FIRST IMPRESSIONS: XP slow, battery quite short, good sound, nice crispy and bright screen, noisy fans - Win XP is slow, things take a long time, and a lot of disk cranking going on. Also at reboot still the case. Could not get the wireless to connect, whereas got that in linux in a snap. Go figure, must be me. - fans come on a lot, and are quite noisy. in linux they sometimes won't really stop. [solution: hit Fn-Z, it will then stop] - there is no mute button on this machine? XP is very noisy a start and stop - battery is only 3:00 hr, instead of 3:20 for my old Dell5k, but much worse from the 5:00hr for a Dell8k!!! With 2 batteries loaded, this is a big difference if you fly to Japan..... - the CMOS clock is terrible, i easily loose around an hour per day, probably need to get ntp running (which isn't easy on rh73) solution: kill the battery applet (found Nov 17) + much better sound (volume wise :-) than the Dell5k + BIOS setup accessible from within a running operating system, very useful though it can muck up your clock. - Linux notes for install (details below) - partition the disk with PartitionMagic 7.0 (mandrake 9.1 now comes with NTFS resizers in linux!) (but on another machine i was able to loose XP with PM7!!) - patch with the NVidia drivers, and get a good XF86Config-4 file (the new NVidia drivers make it (near?) impossible to patch the nv.c file to solve the suspend problem!!!) - eth0=wire eth1=wireless : both ok and work out of the box (for the wireless need to put the right stuff in /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts) though some issues after coming back out of suspend - lilo was not done properly, need to use 'lba32' option instead of 'linear' XP was also not (properly?) added to the menu, had to do that manually - manual sound volume does not seem to work (it was so nice in the end this would work for the Dell5k) (i8k utils might solve this, didn't try it yet) - coming out of suspend the time is messed up (is that a UT vs. civil-time problem??) - My Favorite RedHat Patches: - /etc/inittab: '/sbin/mingetty --noclear tty1' to prevent the login: prompt to clear the screen and see the end of the boot process - /etc/sysctl.conf: kernel.cores_uses_pid = 0 was introduced around rh73, it would otherwise write lots of core.* files, instead of one. Tends to fill your disk too quickly if you do a lot of buggable program development and you forget to clean them. However, can be indispensible for debugging multithreaded apps. - Weird: - wireless comes on all the time at reboot/un-suspend.... (ok, solved initially, but still given me problems) - sometimes suspend didn't work, some USB module kept being re-spawned and kept it from going into suspend. apmd then claimed "suspend vetoed!" (happened in the beginning a few times, now seems to be gone) - time re-set at un-suspend needs some fix other than 'rdate -s earth.astro.umd.edu' and also don't run the battery applet, it slows the clock down due to high interrupt rate to the APM (i'm not running the clock in UT time mode, seems to work fine) - very bad disk I/O, hdparm gives fluctuating results 8 - 13 MB/s, should be a consistent 21. ** the first time the disk I/O problem went away due to the patched NVidia driver was a fluke. upon a reboot i got back into slow I/O mode, very very unworkable. E.g. starting mozilla takes nearly a minute. ** the 2nd time i noticed the problem went away is when I mounted a CD... (CD/DVD is in /dev/hdb). umounting the CD immediately got the problem back. Mounting it again, problem gone..... go figure When the CD stopped spinning, problem back. Make it spin (e.g. (u)mount), problem gone. Some more trials revealed that twm and a fresh gnome user didn't have this problem, so it must be related to my gnome starting up some task pounding on the disk whenever the CD is not 'on'... what could that be :-) On GNOME's menu Programs | Settings | Peripherals | CD Properties there is a checkbox when an audio CD is inserted, to use gtcd to play the CD..... if it's checked, it goes bananas when no CD is mounted. The task at fault is called 'magicdev' (in Gnome, in KDE it would be called autorun; fvwm and twm don't suffer from the problem) - some startx's invocations result in crashing panels, and badly behaving GNOME. I mostly attribute this to the slowness of startup (see previous item) because of the I/O problem. - wireless claims to be 3c59x (also in modules.conf), whereas it should be wvlan_cs. Perhaps this explains the weirdness with wireless upon suspend. In rh9 it works just fine with orinoco_cs - left mouse button of PS2 mouse gets reset in a weird way after being online on a external display unit. When using USB this was still the case, but sort of resolved itself after some usage. Didn't have to restart X. - when starting a 2nd X, e.g. with startx -- :1 -screen Screen1 to go to lower resulution there are two serious problems: - the USB mouse doesn't work anymore - it won't go into 16 or 24 bit mode, drops to 8 bit - if you don't ifdown, close lid, and open. it won't get it back. You can also see this from wvlan, or by checking /proc/net/wireless Best is to: pcmcia stop pcmcia start You can also turn PCMCIARESTART=yes in the /etc/sysconfig/apmd script - in the middle (?) of playing a DVD: time was reset and the mouse left button acts like it did when the Epson display was added for the talk. ** could not repeat the DVD / mouse problem ** but with the display unit it was repeatable - sometimes coming out of suspend you have: - a dead display, need to reboot (bless ext3!!!) ....No know solution..... - fans that are spinning at max rate, and won't stop/spin down ...Possibly the i8tools will fix this ** also have the impression things are sluggish when this happens ** Apparent solution: hit Fn-Z and it should stop or slow the fans
- (optional) boot up the machine, do your WinXP registration thing - the disk comes as 1 partition, so you need something like PartitionMagic, since Dell didn't give us an option to get XP on a FAT32 partition. One perhaps useful suggestion to save time in PartitionMagic (it's slow) is to "split" the disk in an NTFS (for WinXP) and leave the tail end "as is" (free). I choose the route to allow ext2, which caused PM to stage the process in 6 steps. On a 60GB drive this took 22 minutes. The 1 step process took 70 seconds. (later i learned mdk91 can do this very quick, probably they are using ntfsresize (the knoppix CD also has this program) - boot from CD, do the usual thing, configure the remainder of the disk for your favorite distribution. I wound up with the following scheme. Disk /dev/hda: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 7296 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/hda1 1 4 32098+ de Dell Utility ?apm? /dev/hda2 * 5 730 5831595 7 HPFS/NTFS winxp /dev/hda3 731 7296 52741395 f Win95 Ext'd (LBA) PM /dev/hda5 731 991 2096451 82 Linux swap swap /dev/hda6 992 1373 3068383+ 83 Linux / /dev/hda7 1374 7296 47576466 83 Linux /home - after the installation lilo used the default 'linear' instead of 'lba32', which is needed here.. Had to rescue boot and fix this manually. Also WinXP wasn't installed, had to add that manually too: other=/dev/hda2 label="WinXPPro" - everything basically worked, networking, sound etc. There are still some things to be tinkered with, mostly when coming back out of suspend. Something with sounds is not perfect either. The fans drive me crazy. Under some circumstances this machine has the fans on *all* the time in linux.Here's my latest /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file. I use it with a logitech (optical) wheel mouse. Just make sure you have it plugged in before X starts, but don't let Kudzu at boot modify your PS2 setup, or you will loose your touchpad. Between suspends the external mouse adapts just fine.
...<< suspend/wakeup >>... athome ifup eth1 ...<< suspend/wakeup >>... atwork ifdown eth1 (pcmcia always starts up the wireless) ifup eth0 (after you put the ethernet cable in)Occasionally - have not quite figured out when and why - the wireless comes up under eth0, check with ifconfig for those confusing moments. May have to do some combination of ifdown, rmmod.
Note added: the redhat-config-network tool in rh9 allows for multiple profiles, which solves many of the problems i solved with eth_configure. It does not solve the printing problem though. rh9 uses CUPS.
Using it for presentations there are still problems. Not all projector units are the same. Some need you to start X a-new, others adapt just fine, and others adapt fine, but only show a subset of the 1600x1200 display with scrolling edges. Also my mouse (at least PS2) seems totally corrupted (at least some of the left mouse action in Gnome), and forces me to restart X. You need an XF86Config-4 file with multiple screen sections of course. Check mine how this can be done.
Insert the ZiO! smartmedia reader, USB based, and issue
mount /mnt/flashto copy files from the the disk.
To start under another resolution (e.g. your external display unit cannot handle 1600x1200) do:
startx -- :1 -screen Screen1but notice the external USB mouse will now stop working, since somehow it was bound to :0.
Here are some 'benchmarks' on battery usage. You get these from /var/log/messages:
(2002) Oct 28 09:41:54 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 21:56:31, -14.22%/day (87% 5:15) Battery power Nov 19 12:30:21 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 08:09:34, -14.71%/day (95% 5:44) Battery power Nov 23 11:06:17 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 12:32:59, -13.39%/day (93% 5:35) Battery power (2003) Apr 6 22:30:09 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 08:39:31, -11.09%/day (96% 5:12) Battery power Apr 8 09:35:27 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 14:48:52, -17.82%/day (89% 4:50) Battery power Apr 9 08:58:15 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 10:35:42, -11.33%/day (74% 3:59) Battery power Apr 26 05:55:11 localhost apmd: Normal Resume after 12:36:00, -22.86%/day (88% 4:47) Battery power recently i've had really short times, like 3 hours, on the two batteries.... it was on wireless and with high screen brightness, but still. that last hour or 90 minutes is basically gone. seems like a dead cell. that has been since before christmas at least. meaning instead of the promised 6 hours, it now claims 5:23, of which the last 90 minutes is basically gone in a few.
chkconfig pcmcia off, and run the command
/etc/rc.d/init.d/pcmcia startfrom a root shell, even perhaps having to give ^C to get it going... very odd.