Installing Arch Linux On EeePC 701 4G    Posted:


I know, I know, a lot of you are asking, "Why on earth would you want to do anything with a machine that's 5 years old?!" The hardware is crap now, and it was crap when the EeePC came out. Well, my friends, that's one of the great things about Linux! It will put new life into old hardware. Granted, the EeePC 701 4G came with Linux on it and all that, but I'm talking about putting something modern on it. Regardless, this guide will hopefully be useful for others who are trying to get Linux installed using LVM that uses something like an SD card as part of the primary volume group.

I've had Arch Linux installed on my EeePC for quite a while, but I only recently began to appreciate the benefits of LVM. The key requirement for this installation was to use LVM partitioning instead of traditional partitioning. I wanted the built-in 4GB SSD and the 8GB SD card to appear as one hard drive to the operating system so I would have that much more space to actually use.

Another key requirement for this installation was that I wanted to do it using a PXE server instead of the usual USB/external CD drive method. I've used PXE servers in the past, but I never really did much with them. I wanted to use this as an excuse to learn a bit more about them.

Prerequisites

If you're following along at home, I'm assuming that you have (access to) the following:

  • An EeePC 701 4G
  • An SD card that will be a permanent fixture in your EeePC
  • A router running DD-WRT that serves as the DHCP server for your network (I am running v24-sp2). Alternatively, just use a USB/CD to install.

PXE Setup

If you want to save some time and just use a USB/CD to install Arch, go ahead and skip to the Arch Installation section.

For those who are unfamiliar with PXE servers, PXE stands for "Preboot eXecution Environment." It allows you to boot your computer over the network using images stored on a different machine. Since I didn't want to plug in my USB key or external DVD drive, this was a perfect option.

I used my main laptop as the PXE server. All I really did was install atftp from the AUR, copy ipxe.pxe from the Arch Linux Netboot page (from the "Using an iPXE image" section), and put it in /var/tftpboot. After that, it was a matter of running atftpd:

rc.d start atftpd

The next step required tweaking the dnsmasq configuration on my router. Here's what I did:

  • Login to router

  • Go to the Services tab

  • Find the DNSMasq section (mine is already enabled for other purposes, so I assume you will want to make sure yours is enabled)

  • In the "Additional DNSMasq Options" box, make sure you have something like:

    dhcp-boot=ipxe.pxe,[your PXE server's name],[your PXE server's IP]
    
  • Apply the changes. I rebooted my router just to be sure.

That's all there really is to the PXE side of things.

EeePC Setup

You'll want to make sure that booting from the network is enabled in your BIOS. I'll post a list of my BIOS settings later.

Then you should be able to boot your EeePC from the network. If your EeePC isn't configured to boot from the network first, you can simply hit Escape while the BIOS POST screen is still showing and select it from the menu that appears.

If all goes according to plan, your EeePC should receive an IP address and download the boot images from your PXE server. Once you select the appropriate Arch Install option from the menu, it should go out and download the ISO and boot it up. It's pretty neat to see in action. Maybe one day I'll try to tweak this to use an ISO image that's available on the local network instead of downloading it from the Internet every time.

Arch Installation

Installing Arch Linux should be fairly simple if you follow the installation guide (which is also available during installation these days at /root/install.txt). The key thing to remember, if you want to use the built-in SSD and a permanent SD card as one hard drive, is to use LVM partitioning.

LVM Partitioning

The Arch Linux LVM guide will likely be an invaluable resource if you're new to LVM. Here I will simply give a short list of commands that I think I used to get my EeePC setup (I did this several days ago, so I might miss something along the way...sorry)

It's important to note that, while it's supposedly possible, I've never had any luck keeping my boot partition in an LVM setup. As such, I first partition my SSD and SD cards using fdisk. There are plenty of resources for fdisk and cfdisk out there, so I'll skip over the specifics of how to use each one and just give you an idea of what needs to be done.

  • Wipe all partitions from both /dev/sda (the SSD) and /dev/sdb (the SD card)
  • Create a 50-100MB primary partition at the beginning of /dev/sda. Mark it as bootable. Set the partition type to 83 (Linux).
  • Create another primary partition on /dev/sda that consumes the remaining disk space. Set the partition type to 8e (Linux LVM).
  • Create a primary partition on /dev/sdb that consumes all space on the SD card. Set the partition type to 8e (Linux LVM).

Now that we have some "Linux LVM" partitions to deal with, we can begin using LVM. Each partition we wish to use (both /dev/sda2 and /dev/sdb1) needs to be configured as an LVM "physical volume":

pvcreate /dev/sda2
pvcreate /dev/sdb1

Next, we create an LVM volume group that uses both of our physical volumes:

vgcreate vg0 /dev/sda2
vgextend vg0 /dev/sdb1

Lastly, create the LVM logical volumes. It's up to you how you setup your partitions, but I chose to create a swap partition (since my EeePC only has 512MB RAM) and a root partition. To create a swap partition, you simply do something like this:

lvcreate -C y -l 1G vg0 -n swap

And here's what the arguments mean:

  • -C y: make the partition contiguous
  • -l 1G: number of logical extents to allocate for the new logical drive
  • vg0: the name of the volume group we created earlier
  • -n swap: the name of the new logical volume

I created my root partition to fill the remaining space in the volume group as follows:

lvcreate -l +100%FREE vg0 -n root

Then it's just a matter of formatting your partitions. I'm not up-to-date on the debate regarding which FS is ideal for solid state media, so I just chose ext2:

mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1
mkfs.ext2 /dev/mapper/vg0-root
mkswap /dev/mapper/vg0-swap

It's probably worth noting that you now have several ways to reference your newly-created LVM volumes. Here are my favorites:

  • /dev/[volume group name]/[volume name]
  • /dev/mapper/[volume group name]-[volume name]

Install Arch

I really don't want to duplicate the Arch Linux installation guide, so I'll just leave you to follow along there. Go ahead and mount your new partitions, pacstrap everything you want, and arch-chroot your heart away. But you might want to come back before you exit the chroot, otherwise your EeePC might not boot and you'll have to waste some time trying to figure out why.

Help The EeePC Boot With LVM

Before you reboot, you'll probably want to modify your /etc/mkinitcpio.conf to let your EeePC understand your LVM setup. The two key lines are MODULES and HOOKS. Here's what I have:

MODULES="usb-storage scsi-mod sd-mod libata usbcore uhci-hcd ehci-hcd"
HOOKS="base udev autodetect pata scsi sata lvm2 filesystems usbinput fsck"

The key here is to ensure that lvm2 appears before filesystems in your HOOKS list. Also, you want to load some modules to allow the SD card to be detected before the LVM hook attempts to find your partitions. I'm not sure if you need all of those modules, but they worked on the first try for me. To make the changes useful, rebuild your boot images:

mkinitcpio -p linux

To go along with detecting your SD card at boot, you want to give it enough time to settle before LVM tries to use it. In my case, 3 seconds is sufficient, so I added this to my /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg:

lvmwait=/dev/vg0/root rootdelay=3

You should be able to add that to the APPEND lines in your syslinux.cfg or the kernel line in your GRUB configuration file. Or whatever it is with GRUB these days.

Also, while you're editing your bootloader configuration, be sure to change the root partition to /dev/vg0/root (or whatever you chose when you did your LVM partitioning). The default syslinux.cfg includes root=/dev/sda3, so I just changed that to root=/dev/vg0/root. Most bootloaders allow you to modify the boot line before you actually boot into Linux if you forgot this step.

Tweak Arch

I'll leave you to install and configure the packages that you find useful. I plan on using my EeePC as a jump box into my home network, so it doesn't need a GUI of any sort. Just OpenSSH and some other goodies.

You might also be interested in my previous article about bonding eth0 and wlan0 now that you have Arch on your EeePC though!

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Bonding eth0 and wlan0 on Arch Linux    Posted:


Bonding eth0 and wlan0 on Arch Linux

Yesterday at work, a couple of my coworkers were trying to bond two ethernet ports on a Synology NAS. For whatever reason, this made me want to play with bonding network interfaces on my own computers. So I began trying to come up with a good reason to use valuable time to play with interface bonding.

One thing that has always driven me nuts about laptops is that connections are severed when I have to unplug my ethernet cable and take the laptop elsewhere. It never seemed to matter if I was using NetworkManager or anything else--connections were dropped, and the resulting annoyances ranged from minor to much rage. Having Pidgin drop connections and reconnect was a minor annoyance. Downloading a 4.2GB linux ISO and having the connection cut at 96% caused much rage.

Anyway, I decided to see if I could use bonding to reduce the frustration with such situations. Since my laptop is usually plugged into the ethernet, I wanted to use eth0 as my primary interface. It's faster and more reliable than wireless. When my ethernet connection fails, for whatever reason, I wanted it to fall back to wlan0. Ideally, things like downloads or streaming music/movies would continue uninterrupted.

Furthermore, I wanted my KVM to be able to use the bonded interfaces inside of my virtual machines. This called for a bridge.

To quickly see this in action, check the videos below!

Software

I configured this on a relatively new Arch Linux installation. Here's the software I used:

  • linux: 3.4.8-1
  • initscripts: 2012.08.2-1
  • netcfg: 2.8.9-1
  • netcfg-bonding: 1.5.1-1
  • ifenslave: 1.1.0-7
  • bridge-utils: 1.5-1

Configuration

The first thing you need to do to get this working, after installing all of the above packages, is load the bonding kernel module. In my particular case, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to use eth0 when available and use wlan0 otherwise. As such, I used the active-backup bonding mode. If you're interested in the other bonding modes, I would suggest reading up on bonding. I'm pretty new to all of this bonding magic, so I can't guarantee that I'll be of any use if you don't follow my instructions :)

Back to configuration. I placed my bonding configuration in /etc/modprobe.d/bonding.conf. The only thing that may not be self-explanatory is the miimon setting. I learned from this bonding article that this option "specifies the MII link monitoring frequency in milliseconds." In other words, this is how often the system will check to see if a failover is necessary.

/etc/modprobe.d/bonding.conf

options bonding mode=active-backup
options bonding miimon=100
options bonding primary=eth0

After creating that file, you simply insert the module into the kernel:

modprobe bonding

To get bonding to work when you reboot your machine, you should either add bonding to your MODULES array in /etc/rc.conf or, if you're using more recent initscripts stuff, place a file in /etc/modules-load.d. I chose the latter solution.

/etc/modules-load.d/bonding.conf

bonding

Next, you must create some network profiles for netcfg. Prior to this bonding project, I had been using wicd or networkmanager to handle most of my networking needs. It seems like a bad idea to try using either of these, or the standard network daemon even, if you plan to use a configuration similar to what follows. Just FYI.

I created a network profile for the bonded interfaces as such:

/etc/network.d/bonded

CONNECTION="bonding"
INTERFACE="bond0"
SLAVES="eth0"
IP="dhcp"
DHCP_TIMEOUT=10
SLAVE_TIMEOUT=5

Notice that wlan0 isn't in the SLAVES list. This is because I also have a network profile for my home wireless connection to handle the authentication and whatnot:

/etc/network.d/home

CONNECTION="wireless"
DESCRIPTION="Home connection"
INTERFACE="wlan0"
SECURITY="wpa"

ESSID="wouldntyouliketoknow"
KEY="derpies"

IP="static"
IFOPTS="0.0.0.0"
PRE_UP="ifenslave bond0 wlan0"
PRE_DOWN="ifenslave -d bond0 wlan0"

I have one more network profile for the bridged interface that allows my KVM guests to live on the same network as everything else. If you're not using KVM or don't want a bridged interface, you don't need this one.

/etc/network.d/br0

INTERFACE="br0"
CONNECTION="bridge"
DESCRIPTION="KVM Bridge Connection"
BRIDGE_INTERFACES="bond0"
IP="dhcp"
POST_UP="brctl setfd br0 0"

Finally, I added these profiles to my /etc/conf.d/netcfg:

NETWORKS=(bonded home br0)

Again, if you don't need a bridged interface, you don't need to include the br0 profile in there.

You may or may not want to test your individual network profiles by doing something like:

netcfg -u home # try to bring the profile up
netcfg -d home # bring the profile down

If you have problems connecting to your wireless access point, I suggest tweaking and testing your profile until it works. If you use MAC address filtering for wireless security on your router, you might want to make sure that the MAC of your ethernet interface is in the list of permitted MAC addresses. When you setup bonding, all of the bonded interfaces seem to share the same MAC.

Try It Out

Pretty much all that's left is starting up the new network configuration! To do this, first make sure your previous networking daemon is turned off. For example, you might run one of the following commands:

rc.d stop network
rc.d stop wicd
rc.d stop networkmanager

Once you've done that, you simply run:

rc.d start net-profiles

If your setup is anything like mine, you might see ifconfig output similar to this (notice that my MAC addresses have been changed, but that they're identical for bond0, br0, eth0, and wlan0):

bond0: flags=5443<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,PROMISC,MASTER,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        ether 00:24:be:00:24:be  txqueuelen 0  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 7318719  bytes 8578112000 (7.9 GiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 33241  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 3404477  bytes 3562828808 (3.3 GiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

br0: flags=4163<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        inet 192.168.128.55  netmask 255.255.255.128  broadcast 192.168.128.127
        inet6 fe80::224:beff:fec7:9895  prefixlen 64  scopeid 0x20<link>
        ether 00:24:be:00:24:be  txqueuelen 0  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 4759641  bytes 4771378631 (4.4 GiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 2119926  bytes 3491247232 (3.2 GiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

eth0: flags=6211<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SLAVE,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        ether 00:24:be:00:24:be  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 7243938  bytes 8512402737 (7.9 GiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 3388055  bytes 3561344335 (3.3 GiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0
        device interrupt 18

lo: flags=73<UP,LOOPBACK,RUNNING>  mtu 16436
        inet 127.0.0.1  netmask 255.0.0.0
        inet6 ::1  prefixlen 128  scopeid 0x10<host>
        loop  txqueuelen 0  (Local Loopback)
        RX packets 338869  bytes 263959385 (251.7 MiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 338869  bytes 263959385 (251.7 MiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

virbr0: flags=4099<UP,BROADCAST,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        inet 192.168.122.1  netmask 255.255.255.0  broadcast 192.168.122.255
        ether 36:11:59:de:92:73  txqueuelen 0  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 0  bytes 0 (0.0 B)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

wlan0: flags=6211<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SLAVE,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        ether 00:24:be:00:24:be  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 74781  bytes 65709263 (62.6 MiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 33241  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 16422  bytes 1484473 (1.4 MiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

Also, if you haven't been using netcfg already, you will probably want to update your DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf. Again, be sure you disable your previous networking daemon (if necessary) by placing a ! before the daemon's name (or just remove it from the array). Then add net-profiles into the array somewhere, probably closer to the beginning of the array.

Hopefully that works for you! Please share your experiences (both good and bad) in the comments! If you run into troubles, I will try to be of use, and hopefully others will chime in too.

Videos

Here are a couple of videos for those of you who are interested. The first is a lower-quality, but maybe easier-to-read-on-small-screens video. The second is just shy of 1080p size-wise.

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Network Manager, Cisco VPN, And Internet    Posted:


Those of us out on the eastern side of the United States are currently experiencing quite a snow storm. While this sort of storm would probably have not even made the local news in Rexburg (where my wife and I attended university), everyone is making a big deal about it around here. Part of that big deal included the option, and even recommendation, that we work from home on Friday, using the company VPN to take care of our tasks.

I was pretty excited at the idea of working from home once again (my last job was almost exclusively a work-at-home gig), so I made sure I was able to connect to the VPN a few days ago, after receiving the credentials. It took a few tries to get everything right in Windows, but eventually it started working quite well. Then I tried connecting from Linux, using the awesomeness known as Network Manager.

Since I'm currently on Fedora 12, all I had to do was make sure that I had network-manager-vpnc installed, and I could then configure a connection using the same credentials I used in Windows. I had a successful connection on the very first try, and it was working fabulously. I had access to all of my development machines and all of the tools I use on a daily basis.

It didn't take long, however, for me to notice a big problem: no Internet access. I could get to any machine I dang well pleased on the company network, but nothing on the Internet. Quite frustrating, to say the least.

I decided to leave the investigation as to why I had no Internet access and how to fix it for another night. Here I am now, tinkering with it again. I found out what I needed to change:

  • Right click on the Network Manager icon in the system tray, and select "Edit Connections..."
  • Click on the VPN tab
  • Edit your VPN connection
  • Click on the "IPv4 Settings" tab
  • Click the "Routes..." button
  • Make sure that the "Use this connection only for resources on its network" option is checked
  • Connect to your VPN, and enjoy access to the devices there as well as on the Internet!

Hopefully this saves someone else's sanity (Jeremy?)

Comments

My Fedora 11 Adventures: Part IV    Posted:


Well, here I am in 64-bit Fedora 11. Only this time I'm using GNOME. I followed pretty much the same steps as before to make my computer conform to my preferences (background image, font sizes, etc). Things seem to be rolling much more smoothly with GNOME than they did with KDE 4. To top it all off, I haven't had to do a hard reset of my machine since I noticed that Firefox was the culprit that always seemed to be loading when my GUI became unresponsive.

Wireless Networking

I found a pretty good, straight-forward tutorial for getting my wireless adapter running in Fedora 11. You can find it here. I used b43-fwcutter to get hooked up. Very easy, but not quite as easy as recent versions of Ubuntu and several other distros (which detected and used my wireless adapter automatically).

Installing Software

I have learned that the Software Management tool I was trying to use before simply is not the way to install software in Fedora. It doesn't work worth beans for me. Instead, I've been dropping to a root terminal whenever I need to install something. The yum utility has been treating me pretty well. It's found every package I look for.

That is, until I tried to install vlc. When I went to the VLC website to grab a Fedora package, I learned about something that I've never heard of before: RPM Fusion.

I guess it is just another software repository with all of the goods that aren't in the stock Fedora repositories. VLC was easily installed after following this guide.

I really need to get some work done, so I will have to wait a little while longer before I post any further information about my adventures.

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Installing Slackware 12.2 On Your EeePC (701 4G, in my case)    Posted:


Welcome to my second article about installing Slackware on an Asus EeePC. This is a follow-up article to the one I posted in May 2008 soon after Slackware 12.1 was released. In this article, I will assume that you're doing a fresh installation of Slackware 12.2 and that you have access to an external USB CD/DVD ROM drive.

In all honesty, the installation process is extremely similar to what I did with 12.1. However, looking back at my previous article, I realize that my steps may not have been the most useful in the world. This time around I will try to be more helpful.

Getting Slackware

The first, and most obvious step, is to get a copy of Slackware. Simply head on over to http://www.slackware.com/getslack/ and retrieve the appropriate ISO(s) using whichever method you prefer. I downloaded the DVD version of Slackware. If you download the CD ISOs, you really only need the first 3 ISOs. The remaining 3 are source packages for the binary packages you install from the first three discs. Rarely do you need the source code for these packages.

After retrieving the Slackware ISO(s), you must burn them to a disc of some sort: ISOs that are ~650MB should be burned to CDs and anything larger should (obviously) be burned to a DVD. Be sure you burn each ISO using the "burn disc image" functionality in your disc writing software--simply burning the ISO file onto the disc in a regular data session will not do what we need.

Booting The Install Disc

After you have a good copy of the installation disc (the DVD or the first of the CDs), put the disc into your CD/DVD ROM drive and reboot your computer. To ensure that your computer boots from the disc rather than the hard drive, hit F2 when you see the initial boot screen. Then go to the "Boot" tab and verify that your external CD/DVD drive takes precedence over the internal SSD. While we're in the BIOS, let's hop over to the "Advanced" tab and set "OS Installation" to "Start". This will increase the chances that your external drive will be recognized or something.... mine didn't work until I made that change. When you're all done with that, exit your BIOS, saving your changes.

The computer will reboot, and it should access your installation disc immediately after the initial boot screen disappears. Once you boot from the installation disc, you should be presented with a screen which allows you to pass some settings to the installation kernel.

The installation boot screen

To make the installation go faster, use the following boot string:

hugesmp.s hdc=noprobe

This makes it so the installation will see the internal SSD as /dev/sda instead of /dev/hdc, which also boosts the read/write times by about 13 times.

During the boot process you will be asked to specify your keyboard map. Unless you want something special here, just hit the enter key to proceed.

Partition Your SSD

Next you will need to login as root and partition your SSD. You can do this using one of the following two commands:

fdisk /dev/sda
cfdisk /dev/sda

Here are some steps in case you're not familiar with these utilities:

  1. Remove all partitions (unless you know what you're doing)
    1. fdisk: d to delete (you may have to select multiple partitions to delete if you have more than one for some reason)
    2. cfdisk: Select all partitions individually with up/down arrow keys and use the left/right arrow keys to select delete from the menu at the bottom. Hit enter to run the delete command when it's highlighted.
  2. Create one partition that takes the whole SSD (again, unless you know what you're doing)
    1. fdisk: n (for new); enter; p (for primary); enter; 1 (for the first primary partition); enter; enter (to start at the beginning of the drive); enter (to select the end of the drive)
    2. cfdisk: Select the new command with the left/right arrow keys and hit enter when it's selected. Make it a primary partition, and have it take the whole SSD (3997.49MB in my case).
  3. Set the type of the new partition to be Linux
    1. fdisk: t (for type); enter; 83 (for Linux); enter
    2. cfdisk: Use the left/right arrow keys to select the type command at the bottom and hit enter when it's selected. Choose 83.
  4. Set the new partition (or the first, if you decided to make more than one) to be bootable
    1. fdisk: a (for bootable); enter; 1 (for primary partition 1); enter
    2. cfdisk: Select the bootable command from the bottom using the left/right arrow keys. Hit enter when it's selected.
  5. Write the changes to the partition table and quit
    1. fdisk: w
    2. cfdisk: Use the left/right arrow keys to select the write command from the bottom. Hit enter when it's selected. Type 'yes' to verify your intent, acknowledging that your previous data will be "gone". Then select the quit command.

Installing Slackware

As soon as your partitioning has finished, go ahead and run setup to begin the actual installation program.

The first screen of the installation program

Since we don't have a swap partition, can jump straight to the TARGET option. Use the arrow keys to highlight this option and hit enter. Select /dev/sda1 from the list, and format it with ext2. On the EeePC, most people prefer this format since it is a non-journaling filesystem. That means fewer writes to the SSD, which supposedly translates to a longer lifetime.

After the SSD is formatted, you will be asked to select the installation source. Again, I'm assuming that you want to use your fresh Slackware 12.2 disc, but you are free to choose what you want if you know what you're doing.

Selecting the installation source

I went with the default "Install from a Slackware CD or DVD" and told it to auto scan for my disc drive. It was found at /dev/sr0.

Choosing Your Packages

Next, you are given the opportunity to tweak the package series which will be installed on your EeePC. I chose the following series: A, AP, K, L, N, TCL, X, and XAP. I planned on using XFCE instead of KDE on my EeePC simply because it is much more light-weight and still capable of what I need. If you want KDE, be sure to check the appropriate series.

Selecting the packages to install

Once you mark each of the package series you wish to install, hit the "OK" button. You'll then have to choose which prompting mode to use. I chose menu, simply to be a little more picky about which packages I wanted installed. Installation took approximately 28 minutes with my package selection and setup.

Configuring Your System

When all of the packages are done being installed, you will be presented with some other screens to finish up the installation process.

  1. Choose whether or not you want to make a bootable USB... I skipped it.
  2. Choose how you wish to install LILO. I chose simple.
  3. Choose your frame buffer mode for the console. I chose 640x480x256.
  4. Specify any optional kernel parameters. Ensure that the hdc=noprobe from earlier is here to speed up your system considerably.
  5. Specify whether you wish to use UTF-8 on the console. I chose no.
  6. Specify where to install LILO. I chose MBR.
  7. Specify your mouse type. I chose imps2.
  8. Specify whether or not you wish to have gpm run at boot, which allows you to use your mouse in the console. I chose yes.
  9. Configure your network.
  10. Give your EeePC a hostname. This can be whatever you'd like.
  11. Specify the domain for your network. This can be whatever you'd like as well.
  12. Configure your IP address information. I just chose DHCP.
  13. Set the DHCP hostname. I left this blank.
  14. Review and confirm your network settings.
  15. Choose which services you wish to have running immediately after booting.
  16. See if you want to try custom screen fonts. I usually don't bother.
  17. Specify whether your hardware clock is set to local time or UTC.
  18. Choose your timezone.
  19. Select your preferred window manager. I chose XFCE.
  20. Set the root password.

At this point Slackware has been installed on your EeePC and you can exit the setup menu and hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete to reboot your computer.

First Boot

You should now go back into your BIOS and set "OS Installation" back to "Finished", exit and save changes, and reboot again.

Slackware's default LILO boot screen

You should then see the Slackware boot screen. By default, it has a 2-minute timeout, which seems absolutely absurd to me, so we'll change that later. Just hit enter for now and watch your new Slackware boot. The first boot will usually take a bit longer than subsequent reboots because all sorts of things need to generate their first configuration file.

When your system is ready, you'll be presented with a login prompt. Just login as root, using the password you specified in the last step of the installation process.

Tweaking Your Slackware

Here are some of the first things I do when I install a new copy of Slackware:

Add An Unprivileged User

This step is very important, because one thing that sets Linux apart from other operating systems is security ;). If you run your Linux system as root all the time, you're begging for problems.

To create a new unprivileged user, I use the adduser command. It walks you through the process of creating a user. This is the user you should use to do your day-to-day computing. Only use the root user when performing system administration tasks. Trust me :)

Tell X Windows to Start Automatically

I have no problem with the command line interface in Linux. I actually enjoy it quite a bit. However, on a device such as the EeePC, not having a GUI just doesn't seem all that practical. It's also not very impressive to your potential converts when they look over your shoulder and see that your tiny gadget just displays a black and white screen when you turn it on...

So, to help ourselves be a little more productive and to impress our followers, let's tell X Windows to start up automatically when we turn on the computer. To do that, we want to edit /etc/inittab and change the following line:

id:3:initdefault:

to be:

id:4:initdefault:

You can use whatever program you feel comfortable with, such as vi or nano. The next time you reboot your computer, you should see a GUI as soon as all of the services are fully loaded.

Along with this step, I suppose we can mention the configuration of X Windows. I usually run xorgsetup as root to get things up and running. Usually there is also a bit of tweaking to get things like the scroll wheel on the mouse to function. This part in particular took quite some time for me to figure out.

Enable The Scroll Wheel on the Trackpad

Some of you might be able to live without being able to scroll a page or whatever without using the scroll feature on most mouse devices these days, but I'm not one of them. Here is my entire /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "X.org Configured"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    InputDevice    "SynapticMouse" "AlwaysCore"
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
EndSection

Section "Files"
    RgbPath      "/usr/share/X11/rgb"
    ModulePath   "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/TTF"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/OTF"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/Type1"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/misc"
    FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
EndSection

Section "Module"
    Load  "xtrap"
    Load  "GLcore"
    Load  "record"
    Load  "dri"
    Load  "dbe"
    Load  "extmod"
    Load  "glx"
    Load  "freetype"
    Load  "type1"
    Load  "synaptics"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Keyboard0"
    Driver      "kbd"
    Option       "XkbModel"  "pc104"
    Option       "XkbLayout"  "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Mouse0"
    Driver "mouse"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
    Option "Buttons" "5"
    Option "zAxisMapping" "4 5"
    Option "SHMConfig" "on"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "SynapticMouse"
    Driver "synaptics"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
    Option "SHMConfig" "on"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier   "Monitor0"
    VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
    ModelName    "Monitor Model"
EndSection

Section "Device"
        ### Available Driver options are:-
        ### Values: <i>: integer, <f>: float, <bool>: "True"/"False",
        ### <string>: "String", <freq>: "<f> Hz/kHz/MHz"
        ### [arg]: arg optional
        #Option     "NoAccel"               # [<bool>]
        #Option     "SWcursor"              # [<bool>]
        #Option     "ColorKey"              # <i>
        #Option     "CacheLines"            # <i>
        #Option     "Dac6Bit"               # [<bool>]
        #Option     "DRI"                   # [<bool>]
        #Option     "NoDDC"                 # [<bool>]
        #Option     "ShowCache"             # [<bool>]
        #Option     "XvMCSurfaces"          # <i>
        #Option     "PageFlip"              # [<bool>]
    Identifier  "Card0"
    Driver      "intel"
    VendorName  "Intel Corporation"
    BoardName   "Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller"
    BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Device     "Card0"
    Monitor    "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     1
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     4
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     8
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     15
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     16
    EndSubSection
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport   0 0
        Depth     24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

A lot of that stuff might not be necessary, but it's what works for me. Normally the process for enabling the scroll wheel is pretty easy, but something seems to have changed in this respect with the release of Slackware 12.2. I had to edit the /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse script to make this line:

options psmouse proto=imps

look like:

options psmouse proto=any

After making that change, things seemed to work a lot better.

Make LILO to Boot Faster

There are a couple tricks we can use to make LILO boot our EeePC slightly faster. The first is to add the compact option somewhere, and the second is to decrease the menu timeout.

Open up /etc/lilo.conf with a text editor of your choosing as root. Add a single line with the word compact somewhere. I put it under the line that says boot = /dev/sda so the top of lilo.conf looks like this:

# LILO configuration file
# generated by 'liloconfig'
#
# Start LILO global section
# Append any additional kernel parameters:
append="hdc=noprobe vt.default_utf8=8"
boot = /dev/sda
compact

I also changed the line that said timeout = 1200 to be timeout = 50 to make LILO only hang around for 5 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

After making these changes, we must reinstall LILO to the MBR with the new settings:

lilo -v

Here's my /etc/lilo.conf with most of the commented lines removed:

# LILO configuration file
# generated by 'liloconfig'
#
# Start LILO global section
# Append any additional kernel parameters:
append="hdc=noprobe vt.default_utf8=0"
boot = /dev/sda
compact

# Boot BMP Image.
# Bitmap in BMP format: 640x480x8
bitmap = /boot/slack.bmp
bmp-colors = 255,0,255,0,255,0
bmp-table = 60,6,1,16
bmp-timer = 65,27,0,255

prompt
timeout = 50
change-rules
reset
vga = normal
# End LILO global section
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = /dev/sda1
label = Linux
read-only
# Linux bootable partition config ends

Network Tweaking

While the wireless adapter seemed to work great for me out of the box this time, the ethernet adapter is still not functional. I compiled and installed the atl2 driver to solve the problem. You can get it from http://people.redhat.com/csnook/atl2/atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2. Here are the steps I took to install it:

wget http://people.redhat.com/csnook/atl2/atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2
tar jxf atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2
cd atl2-2.0.4
make
cp atl2.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/
depmod -a
modprobe atl2
ifconfig

The next tweak I added for networking was to boost boot times... The DHCP address request hangs the entire boot process out of the box if you don't have an ethernet cable plugged in while booting. To remedy this problem, add the following line to the first section of your /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf:

DHCP_TIMEOUT[0]="5"

This will tell your computer to continue booting if an IP address hasn't been assigned after 5 seconds of waiting.

Enable Frequency Scaling

We all like out battery to last a long time, right? Well, the EeePC 701 doesn't have the greatest battery in the world, but we can help increase the battery life by enabling the CPU frequency modules. I put this stuff in my /etc/rc.d/rc.local script:

 1 #!/bin/sh
 2 #
 3 # /etc/rc.d/rc.local:  Local system initialization script.
 4 #
 5 # Put any local startup commands in here.  Also, if you have
 6 # anything that needs to be run at shutdown time you can
 7 # make an /etc/rc.d/rc.local_shutdown script and put those
 8 # commands in there.
 9 
10 modprobe p4-clockmod
11 modprobe cpufreq_ondemand
12 modprobe cpufreq_conservative
13 modprobe cpufreq_powersave
14 modprobe cpufreq_performance
15 
16 cpufreq-set -g ondemand -d 450Mhz -u 900Mhz

Add Your SD Card to /etc/fstab

I have an SD card that I leave in my EeePC all the time, and it's formatted with ext2 just like the internal SSD. Without this tweak, I have to mount the SD card each time I turn on the computer, which gets bothersome. My fix is to add the SD card to /etc/fstab, which takes care of mounting the device at boot.

First, you should make a directory that will be used to mount the device. I made one as such:

mkdir /mnt/sd

Now you need to determine your SD card's UUID. I started out by unmounting my SD card and taking it out of the slot. Then I executed this command:

ls /dev/disk/by-uuid

Next, I popped the SD card back in and executed that command again. The UUID that appears the second time but not the first time is your SD card's UUID.

It's time to add the magic line to your /etc/fstab. Add a line such as:

UUID=[your SD card's UUID] /mnt/sd ext2 defaults,noatime 1 1

somewhere in the file. While we're digging around in /etc/fstab, we might as well add the noatime option to the internal SSD to help reduce disk writes. Save the file and exit the editor. Then mount everything (using mount -a) or just the SD card (using mount /mnt/sd).

For posterity's sake, here's my entire /etc/fstab file:

/dev/sda1        /                ext2        defaults,noatime         1   1
UUID=30293ff4-5bee-457a-8528-ec296f099e9a /mnt/sd ext2 defaults,noatime 1 1
#/dev/cdrom      /mnt/cdrom       auto        noauto,owner,ro  0   0
/dev/fd0         /mnt/floppy      auto        noauto,owner     0   0
devpts           /dev/pts         devpts      gid=5,mode=620   0   0
proc             /proc            proc        defaults         0   0
tmpfs            /dev/shm         tmpfs       defaults         0   0

Preventing Shutdown Hangs

Sometimes the sound card seems to make Slackware hang when you're shutting down. Everything seems to turn off fine, but the little green power LED still shines bright. The solution to this problem appears to be adding the following line:

modprobe -r snd_hda_intel

to /etc/rc.d/rc.6 right before the "Unmounting local file systems." line (around line 195).

Enable Volume Hotkeys and Sleeping

Slackware 12.2 is already listening for ACPI events by default, so we just need to insert our custom stuff into /etc/acpi/acpi_handler.sh:

 1 #!/bin/sh
 2 
 3 IFS=${IFS}/
 4 set $@
 5 
 6 #logger "ACPI Event $1, $2, $3, $4, $5"
 7 
 8 case "$1" in
 9     button)
10         case "$2" in
11             power) /sbin/init 0;;
12             sleep) /etc/acpi/actions/lid.sh;;
13             lid)
14                 if grep -q closed /proc/acpi/button/lid/LID/state
15                 then
16                     /etc/acpi/actions/lid.sh
17                 fi
18                 ;;
19             *) logger "ACPI action $2 is not defined";;
20         esac
21         ;;
22     hotkey)
23         case "$3" in
24             # Fn+F2 Wireless/Bluetooth button
25             # Fn+F7 Mute button
26             00000013) amixer set Master toggle;;
27             # Fn+F8 Volume down
28             00000014) amixer set Master 10%-;;
29             # Fn+F9 Volume up
30             00000015) amixer set Master 10%+;;
31         esac
32         ;;
33     *) logger "ACPI group $1 / action $2 is not defined";;
34 esac

And to handle the closing of the lid or pressing the sleep button, we need to create a new script in /etc/acpi/actions/ called lid.sh:

 1 #!/bin/sh
 2 # script by Fluxx from linuxquestions slackware forum
 3 # discover video card's ID
 4 ID=`/sbin/lspci | grep VGA | awk '{ print $1 }' | sed -e 's@:@/@'`
 5 
 6 # securely create a temporary file
 7 TMP_FILE=`mktemp /tmp/video_state.XXXXXX`
 8 trap 'rm -f $TMP_FILE' 0 1 15
 9 
10 # switch to virtual terminal 1 to avoid graphics
11 # corruption in X
12 chvt 1
13 
14 /sbin/hwclock --systohc
15 
16 # remove the webcam module
17 rmmod uvcvideo
18 
19 # write all unwritten data (just in case)
20 sync
21 
22 # dump current data from the video card to the
23 # temporary file
24 cat /proc/bus/pci/$ID > $TMP_FILE
25 
26 # suspend-to-ram
27 # (samwise) not using this it stuffs up the screen brightness
28 echo -n mem > /sys/power/state
29 
30 # suspend-to-disk
31 #echo -n disk > /sys/power/state
32 
33 # standby
34 #echo -n standby > /sys/power/state
35 
36 # force on for now...
37 xset dpms force on
38 
39 /sbin/hwclock --hctosys
40 
41 # restore the webcam module
42 modprobe uvcvideo
43 
44 # restore video card data from the temporary file
45 # on resume
46 cat $TMP_FILE > /proc/bus/pci/$ID
47 
48 # switch back to virtual terminal 2 (running X)
49 chvt 6; sleep 2
50 chvt 2
51 
52 # remove temporary file
53 rm -f $TMP_FILE

And we need to make sure the script is executable:

chmod +x /etc/acpi/actions/lid.sh

These scripts should enable us to use the mute key, the increase/decrease volume keys, and the sleep key. They should also allow us to close the lid of the EeePC to put it to sleep. Occasionally, when you wake up the computer, you will just see a blank black screen. To get around this, switch back to VT2 by using the keystroke Ctrl+Alt+F2.

Install Special Packages

Slackware comes with a lot of awesome stuff right out of the box, but it is missing some very important utilities at the same time. Included in this list, for me, is a program called wicd, or a network connectivity manager. This is similar to the "Network Manager" utility found in other mainstream distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSuSE. Slackware has yet to include such a utility by default.

Anyway, wicd can be found in the extra directory on the Slackware DVD or the 3rd (?) CD. To install it, find the package on the disc (or download it from the Internet) and execute the following command:

installpkg wicd-1.5.6-noarch-2.tgz

Be sure to check out the extra directory on the Slackware install disc. There are some neat tools in there. Some excellent resources for Slackware packages include:

There are some utilities out there to help you in your quest to resolve package dependencies. Two of the major ones that I've used in the past are swaret and slapt-get.

Using Slackware 12.2

My Slackware 12.2-powered EeePC 701 4G

I have to give the Linux kernel hackers props--the 2.6.27.7 kernel is amazingly fast! I'm sure the fact that I'm running a fairly stock Slackware installation (as opposed to something like Ubuntu) helps the speed quite a bit too. This past semester I had Linux Mint 5 (XFCE edition) installed on my EeePC, and that seemed fairly responsive. Slackware blew me away though, and I can still do everything I want to do!

The webcam and sound card work out of the box, just like the wireless. I rarely use the webcam, but it's fun to play with, and my mom appreciates seeing me on Skype occasionally. The wireless connection quality exceeds what it was with the madwifi driver I was using with Slackware 12.1 and other distros like Linux Mint. Programs are ultra speedy and responsive, even with the processor clocked at 450Mhz. I love it!!!

Boot times could be better, but I'm not too concerned with it. My setup takes approximately 50 seconds from boot to a useable desktop interface. Not horrible by any means, but perhaps not the best for a netbook when all you want to do is check your e-mail.

I would like to see the Network Manager that so many other distributions offer in Slackware some day. The wicd application is nice, but it's not nearly as intuitive as Network Manager, and it seems to be relatively limited in its capabilities in comparison. I know I'm not alone in my desire to see Network Manager included, or at least available, for Slackware. It would be tremendously beneficial in a world where wireless networking and laptops are more and more pervasive. Using the command line to adjust your wireless connection settings each time you have to hop to a new access point is just annoying.

In the end, I'm excited to have Slackware on my EeePC once again. I think it will be around for quite a while this time.

Please comment with any advice or problems that you have in regards to installing Slackware 12.2 on an EeePC.

Comments

Four Down, One to Go...    Posted:


So I've completed 4 of my 5 finals for the semester. Three of the courses I'm taking right now are for upper-division accounting. Horrid, horrid stuff folks. Though perhaps this is what school is all about.

Up until this point in my college career, I've felt relatively comfortable with studying for maybe an hour just before a final for most any class. Thankfully, I've managed to do pretty well with that strategy thus far, even in the 400-level classes. Granted, most of the classes I've taken seem to be about computers in some way, and computers really interest me. That makes the material a lot easier for me to remember and use on the final.

These accounting classes though... man... I'm not doing so hot in them. I'll be happy if I have a B in a few of them when all is said and done. That will damage my GPA, but I think it's a worthy sacrifice. I don't want to have to put myself through those classes ever again!

On a slightly more positive note, my Advanced Excel (an accounting class) final only took 10 minutes. I hear the average for the "good" students is about 45 minutes. I got a 96% on it. w00t. I got some pretty nasty looks when I got up and left after only being there for 10 minutes, but that's what happens when you take a final that's mostly about programming in a language that you started using 12 years ago (and most other people in the class never programmed a day in their life before the class started).

So now I just have one final left. Tomorrow morning at 7:45 I will take my networking final. I think I'll probably have to study a little longer than an hour for that one, but I also think I'd have to do pretty poorly to get anything below an A-. All of the labs were extremely straight-forward if you actually read the material, and being on time to class everyday seems to help too :)

Hooray!

Comments

Slackware 12.1 on an Asus EeePC 701    Posted:


Attention!

This article has a follow-up for Slackware 12.2.

The following are the steps I took to install Slackware 12.1 on my EeePC this past weekend. I hope you find them complete and helpful!

Installing Slackware 12.1 on an Asus EeePC 701

  1. Burn DVD .iso to disc
  2. Turn on EeePC
  3. Hit F2 to run setup
  4. Go to the Advanced tab, and set "OS Installation" to "Start"
  5. Go to the Boot tab, and ensure that the external DVD drive will be used for booting before the internal SSD
  6. Exit and save changes
  7. Just hit enter after rebooting from BIOS configuration when the Slackware boot screen shows up
  8. Unless you want to use a different keymap for whatever reason, hit enter when asked to select a keyboard map
  9. Login as root
  10. Run fdisk or cfdisk on /dev/hdc
  11. Remove all partitions (unless you know what you're doing)
    1. fdisk: d to delete (you may have to select multiple partitions to delete if you have more than one for some reason)
    2. cfdisk: Select all partitions individually with up/down arrow keys and use the left/right arrow keys to select delete from the menu at the bottom. Hit enter to run the delete command when it's highlighted.
  12. Create one partition that takes the whole SSD (again, unless you know what you're doing)
    1. fdisk: n (for new); enter; p (for primary); enter; 1 (for the first primary partition); enter; enter (to start at the beginning of the drive); enter (to select the end of the drive)
    2. cfdisk: Select the new command with the left/right arrow keys and hit enter when it's selected. Make it a primary parition, and have it take the whole SSD (3997.49MB in my case).
  13. Set the type of the new partition to be Linux
    1. fdisk: t (for type); enter; 83 (for Linux); enter
    2. cfdisk: Use the left/right arrow keys to select the type command at the bottom and hit enter when it's selected. Choose 83.
  14. Set the new partition (or the first, if you decided to make more than one) to be bootable
    1. fdisk: a (for bootable); enter; 1 (for primary partition 1); enter
    2. cfdisk: Select the bootable command from the bottom using the left/right arrow keys. Hit enter when it's selected.
  15. Write the changes to the partition table and quit
    1. fdisk: w
    2. cfdisk: Use the left/right arrow keys to select the write command from the bottom. Hit enter when it's selected. Type 'yes' to verify your intent, acknowledging that your previous data will be "gone". Then select the quit command.
  16. Run setup
  17. Select TARGET to specify where you will be installing
  18. Select /dev/hdc1
  19. Format the partition
  20. To reduce write cycles, many people suggest formatting with ext2, which is a non-journaling filesystem. However, many people claim that the limited number write cycles of SSD is not something to worry about. Use your best judgement on this one. Hit OK after the format is complete.
  21. Select where you plan to install Slackware from. In my case, it's the DVD. I usually tell it to find the media automatically. Select manual if you know which device your DVD drive is. Mine was /dev/sr0.
  22. Select the packages you wish to install. This is where your installation will likely differ greatly from mine because of personal preferences. I do a lot of development, so I will keep a lot of things for that. Here's what I selected to install:
    1. Base Linux System
    2. Various Applications that do not need X
    3. Program Development (C, C++, Lisp, Perl, etc.)
    4. Linux kernel source
    5. Qt and the K Desktop Environment for X
    6. System Libraries (needed by KDE, GNOME, X, and more)
    7. Networking (TCP/IP, UUCP, Mail, News)
    8. Tcl/Tk script languages
    9. X Window System
    10. X Applications
    11. Games
  23. Choose whether or not you want to be picky about your software. To save a little extra disk space, I'm going to manually choose what I don't want. This includes:
    1. A: cpio, cryptsetup, cups, floppy, genpower, jfsutils, mdadm, mt-st, mtx, quota, reiserfsprogs, rpm2tgz, tcsh, xfsprogs
    2. AP: amp, cdparanoia, hplip, gutenprint, jed, joe, jove, ksh93, mysql, rpm, xfsdump, zsh
    3. D: gcc-gfortran, gcc-gnat, gcc-java, mercurial, p2c
    4. N: elm, epic4, httpd, mailx, mutt, netatalk, pine, popa3d, proftpd, rp-pppoe, samba, slrn, tin, trn, vsftpd
    5. TCL: hfsutils
    6. X: anthy, bdftopcf, beforelight, libhangul, sazanami-fonts-ttf, sinhala_lklug-font-ttf, tibmachuni-font-ttf, wqy-zenhei-font-ttf
    7. XAP: audacious, audacious-plugins, gftp, mozilla-thunderbird, pan, seamonkey
  24. Wait for the installation to complete. It took almost a full hour with my package selection, leaving me with 485.4MB free on my 4GB SSD.
  25. Choose whether or not you want to make a bootable USB... I skipped it.
  26. Choose how you wish to install LILO. I chose simple.
  27. Choose your frame buffer mode for the console. I chose 640x480x256.
  28. Specify any optional kernal parameters. I left this blank, originally, but later learned that having 'hdc=noprobe' increased my disk access speed by about 13 times.
  29. Specify whether you wish to use UTF-8 on the console. I chose no.
  30. Specify where to install LILO. I chose MBR.
  31. Specify your mouse type. I chose imps2.
  32. Specify whether or not you wish to have gpm run at boot, which allows you to use your mouse in the console. I chose yes.
  33. Configure your network.
  34. Give your eeepc a hostname. This can be whatever you'd like.
  35. Specify the domain for your network. This can be whatever you'd like as well.
  36. Configure your IP address information. I just chose DHCP.
  37. Set the DHCP hostname. I left this blank.
  38. Review and confirm your network settings.
  39. Choose which services you wish to have running immediately after booting.
  40. See if you want to try custom screen fonts. I usually don't bother.
  41. Specify whether your hardware clock is set to local time or UTC.
  42. Choose your timezone.
  43. Select your preferred window manager. I chose KDE.
  44. Set the root password.
  45. Slackware has been installed! Exit the setup program and reboot.
  46. Hit F2 to enter the BIOS again.
  47. Set OS Installation to "Finished" and exit the BIOS, saving changes.
  48. Reboot into Slackware! The first boot takes a while because of all the initial setup. It is faster on subsequent reboots, assuming you don't add new services (like apache and mysql) at boot.

Change a few settings around.

  1. vi /etc/inittab
  2. (set default runlevel to 4)
  3. vi /etc/lilo.conf
  4. add 'compact' somewhere to make it boot faster
  5. change the boot delay so it's not 120 seconds

Now for installing various drivers.

  1. Install the ethernet driver: http://people.redhat.com/csnook/atl2/atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2
    1. wget http://people.redhat.com/csnook/atl2/atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2
    2. tar jxf atl2-2.0.4.tar.bz2
    3. cd atl2-2.0.4
    4. make
    5. cp atl2.ko /lib/modules/2.6.24.5-smp/kernel/drivers/net/
    6. depmod -a
    7. modprobe atl2
    8. ifconfig
  2. Install the drivers for the wireless: http://snapshots.madwifi.org/special/madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007.tar.gz
    1. wget http://snapshots.madwifi.org/special/madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007.tar.gz
    2. tar zxvf madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007.tar.gz
    3. cd madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007.tar.gz
    4. scripts/madwifi-unload
    5. scripts/find-madwifi-modules.sh uname -r
    6. make && make install
    7. modprobe ath_pci

I kind of stopped taking notes after I realized how much fun it was to have Slackware on my EeePC. If you have questions, just add a comment below.

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Wireless Networking With SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10    Posted:


Note: This tutorial is a continuation of yesterday's tutorial about installing SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on my HP Pavilion dv8000. I may or may not refer to steps that I took during installation, so if you are confused, you might want to check out the previous article.

The process of installing and enabling a wireless adapter will vary greatly from machine to machine. Some lucky folks have wireless adapters that come with official Linux drivers. For the rest of us, we usually have a Broadcom-compatible adapter. In order to use a Broadcom device, I use a program called ndiswrapper, which basically takes the drivers for the devices to function with Windows and wraps them in such a manner that Linux can use. Since I have the 64-bit version of SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10, I need to get a 64-bit driver in order for my wireless to function properly. These 64-bit drivers took me a while to get ahold of the first time I got my wireless working (on SuSE Linux 10.1), but I still have them in my archives, so I should be fully prepared to get my wireless working. In this article I assume that you are going to use ndiswrapper to install drivers for a Broadcom device. So let's get started.

Install Ndiswrapper

First, make sure that you have ndiswrapper installed on your system. You can install it by entering YaST. In KDE, click the K menu (the little green chameleon in the bottom left), go to System > YaST (Administrator Settings). You will be asked to enter the root password, which you set during installation. Once you've done that, you will see the YaST Control Center, which is a very powerful set of tools and utilities that greatly ease the configuration and management of SLED. Click on the Software category on the left to show a list of software management options (if it's not already displayed). Click on the Software Management module.

Once loaded, you will see an interface which is very similar to what you would see during the expert package selection while installing SLED. Make sure your Filter (in the top left) is set to Search, and enter ndiswrapper in the search box. The search will return a few different results for ndiswrapper. The first result, ndiswrapper by itself, should be sufficient for most of us. When you check the box by ndiswrapper, you will see a warning informing you that ndiswrapper-based network are not officially supported by Novell. Just click OK to dismiss this warning.

Now you should be ready to install ndiswrapper. Click the Accept button in the bottom right. You will be asked to confirm the installation of ndiswrapper; click Continue. If your installation media is not still inserted, YaST will request the disc which contains the ndiswrapper packages. Insert the disc and click OK. In my case, two packages were installed. It may or may not differ for you.

As soon as the packages are done installing, your configuration settings are saved once again, and you will be asked if you want to install or remove more packages. Click No. At this point, ndiswrapper should be installed on your system, and you may dismiss the YaST Control Center.

Determine Your Wireless Adapter Make/Model

This step is absolutely necessary because if you install the wrong drivers, there is a chance (small as it may be) that your wireless adapter will be damaged. So let's ask Linux how our wireless adapter identifies itself. To do this, log into your SLED and open a Terminal or Konsole. On KDE, you can use the third button (a monitor with a black screen and > on it) on the menu panel at the bottom of the screen, or you can also click the "K" menu (same place as a regular start menu in Windows), go to System > Terminal > Konsole (Terminal Program). I am not exactly sure where this item is located with GNOME, but it might be under the System menu.

Once you have opened a terminal window of some sort, you must switch to a root user environment:

$ su -

You will then be asked for the root password, which you set during installation. Enter that password and type

# lspci

This command lists all of your PCI devices, according to the man pages, but you will see most if not all of your devices, PCI or otherwise, listed here. You'll notice that there is probably quite a list of devices. You may be interested in what your computer has in it, but since you're looking specifically for your wireless adapter, try one of the following commands

lspci | grep Broadcom
lspci | grep Wireless

The | after lspci will pipe the output of lspci to a useful and powerful program called grep. In this case, grep just looks for any lines that contain either the word Broadcom or Wireless. If you don't get any results from either of the two commands above, try to think of other keywords that might be used to identify a wireless adapter. My laptop returns the following:

# lspci | grep Broadcom
06:02.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation Dell Wireless 1470 DualBand WLAN (rev 02)

When you find the wireless adapter, pay attention to the numbers in front of it (06:02.0 on my laptop). With those numbers, you can get the information you need to find the right drivers for your particular wireless adapter. Enter the following command, substituting my device numbers with yours:

# lspci -n | grep 06:02.0
06:02.0 Class 0280: 14e4:4319 (rev 02)

This command gives you the wireless adapter's numeric ID; mine is 14e4:4319.

Download Your Device Drivers

Now that you know your device's numeric ID, you can go to the ndiswrapper wiki, which has a list of numeric IDs and the drivers that are known to work with that device. Look for your wireless adapter on the list of devices. I would recommend using your browser's search or find on page function to locate your device by the numeric ID that you just found.

I'll leave the retrieval of your device drivers up to you.

Install The Wireless Drivers

Most device drivers will come in an archive of some sort. Mine came in a RAR file. Extract your drivers to the directory of your choice--maybe something like ~/wireless. You can use the archive utility provided by SLED to extract your files. It functions very similar to WinZip, WinRAR, and other popular archive clients. By the way, the ~ in a directory listing refers to the current user's home directory (/home/user, for example).

Now, go back to the root terminal that you used to determine what kind of adapter you have. Navigate to the directory where you extracted your drivers and list the contents of the directory, looking for any *.inf files:

# cd ~/wireless
# ls

Ndiswrapper will use an INF file to know how it is supposed to install the driver. My INF file is called bcmwl5.inf. Now for the actual installation of the drivers:

# ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
Installing bcmwl5
Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2

Now check to make sure that the driver is there and that it recognizes your hardware:

# ndiswrapper -l
Installed drivers:
nbcmwl5          driver installed

Ooops!!! It doesn't recognize that my hardware is actually there. If you see 'driver installed, hardware present' then you should be good to go. You may proceed to the next step. However, if you have the same problem as me, you either have the wrong drivers or ndiswrapper installed the drivers improperly. This problem took forever to track down when I was first trying to get my wireless to work. Remember the numeric ID that you found earlier? Check this out:

# cd /etc/ndiswrapper/bcmwl5
# ls
14E4:4318.5.conf  bcmwl5.inf  bcmwl564.sys

Wait a second! Remember how my numeric ID was 14E4:4319? Why is there a listing for 14E4:4318.5? To solve this problem, I am just going to make a symlink (a shortcut) to 14E4:4318.5.conf and call it 14E4:4319.5.conf:

# ln -s 14E4:4318.5.conf 14E4:4319.5.conf

Now when I run the command to see if my hardware is recognized, I get this:

# ndiswrapper -l
Installed drivers:
bcmwl5          driver installed, hardware present

Hurray!! It says 'hardware present' in there!!! That means that the drivers are working and that my device can be used!

Enable Your Wireless Device

With ndiswrapper recognizing your wireless adapter, you can now enable it and start wirelessing your life away:

# modprobe ndiswrapper

There have been times when this particular step will lock up my machine and I have to do a hard reset, but most times it will work fine.

Connect to a Wireless Network

This part also gave me issues for a long time when I first installed my wireless drivers on SuSE Linux 10.1. I was able to connect to the wireless access points provided by my apartment complex, but I could not for the life of me connect to my own wireless router. Hopefully you don't encounter the same problem.

To see what access points you have available to you, check out the KNetworkManager applet in your system tray (next to the clock). I have 7 possible access points listed in the menu, including my encrypted router. When I clicked on my network, it asked me for my passphrase and connected immediately. Nice! That's definitely one plus for SLED over SuSE Linux 10.1!!

I am actually amazed at how easy it was to get my wireless working the second time around. Hopefully your wireless adapter installation was as painless as mine with the help of this guide.

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