Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Trying to get some music ...


... into my old Creative DAP Jukebox in Ubuntu on my new machine revealed that USB ports were not working properly. Although they were recognized nothing much happened as if interrupts were not getting to the system, however network card, keyboard and mouse were working and are also interrupt based.

Rebooting the system with the "noapic" keyword as a boot option cured the USB problem. It confirms that it was somehow due to a bad routing of interrupts. I've added this my kernel boot line in /boot/grub/menu.lst to have it as default.

Unfortunately life is always challenging us and this fix of the USB did not solve my problem. Neither Gnomad2 2.8.1 nor Neutrino software were able to talk to my MP3 player (though I have successfully communicated with it and an Ubuntu-based laptop at home). Because I've just downloaded the latest version of Knoppix that my friend Victor Alonso kindly translates into Spanish. I decided to give it a go to see if it included newer versions of libraries and/or software, so I can get some music uploaded. Not being my lucky day Knoppix CD did not include any software for my MP3 jukebox. But "apt-get install gnomad2" did the trick and now finally was able to upload some music to my device. It is interesting to note that I used here Gnomad2 2.8.3-1, slightly newer than the one on Ubuntu 6.06. However, because Neutrino did not work either I guess that the libnjb5 could be the problem.

Next problem in the horizon was to get SuSE Linux 10.0 working on my new machine. Graphic card was not recognized and, even worse, sax2 froze my machine when trying to get the graphics configured. Finally I learned that I could force sax2 to use a given driver only. Although my card is an ATI Radeon, the radeon driver didn't work nor was the generic ati driver. So I resorted to the framebuffer driver that did work. However it only did it on 1024x768. No matter what resolution I were selecting on sax2, screen resolution was kept to 1024x768. Time to check the grub program documentation to see that frame buffer resolution is selected on boot with the parameter vga. So I rebooted with vga=794 to get 1280x1024 at 24bits color depth and now it works!

Almost there, but sound is not yet working on SuSE. The configuration with Yast did not work with the card. The system detects the device but it does not produce any sound. Fortunately, the command line alsaconfig allowed me to get the sound back.

I guess that with my latest posts you have been warned that this Asrock775Twins-HDTV card is not without some problems that are mostly fixable. Right now my 2.6 GHz processor is happily running at 3.3Ghz with the stock cooler. And my tests when encoding the MPEG video I posted some days ago with mencoder using 3 threads is peaking at 392 frames per second, I am really impressed with this result.

One last detail, this kernel bug seems to affect my system too. I haven't tried the patch proposed but I have disbled DMA in my CD-ROM and DVD. I can understand all these details can scare away people from using Linux: Folks, it is not always this way. Just try not to use cutting edge devices.

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