

ACPI seems to be enabled by default, but none of the ACPI modules are loaded. As a result, the fan is always on and the cpu runs at full speed, resulting in low battery life. To enable power management, due the following:

  1. edit the file /etc/rc.d/rc.modules.
  2. Locate the line [ ! -d /proc/acpi ] && modprobe apmChange the line to
    if [ -d /proc/acpi ];then
    modprobe ac
    modprobe battery
    modprobe button
    modprobe fan
    modprobe processor
    modprobe thermal
    modprobe powernow-k8
    modprobe cpufreq_conservative
    modprobe cpufreq_ondemand
    modprobe cpufreq_powersave
    modprobe cpufreq_userspace
    modprobe cpufreq_states
    else
    modprobe apm
    fi
  3. Save the changes.
  4. run the following command:echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor.

Configuring WMPower to run at Startup to track battery usage
Once the power management layer is in place, you you can run the wmpower application to display your battery level. To get wmpower to startup do the following:

  1. Edit the file /root/.xinitrc.
  2. Locate the line: exec $CURRENTWM
  3. Before this line, add the line:wmpower -no-meddling &The -no-meddling option tells wmpower to display status only. The ampersand is necessary to run the program in the background or the window manager won’t run.

Enabling the Touchpad
While the touchpad on Averatec 2370 is usable with the mouse driver. It is just way too sensitive. What we need to do is to load the Synaptic driver and edit the xorg.conf

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Type modprobe evdev
  3. In /etc/rc.d/rc.modules, add the following line to the end# Need to do this for Synaptics Touchpad

    modprobe evdev
  4. Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
  5. In the section “Module”, add the following line to load the Synpatic driver.

    #Load Synaptic Module
    Load "synaptics"
  6. In the section “ServerLayout”, add the following line to make Syanptics the main pointer driver

    InputDevice "Touchpad" "CorePointer"
  7. Add the following section:
    Section "InputDevice"
    Driver "synaptics"
    Identifier "TouchPad"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/psaux"
    Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
    Option "MaxTapTime" "0"
    EndSection

    Note that I use MaxTapTime of 0 because I don’t like having a mouse click being generated by a touchpad tap. This often cause lots of problem during editing.
  8. Select Menu->Shutdown->Exit to Prompt to exit.
  9. Type startx to start the window manager. The touchpad should be working now.

Enabling the second USB Mouse
If you plug in a USB mouse into the Averatec 2370, the mouse is not automatically detected. If you examine what is returned by the dmesg command, you’ll notice that the USB device is detected, but there are no message that identifies the device as a mouse. To get it working, you’ll need to install the usbhid (usb human interface device) module and add the second mouse into xorg.conf.

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Type modprobe usbhid. If you dmesg, you’ll notice that the name and brand of your mouse is displayed.
  3. In /etc/rc.d/rc.modules, add the following line to the end# Need to do this for USB Mouse
    modprobe usbhid
  4. Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
  5. In the section “ServerLayout”, add the following line to add the USB mouse driver
    InputDevice "USB Mouse" "AlwaysCore"
  6. Add the following section:
    Section "InputDevice"
    Driver "mouse"
    Identifier "USB Mouse"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "auto"
    Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
    EndSection
  7. Select Menu->Shutdown->Exit to Prompt to exit.
  8. Type startx to start the window manager. The USB Mouse should be working now when you plug it in.

Installing Flash 9

Puppy 2.14 comes with Flash 7, but many of the site requires Flash 8 or later. To install the Flash 9, install the following dotpup.

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January 29, 2007 at 2:14 am 6 comments

Cannot boot from multi-session CD or DVD

One interesting feature of Puppy Linux is the ability to save to a multisession CD or DVD. The idea is that whenever you shutdown, you are given an opportunity to save changes back to the disc. Each save occupies a single session. Initially, I thought this was pretty cool because I can then take a multi-session CD or DVD with me and boot from any computer. However, multi-session CD/DVD turned out to be very unreliable. I was able to boot from some machine, but not from others.

Boot issue could be caused by the following reasons:

  • Your optical drive does not support multi-session at all. In this case, you would not be able to see the other sessions. Most drive, even old ones will support multi-session CD-R, but some drives won’t support some of the multi-session DVD formats.
  • Your optical drive supports multi-session, but cannot boot from a multi-session disc. In this case, you will be able to see the other sessions, but cannot boot. Sometimes, this can be fixed by a drive firmware upgrade.
  • Your optical drive supports multi-session and can boot from it, but your computer’s BIOS does not support multi-session boot. In this case, no matter which optical drive you install. Multi-session boot will not work.

In my case, I am thinking that my computer’s BIOS (an Asrock K7-Upgrade-880) does not support multi-session boot because I have two optical drives of different brands (one a Toshiba and the other a NEC) and neither can boot from the multi-session CD. They will boot from a single session CD. I was able to boot multi-session disc on an Averatec 2370, and a Dell 1509. Both are recent laptops. I was unable to boot multi-session disc on an Asrock K7-Upgrade880, an ancient Asus K7V, and an IBM NetVista. All three are older desktop machines. I think the Asrock is barely 2-3 years old.

In the end, I find Puppy Linux’s multi-session feature not to be useful at all. I was hoping that this would allow me to create a portable session that I can carry with me. In reality, many of the older computers don’t support multi-session boot, so this limits its use. I am going to look into booting from USB keys instead.

January 28, 2007 at 7:01 am 2 comments

SQL Server 2005 Failed to install due to ASP Account not being setup

I attempted to install SQL Server 2005 server on XP MCE. I had previously installed all of the components including IIS, .Net framework, etc. In the middle of install, I got the following error:

SQL Server Setup failed to obtain system account information for the ASPNET account. To proceed, reinstall the .NET Framework, and then run SQL Server Setup again.

The problem is that the user ASPNET was not created at any of the previous installs. To create this user, I did the following (note that framework version may have a different version on your machine)

cd C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727

aspnet_regiis -i

This creates the ASPNET account. After the account is created, SQL Server 2005 installed normally.

January 19, 2007 at 3:57 pm 27 comments


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