Saturday, 2 March 2013

Upgrading to openSUSE 12.2 with LXDE.

I upgraded my home computer to openSUSE 12.2. I use LXDE as my desktop environment. So far, I noticed two annoying bugs, but fortunately found workarounds for both of them.

1. It is not possible to logout from LXDE properly. Or, better to say, after the logout, the X server is not restarted. You have to switch to a text console and rerun lxdm manually as root. I was not able to find a simple fix, so I switched to lightdm which does not have the problem.

2. Firefox was showing a warning each time I started it: it was not able to connect to the DBus. After some googling and hacking, I discovered a rather simple solution. Just prepend the following line to your
~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart:

    export `dbus-launch`

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Farewell, my second hyper thread

I finally updated my desktop from openSUSE 11.2 to openSUSE 12.1. At first sight everything was more or less working, but when switching the machine off, I discovered it cannot be done without manually pushing the case button. All possible combinations of poweroff, shutdown and similar led just to the system halt, but the screen was showing the last messages and the fans were working on. Only the reset button could restart the machine.

The new init environment, systemd, was my first suspect. I started playing with it -- but only to discover only one of my CPUs is enabled (I have D865PERL motherboard with Pentium 4 with hyper-threading) . I identified the acpi=off option in the grub menu and removed the restriction... only to find that I can no longer even boot. The system froze during startup, each time at a slightly different time with a slightly different message (e.g. "BUG: unable to handle kernel initcall acpi_processor_init +0x0/0x100 [processor] returned with preemption imbalance", or "BUG: unable to handle paging request", or "scheduling with atomic", or just plain SIGSEGV or kernel panic).

I tried switching to different kernels (default, desktop, and vanilla), but the behaviour was the same. Even switching to systemv-init did not help.

I am currently running with hyper threading disabled at BIOS level. Therefore, I can boot with full acpi support and turn my machine off. However, I am running only one thread.

Update:
Googling for more information, I stumbled upon this thread:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1871247
Using their recommendation, namely adding processor.nocst=1 to boot options, solved the issue. Yay!

Another update:
I bought a new computer. It has an Intel Core i5-2400 chip and boots without problems :-)

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Dell Inspiron N5010 and DIR-652 D-Link Router

A hard disk in my wife's laptop was damaged. Windows 7 did not boot. After confirming the damage from Linux (openSUSE 12.1 install CD and AVG Rescue Disc) we called Dell's Support and got a new disk. There was no system on it and I found our "rescue" DVD did not work, so I tried to install Linux on the empty disk.

I already had openSUSE 12.1 NET installation CD, so I tried it. The problem was I was not able to connect to the internet: I used a RJ 45 ethernet cable to our D-Link router DIR-652. I was able to ping the router, I was able to browse its web interface, I was able to ping other computers in LAN, but when trying to connect to the WAN, there was no success. When pinging for a long time, one packet got through occassionaly, ping reporting about 97% packet loss. I gave up.

The next day a guy from Dell brought us Windows 7 installation disk. To my surprise, after installing the system, I was not able to connect to the internet either - and the symptoms were exactly the same as before in Linux. I was not able to use wireless connection, because the driver was not present on the installation disk (nor on the Dell drivers disk, either). I tried various things: switching the cables, changing the setup of the router, but to no avail.

Then, at last, I tried to bypass the router and connected the laptop directly to the cable coming from the wall. And lo and behold! I was connected. I ran the updates, got the driver for wifi and prepared the computer for normal work.

But I still wonder why it did not connect to the internet through the router by the ethernet cable.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Crackling Sound on HP Mini 5102 on Shutdown (openSUSE 12.1)

I upgraded my HP Mini from openSUSE 11.2 to 12.1. Everything went smoothly; I have discovered just one problem so far: when shutting the computer down, it emits a crackling sound for 1-2 seconds. I spent several hours googling for solutions and trying them.

The only working solution I have found so far is adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/50-sound.conf :
options snd-hda-intel single_cmd=1
The documentation says:
single_cmd  - Use single immediate commands to communicate
with codecs (for debugging only)

OK. I am debugging my sound card until I find a better solution.