The Penguin and the Rusty Wrench

Day 2 of installing Ubuntu Linux 7.04 on my brother’s Toshiba Satellite 2410 laptop. I have done this before, but boy is this irritating. I mistakingly took the wrong approach of installing all the applications that he would need/want before doing a thorough hardware check.

So after I ran into the infamous “poltergeist” problem of starting X, and I then trashed the install with a poor reinstall of the nvidia-glx/nvidia kernel. I did the same thing to my main machine by accident, but I don’t have the luxury of a reinstall so I am running that on the open source, non-3d accelerated nv driver. Better this then nothing (no more Quake 4 until I fix this). Boy, I am getting rusty on with my installs and configuration. (I used to run Gentoo and be better at this stuff.)

Getting back to the laptop, I did a reinstall and re-enabled the proprietary nvidia drivers. And got the poltergeisty blinking LCD screen. In the old days, a simple Option IgnoreEDID fixed this problem. Well nVidia, kindly updated their drivers to ignore this option. So now the problem needs to be fixed in a proper hacker way.

Fortunately this post in the Ubuntu forums helps:
along with this:
Note that this solution is hardly user-friendly. But then again configuring a Linux install, is the equivalent work of what an OEM or a highly-paid system administrator does. Here are the steps for the desperate:

  1. Open up /etc/X11/xorg.conf with your favorite command-line text editor. I chose my weapon of choice: vi.
  2. Add the line Option “UseDisplayDevice” “DFP-0” to the Device section.
  3. Save the file.
  4. Run sudo /etc/init.d/kdm restart (or gdm depending on your GUI login manager). This will restart X, at 800×600 resolution. This we will fix soon too.
  5. Login into your account under X.
  6. You will need a hexeditor also: I use khexeditor. So install that if you need to: sudo aptitude install khexeditor
  7. Run nvidia-settings. Now we follow the steps in the second link.
  8. Click on DFP-0 and Aquire EDID.
  9. Save the resulting edid.bin file.
  10. Exit nvidia-settings, and open up the edid.bin file in your hex editor.
  11. Edit the file as such: change the value in row 4, column 9 from c9 to 00. And change the value in row 4, column 11 from 31 to 41. (Refer to the second link for clarification.)
  12. Save the file under a different name. I called mine: edid-fixed.bin
  13. Now copy this file somewhere it can not be touched by an ordinary user. I copied mine to /.
  14. Now open up /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add the line: Option “CustomEDID” “DFP-0:/edid-fixed.bin” to the Device section. Just replace the path to whatever you saved the fixed edid file.
  15. Restart kdm as before. Enjoy your fixed, 3d accelerated desktop.

Now with that done, all I needed to do was configure my wireless card to connect to my wireless network. A simple point-and-click wizard thanks to NetworkManager. So there you have it, a working install of Ubuntu Linux 7.04 on a Toshiba Satellite 2410.

Penguin Redux

This week swept by at a crazy pace. Did not get much headway in my long term project, because I had to deal with too many urgent issues. Hopefully thats over.

Before I left for Europe, I wanted to install Linux on my brother’s laptop (Toshiba Satellite 2410). But I ran out of time then. Since I have to manage and administrate both computers at home, I decided to make my life easy. Linux on the laptop (which was I used before I gave the laptop to my brother) does in fact run. Call it lucky or a well-researched buy, I used Linux since 2001 on that machine. Only the Bluetooth, WinModem and iRda components refuse to work. But I never used them, so I feel no loss.

Right now I am backing up my brother’s Windows XP. Tomorrow, I plan on nuking Windows for the last time on that machine. Linux (Ubuntu) once again will call the laptop home.