Friday, October 27, 2006

XGL and Beryl on my humble laptop

Finally ditched compiz and installed the latest beryl using the help of this how-to and I am at a loss to explain the beauty i see in front of me !!

the effects are way beter than what compiz had to offer and there are some practicle ones as well such as the ability to select any open window from any desktop with just a single click of the mouse. beryl also comes with the eerald window theme manager which has some exelent themes available to choose from in the default package. have not tried to install new themes yet though.

Pictures cannot do justice to the hard work that has gone into this so heres a movie straight off my desktop

Note : for those installing beryl after trying out compiz like myself you need to remove compiz and xgl completely. i used the package manager and uninstalled them before proceeding with the how-to.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Compaq Presario V3000 with Ubuntu 6.06

Got a new laptop last month. The specs are AMD Turion 64 X2 DUal-core processor with a Nvidia 6150 graphics card, 512 MB DR2 533MGHz Ram and a NForce4 chipset motherboard with inbuilt wireless and a 100GB SATA hard disk. Screen is a nice HP 14.1" widescreen Organic LCD display and its truly the best LCD screen i have seen around.

I tried installing FC5 onto it but there were complications as several modules such as the ethernet, sound etc dint work. so i decided to foray into uncharted waters and tried out Ubuntu 6.06. these were the installation steps i followed:

download the ubuntu amd64 generic cd and instal.
update the system
install the nvidia drivers and restart X

wireless is a problem and took me a while to figure out but its simple really. i had a lot of problems because i was using 32 bit driver instead of the 64 bit required.
  • .install all the development packages ( linux-kernel-devel & linx headers )
  • download the latest ndiswrapper source and extract it.
  • go into the extracted directory and do
    • make & sudo make install
  • . get the wireless drivers from Compaq's website as the ones on the windows partition are 32 bit ones and linux needs the compaq 64-bit versions to work. Get cabextract and get it to extract the compaq drivers exe file using the command
    • cabextract sp33008.exe
  • . there will be a bcmwl5.inf and a bcmwl5.sys file in the current foder. run the command
    • sudo ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
  • this will install the drivers and doing
    • ndiswrapper -l shows
      • Installed drivers:
      • bcmwl5 driver installed, hardware present
  • Now run
    • sudo ndiswrapper -m
  • Reboot the laptop.
  • Upon startup run
    • sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
  • the wireless modles are now working. run iwconfig and there should be a wlan0 with wireless extensions. yu can now connect to a network using
    • sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid name-of-essid
    • dhclient wlan0

Sound gave a little trouble. Apparently there a bug in ALSA ( pre 1.0.13 versions ) which cause trouble with the headphone jack. The 1.0.13 version fixes this problem though and can be downloaded from here. Compile and install it and it creats a "sound" script in the /etc/modprobe.d folder. Open this file and add :
options snd-hda-intel index=0 disable_msi=1

Failure to add this results in the sound playing for half a second and getting stuck in an infinite loop. Well now the headphone jack works, its just wierd that the laptop speakers and headphone jack dont have the same control but different controls. Also the laptop speakers dont shut off when one plugs in a headphone, since their volumes are independent.

Now for the 64-bit issue. A lot of problems arise out of using a 64-bit kernel which basically highlight how behind the world still is in 64-bit computing.

For starters i had a bad time trying to find a video player as the 32-bit codecs for wmv, mov and others dont work here with any midea player ( Xine, Mplayer, Vlc, etc ). The sollution was this : I installed that cool software called Automatix. I dont remember how I got it but just google it I guess ( If you try it and get it working please send me a msg and I will edit this post ). In Automatix there is an option for a 32-bit Mplayer and its codecs, install it and your video should work.

Then I also was unable to view flash media on firefox. The solution, install a 32-bit version of Swiftfox and flash as well. This can also be done through Automatix.

Aside from this I have not really come up against any hurdels on accound of using a 64 bit kernel. Again let me know if any other problem arises.

EDIT : this stuff on XGL/Compiz is old now, my next post has some goddies on XGL/Beryl.

Have XGL running on it now with tons of effects. The matrix screensaver is running as a background pic almost and these streams of matrix code beautifully flow over everything. The last 2 pics are of the multiple desktops in action in XGL using the inside walls of the cube and the outer walls of the cubes ( watching a movie on 1 desktop and browsing files on the other ).

Friday, September 01, 2006

The ultimate gaming experience.........with 24 LCD monitors !!!!

Seeing is believing and what beter way to believe that games can be fun until one can see them properly. Enter Andrew Sabri whose research focuses on display wall user interfaces at the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. Using 12 Linux servers and a Multi-Head implementation of the X-Server along with a linux implementation of Chromium which enables them to distribute the OpenGL rendering from the head node to all of the servers - the result, Quake3 running at 10,240x3,072 resolution.

Now thats the kind of research i wanna be in :)
this was submitted to me by Thushan
Website of the project is :

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Fedora Core 5 - Nvidia drivers and XGL

Of all the Fedora distros FC5 i rekon got the most attention. was it because of the sleek elegant look ? the official Fedora logo appearing for the 1st time or the fact that it is filled with bugs ? not sure what the answer is but one thing is for sure, there is a lot of potential here !

Coupled with Xorg 7.0 FC5 is a perfect distro to run XGL on 24x7 like I do. there were several roadbocks though, especially since i was previously unable to install the Nvidia proprietry drivers and had to rely on the lesser versions from Livna. the problem is that FC5 has more security features. 2 cases where this shows - manually adding new lines to the fstab file to include more devices at bootup would usualy fail and the proper nvidia driver modules and the GLX extensions never loaded upon bootup. i have fixed that fro now by dissabling SELinux but a proper fix is available at Nvidia's forums. installing XGL is easy to install, its all at fedoraforums .

Overall FC5 has been a rough ride till now but ive finally setelled in. I must have been the first person at my Uni to install it ( had installed it on my 5-yr old P3 laptop without a CD/DVD drive :s ) and now there are 3 computers running FC5 at my place. all i can say is "keep it up" !! and I look forward to FC6.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wine Beta Testing - Palm Desktop

well, ive always wanted to try out the palm desktop program in linux and the linux variants like gpilot/kpilot have always had some defficiency or the other. for my palm zire 31 there are several features such as mp3 and video playback and over the last year i still havnt figured out how to dump such files onto the palmtop in linux. as a last resort i tried out the palm desktop with wine and the results are not good :( .

running the autorun file : running the singlelaunch file : running the /palm desktop/setup file

as one can see palm doesnt seem to concenterate at all on other plaforms apart from windows as this shows. sadly we are just going to have to wait in the dark till they realise their that Posix and Mac OSX also has some following with palmtops.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Star Trek Voyager : Elite Force - Wine Top 10 Platinum list !!!!

finally the verdict has arrived and the statistics show, Elite Force is in the top 10 platinum list for programs under wine in Linux. once again, hats off to I.D. soft for the awsome Quake3 engine and to Raeven soft for making this amazing game. Link

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wine Beta testing - Star Trek Elite Force - Expansion Pack

finished beta testing the expansion back and everything seems to be in perfect order. ive completed most of the single player stuff in the expansion plus spent quiet some time trying out multiplayer with wiki's and ranjan's help. the end result is that elite force completely is an excelent game for linux. few problems exist, ones which i cant put my thumb on :
1) cant connect to multiplayer servers hosted by windows computers. they however can connect to my linux hosted server via LAN.
2) multiplayer doesnt display new modes ( dissentegration, hero, class-based, borg, etc ) for the expansion pack however this problem is not secluded to linux as the windows based test computers also dint show these options. i am at a loss why my linux installation and the 2 windows installations dont show these features.
never the less, ive given the game a rating of Platinum at the WineHQ database. it is perfectly stable and a solid game, something i hope other linux users will enjoy as much as i have.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wine Beta testing - Star Trek Elite Force

As the Maintainer of this software at the wineHQ i am pleased to announce that i now have star trek - elite force ( version 1.0 ), the quake3 based FPS game fully running on wine under linux fedora core 5 and wine 0.9.12. i have hereby given it the ranking of platinum at the wine website.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Remotely controling a Windows server with RDesktop in Linux

was checking up on the terminal services offered by win2000 and stumbled accross rdesktop. with a simple install i was able to log into the server as a proper user and the speed of the terminal os much beter that VNC as it is a proper terminal ( VNC was just taking snapshots of the desktop and sending them accross )

while its fast and doesnt require me to have a keyboard attached to the server everytime i restart, there are 2 problems. i cant increase rez ( its 800x600 ) and sound doesnt seem to work. since its a terminal i think its supposed to send the sound through the network even :s i have to figure out a way for it to use the sound card of the server itself.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Xorg TV-out configuration utility

work continues, after a 1 month break :s
i have now implemented a checking header that checks the scanned xorg.conf file for the presence of propietry drivers. seems small but it took hours !

Xorg TV-out configuration utility

:Originally Published Wed 17 May 2006 03:32 AM EDT:

work is progressing slowly. just figured out how to read the xorg.conf file in parts. next objective : store these sections into temporary files where they can be modified.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Remotely controling a server with VNC

Just bought a cheap P2 server today and have windows2000 server running off it. in order to control it i have to change my lcd screen to its input and use a seperate mouse/keyboard but not any longer. i installed "TightVNC" on the server and now i can control the server from FC5. on FC5 i installed the X Viewer, opened it, entered the i.p add of the server and the password which i installed the vnc server and connected :
Free Image Hosting at
still have to conduct experiments whether this can hold if i restart the server. its been a long way since Radmin though.

Wine Beta Testing - Bryce 5.5

Well, another reason not to boot up in windows now !! :-D i managed to get Bryce 5.5 running in wine 9.15 under FC5 with XGL running :
Free Image Hosting at
Am going to try out some modeling on it soon but there are several problems. some of the menus crash when clicked with the left key and the network rendering engine is inoperative. the network rendering was a priority for me as i do most of my designing on my laptop that has XP also. looks like i will use my linux desktop for the designing now and will then use a group of networked windows powered computers to do network rendering.
note : the setup required a msvcirt.dll file to be placed in the win32 directory in order to run. apart from that theres nothing special required for installation/running.

Monday, June 19, 2006

XGL powered Fedora Core 5 Linux

After a rough time trying to get XGL working with Suse 10.1 i decided to switch back to Fedora which i have been using for over a year now. to my plesent surprise i found out that i could install XGL on fedora too so i went for it. this is done by ework at fedoraforums. simple proceedure really but in the end it was effective as these would prove.

I experienced some problems with certain programs. Mercury, my java based messenger showed up as a blank screen and xine is giving trouble with certain clips and its external controller is comming all screwed up so for now i am using Mplayer which is running perfectly stable.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Torrents, Azureus & Firewalls

Just brainstormed with everyone to get the D-Link router i have to open its ports so thet we can do torrent based downloads. for the record, the steps are :

1. open in firefox and log into the router, password - admin
2. go to advanced config at the botom and enter - port used by azureus ( 49152 ) my i.p. address and click save and then reboot.
3. in azureus set TCP/UDP to 49152 and under Plugins->Distributed DB-> unclick default port so it can use 49152.
4. under firewall settings add 49152 under TCP & UDP
5. Restart azureus

Quake 3 Source - XREAL

    Phew ! managed to get XREAL working. downloaded 4 pk3 files from which form the interface and 3 test maps and for the textures i linked the Doom3 pk4 files into XREAL's base as .pk3 files. The Results :

    While it deffinately looks sweet, the engine seems to be frought with bugs in the rendering systems. several inactive or background meshes seem to be popping through left right and center. my immediate assumption is that the hidden objects are not being culled properly and are "popping up" when hey shouldnt be. either way, after what ? 5 years of waiting, i have finally been able to compile and run the Q3 engine on my own :)

Quake 3 Source - XREAL

    Just got the quake3 source to compile on linux!! in the end i had to use the "CONS" make installer and i have to say its a neat installer. just installed the cons rpm and fired up the quake3 source installer as the instructions mentioned and voilla !

NOTE : i have not compiled the actual Q3 engine but a highly advanced version called XREAL. gonna have to get quake3 before i can start testing it.

DOSBOX - Wing Commander 3 on Linux

Just installed Dosbox 0.65 on FC5 and am trying out Wing Commander 3. While the gameplay is kinda bad ( jerky, sound stutters amongst other stuff ), its still fun to re-visit one of the 1st games i ever played.
Just found out that i cant play the game on wine. apparently my version is the original version built specifically for DOS unlike the khilrati saga version which is ment for Win95. just my luck to get stuck up with the original version .