Friday, March 28, 2008
It's alive... IT'S ALIVEEEEEE
Hooray hoorah! Yesterday was a glorious day for victory and triumph. I got wireless working on my laptop (finally (seriously this time (I'm not kidding))). Turns out WICD was identifying my university's wireless network as WPA2 when it's really WPA. This was messing something up, as I could not get a dhcp IP address. It also turns out that the little -w flag I was using to call wpa_supplicant was messing things up, as well, as I was easily connected after I removed that. I'm now cruisin' with wpa_supplicant + dhclient. Life is good.

I also managed to get Arch on a friend's EEE. There's still some work that needs to be done, though. I have X running on it and XFCE (at my friend's request). I personally would have gone with *box, but it is, after all, his choice. I was a bit tired at that point so I didn't do anything past getting the X server actually on the little thing as well as the necessary wireless/wired/webcam/etc. modules. I felt I should let my friend have a hand at customizing his little laptop, as well. After all, what's the fun in owning a linux machine if you didn't actually participate in putting it together?

Oh, as a side note: We were unable to enter anything into the terminal in xfce. I have no idea why this could be, but it is really annoying. I'm about to start a google search for that bit of information.

I also should write on the WICD forums or google around for similar problems to what I had.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Stinkin' Wireless
I'm still having unlucky trials with wireless with wicd. I'm fairly sure it's because they don't include the security type of wireless network at my uni (which is PEAP with MSCHAPv2). wpa_supplicant will have to work for now if I want wireless. However I haven't really been needing wireless much, lately.

The WoW is time consuming. That's all I'll say about that. It's just.... it's just time consuming.

Oh, and this is just an open statement to Nvidia: Fix the darned bugs in your drivers. For the love of Pete. The laziness of professional companies astounds me, sometimes.

PS., completely linux un-related, by my GOD.... Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. Incredible. Just.... Just.... I think I'm growing weepy.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Laptop Stuffs
I learn something new every day. For instance, that first sentence is a simple sentence.

Everyday I use my laptop, I gain more knowledge. I've got Archlinux installed on it and it's humming along nicely, pulling in around 4 hours of battery life. I've started to find some nifty programs to monitor wifi connection and battery life, as well as getting the ability to perform a suspend and hibernate. Here's what I've learned in my own words:

Battery Stuffs
As far as I know, with an Arch base install (which is what I did), everything you need for your battery to perform is given to you right off the bat, minus monitoring tools. Right now I'm using conky to monitor my battery life.

Battery: ${alignr 24}${battery}
B. time: ${alignr 24}${color #FFFF00}${battery_time}
This shows me the status of my power consumption (charging, charged, etc.), as well as the amount of time left to either charge or to de-charge.
Screen dimming is handled via bios, so there's really not too much to look at, in this respect.

Wifi Stuffs
If you're like me, you're a snob and you don't like to use gnome libs when you don't actually USE gnome. I use an Openbox environment, so if I can use as little other DE environment libs as possible, I will go out of my way to do so. If you're looking at a program similar to network-manager, look at wicd. This little baby runs as a daemon in the background, and it also uses python frontends to display some nice information about your connection. It has a nice little tray icon frontend-- I don't particularly bother with it, but a friend of mine would die without a notification that he's still connected-- that'll sit in your program tray (if you use one). Alternatively, you can use some more conky variables (look for 'wireless' in the page).

Suspend/Hibernate Stuffs
Although I haven't toyed around with hibernate things, I have successfully gotten suspend to work with pm-suspend. At first, I had NO clue this command even existed on my computer. I tried doing a `locate pm-` on my computer and managed to find what that program was a part of pm-utils. The short version: pm-utils provides programs to perform well known actions (such as suspend/hibernate) usually found on laptops. On my machine, suspend resumes when I open the lid of my laptop. This could be different if I changed some config files or something, but I really don't want to mess around with something like that just yet.
I also noticed something called pm-powersave. I'm not quite sure what that does yet, as I haven't tested it out. However, when I issue this command, I'll be sure to keep my eyes glued to my battery monitor to see if my charge times goes up or down. Or neither. Hopefully it goes up. Hopefully.

Oh, and if you're wondering HOW pm-utils even got on my laptop: pm-utils installs along side of hal, now. Certain things that hal does requires pm-utils to do them. Just as something like gnome-power-manager requires hal to do stuff, hal requires other programs to do stuff.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Currently Watching
Some good news: I have both Morrowind and WoW running at tolerable FPS on my desktop and laptop, both running Archlinux. When I say tolerable, I mean somewhere around 30 FPS, which really isn't bad since it's absolutely playable. While it does take away from some of ability to enjoy really high FPS (60+) that I probably could get with my hardware under a windows environment, it certainly is, to me, better to be in a Linux environment and sacrifice some of the really flashy stuff.

In my Morrowind game, I actually feel like I'm doing something. I never felt that way before through any of my previous runs (which were, admittedly, short lived). Perhaps I just didn't put the time necessary to get completely immersed in the world. Perhaps I'm just a person that learns from trial and error techniques. I'm starting to think it's the latter of the two.

Some bad news: Some things _don't_ work. Things I'm currently keeping my eye on:

1.) As of a few weeks ago, I had no sound coming from my front right speaker on my desktop running Archlinux. Very strange. I ran a speaker test and found both the front left AND front right sounds were being played from the front left speaker. I submitted a bug to Alsa's bug tracker but so far no response.

2.) I installed Unreal Tournament 2003 with the loki installer located on the third disk. I had to delete my libsdl file in the ut2003/System/ directory to even get the game to start. Now I get these really odd graphic bugs (which someone on the Arch forums has told me is probably the fault of the nvidia drivers). Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2
As of now, this is (kind of) ignorable, but really, if this is an nvidia driver problem, shame on them.

3.) I'm still not having any luck on DHLore. I'll try this fix when I get home. My problem is pretty much described word-for-word by the op.

The DHLore problem will probably never be fixed officially since it's not going to be updated anymore. Beautiful. I love having to use workarounds to get things to work.

Wait... No I don't.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
WoW Battle Chest Install
I broke down and finally purchased the WoW Battle Chest today. Let me say this before I actually get into the technical details: The box is HUGE! It contains two large Battle Chest game guides, two smaller game manuals, two (10 day) guest passes, and a Blizzard Product Catalog (euh). And, of course, the dvd for WoW and it's expansion, Burning Crusade. All this for forty bucks seemed like a pretty good deal to me.

Now, on to the install on linux.

Everything seems to be going smoothly so far. I'm installing the original dvd right now (25%). I was a bit put off at first because it seems Blizzard made some kind of weird multi-session hoojamawhutsit (hoo jah mah wuts it) for the Mac install. I wanted to install under wine with an install exe, so after a bit of googling, I had to use the unhide option when I mounted the dvd:
mount -t iso9660 -o ro,unhide /path/to/device /mount/point

After that it was all a matter of running wine Installer.

A bit of woe to report on, though. I tried installing UT2003 with the loki installer. I had some problems, and now the stinkin' game doesn't even start. It's upgraded to the latest patched version 2225, so I'm not sure what else there is I can do. I have one idea that I just thought of that MIGHT work. I'll of course update with what's going on as far as that goes.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Oh Garage Games, what have you done?
I decided to give the game Dark Horizons: Lore a little play through. My computer would have none of it.

I got this nice little bit of text spit back out at me:

[rpj8@archdesktop DHLore]$ ./DHLore.bin
./DHLore.bin: symbol lookup error: ./DHLore.bin: undefined symbol: X11_KeyToUnicode

I let my head slowly sink down and touch my desk. I, of course, had no idea what this meant. After googling for a little bit, this is basically what I found:

This function is used by game build on SDL library in order to transform input of the keyboard into Unicode characters.
There is a risk that a lot of game build on SDL does not work with [Ubuntu] Edgy.
For instance all the games based on Torque will not work with edgy :

Well, ok then. What in the world does this mean? From some forum post somewhere:
according to this mail X11_KeyToUnicode is an internal symbol that should not be used by applications.
And onto "this mail"!:
It is an internal symbol that should not be used. It is nowhere to be
seen in the SDL exported headers. Which applications are using it? They obviously need fixing.
While this isn't good news still (the fix won't be right in front of my face), it's still cause for me to jump in the air for not having caused the problem myself! Apparently, libsdl never meant to have whatever the "X11_KeyToUnicode" command/symbol/whatever made public. Unfortunately, it WAS made public, and people built applications around the assumption that it would remain public. Who is at fault? I don't really know, but from an outsider looking in, I'd say it's not really anyone's fault, since it's a mistake on SDL's end for making it public, and also a mistake on the app builder's end for not releasing some sort of patch for their application to correct this problem.

So after some more googling trying to find a fix, I came across this (yes, it is google cache'd). This doesn't necessarily help me, as it's only a fix for "TGB", Torque Game Builder.

As for now, I'm coming up empty handed. I shot the guys at Torque an email, so hopefully they can get back to me on that issue. I also left a forum post on the forums, so hopefully a fix comes to fruition.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So I'm not sure what I'm going to end up doing with my laptop. Since wireless doesn't work with ndiswrapper under arch OR with b43 (also under arch), and I don't really want to downgrade the kernal and blah blah blah, I may end up just doing a fresh 'bunt install and rip out all the non-essential daemons. Not too sure though, since I like the customization of arch. I suppose I could always install a gnome desktop over arch...

I'm a bit frustrated with whoever works on the b43 modules. I don't know the official name for em, but here's an excerpt from that one link I posted earlier in relation to why the b43 module doesn't work with the latest kernel.

EDIT: STOP THE PRESSES! In my search for that link I posted earlier, I FOUND A SOLUTION! REJOICE!

The actual answer is this post:

The only reason it wasn't working before: ORDER. ORDER MEANS EVERYTHING.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Failure. I am a failure.
It turns out my Laptop doesn't... *sigh*.... doesn't actually HAVE a pcmcia slot. Instead, it has an "ExpressCard" slot, which look a helluva lot similar to pcmcia, but I assure you, it is not. Imagine my dismay when I opened up my D-Link network adapter only to find I'd ordered the wrong thing. The darned thing even slides all the way in the way it should, minus the satisfying "Ok, I'm fully plugged in" clicking sound.

Bottom Line: Do your research on hardware! If you don't know your computer specs (to the MINUTEST DETAIL), you will experience trouble on your Linux tour, let alone your general computer tour.

On the upside, I've gotten WoW, Guild Wars, and Steam to all run under Wine. Granted these programs do not run without flaw, but it certainly is a feather for the cap of the fine people over at WineHQ.