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 :