Z61p Installation hints - Portable

This is a discussion on Z61p Installation hints - Portable ; I just purchased a new Z61p for use as a Linux machine. I had a few notes that I thought might be helpful to others. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.1 installed, but one must use the "Safe mode" because there ...

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  1. Z61p Installation hints

    I just purchased a new Z61p for use as a Linux machine.
    I had a few notes that I thought might be helpful to others.

    SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.1 installed, but one must use the
    "Safe mode" because there are a number of edge triggered interrupts
    that are being missed during the boot sequence.

    When the machine comes up initially, it is only in 1024x 768 display
    because the ATI driver for FireGL cards was not included in SUSE
    10.1. The binary ATI driver can be downloaded and installed, and
    supports dual-head mode very nicely. On the Z61p this would be for
    laptops. This can also be set to "mirror" or "wide" or "vertical"
    displays. This is a nice way to set up a "preview" area for staging a
    slide show - or for taking notes in one screen while presenting on the
    projector.

    I got the Atheros a/b/g/n card, which is not supported yet. The
    driver is supposed to be coming out this month, but it hasn't arrived
    yet. Not sure when Atheros will actually deliver.

    I was able to install a "Linux Format" openSUSE 10.2 distribution,
    which had a much simpler installation, but did not come with support.
    The new navigation screens on KDE are much faster and much easier to
    navigate. Looking forward to the official SLED equivalent to 10.2. I
    bought the subscription support from Novell, hopefully I'll get an
    automatic upgrade.

    Once everything was configured, the performance was astonishing.
    Other than the classic 3 second wait for applications to start,
    everything was extremely fast, and very responsive. The higher
    resolution display really worked great for gnome. The KDE display
    scaled the windows to be the same size, which wasn't quite what I
    wanted. I get really nice fonts, but it eats lots of real-estate. I
    couldn't get virtual desktop on gnome, and I couldn't scale down the
    KDE windows. Anyone know how I can get virtual desktops on gnome or
    vice versa.

    Once those graphics accelerators are installed, Linux even outshines
    the Mac in terms of performance and functionality.


  2. Re: Z61p Installation hints

    On Mar 5, 11:51 am, "Rex B" wrote:
    > I just purchased a new Z61p for use as a Linux machine.
    > I had a few notes that I thought might be helpful to others.


    Some quick updates

    > SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.1 installed, but one must use the
    > "Safe mode" because there are a number of edge triggered interrupts
    > that are being missed during the boot sequence.


    After a few different experiments, it turns out you only have to run
    with ACPI=off for SLED. OpenLinux 10.2 does not have this limitation
    (fyi).

    > When the machine comes up initially, it is only in 1024x 768 display
    > because the ATI driver for FireGL cards was not included in SUSE
    > 10.1. The binary ATI driver can be downloaded and installed, and
    > supports dual-head mode very nicely. On the Z61p this would be for
    > laptops. This can also be set to "mirror" or "wide" or "vertical"
    > displays. This is a nice way to set up a "preview" area for staging a
    > slide show - or for taking notes in one screen while presenting on the
    > projector.


    Update: If you register for SLED, and configure the automated update
    right away, the ATI drivers will install automatically.

    You do have to manually change the driver in your x config file.
    Run 3Ddiag and it will tell you how to change this.

    > I got the Atheros a/b/g/n card, which is not supported yet. The
    > driver is supposed to be coming out this month, but it hasn't arrived
    > yet. Not sure when Atheros will actually deliver.


    After doing some digging, it turns out that the Intel a/b/g card is
    supported for Linux. If you order a new machine that's the card to
    pick.

    Atheros does offer drivers via the madwifi utility, and SLED automated
    update will install madwifi for you, but it can't find the a/b/g/n
    card.

    It's the Atheros 5008 chipset, and will give unknown device ID 24.
    It's at pci_bus:0000:03:00.0

    It turns out that this is the same chipset used on the newer Mac
    iBooks as well.

    > I was able to install a "Linux Format" openSUSE 10.2 distribution,
    > which had a much simpler installation, but did not come with support.
    > The new navigation screens on KDE are much faster and much easier to
    > navigate. Looking forward to the official SLED equivalent to 10.2. I
    > bought the subscription support from Novell, hopefully I'll get an
    > automatic upgrade.


    Once I got 3D working on the ATI FireGL chipset, I was also able to
    get 3D effects working on gnome. The gnome icons are actually quite
    well done, and the rotating "cube" can have as many sides as you
    need. I ended up configuring mine with 6 desktops. The main
    advantage over traditional virtual desktop, is that you can drag items
    around the cube or leave them wrapped. Nice when you want a document
    where you only need a few columns of a spreadsheet in the left half of
    a document.

    3D effects also had "wobbly sheets" when you moved them. I haven't
    had much chance to play with the other features yet.

    Once the FireGL card was configured WUXGA graphics, if you had good
    vision, the detail and flexibility of being able to have 20-30 open
    documents spread across a half dozen desktops is really nice. Linux
    configured this way would make most Mac owners jealous.

    > Once everything was configured, the performance was astonishing.
    > Other than the classic 3 second wait for applications to start,
    > everything was extremely fast, and very responsive. The higher
    > resolution display really worked great for gnome.


    One nice feature of gnome is that it does have the option of an
    animated curser when you have launched an application. This did help
    to know whether you had double-clicked an application quickly enough
    to get it started.




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