Broadcom BCM4312 for Lenovo S12 in openSUSE 11.4

Broadcom is the finicky mistress of Linux. Sometimes she’ll greet you with a smile with little effort and work perfectly, and sometimes she’ll spurn your most tried and trusted approaches.

Users with 4313, 43224, and 43225 will be happy to note the inclusion of open Broadom wireless drivers with the 2.6.36 kernel; however, for those of us who have to woo our Broadcom wireless, there’s a little bit extra work that needs to happen.

This is one of those unfortunate cases where you have to be online to get online.

First, find out what flavor of the kernel you’re running by opening a terminal and and running the command:

uname -r

Add the Essential Packman repository (if not already added):

sudo zypper ar -n packman-essentials http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_11.4/Essentials packman-essentials

Then, install broadcom-wl, broadcom-wl-kmp-(uname -r), and rfkill*

Next, sudo into your favorite text editor. Kwrite is used in this example, but gedit, mousepad, or any text editor will do:

sudo kwrite /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf

and add the following lines at the end of /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf:

blacklist ssb

blacklist b43

blacklist acer-wmi

*Note: while not essential, I’ve found that including these allows automatic connection after boot and hibernation/standby on the S12–especially the acer-wmi kernel module.

You should be able to configure your wireless in YaST and connect after a reboot.

MintMenu on openSUSE

While being mainly a fan of openSUSE, I’ve come to appreciate Linux Mint on my netbook. One of the shining gems of Mint being it’s well integrated mintMenu. Many thanks go to Unamanic (follow his blog here), who has been gracious enough to provide mintMenu for openSUSE on the build service.

After a quick log out and back in, you can add mintMenu by right-clicking on your panel and selecting “add to panel.” Scroll down or search for mintMenu. Now you can remove your standard slab menu with the minty-fresh version.

 

MintMenu 1-click install for openSUSE 11.4

Update to openSUSE 11.1

Now that openSUSE 11.1 has been out for a couple weeks, it’s about time I share with the readers how to get around some of the growing pains of this latest release. It also seems an opportune time to update some of the guides and general information on this blog.

One of the main issues seems to stem from user permissions, particularly with KDE3 applications. So let’s fire up YaST2 and go to Security and Users–User and Group Management. Now click the edit button and add yourself to the following groups: audio, cdrom, and disk. You’ll need to log out and back in for the changes to take effect. There’s been some reports that Packman’s version of K3B doesn’t contain this bug, but these changes seem to help the rest of the KDE3 applications to automount properly.

Quite to my surprise when I went to add repositories, I found that my update repository’s autorefresh option was disabled, so check your repositories in YaST2 under Software–Software Repositories. I also disabled the Source and Debug repos.

The gstreamer backend for phonon has proven quite buggy on my system, so I removed it and instead installed phonon-backend-xine. I’d also recommend installing kdebase3 and kdebase3-SuSE to hedge up a few of the final quirks between KDE4 and KDE3 applications.

Install video drivers.

“Compiz on 11.1 hates me” as so aptly titled on openSUE’S troubleshooting guide for Compiz (Compiz certainly hated me). The solution is quite simple, however. First, remove all packages for Compiz and Emerald.Then remove all configuration files. The easiest way is to start up your favorite terminal emulator (like Konsole or Yakuake) and run the command:

rm -rf ~/.config/compiz

Reinstall Compiz via 1-click install:

1-click install

How To: 64-bit Flash Player for Linux

Adobe has released a preview of their upcoming 64-bit version of Flash player for Linux. The software giant has shown much hesitancy towards porting Flash, without much explanation. This release is considered to be in alpha state, but I’ve found no more bugs than in their stable 9.x series for Linux. In fact, I’ve actually had better results overall.

Download the plug-in from the Flash Player Download Center.

Quit your browser and remove any previous installations of Flash as well as all versions of NSPlugin.

Extract libflashplayer.so and copy it to  /usr/lib64/browser-plugins.

Relaunch your browser and verify the installation by either visiting Adobe’s About Flash page or typing in Firefox’s address “bar about:plugins” (without the quotation marks).

If it all went well, you’ll be happily playing the wealth of Flash media online.

Please comment below whether or not it worked for you.

Update: Changed the link to Flash Player “Square.”

Windows XP Sp3 Access Denied Error

WinXpHaving just tried a couple times to install Sp3 and having still received this error–one that frighteningly hasn’t been resolved yet in Sp3–I thought I’d post a quick guide on how to get around this problem using some wicked voodoo The information contained in this guide was taken from here.

If there are any previous installations of either beta or release candidate versions of Sp3, then you must uninstall them before installing the final version.

Download and install subinact.exe.

Open Notepad (Start Menu-All Programs-Accessories-Notepad) and copy and paste the text below into the new Notepad document:

subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %windir%*.* /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose

Save-As “reset.cmd” (yes, including the quotation marks) to C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools.

Now, Open My Computer and double-click the file you just created in C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools.

Wait for the program to finish running before continuing on (yes, it takes a while, that’s normal).

Download and install Windows XP Service Pack 3 (which, although on Microsoft’s servers, is noticeably absent from their website).

Welcome to Service Pack 3 🙂

Update: Don’t bother looking for Sp3 on Microsoft’s official website. Microsoft has pulled Sp3 for XP as well as Sp1 for Vista from their website due to

a compatibility issue between Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) and Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Microsoft Dynamics RMS is a retail chain management solution for small and midsize customers.

Update: 5-16-08: Sp3 is now available through Microsoft’s Windows update as well as in their download center. It’s about time!

Getting the most out of KDE 4: a quick guide

KDE logoI know it’s been quite a while since my last posting, but between being sick and being busy, I haven’t had much time or energy to continue posting. Before I fell ill, however, I had worked on a quick guide to getting the most from KDE 4.

KDE 4 was released on the 11th of January, ushering in a new era of desktop environments. I’ve followed the development of KDE 4 ever since it was mentioned shortly after the release of Xgl. Whew! That’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? It’s been in the works for roughly two years now.

One of the coolest features of KDE 4 is the inclusion of compositing natively via Kwin. This was originally intended to help enable Xgl, Beryl, or (the latest) Compiz-Fusion to take over the rendering responsibilities. This idea has since dropped a bit of momentum; however, I find the compositing effects on KDE 4 to be much smoother and require less system resources. Sure, you don’t get the wobbly windows or the nifty little cube effect (KDE devs, I’m looking at you!).

The upside of KDE 4’s compositing engine is that, unlike Xgl, etc., my Xvideo does not fragment into a million little pieces, breaking one of the main reasons I use Linux on a day to day basis. My particular video card is a little on the aging side now. I have an nVidia GeForce 4200 ti with 8x AGP. It was the first 8x card available, and is still quite a solid little graphics card. There’s just some bad mojo between my video card and Xgl, and I’m not planning on upgrading for quite some time still.

The KDE developer team have been working hard at banging out the remaining bugs left over from the 4.0 release. I’ve been running KDE 4 as my main desktop for a couple months now, and I’m pleased to say that there’s been significant improvements to overall performance in both speed and stability.

There were, however, some additional steps I had to accomplish before the desktop effects ran at a sufficient quality for my enjoyment. These additional steps are exactly what I intend to help you do, ladies and gentlemen.

Enabling Desktop Effects:

Presuming you’ve successful installed KDE 4 and successfully booted into your lovely new desktop environment, you must have Xephyr and Xvfb installed before you can enable those shiny new effects. In openSUSE, you can find the needed packages within the xorg-x11-server-extra rpm.

Next, you will need to do a bit of manual configuration within your Xorg.conf file, located /etc/X11/xorg.conf. You’ll need to open this using your root account. Perhaps the easiest way to do so is to open Konsole and type in “kdesu kwrite /etc/X11/xorg.conf” (but without the quotation marks) and enter your administrative password.

You’ll need to add a couple lines within your xorg.conf file. For users with nVidia cards:

Section “Screen”
Option “AddARGBGLXVisuals” “True”
EndSection

You will also need to enable the XComposite extension:

Section “Extensions”
Option “Composite” “Enable”
EndSection

Additional step for Nvidia users: A noticeable performance gain may be obtained by opening your ~/.profile (located either in /home/username/.profile, or /etc/.profile) using kwrite and adding:

export KWIN_NVIDIA_HACK=1

Make sure to save your changes before closing. KDE’s complete guide can be found here. KDE 4 release notes can be found here.

You’ll need to restart for the changes to take effect. Now, proceed to the K Menu. Notice its lovely new facad, thanks to openSUSE’s contribution of the Kickoff menu, resulting from usability studies. Within “Favorites,” there should already be “System Settings” (wasn’t that thoughtful of them? 😉 ). Once within settings, under “Look and Feel,” go to “Desktop.”

In “Desktop Effects,” there should now be an option to enable desktop effects. You’ll want to check that box if it hasn’t already been checked off for you.

Now, click the Advanced Options button, where you can tweak and fine tune several other various settings. It’s recommended to keep the compositing type to the default OpenGL, since XRender is currently known to cause issues. There are three items here that will maximize your speed: 1) deselect Keep thumbnails of hidden windows up to date, 2) set the Texture filter to Nearest (fastest) and, 3) deselect Direct rendering.

That should be all. Happy tweaking! 😉