after using almost ~14 months, i left my laptop aside. to dust and dirt to build in. i hardly use it for any important work for i couldn’t get a good linux distribution to run on it. but my linux friends insisted, that i should use a good linux distribution. the internet connectivity isn’t all that good at my place at kegalle. i had to spend couple of days at the office, downloading debian at the speed of 40kbps :-D
i tried fedora, mandriva, ubuntu, knoppix and fall back to fedora for it was the less problematic one off the given three. but sadly, i couldn’t enjoy the ride on fedora as the system started to hang every now and then, with providing lesser information to diagnose what’s the problem is. my friend asked me, not to use ubuntu, claiming it doesn’t adhere the ethics of real open source culture. . i installed fedora once and it was ok. but unfortunately, i didn’t find it stable on my laptop.
i picked debian lenny (5.0.2 64bit), since my processor : intel P8700 supports 64bit. the installer is really awesome. it won’t kick you off when there’s an issue. it gives you the optionality to go back to any point, during the installation process.
the installer has improved quite a lot. you can perform the installation with one cd/dvd or switching to the network installation; although there are many other ways to perform the same. i was doing my installation using a single debian dvd image. the wifi drivers for intel 3945/4965 cards weren’t pre-built in the kernel, though it’s supposed to be.
initial wifi/network configuration
in case if the installer fails to load the correct wifi firmware for your wireless card, it lets you to provide the wifi firmware using a flash stick (usb flash memory). even though the wifi driver gets picked off the usb flash, by the installer, it may not configure your wireless device, during the installation. when this happens, don’t try to configure your wireless connection manually. if you do, you have more problems with the network manager, it may not pick your wireless configuration, if you do it manually. hence, if the installer fails to configure wireless connection even though you have given it with the correct firmware, you have to safely ignore the wireless connection configuration at this point. you can do this by telling the installer that you would carry out wireless configuration at a later time.
just install the base system. the debian package managemer is so powerful that you could install what you want at anytime. in case if you have downloaded all debian dvd’s, don’t try to offer them to be scanned at this stage, for it’s time consuming. you can add all the dvd’s you have to the repository, to /etc/apt/sources.list , using the following command
removing the crappy java-gcj-compat
the gij is a part of java-gcj-compat library, you can safely remove this and its dependents (which includes openoffice, for it uses this crappy library). once you remove java-gcj-compat, call apt-get autoremove to get rid of all the stale libraries, which are in limbo.
when you remove java-gcj-compat, it will also remove its dependents: openoffice impress and calc. however, you can reclaim them once you install sun’s jdk :
apt-get remove java-gcj-compat
apt-get install sun-java6-jdk
apt-get install openoffice.org-impress
apt-get install openoffice.org-calc
once the installation is done, you can install network-manager and other bits and pieces you would like to have on your system. but before installing the network manager, it’s better to configure your network. if you’re using a wireless modem, you have to install wvdial and configure it to your liking. the default wvdial.conf looks bit dodgy and it points to /dev/modem when the device is mounted on /dev/ttyUSB0. i’m using e-220 modem, to add mobility.
apt-get install network-manager
apt-get install wvdial
installing the nvidia driver (the debian way)
the nvidia driver installation went pretty well. the debian wiki will guide you on each step, there are missing bits and pieces: the dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg won’t create /etc/X11/xorg.conf , it seems bit buggy. so you have to run nvidia-xconfig :
apt-get install nvidia-xconfig
configuring bluetooth service
adding a bluetooth mouse isn’t that hard either, once you install bluetooth support via “apt-get install bluetooth“. you may have to set HIDD_ENABLED=1 at /etc/default/bluetooth, else you might start receiving an error message when trying to add a bluetooth mouse to the system.
by calling hidd –search command, it would show you the number of listed bluetooth compatible devices, if you had already attempted to add any device(s), it’s/they are added at this point. but make sure to restart bluetooth service prior to this step. now you’re ready to roll.
web cam worked, just out of the box. so no configuration needed :-)
upgrading to the latest testing branch, squeeze:
just three commands to get this done ;-) edit /etc/apt/sources.list and have the following repo info :
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian squeeze main
aptitude install apt dpkg aptitude
now you’re using debian squeeze :-)