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NOTE:  This is probably outdated information now – TL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
#!/bin/bash
modprobe ndiswrapper
Since we are using NetworkManager, edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-wlan0 and set ONBOOT=no

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

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Mike of netfest.org fame and I and another guy named Tom did some Solaris toying yesterday night. There’s two things about Solaris that just plain rock, Zones and Dtrace.

Zones are a dead simple way of replicating the current environment in a virtual machine. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever played with.

Dtrace gives about any statistical information you could ever want. We ran some example scripts that monitored the size of the disk buffer that programs are requesting. Not only that, but it outputs in nice little text graphs.

I was also impressed by Solaris’s startup system. They replaced the init system beautifully. A nice feature is that when a service is disabled, it is stopped if it is running. Same thing goes for when a service is enabled.

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I still get kinda giddy about “embedded” devices ther’s two in particular that I found today.

Mvix (MV-5000U) Media Center w/FM

This would be great in my car. This combined with a minitv would be the ultimate. At $250 it’s not priced too bad. It still doesn’t play zsnes though :(. It’s focus is media and that’s it. Plays ogg music wich is a definite plus. This might be something that I could take to work and put on shuffle :). It has an LCD display as well. This makes it usable without a TV for just playing music.
LInkGear Series 100

I’m looking at this to possibly replace my current IPCop firewall box. It’s $250, which is my upper limit on spending for the project. Where this product really shines is in expandability. It provides USB 2.0 ports AND 2 minipci ports. It could be configured with wireless pretty easily. The power consumption is only 2W! Really cool device.

Neither of these devices would be possible without Linux.

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I got to use a couple of my favorite utilities yesterday.  The first is the system rescue cd.  They finally updated the buger a couple of months ago.  It is now just about the best rescue cd in existance.  The second utility is dd.  I combined these two utilites to make a copy of the original laptop hard drive to one that I had connected via usb.  dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/sda .  The copy took a while, but my system booted without issues on the new hard drive.  Sweet.

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Here’s a responce to a comment I got.

Screenshot-gnucase2 - Unspecified.pngScreenshot-gnucase2 - Register.pngScreenshot-gnucase2 - Gas.pngScreenshot-gnucase2 - Expense Accounts.png

The GNUCash release candidate 1.9.8 is really, really nice. So far, Ive imported all of my accounts into it and started to categorize them.

The browser-like interface makes it easy to move back and forth between different accounts and registers. It started to remind me of Firefox tabs so much that I would look in the upper right for a tab close button. When a tab is closed, the focus oddly goes to the first tab. I would like to see that modified.

GNUCash has the ability to add customers and vendors. It could easily be used for a buisness that needed some accounting software and only had Linux machines at their disposal.

The general ledger is quite similar to what I remember about Quicken. The fileds that can autocomplete do so. A little trick that I found out is that if you are sick of typing Income and Expense and then the category, you may type a ‘E’ followed by a colon to autocomplete the word Expense.

The reports aren’t really that intuitive until you figure out that there is a configure button in the toolbar. The report will complete with the last configuration settings automatically. It is up to the user to modify the settings and then run the report again.

I have found the release to be stable and have not experianced any crashes. Compiling the app was a little tricky on my FC5 Turion 64 machine. I had both the 32 and 64 bit versions of guile installed. Removing the 32bit version resulted in the app compiling correctly.
GNUCash accomplishes exactly what I need it to. It tells me where my money is going and where my income is comming from. It is the best finance manager I’ve personally used under Linux. I highly recommend it over all the other GTK2 finance applications that are currently available. No, I haven’t used the QT ones 🙂 .
I’m really excited about the upcomming release. The Linux community will finally have a great piece of accounting software…GNUCash

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From http://web.intuit.com/support/quicken/docs/d_qif.html the QIF file is supposed to start with a header that identifies the type of account. This needs to be added to the Chase exports or they will not import correctly into gnucash.

Required File Formatting

Each transaction must end with a symbol, indicating the end of entry. Each item in the transaction must display on a separate line. When Quicken exports an account register or list, it adds a line to the top of the file that identifies the type of account or list. Listed below are the header lines Quicken adds to the exported files:

Header Type of data
!Type:Bank Bank account transactions
!Type:Cash Cash account transactions
!Type:CCard Credit card account transactions
!Type:Invst Investment account transactions
!Type:Oth A Asset account transactions
!Type:Oth L Liability account transactions
!Account Account list or which account follows
!Type:Cat Category list
!Type:Class Class list
!Type:Memorized Memorized transaction list

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Linux is a great system if it provides for all of your needs. However, I occasionally run into the case where the packages included with the distribution just don’t work fully for me. This is the case with NetworkManager and my wireless card in FC5. NetworkManager considers my wireless card to be a local connection. This is a bug that is reported in a couple places online. I was hoping that an update would fix it. I enable the development repos to get the new version. After the install, the panel no longer loaded correctly. Now I’m stuck with updating my entire machine to development packages.

I find that most issues I have are related to getting hardware to work. I most commonly screw up a box when trying to get the video card to work. This time it was wireless. Linux is terrible with video card drivers still. The only vendor that cooperates is intel. The ATI chip that is in my new L2000 will only run in 800×600 with the open source radeon drivers. That’s unacceptable to me. We defiantly need some graphics hackers on the linux side. Wireless is becoming increasingly better with time. Ndiswrapper is an ugly hack that works pretty well; the bcm43xx driver is coming along nicely; NetworkManager makes connecting to networks a breeze.

I’m becoming more and more frustrated with my Gentoo install. XOrg 7.0 is still not in stable. The stable version of Gentoo is no longer a feasible option for me when I make a selection. They are just too far behind. Problems arise when I need an app that is masked. Like with my FC5 install, dependencies start to pour in and it’s almost necessary to run the whole machine on unstable. I’ve probably got 60 packages with the ~x86 keyword on them. Marking things ~x86 is infectious. I’ve broken my apps several times.

What it boils down to is that it is imperative to select a distro that meets your needs today. That is, unless you have the desire to run unstable.

The problem with me is that I really want to like Fedora and Gentoo. If the door would open for me, I would help them in a heartbeat to fix out their bugs. Really need to become a distro developer, but I can’t seem to get my foot in the door. I hope this situation changes in the future.

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