FreeBSD couldn’t cut it on my Pavilion after all. Once I got it all built from source and tried to run the X server, it refused to find a usable screen. Running the HAL/DBus service didn’t help at all. So I gave up and decided to try a desperate act: I tested openSUSE 10.3 GNOME Desktop.
First, I used to love KDE, but it got so bloated and the confounded developers never fixed all the bugs. The new KDE 4 is only worse. Yes, I tried it, and I’d rather not think about the experience again. GNOME is only slightly better, so I gave that a try.
Previous attempts with 11.0 and 11.1 couldn’t even give a decent framebuffer, but 10.3 recognized everything nicely. SaX made a couple of errors scripting the modelines for the Dell D1028L monitor, but I was able to correct them by editing the xorg.conf directly. Once I manually set the resolution at 1024×768 and forcing a 70Hz refresh, the display was quite tolerable. I also had to manually force the fonts to display at 100 DPI. So far, everything is working fine.
The other issue was Novell’s failure to fix the installer on 10.3. Eventually I found a page discussing the use of the Super Grub Disk. Boot with it and tell the thing to find your Linux installation and create a usable Grub config on your MBR. A little confusing, but not impossible to make it work.
So let the Novell haters come and link and talk bad about me; I really don’t care. I have work to do and, for now, openSUSE is making it happen with significant improvements over just about everything else I tried. Of course, Windows is simply not an option in my world.
Update: This, too, shall pass. While studying ways to fix the way the kernel interacts with the broken ACPI, I got SUSE where I couldn’t do anything at all. It just was not worth the hassle. However, I did learn an awful lot about broken ACPIs and such, like HPs insistence on having the thermal zone report in Centigrade, when it’s supposed to be Kelvin. What a mess…
Anyway, I’m back to CentOS because in the process of mucking about with the ACPI, I learned how to fix the stuff I didn’t get working there.
I’m hoping I can figure out what I’m doing before too long, or I’ll never get anything done.
Let’s break it on down. It has been said, “Everyone has a right to decent medical care.”
No. You cannot posit a positive right. Rights, by definition, are granted by God. Our world is fallen, and God has commanded certain things as restrictions on human behavior to prevent injustice. Justice does not permit one person any claim on whatever God has granted to another. About the best way to word this is “zero aggression.” If you aggress, the other has the right to defend. There are plenty of statements of principle in Scripture, numerous concrete examples and anecdotes, so there’s no excuse for not understanding this. Yes, it is contextual, and requires a discerning mind of justice arising from God’s revelation.
We could go on at length, but let’s pull out the unspoken assumptions here so we can see what was meant by the original statement above:
“We assume if you have any material prosperity at all, you cannot have gotten it without being unjust. Therefore, you are obliged to surrender your property to the comfort of others. Since we don’t trust you to do it justly, we will direct this equitable redistribution on your behalf. We will collect from you, by force, however much we decide is just, and distribute as we see fit. You have no say in the matter, and attempts to have your say will be treated as open rebellion and treason. A primary objective is to fund an equitable distribution of medical services, according to our conceptions of what is equitable. Naturally, we will exempt ourselves from all this, because we are better than you.”
Let me explain something so everyone can understand it. God has given each man the right to resist such massive government theft. It is no sin to take up arms and resist the intentions of such a government. Now, granted, we do have a serious problem with how most people in the US gain their wealth, but that’s a separate matter, and absolutely a sin for any government to attempt to settle unless such government happens to be related to all the governed by blood or marriage. Fixing that problem will go a long way to gaining God’s approval.
I understand the FDIC 2nd Quarterly Report for 2009 has been staged for release tomorrow. That in itself means nothing, since bureaucracy seldom operates optimally. However, given the situation, waiting until a Thursday may well be a low-level tactical move. We won’t know until it happens, but I counsel you to be cynical: Never underestimate the capacity for the US Federal Government to lie, cheat, steal and otherwise ruin your life, merely to insure some tax-swilling elitist thugs don’t surrender their comforts and convenience.
So the test with Kubuntu 8.04 wasn’t so good, after all. It’s not working too well with the oddball hardware used by HP, and there is precious little information I can grasp on how to manipulate things to work better. For example, the BIOS on many HP desktops does something non-standard with the thermal sensing and controls. In Linux, there is a gap between the hardware gurus with their esoteric jargon, and the average power user who tends to know how to fix this or that. The former aren’t willing or able to make it simple, and the latter don’t seem to know much about this case, and their “fixes” all appear to be too shaky. OTOH, FreeBSD has lots of documentation on the issue, not to mention a fairly elegant mechanism for controlling such things, and I’m confident I can resolve it. I’m currently running it through the paces of building a FreeBSD installation from scratch.
I’ll be running 6.4 and the GNOME 2.22 desktop. Back when I was using the Pavilion as my only computer, I remember what a radical difference it made when I recompiled the desktop with optimized code for “pentium4″ on this thing under FreeBSD 6.0. No, it won’t do miracles or tricks, but I am pretty sure I can work out the kinks better with FreeBSD than with any Linux distro. I simply can’t find enough info on building Linux that without wading through books or joining yet one more forum group. From what I can tell, it’s largely because Linux is simply more complicated in design. I started with Linux many years ago, and never did understand the kernel, but I understood the FreeBSD kernel within a week or so of my first exposure (as much as I am probably ever going to understand it). While it still suffers from the rolling-release mania, there are ways I can get around most of that in FreeBSD.
In some ways, this may be the right timing for such a move. Given the vast quantity and depth of unknowns coming down the pike — not the least of which includes full economic crash and martial law — it’s probably wise to get the latest and greatest of the most stable stuff. Taking the time to build something which I can use for the foreseeable future, a future which might see easy updating disappear, the advantages of FreeBSD would give me at least an edge on security and stability. I already have the laptop in shape for the long-term, and the old Pavilion will be there shortly.
Frankly, I’d rather not see a bank holiday right now. I suspect TPTB don’t want it, either. What little I can gather indicates to me we still have everything pointing to an October Surprise. There are a few more things I’m trying to puzzle out, things which I need to resolve whether we muddle along for a few more years or the world stops tonight. Chaos comes on God’s schedule, but I’m hoping I have some time to settle these issues about my calling before I have to begin operating too heavily under it.
There’s nothing like suddenly gaining insight into your own character, something hidden for many years.
It has long been my contention God called me to serve Him. At the time, the obvious meaning was to aim at pastoral ministry. That was back at age 16, and it was the first step of sanity out of a borderline psychotic youth. Sure, we joke about kids being crazy, and adolescence as a traumatic time for many. I won’t plead mine was special, but I did come close to suicide many times. Only God’s grace kept me from it, in part by keeping me from actually thinking about it. When I perceived I had a calling, most of it became manageable.
The problem was chasing the dream of pastoring when that was my misapprehension of things. So I did all the education, honed and sharpened the talents, became quite good in dealing with people. But no one ever hired me for anything close to pastoral work. When I volunteered, I was usually welcomed and worked hard, but never professionally, as it were. Not long ago, it dawned on me that was the wrong role for me.
I came to that conclusion once I began striving to view the world through a spiritual lens: ANE epistemology, holistic thinking, and symbolic logic. The picture of myself as pastor was missing major ingredients. Once I stepped away from that goal, lots of things started making sense which did not before. Instead, I’m called to teach. That can include preaching, of course, but I’m not pastor material. I lack the proper instincts, and can at best only emulate them by training.
I still dearly love people, and they are a fundamental reason for what I do. It is no trouble to sit and teach anyone anything I know about. I’ve got loads of patience, and can break down to the very basic elements of cognition, if necessary, because I have a talent for remembering the process of discovery — I can remember not knowing. God has also granted me a measure of discerning where the gaps are in their understanding. If I know where you are, I can put it in your reach, most of the time.
I also have no trouble organizing anything I understand, and I’ve never had trouble getting groups of people to handle projects. Administration is just not a burden to me. While I love to present impossible challenges, and try to carry through on them myself, I’m never disappointed much by the reality which falls short. I’m much more interested in the people growing and gaining ground themselves than some artificially constructed goal. For this reason, I despise the corporate or bureaucratic atmosphere, because those are utterly inhuman and inhumane. I never take such things seriously. People are important, and organization must serve them, not the other way around.
The tricky thing is now I must reevaluate most of what I expected to do in the coming months and years. The picture in my mind was drawn with the pastoral ministry as a fundamental fact. Taking that away, I’m now going to have to come up with a new picture. That includes the things I had faith to let God handle. My trust has not changed, but the contents of it. A major element I note already is relative solitude will be more likely. I’m not sure where to go with that, but I do my best preparatory work away from distractions. That’s just one example, as I look forward to what assignments the Lord will reveal to me.
There’s nothing to wake you up like stumbling into the mirror and crashing through to the other side.
Back when I first started learning Linux and BSD, I went through a series of cranky machines, mostly used in part or in whole. I began giving them names based on some previous theme I had back in the military, using names to suggest noises and such. My first real usable box was named thud. A laptop was snap, and there was a crunch, wham, and bam.
Then my wife decided to replace her cranky old Pavilion with something better. Frankly, that 1.8Ghz Celeron was the fastest thing I ever used. Back in those days, I named it crater. I finally had enough income to build one, then eventually traded up to an even faster dual-core 64. I gave crater to my son. He used it some for a while, then we recently traded him up one, and I got the old Pavilion back after three years away.
Since then I’ve changed themes to something more subtle and religious. I’ve named it now rest, to offset the Inspiron laptop named journey. Yeah, my Konsole prompt says,
It took a few tries to find a usable Linux. I knew FreeBSD would work, because that was the last thing I had put on it before my son insisted on XP. But I wanted to see if there was anything that could still identify the strange hardware and behavior of this cranky old HP. CentOS insisted it could go into hibernate, which didn’t work out well. Neither Etch nor Lenny would install, locking up on the package installation. Nothing in openSUSE would work, either. I kept getting a plain console installation. Most everything choked on the Intel 855G graphics chipset.
Finally, I got Kubuntu 8.04 to work. That’s what I’m using right now, and I was delighted to find it had been bumped up to KDE 3.5.10. It’s working fine, and I get to keep this for awhile.
Resting in the old crater….
For a time I ran Etch on my Inspiron 4100 because I kept having trouble with my wifi card on CentOS. While the Backports site offered a recent kernel for Etch, I missed the RedHat world very much. After doing some research, chasing different references, I found there was a solution. After reinstalling CentOS 5.3, I then added a testing kernel, and it worked much better.
The old kernel (2.6.18-128 series and previous) would all attempt to load the driver. The latest update would load the ath5k module and work fine, but then would hang when breaking down the interface. Not only did it require a full reboot, but it was necessary to kill the machine to get the kernel to completely shut down. According to the CentOS Wiki page for Wireless, this was an acknowledged problem. I found the bugzilla discussion about this, but no solution was posted on that list. Finally, I ran across a reference to some testing kernels built specifically against CentOS 5. I chose the latest (kernel-2.6.18-162), but installed it alongside the official released, instead of as an upgrade. It worked without a hitch.
Apparently the next release (5.4) will include something later as upgrade, but it’s good to know this, at least, has already been fixed.
Card: Netgear WG511T with Atheros AR2414 chip (AKA AR5212).
Update: Now, a month later, CentOS/RedHat released a later kernel (2.6.18-164.el5) as part of the standard update, and it works just fine for this chipset.