Just one more distro change

Every time that I change a GNU/Linux distro I claim that I’m going to keep it for a while but for some reason as soon as some thing start to break down things always start to look brighter on the other side. So this is how I ended up looking toward Ubuntu once more.

For those that do not follow my distro jumping story (and I blame you not), last thing I was trying out was Sabayon Linux, after getting totally pissed off with my Ubuntu 6.10 installation where the system was hanging all the time without reason. Sabayon’s initial install seemed more stable and I thought to install it. (never mind the fact that the true culprit was Nvidia crappy drivers)

Unfortunately for me, Sabayon was much less stable than it seemed initially. I blame it on the absolute bloatware format of the distro. It just includes so many applications for the same purpose, along with 4 different desktop environment and generally every conceivable package that you could think of that it seems inevitable that something will break as soon as you start upgrading things. If only they had an install option to install a more minimal system…

At some point I had gotten fed up with my CD drives disappearing, Kopete crashing (I eventually used Pidgin which is very very nice), randomly failing HDD (OK that still happens) and having to use legacy nvidia drivers in order to have beryl without system halts, I found myself buying a new external HDD (about time and I thought to myself,

Why not buy a cheap VGA to see if that will stop the system halting with newer Nvidia drivers? If nothing else, you can keep your old one to finally setup the extra server you wanted.

And so I did. I grabbed a Geforce 8500 for 90€ who I mistakenly assumed would be better than my 2.5 year old Geforce 6600 GT AGP. When I reached my place, it occurred to me that if I’m going to go to all the trouble of setting up a new VGA, I might as well go all the way and install Kubuntu Feisty 7.04 which will give me a chance to check out the new Compiz-Beryl Fusion as well. Who knows, maybe the new, “Better and more Stable” version would not overheat my Geforce 6600.

S’yeah, right. The first installation failed because I wanted to keep Sabayon as a second OS but the damn Kubuntu installer did not have support for LVM and insisted on formatting my old boot partition if I were to use it. I couldn’t be bothered at that point to play with Grub so I installed the system in my old 80Gb HDD after freeing up my old 25gb “Storage Space” (Hah!) but no luck. Since the primary HDD is the SATA one, installing it on the ATA drive did not make the system boot the new boot loader as the MBR kubuntu wrote on resided in the inactive drive.
So I bit the bullet and after backing up crucial files (Porn), critical settings (Porn playlists) and other stuff I did not want to lose (Porn links) from the home directory I deleted the Sabayon LVM and installed Kubuntu on the freed partition while formatting the boot sector and keeping my home directory intact. I assumed that K[tag]ubunt[/tag]u would just use my old KDE/Firefox settings and I was mostly right. Unfortunately there were quite a lot of setting that did not work “just right” so I ended up resetting the KDE settings (read: rename the .kde dir) and pasting the app setting I wanted to keep in it afterwards.

The initial problem was that I could not install the propriertary nvidia drivers as in the official documentation as Kubuntu does not include the necessary restricted-manager script. No problem, I fired up the package manager and requested the installation. As it was not installed on the menu, I had to use it from the console but no biggie.
I then installed [tag]compiz[/tag]-fusion and used my gf6000 to see how it went. As expected, it halted the system just as I finished setting it up. No problem then, I opened the box, installed the new VGA and tried to use it. Well I was quite surprised when the restricted-manager told me that I do not have a restricted card, the system recognized it as VESA and no matter what I did, Kubuntu just refused to acknowledge that I had a damn nvidia card inside. Checking on the compatibility list, I discovered that my card was not supported by Ubuntu. *Groan*. Now I had to find out another way to install the driver. I did not want to use Envy as it was supposedly not compatible with the official way, but in the end I gave up and used it because nothing else seemed to work.

Fortunately that helped and my new card started using acceleration. Woe to me when I discovered that it was actually much worse, performance-wise, than my old card 🙁
It was at this point that I swore and decided to just buy a good card. Shallow? Quite. But at least I had

an excuse to get myself a present for my good job performance and after all it might allow me to play a newer game. So, I returned the card, became 200€ poorer and got me a Geforce 8800 GTS who I knew was supported this time.

I took me a while to install it because I did not realize it required extra power but I happened to see the appropriate holes as I was getting “hammer and saw” thoughts.

new vgaOne envy run later (no restricted-manager still said I did not have a restricted card) I got my acceleration going. I set it up and playtested it for a while. Fortunately it did not hang the system anymore.

Now there are a few more details to iron out (like the system not booting up at 1280×1024 even though I put it in the X.org) or allowing me finally to change languages with double-shift (which does not work, again) and stuff like that but from initial experience I believe that, other than a strange slowness issue, Kubuntu is much much more stable than his predecessors and surely more stable than Sabayon 3.3. Time will tell if this will continue. For now I am contect to play around with my new accelerated desktop.

[coolplayer width=”355″ height=”288″ autoplay=”0″ loop=”0″ charset=”utf-8″ download=”1″ mediatype=””]
Compiz-Fusion Rulz

I’m thinking of making a nice video with the new version but I need an editing software that is not too hard to use. i tried Cinerella but it seems to like to crash so I don’t know how much I can use it. If anyone can propose a good screen capture setup (so that it doesn’t start to flicker when too many 3d stuff are drawn) and video editing for [tag]linux[/tag], I’d love to hear it.

Beryl! Finally!

After many tries to get a 3D desktop working, I have finally managed it. It seems the problem lies squarely with the latest and “greatest” Nvidia drivers. I have no idea why, but whenever anything 3D was activated on my computer, the system would totaly hang after a few minutes (usually more before the first time) as if my card was overheating (which is pretty impossible. My card has never overheated and I’ve run much more 3D intensive stuff *coughsupremecommandercough*)

Initially I was trying to achieve this using Linux Mint which is a pretty sweet Ubuntu-based distro in itself. However ever since Ubuntu started randomly freezing, I though it must have been some kind of weird distro bug. In the past I had some lock-ups with Kubuntu so it seemed plausible at the time. Just in case, I decided the try Sabayon from the moment I heard about it. User friendly gentoo based distro? count me in (more on that in a later post).

After not having any random lock-ups in the liveCD, I decided to give it a try. 10 minutes into the installation, BAM. Freeze. No mouse, no keyboard, no Alt-F1 nothing, same thing as before. At this point I was seriously considering smashing something on something else but I held on. Instead I decided to start experimenting a little bit more.

Initially I tried with GLX instead of AIGLX. No help. Then fearing that beryl itself might be the culprit, I tried just running an OpenGL screensaver. No luck. After about 10 minutes it hang up. Not willing to give up, I disabled all desktop accelerationand fired up an another OpenGl Screensaver. 2 minutes in it, dead again (needless for me to explain what this has done to my poor /home partition)

So as a desperate measure, I decided to install the legacy nvidia drivers. I didn’t know how well they would work, so I installed them and rebooted today after I returned from work.

It works! YES! 2 hours later with full acceleration and various screenshot and screencast attempta later there has been no freeze! I cannot express how happy I currently am 🙂

Although the drivers are not that good, resulting in a but of a stutter at some points, the Geforce is more than capable of handling a 3D desktop. The result? See for yourself 🙂

Beryl in Blue screenshot

However I am seriously pissed at Nvidia for putting me through all this trouble with their crappy drivers. They have dropped the ball with Vista but did they have to drop it on GNU/Linux’s foot?

Anyway, here’s a screencast as well. I’m trying to upload it on YouTube as well but it doesn’t seem to like Ogg Theora.

EDIT: Fuck it! Here’s an embeded video. Done with the help of the coolplayer plugin.

EDIT: Video finally uploaded to youtube after I converted it into Mpeg with the help of mencoder. Find embedded video below.

Bandwidth troubles

A very strange thing is happening and I’m not sure how to go about resolving it. I just installed a virtual firewall using VMware and IpCop. Now everything seems to be working as expected with one difference, my speed seems to be borked.

It’s not just a case of the speed simply dropping as I expected originaly, but the speed seems to be as expected in some cases (such as downloading the eve-online client at 1.4MBps), medium in some others (such as bandwidth tests where I get a half the speed I have without it and 1/4 of the upload speed) to non-existant (such as 20KBps Download and Upload on Azureus, where at least upload should be close to 100)

I was going to post a guide for the setting up of IpCop under VMware as a cheap and reliable firewall solution but I want to figure what I’ve configured incorrectly first…

Και γαμώ τα review

Μπορώ να πω ότι αυτό το review για το Λίνουξ είναι απο τα καλύτερα και πιό έξυπνα που έχω διαβάσει. Εύγε κοπέλα μου, μακάρι να είχα το χιούμορ σου 🙂

Προτεινόμενο για oποιοδήποτε Έλλην Linux User

Whoo! New toy

Αυτό θέλω. Ποιό Ipod, τώρα. Εδώ μιλάμε για συσκευή με Video Recording, Video playback σε πολλά format, ακόμα και XviD, MP3 και OGG playback. To καλύτερο απ’ολα; Τρέχει σε Linux! Επιτέλους!

Αναρωτιέμαι πόσο hackable είναι. Ελπίζω να μην είναι σαν το TiVo το οποίο είναι φτιαγμένο να μην δουλεύει με πειραγμένο λειτουργικό.

Anyway, I want it….

Xgl at last

Επιτέλους εγκατέστησα το Xgl στο νέο Ubuntu που έστησα στο PC του ξαδελφού μου.

Να αναφέρω εδώ οτι το Ubuntu 6 έχει πραγματικά την πιο εύκολη και απλή εγκατάσταση που έχω δει και είδε τις περισσότερες συσκευές του συστήματος αμέσως (με εξαίρεση την creative webcam). Αν και αγχώθηκα λιγάκι στην αρχή ότσν χρειάστηκε να κάνω resize to μοναδικό partition που είχε το το σύστημα (έλεος;) το οποίο ήταν σε nfts 160Gb, έτσι για να χαίρεται πολύ ο χρήστης εαν τα windows χαλάσουν και μαζί με την επιδιόρθωση χάσει και όλα τα αρχεία του.

Τέλος πάντων, αν και λίγο αργό, το ntfsresize δούλεψε άψογα και παρ’οτι τα windows έφαγαν ένα άσχετο restart στην εκκίνηση και πήγε η ψυχή μου στην κούλουρη, μετά ξεκίνησαν κανονικά. Η υπόλοιπη εγκατάσταση ήταν piece of cake κανονικά. Τόσο απλή που ακόμη και ο ξαδελφός μου θα μπορούσε να την κάνει. Ένα πραγματικό μπράβο στους developers για αυτό.

Anyway, μετά την εγκατάσταση όλα καλά, δεν υπήρξε κανένα απολύτος κόλλημα και μουσική, βίντερο και internet δούλεβαν out of the box. Χρησιμοποιόντας το easyubuntu έβαλα και τα μη ανοιχτά codecs πανεύκολα και όλα οκ. Είχα τελειώσει εγκατάσταση καινούργιου λειτουργικού σε χρονο DT. Το μόνο που κάπως πρέπει να γίνει τώρα είναι να δίνεται το link του easyubuntu κάπου (desktop ίσως) ώστε να μην πρέπει να ψάχνει κάποιος που δεν το έχει ακουστά.

Αποφάσισα μετά να βάλω και μια και το Xgl επιτέλους να το δώ σε κανονική λειτουργία. Ακολούθησα τις οδηγίες απο το ubuntu wiki και το μόνο κόλλημα που έφαγα είναι οτι με την διαδικασία Α της εγκατάατασης του Xgl, δεν λέει να ξεκινήσει και δεν καταλαβαίνω ακόμα γιατί. Έχω την εντύπωση οτι δεν τρέχει το Xgl με αρκετά δικαιόματα γιατι με την διαδικασία Β όλα πήγαν ρολόι αν και πρέπει να έχει κάποιο λάθος το wiki διότι στο τέλος του edit του gdm.conf-custom εκεί που βάζεις command=… στο τέλος δεν πρέπει να έχει το -kb. Μου πήρε λίγη ώρα να το προσέξω αυτό.

Anyway, τώρα είμαι με το Xgl και μπορώ να πω ότι είναι πολύ πορωτικό. Το μόνο που δεν κατάφερα ακόμα είναι να έχω δύο χρήστες συνδεδεμένους με Xgl συγχρόνος. Μου βγάζει ένα error ότι δεν μπόρεσε να ξεκινήσει το Xgl. Στην τελική μπαίνει ένας με Xgl και οι υπόλοιποι με Xorg μέχρι να βρώ την λύση.
Καλή φάση το Ubuntu λοιπόν 😉

Resizing a window


I’ve finaly brought Ubuntu where I want it. I now have [tag]amaroK[/tag]-svn, Firefox 1.5 and nothing has crashed for a few days. I seem to be on stable footing finally.

For the last few days I’ve been tweaking the Smart DJ in order to make it work as I want it to. I’ve converted all my .mp3 collection to .ogg, I’ve vorbisgained everything and had the script analyze everything.
I got it working after a few tries but it still brings some pretty stupid matches now and then. Until I know how its tempo/style slider works I don’t think I’ll be able to use it to its full potential.

However I have written a small guide for Ubuntu here that I hope may help someone.


I finally found a system I could work with. I took another m/b from work and installed it on my system. I will return the older one tomorrow. This P4 m/b fortunately has DDR slots. Unfortunately it has only 2 and my 512 ram is fubar 🙁 It recognizes it as 512 but it kills the system in DT time.

I decided to discard the fedora installation to try something new and my original thought was Debian. Completely open and volunteer powered. Unfortunately, even though the original set up was done and I managed to find what to install with aptitude I was stuck at configuring the Xfree window system.
Until now I’ve been using x.org and xfree was kind of different and thus I couldn’t find the configs and even after I found them I coudln’t figure out why the system wouldn’t boot. After a few tries I gave up and tried OpenSuse 10.

Installation went flawlessly (although I would like a DVD version so as not to change installation mediums all the time) and I booted into my new system with all the bells and whistles on (even amarok 1.3.1, I was impressed at the cutting edge) with only one problem. The network would not work. At this point I had to leave to go and play board games with a few friends so I left it for the night.

At about 3am that I returned home, I tried setting up the ips, gateways and dns but nothing seemed to work. I tried disabling firewalls, switching cables, rebooting dsl routers but nothing. I knew that I was missing something because of fatigue so I left it for the other day. Fortunately amarok worked off the box (and finally without crashes) and I could hear some of my own music.

Today I found out what the problem is, it seems I had confused the default gateway with the DNS. I need to put the firewall as a default gateway (duh) and the dsl router as DNS. I can’t think why I didn’t try this before.

So anyway, now I’m in Suse and letting things work by themselves for a while. I’m tired of tweaking and prodding things to work and not know how to fix them so I’m taking a break from Gentoo (that still refuses to boot the kernel). Maybe when I have enough time to waste on my computer I’ll return again.
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Limping Back

I’ve managed to get a system running for now.
Yesterday I took an old P4 apart while at work and installed it on my box. Unfortunately too late did I notice that the old-crap p4 motherboard used SDRAM dimms and DDR, that means of course that not only do I work at 1700 MHz but I also lost 133 MHz from memory.
Of course yesterday I did not have SDRAM chips available so I had to make do with Knoppix as best as I could (and It wasn’t much let me tell you). So today I borrowed some dimms as well (2×256 to be exact) that I plan to return when I gather the money for a new system and took them home to install.
Luckily that went fine.

Gentoo, as expected, will not start, it’s got the march=”athlon” flag and until I find how to override that I’m stuck at Fedora, which is not bad now that I see it again. I’ve forgotten of that GTK look. Anyway, some settings are not working correctly over here and I need to do some more tweaking.

If only I had enough money 🙁

Still off

Computer @ Home is still dead. After some testing I have decided that the CPU has died and there’s not much I can do about it. What I tried is, I unplugged everything and left the MB only with CPU and Power and it won’t start (even the PSU fan), however the power led on the MB starts which means it is still getting power. I then removed the CPU and booted it again, the led still lighted which is the same effect as before. Ergo the CPU’s dead.

I’ve been using Knoppix on the Smoothwall Firewall to have at least basic internet access but it is dead slow. I mean KDE is unusable and icewm is only marginally better. How could we even work on these thing 6 years ago? Has our OS bloated so much? Anyway, problem is that my optical mouse is USB and that antique does not support that, so I settled for keyboard manipulation, which is fine if you know the shortcuts. Unfortunately I didn’t and it was hell…

At work now, I have taken an MB from work to test it. I hope it works without too much hassle because I do not have money for upgrades even at this time.
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