October 2006

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NOTE:  This is probably outdated information now – TL

Don’t waste time like I did on the bcm43xx driver. Even as of fc6 the driver does not work well with the bcm4318 on 64 bit computers. I get disconnects and other errors.

Normally, I would send an email to the driver maintainer and ask to help out. But this is a component that I need working now. If there is a way to get it to work, I needed to do it. Plus, they are already aware of the issues.

Ndiswrapper, on the other hand, runs great. The light comes on and off correctly. The connection doesn’t drop. As an added bonus, it works just fine with NetoworkManager.
Here’s a short howto to get you going.
Dowload the driver from http://www.linuxant.com/driverloader/drivers.php

Add the livna repo and install the ndiswrapper and ndiswrapper-kmod packages

Add the driver into ndiswrappers db by useing ndiswrapper -i ${INF_FILE}

Modify all instances of bcm43xx to ndiswrapper in /etc/modules.conf and all files under /etc/modules.d/

Add bcm43xx to /etc/modules.d/blacklist as a blacklisted module (look at the other enteries if you need and example).

To make sure that the module gets loaded before NetworkManager starts, make an executable file under /etc/sysconfig/modules called ndiswrapper.modules. Its contents should be something like
modprobe ndiswrapper
Since we are using NetworkManager, edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-wlan0 and set ONBOOT=no

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FC6 is out

I just got FC6 installed.  It looks like NetworkManager is working with the bcm43xx better than before.  The update from 5 to 6 took over an hour which was a little dissapointing.  It looks like the updates are still pulling from the FC5 repos.  My desktop looked the same as before the update so that’s a good sign.


I just got word from ZipZoomFly that one of the motherboards that I RMA’d had a bent pin on the motherboard.  This is about the worst news possible becuse it means that there is physical damage on the board.  Of course, they are blaming me for the issue.  I think it’s the only choice they have.  I recommend that people take pictures of their hardware before an RMA.  The guilt is mine unless I can prove my innocence in this situation.  We’ll see if they help me out with this situation or not.

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I am writing this as a conclusion for those who search for this because there motherboard does the same thing.  There appears to be a design flaw in this motherboard that causes a high pitched squeal when the memory is volted to 2.2v.  In there bois, it is listed as being overvolted by .4v.  The problem wasn’t the motherboard being too tight as I had thought.  I wasted much time trying different settings on the board.  I even had the board out of the case and holding it to verify it wasn’t shorting out on anything.  After 2 RMA’d boards, I gave up. Bottom line, don’t use this board with 2.2V memory unless you are deaf to high frequency sounds.   I bought the Abit AW9D-MAX 975X instead and have had no problems.   Please leave a comment if this post helps or if you have had a similar issue.


On ubuntu, glxgears will not output the fps unless given the paramater -iacknowledgethatthistoolisnotabenchmark .  That’s some funny stuff.

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More mac madness

Few more things I noticed about the mac mini.  First off, if it has to kick its fan into high gear, the thing gets loud.  At that point it is loud enough for me to want it away from my living room.  Luckily, it runs at idle for most of the time.

SSh file transfers were going quite quickly, but nfs is slow.  I somewhat fixed this by changing the rsize to 1024 in the mount options.  The same holds true for smb.  This computer does not stream media as well as my Linux setup did.  I never had jittery playback under Linux and Xine, with the Mac, playback is almost impossible over a network.  With the rsize at 1024 and using VLC it’s not terrible, but still not quite right.

I still dig aqua.  The drop-shadow effect helps improve the feel of the desktop. I also like the way macs install software.  The entire software package is one file.  Really simple concept.  I prefer this on desktop machines where users are allowed to install packages, but think that enterprise machines need something like rpm.


Here’s a rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly on the mac mini I just purchased.

Before I even plugged in the box, there were a few things that cought my eye.  The power adaptor plugs into the brick part and seems to form a perfect edge with it.   Also, the power adaptor’s connection to the mini is symetrical, but unlike usb, it can be plugged in either way. I really like the size of the machine.  It it roughly 1/6 the size of the shuttle PC that it is replacing.   The power button is in the back.  I don’t have to hit it ever so that doesn’t bother me.  It’s only got 2 usb 2.0 ports.  I’m most likely going to have to buy a hub in the future.

The machine isn’t as quiet as I’d like, but I’m a prick with noise.  When the cpu is really working, the tiny fan is clearly audible.  Durring idle times, the computer is roughly the same loudness as a shuttle pc.
Initial setup was the nicest of any OS I’ve played with so far.  My wireless network was configured and added without a hitch.  I was alarmed at the amount of personal information that was asked of me.  It was mandatory too.  Of course, I lied on the forms.

The os itself is quite pretty.  Aqua really makes a difference.  The drop shadow effect and minimization effect are awesome.  I’ve always been a fan of the dock.  The best part about it is how it is dynamic.  Things can be added or removed easily, running programs have a indicator under them.

It’s obvious that Apple is pushing some of their other products.  Dot mac is the most obvious of these.  The other thing that they are pushing is their media formats.  It seems that the only media that the mac plays out of the box is quicktime and mp3.  Linux twamps OSX in stock media formats.   I had to install Mplayer and VLC to supplement this flaw.
It takes a little getting used to the commands all using the windows key instead of the ctrl key, but it’s something that I can live with.  The terminal emulation isn’t quite right.  I’m going to have to work on that too.  I see where ubuntu got their sudo and root setup from now.  For a while, I though that was original.  BTW that’s how OS X is configured by default.
Getting media to stream to the mac was a pain.  The default NFS settings are quite broken.  I had to down the wsize and rsize to get a decent transfer rate.  Even then, it doesn’t work the way I’d like it too.  Using the connect to server option in finder will use the default connection settings and bomb out.

Wireless was set up correctly the first time durring startup, but now I have to manually reattach it every time I reboot.  When I click on my home’s wireless network, the connection will not work.  When I use the other… option and manually type everything in, it works.   Definitely  a flaw on the OS side.

Startup notification is frustrating.  Often, things are going on that the user is not notified about.  The only sign that something is going on is how slow the computer is running.

I really like the no-braner approach to sharing files.  It’s quite easy to configure the machine to share one’s personal files.  I found a similar app on Fedora that, no doubt, rips off the idea.  The files are shared via webdav, which is a strange option.  If someone knows why that is so, please leave me a comment.

It’s funny to see where Linux took things from OSX.   I applaud them for being innovators in most of their designs.