Category Archives: Linux

Kudos to Jason Copenhaver for his assistance

A hearty thank you to Jason Copenhaver for answering all of my questions and helping to setup my first Linux box. At the last Sarasota .NET Developers group meeting, Jason and I discussed Linux and I asked a lot of questions. He volunteered to help me get started and this afternoon he followed through. As I post this, my Ubuntu Linux box is downloading it’s first set of updates.

Finally able to try Linux…

I have a slightly older PC based upon an Intel P4 2.8GHz on an 865GLC mobo w/2G RAM, ATI Radeon 9600AIW that I use for testing XP MCE and Vista Beta. This machine is able to boot the Live CDs for Ubuntu, Freespire and Mandriva. I have also booted the PC Linux OS TR3.

So far, I’m drawn to the Freespire distro. It appears to be the closest to XP Pro. When booting from the LiveCD though, it defaults to the Install option unless you intervene with a keystroke – which seems slightly dangerous.

Linux Strike Four

Thought that I’d try Ubuntu 7.04 3/15/07. I had the same experience as with Ubuntu 6.10 – after the initial loading screen, there is a flash, then the screen goes black, and the monitor goes into powerdown since it’s no longer receiving any video signal. Shortly thereafter the powerup sound plays and CD activity stops. The system is evidently up and running but without a GUI. Same in both normal and ‘safe graphics’ mode.  Guess the safe mode isn’t when you have an ATI graphics card… Strike 4 for Linux.

Still another attempt to walk on the Dark Side – Linux Strike Three

Tried Mandriva One 2007 Live CD.  I have to say that this one got farther than the others – I actually got to answer a few question screens choosing language, keyboard layout, time zone and license. Then the screen goes black for a couple of minutes. Moving the mouse, the screen changes to blue, and I have a large mouse pointer with a blue dot circling around its base. I can move this all around the screen to the edges but no farther. Clicking either mouse button or pressing keyboard keys does nothing. Linux Strike Three !

A walk on the Dark Side – Linux Strike Two

Based upon some comments posted on ZDNet blogs in response to Adrian Kingsley-Hughes request for the best Linux distro, I decided to give Linux another try. My previous attempt was documented here. I downloaded Freespire v1.0.13 which is supposed to have the best combination of drivers.

Created the bootable CD from the ISO and tried to run it from the CD.  The progress bar advanced about 1/3 of the way across, then hang city. Restarting and pressing the escape key during the boot process showed the kernel messages scrolling by, and then after about 2 minutes, a continuous stream of "azx_get_response TIMEOUT" messages – about 2 per second – forever.

Booting back into XP and Googling this phrase shows that its probably a problem with Intel HD Audio – which my 975XBX2 mobo has and which XP handles with no problems. I don’t know why Linux just can’t leave it disabled until a driver can be located. Strike two for Linux.

First Steps on the Dark Side – Linux Strike One

I tried to install and run Ubuntu Linux on my new Intel Quad Core machine. Note that I said tried…

When it didn’t work, the first thing that I did was go to the Ubuntu Forums. And guess what – I’m not alone. It turns out that Ubuntu Linux is seriously broken when it comes to using ATI video cards. This is also discussed on the Software Review site (warning – slow site). Many people expressed many forms of VooDoo to get it to work: reconfigure X Server, force the use of an alternate ATI driver set, etc.. The reason that I chose Ubuntu is that it was supposed to be the easiest to use. The run attempt resulted in the startup sound playing, then a black screen. Hardly reassuring to anyone attempting to try Linux.

Windows XP SP2 booted right up with no problems – a totally different out of box experience.  I know, what can you expect for free ?

I’m seriously interested in trying Linux, and it’s probably going to be a necessary step for approaching Embedded uCLinux for some of our products. However it’s got to work first. And with Ubuntu Linux attempting to regale potential users with ease of use, and free CDs in magazines, about 25% (ATI’s estimated market share) of those potential users will be disappointed.