System update for the Thinkpad

2 06 2006

It was rather painless to upgrade to kernel 2.6.15 (now I even learned to use module-rebuild after compiling and building the kernel modules) and to KDE 3.5, after it left the experimental ~x86 status. Now I’m trying to get the last things working on my Thinkpad R51 that I didn’t dare to touch yet.

After the bad experiences with upgrading Python and gcc in the past it was quite a revelation that upgrading Python to 2.4.2 and gcc to 3.4.6 required nothing more than simply unmerging them. revdep-rebuild solved the rest. Thus I changed my CFLAGS to
CFLAGS="-g -O2 -march=pentium-m -mfpmath=sse -msse2 -mmmx -pipe"
Upgrading the wireless stuff proved to be a bit more of a hassle, because I used to initialise the ipw2200 card by script via iwconfig and getting the same functionality via /etc/conf.d/wireless was quite cumbersome. Now it works like it should – most of the time.

I always wanted to try out the other stuff in the Thinkpad R51 topic on the Gentoo forums and other reports, for example sleep states or ifplugd which is just what I was waiting for all the time. After having seen the (K)NetworkManager I think I rather wait a little bit more, though – for now I’m using a custom ebuild for KWaveControl instead.

Then I found the Linux Thinkpad Wiki and I definitely had to try to get the special keys to work, especially using the Backward / Forward keys to switch virtual screens. I put the lines
keycode 233 = Next_Virtual_Screen
keycode 234 = Prev_Virtual_Screen
in my ~/.Xmodmap file and added a shell script to run xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap in my .kde/Autostart/ folder, since strangely KDE doesn’t interpret the .Xmodmap file by itself, although according to my /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc it should. Then I used the Control Center to assign those keys to “Switch to Next Desktop” and “Switch to Previous Desktop” in the Desktop Switching section of Regional & Accessability > Keyboard Shortcuts.

The next thing was to test the CDRW burner with xcdroast (k3b just has too many depencies for me and I’m usually only burning ISOs anyway). It works, plain and simply, and since kernel 2.6 you don’t even have to do any fancy scsi emulation for the ide devices for that. Just use the ATAPI devices (despite the warnings of xcdroast) and you’re good to go.

What I’m really looking for is the Xgl stuff. I had a look at it through the Kororaa live CD and I could play around with the desktop, although playing movies crashed the Xgl server. The Xgl demo looks quite promising, to say the least, although I think it will take atleast half a year until I can reproduce all the stuff without any problems on my notebook.

One bad thing that I just noticed: switching to the text mode console and back trashes the KDE session and renders the text mode console unusable afterwards, the screen is a mess of colorful garbled graphics. Seems to be a problem with the framebuffer, I’ll have to fix that.

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