Posted in Fedora, Hardware, System, Users

Problems with USB ports

 

If you’re experiencing problems with USB ports, ABRT is throwing system error messages or you something odd related to USB during the boot, here you have two ways to find out what’s going on.  Once you know there are two possible ways to sort it out. Let’s see.

 

Commands

If the error, or at least the error message, just happened, you can run this command:

journalctl -xe

and this will show you what just happened.

If you only notice the problem time later, you can run this another command:

dmesg

and search for errors related to USB ports.

 

Looking for a solution

Now you know what happened you can search for it Google with a simple search, or in wiki pages or books, or in forums, groups and mailing lists.  If it’s not urgent, always try the Google Search first.

 

Aftermath

Write down the solutions that worked in a note and keep it handy.  That will save you time and headache in the next opportunity an error occurs.

 

Hope this is useful for you, thanks for reading!

 

 

Posted in Hardware, Open Source, Projects

The game is on!

 

“It is my business to know what other people don’t know”

After a whole week dealing with a netbook with OpenSuSe and almost a month without Fedora on my laptop, I finally got to install Fedora 25 Workstation on my laptop and Debian Testing on the netbook.  There is no much to say about Fedora, is the same I had but with a handful of updates.  But Debian….  it’s been years without using it so this is sort of interesting.  Is it still true that Debian runs smoothly on any machine even with limited resources? Is still a rather tricky distro to install and, perhaps, to use?  Is it Testing anything near to Fedora? Is it stable? What desktop would suit better?  Will I be able to do the same things as in Fedora?  What else I can do or try with this netbook?  What else I can learn?

 

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Game afoot

I bought and prepared two USB sticks as install media, one for Debian and one for Fedora.  Oddily enough, there is no way to use Fedora Media Writer in Linux  (except, of course, Fedora)  but it is possible to use it in Windows.

I booted them both and oh, wonder of wonders!  Debian installation process was fast and simple.  I selected to install Cinnamon and Mate because I don’t like XFCE, and I wanted to try different configurations.  All in all, that’s this netbook all about.  For playing.

I booted Fedora and the install process was exactly the opposite to Debian’s:  slow and complicated.  Two, maybe three versions ago, Fedora was pretty simple and fast, even on my OLPC netbook  (RIP).  But now installing Fedora is neat untill you have to partition your disk.  Then it’s an utter mess.  And the trick I used back in Fedora 24 doesn’t work anymore.  So I had to install Fedora on a tiny partition  (20GB)  despite I had plenty of free space.  And install twice because the first time, for some mysterious reason, it made separated partitions for /boot and /var  (I didn’t ask for and I know nobody who does that)  but didn’t separated  /home  which is the usual  (and more sensible)  case.  In any case, I installed and now it’s running reasonably fine.  I even have Recipes working.

 

cloud_debian_wallpaper_by_vagdish-d6ijdwc

The Attic and the Lumber Room

Sherlock Holmes said:  “A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library where he can get it if he wants.”  and I say the same applies to systems and development.  Place together in a system what is necessary to have a fully functioning computer with graphic session and connect to internet, and no more.  Everything else can be taken from library in the lumber room, that is to say installed afterwards from the package manager  (Apper, Yumex, Synaptic, etc.).

And this is how Debian it’s built.  You have all what you need to start, everything else is up to you.  So you configure your system right in the way you want. Besides, this is vital in a netbook that has no spare resources to waste.

So I logged in  (Mate)  and installed some useful software.  Given I can’t do my design/artistic work here, I need way less books to take from the lumber room. In case anyone is interested to know, here is the list of programmes I installed in Debian:

  • Bleachbit
  • Evolution
  • Parcellite
  • Themes & Icons
  • Chrome
  • Telegram

As a side note, Debian Testing has kernel 4.9 which is pretty new. Fedora has kernel 4.10 so they’re almost the same.

I tried Cinnamon  (software rendering)  and Mate; I prefer Mate.  Maybe the looks isn’t that attractive and lacks of  “Favourites” menu  (or menu entrance)  but it works better on this netbook up to now.

 

Looking ahead

What is next

I plan to start using Recipes on Fedora with a new user as it’s rather tricky to claim an old user when you make a fresh OS install.  Also, I’m planning to install Recipes on Debian.  If I didn’t yet is because it’s not built for i386 architectures.  But once this is done, I’ll install and start using it to see how it goes.  Maybe we can make it available for Debian/Ubuntu too?  Surely will be a smoother process than trying on OpenSuSe.

I’ll try Cinnamon  (normal mode)  to see how it goes and if there is any difference between this and the software rendering mode, and compared to Mate Desktop.

 

And the game is off…  by now.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

Posted in Hardware, Open Source, OpenSuSe, Projects

One happy bunny

 

My friend Heinrich had abandoned an Acer Aspire One  (10.1″ screen, Atom N450, 1GB RAM) inside a box.  He has a better bigger computer with a huge screen where to watch movies and series at will.  I asked him if I could play with it and he gave me absolute freedom.  So I decided to start installing SuSe  (as it´s the only install media I have by now)  with the intention of turning it into Tumbleweed.  Unfortunately, I couldn´t as every time I tried  (spent a whole day on it)  either it failed or it left me without internet.  So I had to give up and stay with Leap.

 

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What I can do so far

Given the small size and low resources, it´s pointless to use it on design and photography. But because of its small size and light weight is perfect for simple daily tasks like mail and writing as I can easily take it with me everywhere. I can do all the things I can do in the OpenSuSe I have installed in my laptop.

The main options, KDE & Gnome, are way too heavy to use them in a netbook so I installed the third option: XFCE.  But I don´t like it so I installed Mate Desktop and Cinnamon to try which one works best.  Definitely, Mate and Cinnamon, with Cinnamon desktop being the prettiest according to myself.

I have GDM as Display Manager but I´m researching the way to change it.

I´m planning to add more RAM but I need to open it and see if my RAM sticks are compatible.

 

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What I cannot

As I already said, I can´t do any kind of arts or editing, it simply has no resources for that.  I can´t  write fast because it has a Deutsche QWERTZ  instead of QUERTY as keyboard.  I can´t use Recipes because it doesn´t work in any other distribution but Fedora.  I can install it and run it but it doesn´t work fine.  I can´t multitask because of its RAM and I must be careful with certain programmes like Yast and Firefox.  It often freezes or hangs, sometimes coming back to activity minutes later and sometimes not.  Sometimes it fails to start or hangs somewhere midway.  And it really gets very hot while using it.

And I didn´t get to use it with full charged battery.  No matter for how long I have it plugged, it never goes beyond 98%.

 

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A funny bit

I already noticed that the touchpad seemed to be wore out and that it used to have some kind of instructions that were faded.  Also noticed that some angles had more signals of use than others.  Not to mention the netbook was very dirty and with its battery absolutely exhausted when I found it.  Actually Henry thought it was broken.  But the computer is actually in perfect shape and it´s obvious he cared about it.  It’s impeccable except a little mark on the lid and the touchpad.

Ah! The Touchpad! Its look and feel was weird because Henry never removed the protecting film from it.  When I told him he smiled but it was obvious he didn’t even know it had a film.  Definitely, computers aren´t his metier.

You can see the marks of the protecting film still on the touchpad after removing it, on the picture above.

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And you can see in this other picture the protecting film already removed.

After cleaning the touchpad it became very clear why I was finding it so slow and weird.  Now it´s free from covers, it´s a very comfortable device.

 

Now I have this working…  The game is on!

 

Posted in Hardware, OpenSuSe, System

Update on touchpad issues

 

As you could read in this post I experienced issues with my touchpad for a month or so before finding  (almost by luck)  the solution.  Now I come to know that this solution is Fedora specific.  I recently installed OpenSuSe in my laptop and went to the touchpad configuration.  As I expected  (SuSe uses software that is slightly older than Fedora)  everything worked except scrolling.  Therefore, I deactivated my touchpad and started using mouse again.

Today I decided to use the solution provided by a dev in Riot as you can see here, but it turned out that this command doesn’t work in OpenSuSe.  I thought I had to resign to keep using mouse but before giving up I tried my touchpad again.  And it works.  The command doesn’t work but an update solved the issue days ago.  I just didn’t know.

Now I’m happy using my touchpad again.  On OpenSuSe.

 

 

Posted in Drivers, Fedora, Hardware, System

A light on graphic cards

 

Issues with graphic cards like AMD & Nvidia has been a real pain from the beginning of times.  At least to Linux.  Their privative drivers, with more or less open source alternatives don’t work in all machines, etc.  Here I’m posting some solutions found through posts in a forum and conversations with friends.  Everything worked but not all the times or to everybody. So, if something doesn’t works, try the next suggestion and so on, until you find the solution that suits you best.  If nothing works, and before you run away from Linux Fedora, please post your issue here and I’ll try to find a solution or point you out to the best places to find it.

 

Fast tip in a Gnome fresh install

If you just installed Fedora Workstation on Nvidia laptop and screen isn’t working quite well, here’s a fast tip:

Posting a tip for new install of Fedora 23 and sluggish login screen:
Specs:
Asus Z97-AR
Intel i5-4690K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
16GB RAM DDR3 2400
Samsung 840 SSD

I ran into an issue as soon as the PC booted to the login screen it appeared really sluggish. Moving the mouse took forever. What I found that worked for me based on a few post out there is to edit the /etc/gdm/custom.conf and uncomment the WaylandEnable=false.
Smooth sailing for me now.

Thanks to Edward Crosby for this tip.


 

Earl Ramírez had an ASUS laptop with Nvidia Optimus technology.  He tried Bumblebee but failed to succeed. Therefore, he sent an email to the Fedora list.

I have a ASUS laptop with NVIDIA Optimus technology, therefore, I used the Fedora documentation [0] to install bumbleeble using the third party managed driver to install NVIDIA. After the installation I am no longer seeing the NVIDIA when I use ‘lspci | grep VGA’; however, when I use ‘lspci | egrep ‘VGA|3D” I can see the NVIDIA video card.
$ lspci | grep VGA
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 191b (rev 06)
$ lspci | egrep ‘VGA|3D’
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 191b (rev 06)
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GM107M [GeForce GTX 960M] (rev a2)
Also I no longer see the vgaswitcheroo under /sys/kernel/debug/. When I try to boot with the kernel that NVIDIA was build on; the laptop locks up just before the GUI and you will hear the fans blowing and the only way around it is to power the laptop down. I have tried booting into that kernel with different kernel parameters; E.g. nomodeset rd.driver.blacklist=nouveau and even i915.preliminary_hw_support=1 and all options and combinations fails.
However when I boot from the kernel that NVIDIA was not compiled on I can the the get a display that says “oops something went wrong, please try again” and there is an option to log out, I can also switch to another virtual console and have full access to the OS. I get the same behaviour even if I use nomodeset; however, if I use i915.preliminary_hw_support=1 I get the appropriate resolution.
Can anyone shed some light on how to get the GUI, with bumblebee or even the Intel graphic drivers?

 

I skip the boring details to jump into the suggested solutions.

Check the packages installed.  You should have these ones at least:

primus-1.1.03282015-2.fc23.x86_64
bumblebee-nvidia-352.63-2.fc23.x86_64
bbswitch-dkms-0.8.0-2.fc23.x86_64
bumblebee-nonfree-release-1.2-1.noarch
VirtualGL-2.4-5.fc23.i686
bumblebee-release-1.2-1.noarch
primus-1.1.03282015-2.fc23.i686
VirtualGL-2.4-5.fc23.x86_64
bumblebee-3.2.1-9.fc23.x86_64
Check the kernel.  From 4.3 and after, this kernel (in Fedora at least) comes with full skylake  i915 support (so don’t do preliminary_hw_support on that).
Be sure what is Nvidia really doing.  If Nvidia GLX libraries are loaded, they will trash your Intel stuff.
Check you’re not using the proprietary drivers at the same time.  It’s one thing or another but not both at time.  You must choose one, try, and if it doesn’t work discard it to try the next one, whether blacklisting it or deleting it.

A simple line in GRUB may save you work and time.  Try adding nouveau.modeset=0 and rd.driver.blacklist=nouveau  in the  GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX. 

 I would like to finish this article mentioning that my laptop  (Dell Latitude E6500, with Gallium 0.4 on NV98)  worked out of the box with X when I installed Fedora 24 and flawless with Wayland after upgrading to 25, both Workstation.
 This is all by now, I will post more next week.
Thanks for reading!