Installing debian on EeePC 1201HA

The first reference for installing debian on an Eee PC is The Debian Eee PC project. However it says on
its models page that it does not fully support 1201HA, because it uses the Poulsbo chipset. The reason is that it’s not supported by mainstream debian: see #533450 for details…

However installing debian Squeeze (testing) using the debian installer snapshot was fearly easy. Read DebianEeePC/HowTo/InstallUsingStandardInstaller for details.

The only noticeable issues I had was with partitioning where the partition table was not reloaded by the kernel; and grub that installed itself on my installation USB Key instead of the primary drive.

A good point is that network and wifi worked out of the box. So then I needed X to work with the native resolution.

Reading the above bugreport and a few other website showed that there are two drivers out there. One poulsbo driver (that seams to come from ubuntu) and the intel IEGD driver. Nobody seams to maintain the first one, and the second is proprietary but at least works. However none work with the 1.7 version of xserver. So the first step is to get an older xserver.

Lenny has and old one but downgrading all X related packages (including gnome ones) was a pain, so I quickly switched to an other solution:
Rebuilding and xserver 1.6 package.

See next post for details on building the xserver 1.6 packages.

This solution worked fine with the IEDG 10.3 driver.
I’m still experiencing some X freeze from time to time (which are solved only by rebooting). The touchpad does not have the multifinger features I was used to, and sometime the cursor jump to the lower right corner, but I didn’t really tried to investigate this anyway.

As Steve McIntyre pointed out there is an other way to get the native resolution, using grub2 and fbdev, see for details.
I just updated to this configuration and it works !

moving… home and server

Well this server is home hosted over our DSL connection, so it had to move too 😉

That explain the one week offline period two weeks ago, if anyone (other than google) noticed.

So the moving has taken most of my time, I had to pack everything including my electronic stuff so the projects didn’t move much…

Also I offered myself an EeePC 1201HA, I wanted the 12 inch screen to get something more usable than the 701p. However it comes with windows 7 and the chipset is a gma500 (pouslbo) which does not help for linux, but I managed to get debian on it (still some to do, see a later post for details).

WordPress and plugin upgrade

After yesterday’s trouble, I just upgraded all my plugins.

Gengo’s URI renaming scheme with language code at the end was leading to an infinite redirect (adding fr+en/ to the URI) so I had to disable it. But doing so breaks the existing URI on your bookmarks (if you had some) and on Google…
So I hacked gengo again so that if the URI ends with a language code, it is redirected to the basic URI.
A recent reading : Cool URIs don’t change is just about keeping the URI, here I’m redirecting, that’s not as good, but at least you wont get the 404 😉

The link was on Peter Eisentraut’s Blog. I was reading his article about Remove and Purge. I was tempted to do the same, I even did for a few days. Then I read the comments, and ended using aptitude l~c view 😉 . I was previously using synaptic only for purging residual configuration…

it’s been a while…

Well, I’m actually more reading than writing since I added Planet Debian to my feed aggregator gregarious.

Also did a few changes to the themes, updated wordpress without issue. Thanks to both wordpress and debian.

Finally this blog has electronics in the headline and I’ve never talked about it yet, but I’m practicing 😉

I’ve been looking for software to draw my schematics and keep track of my work, first for myself and when ready to post my work here.
One project that seamed interesting is Fritzing but it seams too unstable, I don’t mean that the software is unstable but the file formats are. That means that some project done with it today might not be readable by tomorrow’s version.

So I ended up using The gEDA project tools. Starting with gschem to draw the schematics and then adding PCB to prepare my boards.
I’m not actually doing real PCBs, I prefer using prototyping boards and soldering lots of small wires, but using PCB with a 100mil grid really helps for arranging the placement.

I started hacking with Atmel’s AVR microcontrollers using avr-gcc and avr-libc. I first build an USBtinyISP avr programmer. I’ll post the gschem and PCB file some day. (It can come sooner if you ask for it).

Almost forgot, I recovered an old bookmark on Chip Directory. It’s a pinout database of many old chip references including 74xx TTL series and 40xx MOS series.

Hacking zenphoto for https admin

Trying to use zenphoto I found it does not have an option to have the admin tasks in https and the gallery in regular http.

WordPress is doing this and reading Rian’s article: SSL and Cookies in WordPress 2.6
I had a better idea on how it works.

Before coding, I also read How to Properly Provide Mixed HTTP and HTTPS Support from mikeperry’s blog.

And this is basically what I implemented.

For once the result of my work is not hosted on my blog but directly on zenphoto’s trac : The ticket with zenphoto patch to allow both http and https.

Trading Places on Debian

To fit a particular job, several choices are often available. For softwares, it the same!

For example, while configuring a system we need a text editor. On recent distros, we get nano, on others we have vi (or a variant like nvi, vim…). On debian the defaukt editor is simply called editor.

Let’s see that:

$ which editor
$ ls -la /usr/bin/editor
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 24 mar  4 09:01 /usr/bin/editor -> /etc/alternatives/editor

So editor is not a program, simply a symbolic link to the same file name in /etc/alternatives and that last on is an other link to the actual editor program.

To update the editor we could change the link, but that’s quite direct were debian gives us a nice way to do it with the command: update-alternatives.
Obviously to update system configuration you have to be root (use su or sudo whatever you like best)

# update-alternatives --config editor

A text menu will propose you the available alternatives.

That’s for the big picture, I was first on using this on the case of the flash plugin for firefox (well iceweasel). Even after installing flash form debian-multimedia repository, firefox was still using swfdec, ad removing swfdec was breaking gnome’s dependencies… The solution is above, firefox uses a plugin, this is an alternative! So:

# update-alternatives --config
There are 2 choices for the alternative
  Selection    Path
*+        1    /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/
          2    /usr/lib/flashplayer-mozilla/
Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number:2
update-alternatives: using /usr/lib/flashplayer-mozilla/ to provide

You did it!

That’s no because flash is not open source that we have to read on debian or ubuntu forums that the solution is to remove manually or any similar nonsense, there is a way to do it, that what new users should learn.

Music Player Daemon

If you are storing your music file on your home server’s hard drive, so why don’t you play it from here ?

That’s just what I did, especially with the SPDIF output on the server’s motherboard connected to my sound system, that would have been a waste not to use it!

But it’s a server, it has no screen, no keyboard…

You can play your music using mpg321 from an ssh connection, you can even use screen, that would work. But there is a nice program that’s even better for that case: Music Player Deamon aka MPD
Continue reading

ANSI Color support for xrootconsole

Having the system log on a background transparent window on the desktop look nice and can be useful (USB key plug events, network connection events and so on).
One way is to use a terminal like aterm or Eterm for instance using the following command:

aterm -tr -bl -ib 0 -title log -name log +sb -geometry '140x16+0+791' -e bash -c "tail --follow=name /var/log/full.log | ccze" &

With the -title and -name option the window decoration can be removed at the window manager level. OK, this is nice.

But when using fluxbox desktop wheeling will not work over the log as it is a window not the desktop.

So I switched to xrootconsole, but it has no color support… not a big deal, I just hacked it in 😉

Here is a sample usage of the hacked xrootconsole, the important part is the -A parameter for ANSI to ccze as the default is to use curses:

tail -n 16 --follow=name /var/log/full.log | ccze -A | xrootconsole --wrap --bottomup -geometry 233x16+1+818 &

Continue reading

becoming bilingual

Thanks to the Gengo plug-in my blog is becoming bilingual.

Obviously things are never that simple, Gengo is not ready for WordPress 2.7 so I had to install the development version… I justs have to check that it works!

  • French layout was kind of strange, English seams more ok… for now!

Don’t worry non-french reader’s (do I have any reader yet anyway) I will continue to write in english.

WordPress 2.7.1 !

Now that Lenny is out, testing is moving again !

So I could upgrade my wordpress debian package to the testing version and get the 2.7.1 !

Note that my system is still running lenny (stable), this is using basic apt pinning, the more basic you can do is :

  1. add
    APT::Default-Release "stable";

    in /etc/apt/apt.conf (or in one file in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d)

  2. then add the tesing distrib in your source.list !
  3. Finally
    sudo aptitude update

    and that’s it you can install some specific packages from testing.

However to use stable, testing and unstable you have to really do the pinning !

But for testing, unstable and experimental the above method with testing as default release will works. Just because experimental has NEVER automatic upgrade.