New gnustep soon stable, new windowmaker ebuild, NX news, … (and other things I’ve already forgotten)

It looks like real life finally lets me write some news on Gentoo work 🙂

GNUstep news first: packages based on gnustep-make-2.0 are now almost all marked stable (see the progress in this bugreport), there’s only sparc left and then I’ll finish cleaning up the old ebuilds. In the gnustep overlay, you can now find (masked) unstable gnustep and gorm releases: lots of fixes, but requires lots of revdep-rebuild! 😉

Thanks to grobian and truedfx, you can now try windowmaker-0.92.0-r7, it has some nice features to check out. This is still my WM of choice, even if I now run gnome on the laptop (easy compiz switching, better power management integration).

On the NX front, a nice Gentoo user has filled a few enhancement bugs on freenx (startup script, utempter use, …). I’m preparing a revbump integrating most of these, stay tuned. I’m also preparing a revbump for the free edition server, upstream has released a new version with many fixes (including some that could help people using selinux). And last, if you have problems with freenx, or freeedition server, there are two lengthy threads on the forums, where you may get help from other users. The freenx thread is here, and the one for the free edition is here

And closing this post, I’d like to say a big “thank you for all the work you’ve done on Gentoo” to Roy Marples (uberlord), and Seemant Kulleen (uncle Seemant)

Tips and tricks: Gentoo Linux on a Samsung Q45 laptop

I won’t talk here about the difficulties encountered while installing ~amd64 Gentoo on this baby, as most of the components work quite well and without a problem, but rather about a few tips I had to dig around the Internet. Some of these tips may apply to other PCs, or other distributions too 😉

External kernel modules to emerge

To get most of the hardware, emerge:

  • net-wireless/iwlwifi: even if it’s still relatively new, it works much better than ipw3945 for the wifi! Update: merged in kernel, simply emerge net-wireless/iwl3945-ucode, and enable iwlwifi in kernel tree
  • media-video/linux-uvc: who knows, this webcam may be useful one day
  • x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers: yes, it’s proprietary, but you need it to try compiz-fusion (add “options nvidia NVreg_RegistryDwords=”PerfLevelSrc=0x2222” to /etc/modules.d/nvidia to fix flickering in X)
  • app-misc/sdricoh_cs: this is a *very* experimental driver for the card reader (I did not try further though, as I still have an old PCMCIA one that works fine and fast) ”Update””: turns out you don’t need this one, simply use the “sdhci” module from kernel

Power management

Now, let’s get the most of the battery. First some links that will give a lot of ideas to get a longer battery life:

  • Gentoo Power Management Guide
  • Intel-sponsored Less watts site: by the way, emerging powertop definitely is a good idea!
  • Mandatory to let your CPU rest while on battery: HRT (tickless system) patch for amd64, apply it to your 2.6.23 gentoo-sources. Update: merged in recent kernels
  • A patch to apply to gnome-applets (works fine here, less CPU wakeups)

By the way, nvidia broke the brightness key shortcuts while in X, but you can switch to a console (where the keys work!), adjust brightness, and switch back to X.

Gnome tips

For now, I run Gnome (2.20) on it, here a few fixes. First, the gnome-power-manager tray icon may not appear from time to time on login. This is a known problem, also known as bug 188618 to poor Gentoo developers. (Update) This was fixed by leio (don’t forget to thank him), now you just need to upgrade to gnome-power-manager-2.20.0-r1 (no need to kill and restart g-p-m manually now). For other distributions, this was accepted usptream, so you should be fine soon too 🙂

OK, now that we have a battery life monitor, next tweak: if you have kept the hidden backup partition on this system, gnome will add a nice (completely useless) icon for it on your desktop. Thanks to the french Ubuntu forums, here is how to tell HAL to ignore that partition (/dev/sda1 in my case). Create a file called /etc/hal/fdi/preprobe/10ignore-disks.fdi, with these lines inside:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <deviceinfo version="0.2"> <device> <match key="block.device" string="/dev/sda1"> <merge key="info.ignore" type="bool">true</merge> </match> </device> </deviceinfo> 

And voila, this one will not bother you anymore 🙂

Last thing, if you’d like to enter your password once at gdm screen, without the need to retype it for gnome-keyring (NetworkManager trying to connect to the home wifi), and even SSH passphrases, read this great planet post by fellow french conspiracy Gentoo developer remi.

Another last thing (last one I promise), about NetworkManager: this is a great tool, but it will work better if you add something like ‘RC_PLUG_SERVICES=”!net.eth* !net.wlan*”‘ to /etc/conf.d/rc (so the system does not try to start the interfaces before networmanager does). Also take a look at NetworkManagerDispatcher (bug here): this tool will automate start/stop of services when NetworkManager connects to a network (openvpn, ntpd, …)

OK, I’ve finished now, thanks to the few people that are still reading 😉