I am a linux newbie and Windows VISTA enthusiast. However, I installed linux a few times since RedHat 6, for a glimpse at its look & feel. This time, I went on with Novell's Suse 10 SP1 on my brand new HP 12" AMD laptop. Glad to present you my very first linux tutorial.
I am willing to explain my findings, in a step-by-step fashion. I will cover a few linux-related "side-subjects" in this story, if that's OK with you.
Why did I choose the 32-bit edition of Suse ? Well, the 64-bit was giving me headaches installing such simple things as the Java runtime, and OpenSuse was lacking too much, in terms of installed packages.
Note that Suse Desktop is not really trialware as many believe, you need to register to download it but it won't stop working after the trial period. (It's supposed to stop updating, it shouldn't affect Yast though...)
Admittedly, ReiserFS is the linux file system of choice for the Desktop.
So three ReiserFS partitions were created on my system, in a logical one. Root, of course, /home and the swap file (about 2GB). I left Windows Vista on the hard drive, Grub got that right.
What drivers did I have to install first ?
Out of the box, The laptop (which I call Turionic, since it's CPU is a 2xTurion) didn't have any sound, nor wifi support. I also installed the nVidia geforce driver via Yast.
Also, I installed Mplayer (KMplayer is a nice addition) and the Xine libraries followed. This was a bit tricky, since included ones were useless and 10 repositories were broken, I had to use Packman 10.1's.
You can get the latest win32 codec pack from :
Phew ! Talk about Google being your friend...
Finally, I managed to setup the shares correctly in order to browse Windows PCs from linux. Mind you, this was done by setting up a NFS Server on one of the PCs instead of using Samba directly on Turionic.
NOTE : To update properly, add OpenSuse's 10.1 and Packman's repositories (URL at the bottom)
BUT fresher packages are usually available on the project's owner websites, so don't hesitate to compile from source. (Essential for drivers updates)
NOTE² : All this obviously applies to other HP TX laptops (tx1120, tx1240, tx1350...)
Now, this can be pretty painful, since a wrapper should be used to install those lacking-linux-drivers broadcom wifi chips AND the module may not load automatically.
A little research on the following could be useful :
- Network Manager VS ifup
- WEP VS WPA
- determined my Broadcom BCMxxxx
- Grabbed the bcmwl5 Windows XP drivers from HP web site. For ndiswrapper, it consists of the .inf and the .sys files.
- Installed the latest ndiswrapper (v1.52, without usb)
- Installed the bcmwl5 driver
- Added a second network adapter via the Knetwork Manager
- Typed in : wireless, name -> ndiswrapper, SSID <your provider's>, the 128-bit key I had previously setup at router level (26 digits)
- Unloaded / loaded the module via modprobe (the module may not be loaded yet)
NOTE : If "device..." doesn't appear right under "driver x installed" when probing, you should keep searching for the right driver.
NOTE²: Switch off/on your wifi module, you'll notice it works somehow in conjunction with Bluetooth
- Disabled IPv6 as it is said to be responsible for sluggish Internet connexions
Optional : Checked access point(s) with
iwlist wlan0 scan
At this point, it is possible to manually configure the setup via iwconfig wlan0. However, it should be OK to have all the wifi data stored in Network adapter/<your wifi module> settings.
The wifi module is the BCM4328 pre-N (different revision number displayed when running Vista)
- in Software,+/- Software, typed nVidia, installed the G01 drivers (both the kernel and the x11 module)
NOTE : This is the fast and easy way to get hardware acceleration BUT it has drawbacks. There are more sophisticated methods around. Stay tuned.
NOTE²: there is no clear indication that the G01 driver is the one I needed. I really think repositories maintainers should DESCRIBE the packages a bit more. Also, the tiny-installer should not be there anymore, since it's deprecated.
- In text mode, typed : sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia to initialize the correct driver
You should see the nVidia logo just before x11 returns to life.
NOTE : Repeat the last operation but replace nvidia with vesa if you have trouble loading the desktop
- I used vga=extended & splash=verbose in grub to setup splash loading screens accordingly to my needs.
That leaves us with the following problem :
NOTE : Something went wrong with the resolution of the text mode when the driver was loaded. You may notice a strong flickering at shutdown, and more annoyingly after hibernate mode.
NOTE² : By any means, REBOOT immediately after making modifications to your display settings via sax2.
NOTE3 : You need to switch to init 3 by typing "init 3" in the Konsole and login as root.
- Typed the command I had memorized, then rebooted.
*CAUTION* : I had to "hard reboot" the computer a few times (wow, scary !) without being able to load the desktop. I suspected the non-smp drivers to be more stable. You could stick with the default nv drivers but... (see below).
- In such cases, my advice is to check the filesystem, from the Suse DVD. In expert mode, simply check sdax for errors, x being the id of your root partition. That's it, quit the Suse installer, reboot.
NOTE : Don't use the automatic settings for repairs, I found it makes weird proposals (like changing the mount point of the root partition, uselessly configuring grub once more...).
...There is a SIMPLE WORKAROUND : Install only the normal G01 nvidia driver, the normal kernel will follow. What happens at next reboot is a new entry in your grub menu. Default to this, and reinstall the wifi driver after reboot.
You shouldn't loose SMP capabilities (granted, it would be a little ironic for a linux system), but the loading/shutting down of Suse desktop is flawless as before.
Optional : Patch the driver via Yast/online updates. Fill in a bug report aimed at Nvidia.
My video adapter is the Geforce 6150 based on the nforce 430 chipset
- Installed manually the latest ALSA driver (v1.0.16)
- Ran Alsaconf
- Added the famous "options" line to /etc/modprobe.d/sound
NOTE : The device should not be disabled anymore (orange led turns to blue)
- Ran the Alsamixer
- Pushed the front and PCM slider up
My audio device is the Realtek ALC861-VD
* NFS SHARES
Now you want to setup a NFS server in order for the NT computers to share their numerous resources with linux.
NOTE : I don't have the ability to discuss the insights of NFS, I just hope some Samba expert will not jump at me for that slight offense
Disable Samba loading at startup in Network services if you have installed the server (you won't be able to browse linux shares from the PCs, but you want to make it possible the other way round, don't you ?)
- Installed a NFS server on the Windows computer I usually start first.
- Designated it as the NIS Server
NOTE : I am not sure one can find a place to download a *free* NFS server for Windows, I had to use a shareware, so this will hold for a few days until I buy the product.
- Edited the host file accordingly to the host names and static IPs (192.168.x.x) in the network. It should be edited for each newly connected computer.
- Setup NFS user(s) & group(s) (administrators, obviously)
- Added shares
- Restarted server
NOTE : G/UID = 0 for Windows groups/users
- Back in linux, added the server ip to Hosts Names
- Indicated the domain was "workgroup"
- Loaded NFS shares via Network Services/NFS client (simply indicate the "name" of the NIS server), then browsed
- Created the mount points (mkdir <share#x> in /mnt/ as root)
NOTE : sharing folders, not entire partitions seems preferable, security wise
- Propagate the read/write authorizations via chmod -R a+rwx (if your mounted subfolders/files are locked, chances are they aren't owned by root).
*updated* REPOSITORIES I USED (full URLs)
(please, choose other mirrors if you're not downloading from the EC)
NOTE : There was a tool that seemed promising, considering how cumbersome it may be at times to update, namely "apt4suse". Too bad it's been discarded.
That's it. I added a couple of desktop applet, volume control, the resource monitor tool and the turn off button, a Mac OSX iconset, and activated a few included effects. Cool, but nothing to brag about... Despite the upcoming eye-candy KDE4, I should let you know that I am interested in Compiz/Beryl feedbacks.
Any comment, remark appreciated. Also, feel free to tell me if screen captures could improve the readability of these instructions.
Now that I am done with the basic install, I shall open a new thread for setting up a GTK+/Python dev. environment, determining what to choose among additional packages and such.