Férias no Gerês

Passei quase uma semana de férias no Gerês, na Quinta do Negral, na Casa do Penedo (o telhado maior, ao centro):

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Apesar de mau tempo no dia de lá chegar, sempre houve Sol qb. Deu para visitar as cascatas da Portela do Homem, mergulhar e chapinhar na piscina (apesar de lá ter morto por afogamento o meu telemóvel, após cerca de 20 minutos sem botija de ar) da quinta.

É muito agradável, poder tomar o pequeno almoço (que nos deixam dentro de um cesto de verga à entrada da casa todas as manhãs) enquanto se aprecia esta vista:
Vista a partir do alpendre da Casa do Penedo

Entre as várias fotos que tirei, destaco ainda as seguintes por achar terem corrido mesmo bem…

Continue reading “Férias no Gerês”

Um blog pessoal afinal é feito por assessor? Então para quê?

Diz n’O Público que a polémica à volta do blog do Filipe Menezesscratch that no blog do assessor do Filipe Menezes…

Aparentemente os factos são os seguintes:

  • O blog do Luis Filipe Menezes afinal não é escrito por si
  • O blog afinal é escrito por um assessor
  • O assessor fez passar por texto original do ‘Lip certas citações
  • Estalou o verniz mas nem por isso se actualizou os artigos corrigindo para citações e referenciando as fontes.
  • O ‘Lip não assume a responsabilidade

O ‘Lip não tem tempo? Ou originalidade pessoal (pelos vistos nem o assessor a tem)? E depois de estalado verniz não se actualizam os artigos com as devidas referências das citações usurpadas?

E como raios é que há a lata de fazer uma nota à imprensa onde se diz que “quem lê esses textos percebe percebe perfeitamente que não são da autoria de Luís Filipe Menezes“? Conheçemos todos, por ventura, pessoalmente o ‘Lip para perceber perfeitamente tal coisa?

Não percebo. É um blog pessoal e é feito por outra pessoa… mas então para quê? Só publicidade? (duh)

Eu cá quando não tenho tempo… não escrevo. Até sai mais barato que contratar uma agência de publicidade como o fez o ‘Lip.

Senhores políticos, tenham a coragem de não manipularem cidadãos comprando conteúdos!

FreeDOS usb bootdisk HOWTO

I wanted to upgrade my BIOS, but I only want to use Free Software. Right now, the only exception I have to do is the BIOS for which I don’t have much choice there. But I want to avoid MS-DOS if I can, so I investigated how to get FreeDOS to boot on an USB disk. Success! It worked. Here’s what I did.

Partitioning the usb stick

In my case, the USB disk was /dev/sdb, so I launched parted in order to prepare the boot disk. Since I have a 64MB usb drive lying around, I’ll use it. You may need to replace fat16 by fat32 if you want to use way bigger partitions:

[root@roque ~]# parted /dev/sdb mklabel msdos
Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sdb will be destroyed and all data on
this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
Yes/No? yes
New disk label type?  [msdos]?
Information: Don't forget to update /etc/fstab, if necessary.

[root@roque ~]# parted /dev/sdb print
Model: FlashDis Flash Disk (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 65.5MB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos

Number  Start  End  Size  Type  File system  Flags

Information: Don't forget to update /etc/fstab, if necessary.


[root@roque ~]# parted /dev/sdb mkpart primary fat16 0 64MB
[root@roque ~]# parted /dev/sdb toggle 1 boot

Pay attention that if you see Partition Table: loop then beware, since it doesn’t support bootable flag, so you really need to run the mklabel part in order to change it to msdos. After that, you’ll need to make a partition as well.

Installing a boot loader

While a friend was trying at the same time to use syslinux, I tried grub, but it still needed some help from a syslinux file, memdisk :). Here’s how I did it:

mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt
cp -r /boot/grub /mnt
cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /mnt
cd /mnt/grub
echo '(hd0)     /dev/sda' > device.map
cat <  grub.conf
default=0
timeout=10
bootsplash=/grub/splash.xpm.gz
root=(hd0,0)
title FreeDOS
        kernel /memdisk
        initrd /fdodin06.144

EOF
cd ..
wget -c http://odin.fdos.org/fdodin06.bin.zip
unzip fdodin06.bin.zip fdodin06.144 
Archive:  fdodin06.bin.zip
  inflating: fdodin06.144            

Now we need to put grub into the MBR (master boot record), this is how I did it:

grub> find /grub/stage1
find /grub/stage1
 (hd0,0)
 (hd1,0)

There’s two of them. That’s not good, is it? No, it’s in fact quite normal. The first one is from /dev/sda, my main hard disk. You’ll have to go to the correct partition though:

grub> root (hd1,0)
root (hd1,0)
 Filesystem type is fat, partition type 0xe
grub> setup (hd1)
setup (hd1)
 Checking if "/boot/grub/stage1" exists... no
 Checking if "/grub/stage1" exists... yes
 Checking if "/grub/stage2" exists... yes
 Checking if "/grub/fat_stage1_5" exists... yes
 Running "embed /grub/fat_stage1_5 (hd1)"... failed (this is not fatal)
 Running "embed /grub/fat_stage1_5 (hd1,0)"... failed (this is not fatal)
 Running "install /grub/stage1 (hd1) /grub/stage2 p /grub/grub.conf "... succeeded
Done.

Now it will boot from the usb drive, and launch grub.

boot and test

So I guess this is your final stage… place what you need to run in the usb stick, unmount it and there you go!

Now you can use that pesty BIOS upgrade proprietary crap.

References

Dell D531

Este artigo segue em inglês para o propor para inclusão no TuxMobile, e refere-se à instalação de um GNU/Linux, neste caso o Fedora 7, num Dell D531.

UPDATE: sound works now, graphics card too is for really Real Soon Now!

Article listed at TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs and Mobile Phones
So I got this Dell D531, it’s got a dual core AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 CPU, an ATI X1200, bluetooth support, a wifi card, etc. Since I chose to only use Software Livre, I had to figure out how to make it work best without using proprietary drivers. The other option was an HP virtually fully supported laptop, but since HP had some problems to give my employer over 20 laptops, suddenly Dell won, and I got one that has so-so support. AMD has bought ATI, though, and promised to help make things better, but if it isn’t releasing the ATI drivers… then it’s a worthless promise. and after a bit more than one year, the specs have been published. Here’s to a fully working card with the RadeonHD driver, real soon now! 🙂

Anyways, I had some trouble finding a popular distribution optimized for AMD64 which could be installed, I firstly tried Ubuntu, but for some reason only Gutsy Tribe 2 installed. It was in a too early development period, and I really need a working, reasonably stable laptop. Also, the native wifi card isn’t well supported with the bcm43xx drivers and seems to need some voodoo firmware, so I decided to turn it off in the BIOS.

Fedora 7 for AMD64 did install properly, although it had some quircks… and so starts the technical part of this story.

Obtaining install media

This was an adventure in itselft. It appears Fedora 7 Live for AMD64 doesn’t fit on 800MB CDs. Fortunately it can be loaded onto a pen-drive, and then boot and install from it. It’s actually much faster than from CD, so I definitely recommend pen-drives for install media.

Installing

Fedora 7’s install process is quite simple, as most modern GNU/Linux distrubutions, and you will have a reasonably straightforward and pain-free installation if you merely clear the whole disk and install (which is what I did since I don’t want closed Windows around).

One big advantage over Gutsy Tribe 2 is that it did detect the graphics card. Although, ATI X1200 is not fully supported, but the VESA driver was adequately loaded and I had a 1024×768 desktop. Yeah, it sucks, the display is for 1280×800 so things are a bit streched out, but hey, complain to ATI. They’re the culprits. Here’s to hoping the aforementioned promise isn’t worthless!

What Works

  • Suspend to memory sometimes works
  • Suspend to disk has always worked for me, so far
  • Bluetooth is supported
  • Ethernet wired card is supported
  • My older ralink PCMCIA wifi-card is supported
  • Virtualization support in CPU works
  • Burning CDs (alas, no DVD writing support in the optical drive *sigh*)
  • Sound works since alsa-driver 1.0.15rc1. It doesn’t work on most distributions yet since they have the latest stable version (1.0.14), but end of the 2007 onwards distributions should work out of the box
  • Most 2D support (full resolution, RandR 1.2, etc… but no acceleration)

What DOESN’T work

  • Suspend to memory in a reliable form (but maybe that’s Linux’s fault)
  • The natife wifi-card
  • Full 2D and 3D graphics card support (I’d be happy with full 2D support)
  • Battery life is shorter, my colleagues at work claim almost 8 hours when idle, I got a little more than 6 hours when idle. Still, a huge improvement, since the previous laptop only lasted about 2 hours on the first 6 months 🙂

Expectations

AMD has promised to help solving the ATI issue. I hear there’s a huge internal war, but the loss of big contracts (hundreds of thousands of computers) that has already happened because AMD laptops with ATI aren’t fully supported with Software Livre is probably a significant incentive for things to change in the near future.

The hda-intel Azalia sound card has had many patches recently so, hopefully, when Fedora rebases to 2.6.23 Linux I might have sound.

It seems some successful work is going on with the bcm43xx driver, so maybe in the future I won’t need the ralink PCMCIA card (one major problem is less battery life as PCMCIA cards drain more power).

There’s a lot of recent work on power efficiency. Even though it’s focused on Intel computers, I’m sure a lot of it will also benefit AMD based computers.

Conclusion

All in all it’s a good (and nice looking) laptop, but has some major problems if you only want to use Software Livre like I do. Things may improve, though, and I may revise this article in the future.