March 26, 2019

Off The Shelf And Onto Your Lap(top) - page 4

Marketing 102

  • March 4, 2004
  • By Rob Reilly

No product review would be complete without mention of the areas of possible improvement. Happily, the LinuxCertified laptop had only of couple of minor irritations. Even better, no real show stoppers.

First up was the issue with the Centrino LAN chipset. I was disappointed that drivers were not available for the machine. It would have been nice to test a complete Centrino package. Intel seems to be the one holding up release of the specifications for the the chips. So, it's not really LinuxCertified's fault. Their alternative solution, the Prism mini-pci board, worked great.

Another area that tripped me up a little was with the mouse pad and wheel mouse. I like to use a wheel mouse even with a laptop. I reconfigured the desktop to use a 2 button PS/2 mouse with a wheel. I could even un-plug the PS/2 mouse and the mouse pad would work correctly. If I restarted X or the machine with just the mouse pad, cursor movement was irratic and hard to control. I didn't spend much time trying to fix the problem, but I did want the reader to know about it.

Also, in trying to fix the mouse pad issue, I mistakenly removed the mouse altogether. When I restarted, I was able to generate the dreaded "i830 DRM" error. It seems that there are situations where the i830 graphics chipset has problems when certain things in XF86Config are changed. Unfortunately, the error kept repeating and never would bring up X. The reason I mention it is because, some users may change their mouse or screen resolution and then need to go back and fix it.

Here's how I fixed it.

  1. When the error started repeating, I hit enter a couple of times and then typed in "root" and the root password.
  2. Even though the errors kept repeating, I then typed "init 3" to make the machine go to run level 3. I followed the init command with a couple of enters.
  3. Next I changed directory to /etc/X11. Fortunately, a backup copy of the XF86Config file is created whenever the original is altered, via a desktop tool. It was a simple matter to copy XF86Config.backup to XF86Config.
  4. Then, I just typed "init 5" and logged back in as a normal user. X and Gnome came up normally, with no "i830" errors. The user may have to restart the network, as outlined earlier.

One last area that users might want to know about were the version levels of the applications.

  • OpenOffice.org was at 1.0.2
  • Mozilla was at revision 1.2.1
  • Gnome was version 2.2.0

It's understandable that on a "certified" laptop, applications might lag a little as far as latest revisions go. Users would go through LinuxCertified for upgrades to ensure compatibility and minimize headaches.

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