Yee-King Adaptive - Linux on Viglen Dossier NS

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Installing GNU/Linux on a Viglen Dossier NS 1Ghz

I found myself surrounded by machines 'designed for windows'. I felt like a trapped animal. There was only one penguin shaped way out of this foul informational technological hegemony.

!. Installing debian
2. Wired network
3. Wireless network
4. Graphics
5. Audio
6. Firewire/ other
6. Links

Installing Debian

The machine would not boot from the debian woody cd i had (or from any other bootable CDs), so i booted from a debian boot/ root floppy combination. I was subsequently able to point the Debian installer at the Debian CD.

Wired network

The Dossier NS has a SIS 900 10/100 NIC on the motherboard. I had a bit of trouble getting this working. Heres what happened.

I installed Debian Woody with a 2.2.20 kernel. I was not able to install a 2.4 kernel initially as i was booting from a 'compact' boot floppy. I added the sis900 module using the modconf tool.

modprobe sis900 would not work. It refused to insert the module.

I decided to try the 2.4 kernel from the debian CD - maybe it would have better support for the sis900.

The system would not boot the 2.4 kernel - it could not mount the root file system.

I remembered someone telling me they had problems with this machine temporarily freezing during disk access. I figured that maybe it had a weird IDE controller that was not supported in the pre-compiled kernel. I decided to build my own 2.4 kernel with the SIS ide controller built in.

Hooray! it booted. I modprobed sis900. It worked!

Wireless network

Now to the wireless LAN card, a Cisco aironet 340 PCMCIA. This is actually quite simple to install. As long as you remember to cold boot the machine after you compile and set up the pcmcia-cs and aironet drivers. I thinkthe best procedure here is to get the aironet drivers from Cisco and the pcmcia-cs drivers from sourceforge. However, You can compile airo into the kernel/ as a module and you can compile pcmcia into the kernel. The advantage of using the packages I suggest is that the Cisco drivers provide the correct parameters for the airo module in the various /etc/pcmcia/* files, by patching the pcmcia-cs versions of these files. If you get the Cisco drivers, you also get the gui'd client utilities, which makes setting preferences on the card easier.

Graphics

SIS are not the most helpful company when it comes to providing specs for linux developers, so support for the graphics chip is not as developed as for other manufacturere. I found this excellent sis 630 video page. I installed the SVGA driver from here (link to where i got the svga driver from) , used a hacked version of the XF86Config file from here (link to where i got the file from). Get my config here (link to my working SVGA config). Since this machine is the general purpose presentation machine here at work, it needs to plug into projectors. I found it mirrored its display if i rebooted it with a projector plugged in. (note to myself: put links in!!)

Audio

I decided to install the ALSA 0.9 drivers as i like to be on the cutting edge for audio :). The main module for the SIS audio controller is the snd-trident module. I set up a file in /etc/modutils/ called mattAlsa, with this in it: (note to myself; put alsaconf text in... )

Firewire/ other

I have not had time to spend much time fiddling with the fire wire yet...

Links

Viglen Dossier NS

Debian GNU/ Linux

ALSA sound drivers

sis 630 video driver

Cisco

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Yee-King Adaptive - Linux on Viglen Dossier NS