“waiting for x server to begin accepting connections”

Try DisallowTCP = false under [Security] in /etc/X11/Sessions/Gnome/custom.conf or similar for other window managers. Obviously this isn’t a very desirable solution, emerge --emptytree gnome might do the trick too.

(and obviously this might be just one of the many underlying causes for the very generic symptom of X not accepting connections)

X61s (1)

I’ve been the lucky owner of a Thinkpad X61s for a bit more than a week now. It’s a light and small 12.1 inch notebook. It’s structurally very solid and has got almost the same full size keyboard as my 14.1inch T60. (The enter, tab, shift and alike keys are shortened in width).

The installation of Gentoo went quite smooth. For those interested the xorg.conf, make.conf and kernel .config I use.

Internal mic/speaker and external jacks; video; DRI and AIGLX; USB; PCMCIA; wireless; fingerprint reader and ethernet all seem to work just fine. I haven’t tested the firewire, ssd slot, bluetooth and n-capabilities of the wireless yet.

In comparison with my T60 the volume and the backlight buttons aren’t hardware controlled. Gnome recognizes the volume buttons, but not the backlight ones. I’m still working on those.

ati-drivers-8.33.6 for Gentoo

This is a slightly adjusted 25.3 ebuild that will give you the 8.33.6 ati-drivers for Gentoo. Yes, it’s dirty. They aren’t in the main tree yet because they are considered broken, although it works just fine for me.

Download: ati-drivers-overlay-8.33.6.tar.bz2

Extract them to an overlay.

Update, the 8.33.6 drivers are in the mainline tree now, so you should use those instead of mine.

XGL take 2

I tried to get AIGLX to work on my Thinkpad yesterday. AIGLX is an API similar to XGL, but is a better implementation. Unfortunately AIGLX requires implementation by the video-card driver (which is good because it allows more performance), but the proprietary drivers of ati still doesn’t support it. (nvidia’s do, note to myself: get nvidia next time).

So I had to revert to XGL. A lot has changed since the last time I installed XGL. Other gentoo overlays, other windows managers, other hacks.

I used the gentoo-xeffects overlay to get Xgl.

Installing Xgl was a lot more straight forward and less of a problem than it used to be. An emerge and writing a simple startxgl script was enough.

The compiz-quinstorm patchset seems to have evolved to a proper branch of the compositing window manager, now called Beryl. It also includes a nice settings manager now.

Even hibernation and suspend finally seem to work. 🙂

A nice screenshot:

One thing left to do: integrate Xgl into xdm.

(auto)mounting removable media as user

I’ve always been bothered by the fact that you need to be root to mount anything (like an usb stick). It can be solved a bit by setting up udev rules and putting a specific device in /etc/fstab, but that only works for that single usb stick. Pretty annoying.

Googling only gives you stupid and silly solution (like allowing users to mount /dev/sd[a-z] — security risk).

Luckily I’ve recently been pointed to ivman, which is an automounter. It automatically mounts removable media for you in /media.

I looked at the internals of ivman, and noticed that it uses pmount, which is a wrapper around mount which allows users to mount removable media on a /media folder. Great!

Btw, you need to be in the plugdev group to use pmount.

Update It seems that gnome-mount also works fine when you’re in the plugdev group. Gnome-mount does about the same as pmount with the advantage that gnome-mount has got the nice gui integration everywhere in gnome.

T60 (2)

After 2 days installing gentoo on my great T60 I’ve accomplished quite a lot so far:

  • WiFi works. 4 seperate components (userland, firmware, kernel module and yet another kernel module) increase complexity a bit. Although the fifth component caused trouble — I forgot to tweak conf.d/net
  • Radeon X1400 and video card worked almost directly after using aticonf — nice! When I upgraded to xorg-server-1.1, though, I got a few crashes when closing X in a not-so-nice manner.
  • Using the synaptics drivers my touchpad now support drag’n’drop, right and middle mouse click and scrolling emulation. Still got to find a way to bind the thinkpad shortcut to disable/enable the point or pad.
  • Finally got the DVD rewriter to work. It seems I overlooked one little stupid generic E-IDE option in the kernel config.
  • Bluetooth and infrared should work — haven’t got the gadgets to try them out
  • Never even saw a PCCard, so didn’t even bother to look into ti
  • Software suspend (hibernation) doens’t work yet, but I definitely be working on that.

The rm -r / typo

Today I accidently made a (yes, very stupid) typo in a root console:

rm -r /

I noticed the typo almost directly, but rm managed to wipe out my /bin and started removing parts of /boot. This situation wasn’t very helpful for the stability of my system, as you might understand.

For the windows user: it’s a bit like deleting half of all executables in the windows folder.

One key difference: when running linux, you can fix it easily. I booted a livecd, mounted my system, copied the /bin from a stage3 tarball to my root partition and rebooted.

And it’s working again! There were some complaints about a libproc version mismatch with the binaries, but that’ll be easily solved by a emerge -e system.

You just got to love linux. (and other nixes for that matter)

Gentoo and BC4000 series RAID cards

Raidcore hasn’t released drivers that support gentoo linux, only precompiled drivers for the other big distro’s.

I’ve managed to get the drivers for the bc4000 series to work on Gentoo Linux 2006.0 on linux-2.6.16-gentoo-r9 for the bc4852 card.

You need the driver SDK, which contains the source of the precompiled drivers they distribute.

I had to tweak some kernel configurations to get it to work — first of I had to turn the ‘sysrq magic key’, although it seems easy to remove all sysrq usage in the drivers itself iif you aren’t comfortable with sysrq.

I had to switch from ‘discontiguous memory’ to ‘sparse memory’ layout — the driver relies on the availability of ‘mem_map’.

In the Makefile of the bcraid there’s an issue with the PLATFORM define. It should be defines with ‘uname -m’ instead — otherwise it won’t link in the binary blob.

The bccfg init script they provide seems terribly useless, adding ‘bccfg’, and ‘bcraid’ for that matter, to /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6 does just as fine, but cleaner.

Initially it seems that everything works fine, although I’m a bit worried about a lot of errors related to the bccfg device nodes in dmesg.

Gentoo linux 2006.0 installer

Today Gentoo released a live-cd with a gentoo-installer on it. They also posted some nice screenshots.

Gentoo Linux is a linux redistribution that features its home-made package manager Portage. This package manager makes Gentoo special. There are a lot of other package managers, but Portage is one of the only package managers that compiles each package on your computer, instead of installing precompiled binary’s.

Compiling everything yourself has got the advantage that you can tweak your package to your specific needs. This means you can have a nice customized system. But the key advantage is performance. Most binaries that package managers install are compiled for generic x86. That means that it can even run on your old 486. The issue is that a lot has changed since the 486. A few new instruction sets (MMX, SSE, etc), specifically designed to increase performance for common tasks, are present in almost every processor which aren’t used by generic x86 compiled binaries. And even more performance advantages1.

For this reason some people already did this (see Linux From Scratch). The problem is that it takes a lot of time to configure, build, install and trouble shoot at least 200 packages. If you take into account that your average server and desktop have at least 15 updated packages per week you are looking at a huge amount of dedication and time required to keep your own Linux From Scratch up to date.

This is where Gentoo and Portage comes in. If you want apache, you simply type emerge apache. If you want to update everything, you simply type emerge -u world. Portage checks which packages are required, it downloads them, it patches them, compiles them and installs them for you.

But wait? Maybe I don’t want ssl build into apache. How do I do that? Fairly simple actually. Portage has got a system called use-flags. There is a useflag called ssl. You can put ~ssl in the USE entry in /etc/make.conf to tell to portage that you don’t want ssl on any package. Or you could put net-www/apache ~ssl in /etc/portage/package.use, which tells that you want ssl to be disabled for apache.

Off course Portage isn’t perfect, and you will have some trouble once in a while, but it’s better than the headaches caused by LFS and the reward is similar2.

— A happy Gentoo user.

1When compiling for generic x86 a lot of memory is aligned which causes a lot of overhead for processors that don’t really care a lot about alignment. Not only are there these nice new instruction sets, but each processor has got specific differences in the implementation of the instruction. On some processors instruction X may be faster than instruction Y. Also some processor information in tight loops can be useful. On one processor the loop may fit in L1-cache, on others it wouldn’t.

2You can offcourse do more with LFS. But usually it isn’t that important, and if it were it would be better to add it into Portage yourself than to switch to LFS for that reason.

Gentoo Linux

3 days ago I came accross gentoo linux.

Gentoo Linux is a linux redist that provides you with a livecd from which you are able to build a whole new linux installation practicly from scratch.

Yes, that means compiling everything yourself.

Normally compiling means reading through tons of documentation, trying to find dependencies, trying to get stuff working, making tweaks, and reading again through tons of documentation, trying to find dependencies, hoping version won’t collide, and again, and again.

Luckily gentoo provides a very neat tool called portage.

Portage allows you to simply install for instance gnome by just typing:

emerge gnome

Portage will look up which dependencies are required, download them, configure them, compile them, and clean up garbage. The only thing you got to do is hang back and relax.

Portage also automaticly implements your preferenced optimalization settings to create the best possible build for every single application you compile.

Gentoo seems to have resulted in a lot faster linux installation, although there is one little issue, it takes time.. A lot of time…

Compiling gnome (with all dependencies) took about 8 hours…

Maybe gentoo will be the first linux to kick windows from my desktop :-).