Monthly Archives: March 2005

i915 and xorg cvs

I found some free time and decided that the performance of the vesa drives for the intel i915 graphics card was driving me nuts. I installed the xorg from their cvs through a crafty way of tricking portage into believing it was just reinstalling xorg 6.8.2-r1. Once this was installed, I was able to use the i810 driver in xorg (which is what then loads the correct i915). Everything worked just fine for getting it to work that way. Performance is definitely a whole lot better. Of course, there was one problem, which was that DRI can not load the module correctly even though it’s there. That will have to be something to wait to fix another day as I have exams the next two days.

Netflix Scam

I’ve currently been subscribed to netflix for about 2 months now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that their “unlimited rental” deal is really a scam. I KNOW they are now using tricks to control how many DVD’s are sent out to a customer.

When I originally signed up with them, it would take one day for me to recieve the DVD after they had sent it (which has not changed up to this point). After watching it, I would send it out in the morning and Netflix would recieve it at the latest by the 2nd day if the the next day. That was at the beginning.

Now we fast forward to two months subscription. When I get the movies, I watch them that day. I then send them back in the next day. It started taking longer and longer for my movies to be received by Netflix as time went on and I had more rentals. It is now at the point where I would receive the movie on Monday, I send it back Tuesday morning before mail is collected, and they will not recieve it (by posting online that they recieve it and send me another one) until the following Monday. At one point, I sent one back Tuesday, one Thursday, and one Friday. They all showed as being recieved by Netflix the same day which was Monday.

From trying this a couple times now, I definitely can tell that there is something not right going on with the company. How can I send 3 movies back 5 days apart and they Netflix center get them all the same day. The only explanation I can come up with is that they are not really posting when they recieve the movies and are holding on to them so that they do not have to send more out. I find this a large problem since they advertise unlimited where in fact they really are LIMITING the DVD’s. I have one more month left before I cancel, so I’m going to record all the dates/times when I send the movies and and then get a new one. Until then, I wouldn’t recommend anyone signing up for them as they are definitely being shady.

Linux on Inspiron 6000

Update: I have created a seperate page now that I’m going to be actively updating instead of trying to either keep updating this post or adding additional posts. Click here to go to the page.

Of course the first thing that I did with the laptop is to wipe the hard drive clean. I have a school edition of Windows XP Pro that is going to replace the Windows XP Home and I’m also going to be installing Gentoo Linux on it as well. I’ve decided to add some information on getting linux to work though since the hardware is relatively new and doesn’t completely work correctly in all aspects.

I’ve followed the basic Gentoo Handbook for installation. Here is some additional information and thoughts about it though.

For the most part, I followed the handbook very closely. The exception is when it came to the kernel, I used gentoo-dev-sources ebuild gentoo-dev-sources-2.6.11-r2.ebuild. You should make sure to use at least a 2.6.11 kernel as it’s when support was added for the 915 chipset. I posted both my .config and xorg.conf which the links can be found at the bottom of the post.

I used a stage3 for a pentium 3 to start off with. Right before I started to install system software though, I added the following lines to /etc/portage/package.keywords so that I would be using gcc-3.4.3 which has better support for pentium-m.
sys-devel/gcc ~x86
sys-libs/libstdc++-v3 ~x86
sys-libs/glibc ~x86
sys-devel/gcc-config ~x86

Before I compiled and switched to gcc-3.4.3, my cflag was -march=pentium3 and after switching to gcc-3.4.3 i changed that to -march=pentium-m. Did a emerge gcc, then used gcc-config to switch to using 3.4.3. Of course doing this can cause problems with other packages in portage. If you chose just to stick with gcc-3.3.5 i would recommend using -march=pentium3 and not -march=pentium-m or -march=pentium4.

Monitor/Graphics
Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller

I have the 15.4 inch UltraSharp WSXGA+ LCD Pane. This willl make a difference in setting up the modelines and resultion in the xorg.conf file. This has to be the most dissappointing part as of yet. Since there is no support for the 915GM in xorg 6.8.2 yet (possibly patch in the future) we will have to wait until 6.8.3 or install a cvs version of xorg which contains the drivers. It does work with vesa drivers (not so good though). This is also where using the 2.6.11 kernel is needed since the kernel does have drivers for it. I’m still messing around the the xorg.conf working on tweaking everything, but for the most part everything works great. I have posted my xorg.conf for people that want to see what I’ve done (and possibly share some additional tweaks they’ve done).
xorg.conf

Disks
Intel Corporation 82801FBM (ICH6M) SATA Controller

This section caught me off guard at first since I didn’t know that the hard drives were now using SATA interfaces in the laptop. The biggest notible difference is that the hard drive device is now at /dev/sda instead of what most people are used to as /dev/hda. The cdrom is at /dev/hdc (or /dev/cdrom or /dev/cdroms/cdrom0). In the kernel, I had to make sure that I enabled the driver for this which was:
CONFIG_SCSI_SATA=y
CONFIG_SCSI_ATA_PIIX=y
CONFIG_SCSI_QLA2XXX=y

SD Slot
I have not got this to work yet. Anybody that has some ideas on how to get this to work, it would be a great help to people. I have these set in the kernel though:
CONFIG_MMC=y
CONFIG_MMC_BLOCK=y
CONFIG_MMC_WBSD=m

Wired Network Adapter
Broadcom Corporation BCM4401-B0 100Base-TX

Just make sure in the kernel you have:
CONFIG_B44=y
Works fine then.

Wireless Network Adapter
Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 2915ABG MiniPCI Adapter

I chose to use the ipw2200 drivers for this card. At this time it is said that adhoc mode does not work which is not a problem for a majority of people since they usually use access points anyways. My card works perfectly with these drivers though. You need to make sure that you enable the following in the kernel to use these drivers though:
CONFIG_CRYPTO_ARC4=y
CONFIG_CRYPTO_MICHAEL_MIC=y
After that, just emerge net-wireless/ipw2200 and then follow the directions that it gives after installing if you want to automatically load the modules. I’ve tried this with B and G networks with different configurations, but haven’t tested it with an A network, but don’t see any problems when I do eventually come across one.

Audio
Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) AC’97 Audio Controller

I use also and I just had this in my config and it worked perfectly:
CONFIG_SND_AC97_CODEC=y
CONFIG_SND_INTEL8X0=y

USB/Firewire
FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C552 IEEE 1394 Controller
Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller

Works perfectly find using any availabe standard documentation. Nothing special.

kernel config file
xorg.conf

Update: I would recommend watching the entire Linux Category for more information and updates.

Dell Inspiron 6000

I’ve recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 6000 to replace the ailing Dell Inspiron 8100. The 8100 is starting to go into extreme maintanence mode which was going to cost too much for me considering I was able to get the 6000 for about $960 after shipping and taxes.

Here’s the specs on the laptop:
Inspiron 6000 IntelŪ PentiumŪ M Processor 715 (1.50 GHz/2MB Cache/400MHz FSB)
15.4 inch UltraSharp WSXGA+ LCD Panel
256MB Shared DDR2 SDRAM 1 Dimm
Integrated IntelŪ Media Accelerator 900 Graphics
40GB Hard Drive
Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
Wireless Networking IntelŪ PRO/Wireless 2915 Internal Wireless (802.11 a/b/g, 54Mbps)
Battery 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery (80 WHr)