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Freescale to tip the netbook scale to Linux

A new netbook processor is in town and it promises to tip the scales to favor the Linux operating system. Jack Wallen gives you the scoop on what Freescale is offering and how they can make it better.

Freescale Semiconductor is planning on releasing a netbook for the 2009 holiday season running on a new processor that would:

  • Have up to eight hours of battery life.
  • Be considerably thinner than current designs.
  • Contain a 1Ghz processor
  • Have embedded 3G connectivity.
  • Be priced under $200.00

You read it correctly. A sub-200.00 dollar netbook that offers more than most current netbooks. The kicker? As of now it looks like the only operating systems that will support the new processor are Android and Linux.

Think about it...Netbooks are the hottest commodity in PC sales right now. If a sub-$200 unit ships that offers eight hours of battery life and has 3G, it will not only crash the netbook party, it will be the LIFE of the netbook party. This netbook promises to be the iPhone of netbooks.

I know there are a lot of readers out there that will say, "But Linux-based netbooks were returned  four times more than Windows-based netbooks." To that I will counter by saying at a price point of less than $200, and with the hardware features Freescale is offering, users won't give a toot what operating system it is running. And if Freescale plays its cards correctly (and has a distribution like gOS to create a special interface the users will enjoy) there will be zero problems.

And I do hope there are members of the Freescale company reading this. If there are, I would like to reiterate what I just said in a different way:

Freescale has a unique opportunity here. There are Linux distributions out there (gOS Gadets, Elive, Elive+Compiz) that could be ported over to the Freescale architecture creating one of the slickest user-interfaces for netbooks available.

I have used a Linux-based Netbook. Sure they do their job but the interface is rather blah (or in terms the teens and tweens will understand, "meh".) Since the introduction of the iPhone, people want pizzazz. The end user does want to have fun using their computer and I think this offers the perfect opportunity to create a fun netbook.

Of course that is all merely a side note. The real issue here is that the Freescale processor (based on the ARM chip) will not support Windows. And considering the current economic state we are in, price-point is going to be a key factor in the success of this model of netbook. Sub $200.This isn't OLPC aiming for the sub $100 notebook; this is actually doable. It is already possible to purchase a sub $250 netbook (Target carries the Eee PC for $249.00), so dropping that extra $50.00 shouldn't be all that difficult. When that happens, prepare to see Linux-based Netbooks in the hands of many more people. And if Freescale takes my advice and pulls in a unique version of Linux, you'll probably see one of those in my hands.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

75 comments
bryan
bryan

Add a passive Touch Screen interface so I don't have to use the stupid touch-pad/eraser-point and you would have a hit beyond imagining..

neondiet
neondiet

Chips don't sell computers, applications do. Unless Freescale can convince people to recompile 100's of millions of lines of application code for the many thousands of Open Source apps out there, then they will have to raise the cash to do it themselves, and maintain the ports afterwards. And even if this is a variant of the ARM chip and binary compatible with previous versions, recompilation is still absolutely mandatory to squeeze the most out of any new chip design. Then there is the question of proprietary apps and drivers. Expect a high return rate if little Johnny can't view web clips and other forms of internet multimedia the way he expects. I've been through 3 different architecture transitions, and every time it's the same thing. Sales are pants until the application portfolio catches up, and that takes a strong stomach and loads of self belief on the part of management to stick with it and see it through. In this day and age and for such a cheap device with such a small profit margin it would have to sell in vast numbers to make it worth while. Atom has this market in its back pocket now, plus the developer and public mindshare to go with it. So I wish Freescale lots of luck, but don't rate their chances.

john3347
john3347

Would an application equivalent to Microsoft Streets and Trips or DeLorme Street Atlas USA be available on this proposed $200 Netbook? That computer and screen size is ideal for "onboard navigation". That feature would make such a unit more appealing to many potential buyers. How will the 3G internet connectivity work? Will users be restricted to a certain cell provider, as is the case with the iPhone? The built-in ability to check email or send vacation photographs home from a highway rest area would be a big selling point. All this is currently possible with a tethered cell phone or aircard and a Windows OS on a $250 to $300 netbook. Would it also be possible (and practical) with the proposed $200 Linux device?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I haven't seen a netbook yet, so please excuse my dumb question. How does this device access the Internet? Wireless 802.11g / n? Cellularly? Either way, who pays for the service? It strikes me that the monthly service contract could quickly exceed the cost of the hardware. In that case, would be we looking at pricing model similar to cell phones, where the service provider basically gives away the hardware in exchange for a service contract?

john3347
john3347

I don't say this to be mean or ugly, but simply as a prediction. Unless and until a Linux version that is intuitive and simple and easy to use for the non-professional masses, and with a short, flat learning curve, no Linux netbook will storm the market even at $2; much less $200. Look at the mass return rate that Walmart experienced with their GoS desktops a few months ago.

MPG187
MPG187

Could I put Ubuntu on it? And you cannot compare a Linux Machine to an iPhone.

josephfennellster
josephfennellster

In my opinion to get to the crowd that returned their netbooks, KDE4, with a full desktop, would be sufficient enough to keep them. The Linux netbooks have all had customized Desktop environments. When they got their Windows netbook, they had what they were used to; A Start Menu, ability to add desktop icons when and where they want them. While Asus' desktop is more simply laid out than Windows, it's unfamiliar. So if netbook users were to see a Linux distro with a familiar look and feel, then adoption would grow with decreased objection. So with that said here is what I feel this Linux netbook would benefit from above it's current hardware: At least a 16GB drive (4 just doesn't cut it) A regular KDE Desktop Synaptic Package Manager Possibly a video introduction to Packages(most people dislike windows because they can't go out and buy software, so if they were shown how easy getting applications for any use imaginable, would be more receptive) Including bootable flash drive instead of an installation DVD Being a netbook owner (and having used Linux for 10 years), who knows many windows users, those are some ideas that I've had to help with a greater reception of Linux from disenfranchised Windows users

e-mailme
e-mailme

It depends, if it has a decent storage capacity and not some silly 4GB or something, but at least 60/80 GB only then I think it will make a chance. Furthermore, how will it look like, if it looks like a toy, it will not sell. Finally, the linux version must be solid and easy to use. But good to hear that at least on this model Microsoft can't force linux out, like it did with most other netbooks.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Heck I already have a laptop, but another couldn't hurt right? However my turnoff is Nix, I always seem to have so many problems with it requiring full reinstalls. And I have nasty habit of checking off boxes to see what they do. Only to make they system unbootable or unable to reverse my change (So far Mandriva KDE has been particularly fragile for me, on my 4th reinstall in 1 day, Can't be bothered to do it right now). The Windows safemode seems to works much more often than the Mandriva equivelent, and I'm guessing most Nix's in general. But a laptop to last 8 hours would be extremly nice, its what I want for those long flights and car rides where I could just work on a program or something or read tutorials and stuff on the road or flight. I may have to ditch Nix for an XP system since all my dev work is for XP systems.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Touchscreens are fantastic. I quickly got used to a touchscreen notebook a while back though it lead to leaving finger prints on other people's machines every time an [OK] box came up.

robo_dev
robo_dev

My mini9 runs XP, and I also run Ubuntu on a USB jump drive from time to time (the distro called CrunchBang #!) My mini9 cost $296, delivered (Dell open box). I tether it to my AT&T 3G cell phone all the time. I use an external belkin bluetooth adapter and have a Samsung phone. The external BlueTooth GPS adapter from Garmin is not too pricy, so I plan to play with navigation at some point.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've been loving my GPS on the N810's Maemo Linux. There are about four different gps apps I use depending on what I want to do. There must be applications available for full distros. You should also be able to find ones that download maps from OpenStreets, google earth, MS Virtual Earth and Yahoo.

parnote
parnote

... it has the same capabilities of my current netbook (80 GB HD, 802.11 b/g wireless, USB 2.0 ports, multi-card reader). With the addition of the 3G networking, along with the price, it'll be a market leader, even with the punier processor (current netbook has 1.6 GHz Atom processor). BTW, current netbook is the quite capable Sylvania Meso g ($269 from Amazon). Its battery lasts over 3 hours on a full charge, so 8 hours would be phenomenal.

jlwallen
jlwallen

both of my daughter's Eee PCs access the internet using Wifi. Both of their netbooks run Linux and connecting to wifi is a brainless task. Anyone can do it. Now with the new device coming I imagine it will have both wifi and 3G which will be nice when no Wifi is available. Of course that would mean having to pay for a 3G connection...

john3347
john3347

Palmetto, I think you and I were composing this same question at the same time. Hopefully someone will have an answer for one of us. I have no experience with a netbook specifically, but I use a 14" laptop in exactly the same way that I describe in my post here (DeLorme Street Atlas USA and 3G internet). I use a Verizon aircard for 3G service. Obviously, I pay Verizon a monthly fee. The computer has onboard WiFi which I seldom use. I am interested in how one subscribes to 3G service with onboard 3G hardware.

FXEF
FXEF

I just don't know how Linux could get any easier. Ubuntu is already easier than Windows... I manage both Windows and Linux machines, and Linux requires far less maintenance than Windows. If a user can not run Ubuntu, then they have no business behind a keyboard!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The return figures have been debunked already; higher percentage of sales, lower returns but then look bigger when counted by units not relative measurements. Of the Linux based netbooks, the highest rates of what where returned apear to be blatantly bad choices of distribution. Asus could have had Ubuntu, Debian or Mandriva but they chose Xandros (not a good selection) then further crippled it by providing only minimal EeePC specific repositories for the rebranded Xandros to pull from. I do agree that choosing a good distribution makes all the difference. I just can't attribute Walmart's management failings to an OS kernel. Other vendors are doing very well after choosing true full distributions instead of a specialized novelty.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Ignoring Vista's new Windows logo for a start menu, just have it say start on it, organize everything the same way. you'd be well on your way. KDE 4 is very close, but I noticed on latest Mandriva KDE, the LiveCD has the "menu" on the far left of the supposed "task bar". But after the install it is mysteriously gone. That is most certainly unacceptable and should be corrected immediately. Other things I noticed is navigating the file system is inexplicably difficult. Granted Dolphin is completely new to me, but from being used to having "My Computer" which conveniently lists all drives, CD's, Flash drives, network drives, and everything else that stores information. Mandriva's lack of all the above, makes for some serious problems to probably everyone trying to convert. I plugged in a flash drive, how do I open it? Give users a desktop like they are used to with Windows. Most users will have "My Computer", "My Documents", "Internet Explorer" on their desktop along with a recycle bin (I know its not the default in XP, that just shows an example of how MS doesn't know what their doing either anymore). Other things to do would be to simply drop the obscure naming conventions on drives. Yes I know Windows just names them with a letter, but they also get a name. And frankly C drive means more to people than hda4. It may not be better, but it has more meaning to people. Also needs to be dropped, the K on every program in KDE, seriously, I cannot think of a worse way to make things harder to read, than to give everything an unpronounceable name that all start with the same letter. Hmmm... Maybe if all the names were typed in Korean? And as a matter of refinement, the CLI should NEVER be visible ever unless the key commands are entered. Neither boot up nor shutdown should ever display the CLI. People will undoubtedly disagree with me but I don't believe Nix will ever inspire people as long as they even for a brief moment have to look at a text based system. It's fine for power users, but for the rest of us, get rid of it, I never want to see it. Also, Fix safe mode, this may be Mandriva specific, but the fail safe boot boots to a CLI... useless... and the fail safe GUI has yet to be able to start when the normal GUI is busted... So what's the point? Windows Safe mode almost always manages to boot up despite what stupid things a user may have done. Why can Nix, with its supposed robustness, not handle this simple task?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"... (most people dislike windows because they can't go out and buy software, ..." Did you mean 'Linux' instead of 'Windows'?

gteachey
gteachey

I personally don't find much nice to say about Mandriva myself. In your defense SinisterSlay, I've had the same troubles with it, on different machines in the past. I'd actually suggest a different one, have you tried Ubuntu? Some may say it's not as stable(because they like to stay closer to bleeding-edge) as other OSes, but as far as support for hardware goes, and it just.....working....I've had great success with it. The package manager is a lot less buggy(again my opinion) So I'd say if you're in the mood to try your hand at Linux again, use Ubuntu. The install disk can be used as a Live CD, so you get a GUI to play in if you need to correct some random errror that pops up.

jmacg
jmacg

I've had an Asus Eee PC900 for nine months and I love it to death. But it really tries my patience when I try to add software to it. The Eee has a system whereby you hit F9 at boot time to restore the factory setup. I've had to use it, after adding software stuffed my little computer up. This F9 facility is lauded as a great thing and sure, it's a useful fall-back. But if you've done a lot of tweaking work and adding apps to get things the way you want them, you don't want to go through all that again. I got my Eee running the way I wanted it after that F9 restore and I was being very careful not to munge things, so I'd never have to restore again. But I still got caught. I did an official Asus update and found that Firefox had morphed into a browser called Iceweasel. This bit of Linux infantilia looked mainly like Firefox, but its fonts were horrible and Flash no longer worked in it. After a lot of hand-holding by the great guys at EeeUser Forum, I got Firefox back again. But Flash still doesn't work and even the gurus have given up on my case. I need to do an F9 restore again, then waste many hours getting the machine up to scratch again, with the full KDE desktop, Wine, essential additional apps etc. I still don't want Windows on this little machine, because Linux is faster and less vulnerable to Internet nasties. I'm not asking it to do the broad range of tasks that I use my Windows machines for. But one thing is for sure - if I'd bought an XP version, I wouldn't have needed to reinstall Windows twice over a period of nine months. Don't believe the Linux apologists - installing apps in Linux is a minefield compared with Windows. (To be fair to some Linux distributions, it seems that Asus/Xandros Linux on the eee is a particular dog when it comes to program installation.) When a Linux-based Asus Eee is good, it's very very good; when it's bad, it's awful.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

2008.1 has been pretty solid. 2009.0 is heavy on hardware needs thanks to defaulting to KDE4. 2009.1 is still in RC so it's expected to be unstable. Anyhow, what version and what hardware are you trying to put it on?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've spent decades whacking people's hands if they bring their greasy fingers within an inch of my screen. I don't know if I can bring myself to leave smeary tracks on my display.

john3347
john3347

But the article is about the Freescale product running Linux. This is where the rub comes in with your (and my) navigation programs. There is something to satisfy everyone's needs in a Windows version. Linux versions present a whole new set of problems.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

they're either connecting to your home wireless network, or hoping there's free wi-fi wherever they happen to be going? While I have never researched one, I'm under the impression a 3G connection is only available in the U.S. from cellular service providers, and that it adds $30 or so per month to a phone service contract. Will they allow hardware they don't sell to access their networks? And will they sell you the broadband contract independent of a phone contract?

Slayer_
Slayer_

Try turning this on. [ ] Use EXA instead of XAA (better performance for Render and Composite) And see how easy your Ubuntu is to use ;). If it's anything like what is happening to me, you'll be screwed.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Saddly I tried it on an underpowered machine that Ubuntu never said was underpower. So I managed to get the full decaptiating Nix experience. It was absolutly terriable. I did however like Ubuntu after awhile and eventually I managed to get around in the interface. Though some of the file manager problems I have with Mandriva, I had with Ubuntu aswell, with the difference being I was able to make shortcuts to the drives and paths I wanted. I haven't figured this out yet in Dolphin or mandriva.

tom.herrmann
tom.herrmann

I bought a EEE 1000HA, which came with Windows XP. I partioned the hard drive and installed Ubuntu to make it dual boot. I rarely use the Windows side and have had zero problems with Ubuntu. It detects my external DVD drive just fine, and wireless setup is a pleasure. If I did not need one particular compiler for embedded development (which I can't get to work under WINE) I would wipe the Windows side entirely.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As you say at the end, Xandros is a dog and Asus further limited it by providing only minimal repositories to select from. They should have gone with the Ubuntu, Mandriva or Debian builds for the Asus. I haven't used Xandros so I can't comment on it's software management directly. Debian's synaptic and Mandriva's rpmdrake are fantastic though; with either, it's a checkbox to select or deselect programs. I've found enough bad software for all major platforms; minefields are not unique to any one of them sadly.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Windows needs one of those :)

Slayer_
Slayer_

It is just very fragile, one wrong option and its back to reinstalling.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

- running security related apps - running in a hostile security environment Windows can't satisfy those two needs. It covers my gaming, it runs Cain, it supports Windows closed protocols. These are good things and why I keep it around outside of work where it's the existing platform. I wouldn't be booting my Windows partition and connecting to the network at Defcon or any other security conferences. I also can't make use of my full selection of tools on only a windows platform. Granted, I'm not the average user.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

there is no universal card for 3G. We have Sprint and AT&T cards here. And yes, it needs the phone service and 3G, as 1 connects, the other is for data.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Well, ubuntu would be GNOME and a different X settings manager so it may take more presently to XAA. Kubuntu is KDE3 still I think or the KDE3 version should still be available in long term support. The settings manager will still be different and may not offer the XAA setting. Mandriva 2007 clearly listed XAA as an option under development. I hadn't noticed that they changed that in later versions. I'll have to do a 2008 install test and see if it's listed there still as testing quality. In that two minute search I did earlier, the option is described as under development and not meant for production machines. Mandriva 2008.1 would really be the one to try. Give KDE4 a little more time to mature.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Still looks good tho, however I am not a fan of Icons in my "Taskbar", as it makes me rely on tooltips to figure out what everything is. I am one of those people that turns on text labels whenever I can, and usually won't use something that has no text lables.

Slayer_
Slayer_

It was snappy enough, considering the system doesn't have a graphics card. I was hoping for a system that was more Knoppix like, or more Windows like, cause I liked both those interfaces :). Seriously, my old knoppix CD I still think is best nix ever made. It auto detects all my hardware, old and new, it has plug and play, you can even take the CD out in mid run and burn other CD's using its burning software. I've used it to back up friends files for them, clean viruses, and plane old naughty site browsing. Everything in the distro is "Fairly" easy to find. Sure there seems to be no pattern to why somethings are in some menus and some in others. But overall everything is accessible. I think Nix would be far ahead if they just stuck with Knoppix and its GUI and went from there, it was already far better than Windows. I wish i knew my Knoppix version, I got it same time Redhat 9 was new... In school we would use it to repair Redhat, as it tended to break A LOT! The teachers gave us all a disc to take home and try. it ran beautifully on my 200mzh machine and on my 2.6ghz machine. So can't complain :).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'd actually recommend Mandriva 2008.1. It uses KDE3 by default which does desktop shortcuts and all the rest of it. it's still getting updates so you won't be behind on versions or patches. It runs with less hardware resource needs so it should tick along nicely on your machine. Let me know if you need the ISO link but it should be easy to find along side the other version ISOs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

is that 4 out of 15 people found her review 'helpful'. Gods of us all...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If it goes bad, I have an image of it I can write to a new floppy. I can write a binary image back to a fresh disk on any of my platforms. My Win98sr2 boot diskette image is there also. I could also use SuperGrub liveCD to boot the system. It will discover the Mandriva partition and boot it. Pop in a fresh diskette and visit the draketools. Another option would be to use the loadlin dos/windows boot loader if my Windows partition is still loading. A liveCD from another distro would also get me onto the harddrive where I could simply rewrite the grub loader to a fresh disk by command line. One could also use a flashdrive provided the BIOS boots from USB instead of the 1.4 meg dying technology. ;)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

http://gd.tuwien.ac.at/hci/x.org/X11R7.0/doc/html/SiS2.html Option "AccelMethod" string] Determines which acceleration architecture should be used. Possible arguments are "XAA" or "EXA". As of this writing, EXA is still experimental and it is not recommended to be used on production machines. By default, XAA will be used. Option "RenderAcceleration" boolean] Enables or disables RENDER acceleration. This feature, for instance, accelerates output of anti-aliased text. By default, RENDER acceleration is enabled. RENDER acceleration is currently only supported for XAA, not EXA. You can do "grep EXA xorg.conf" or similar to find the exact line numbers.

Slayer_
Slayer_

cause without internet access, no way in hell joe idiot blow is going to fix his computer in a CLI.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

as PCLOS and SUSE have a boot to safe mode listed in boot options.

Slayer_
Slayer_

As most floppies tend to do after a good number of uses... They just don't make em like they used too.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Which would be very true if Nix adoption every gets anywhere. Heck, maybe you live in the middle of nowhere and don't have internet access... you're really screwed. In cases like this, the OS must be able to take any sort of stupid user choice thrown at it and be able to fix it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And I figured render faster would remove the flickering. It does not flicker at any refresh rate in Windows, though 60hz hurts my eyes a bit, so I always keep it higher. If its at all logical, should it not be just one line that turns on/off what I changed? A reminder on how to get the file in a way I can edit it, and what line to change, should be all I need. Oh and of course what to change the line too.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Person goes to doctor; "It hurts when I do this." Doctor; "so don't do that." (I couldn't resisit) Early Red Hat is a hard introduction but it was what cut my teeth also. I'd suggest not using that setting based on trying the default first before seeing what "Better" meant. Having acceptable graphic performance with the default unselected, I'd end up choosing that over the flakey enabled result. That stung me with the early Compiz that was not so friendly with ATI at the time. 1024x768 at 70 Hz leaves you with flicker? You may like the latest Knoppix though I can't remember if it mounts found drives automatically. I think it may.. For five minutes to boot it, it's worth a try. vi is still around but there is nano, joe and a selection of other text editors for if you do choose to work through the cli. "A guide to what to change in the file would be handy happy, so I do not break anything else." That could be a long list. In what specific areas?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

When mandriva asks about installing the boot loader, pop a formatted disk in and install on dev fd0 (floppy drive). Your machine can then boot off the floppy when you want the menu to select a specific OS. You can then pop the disk out and let the default OS boot from the hard drive. If Windows will not boot already then make sure your Grub boot loader is written to fd0 (floppy) and will load both OS. Then grab your Windows install disk and do a recovery console and fixmbr (fdisk /mbr in the old days). This fixes your hard drive boot sector. After that, the hard drive should boot Windows and the diskette should give you the menu to choose from. Boot over, get your answer, boot back and fix. You should have a second machine somewhere you can run a quick search on though. Even when working on a Windows box, I have a second machine handy for doing quick searches as needed. A liveCD would do also since you can just boot off it, find your answers then go back to fixing. I use Mandriva Free DVD for my hard drive installs but I keep Mandriva One 2008.1 handy for a quick boot OS. Also, Lynx isn't pretty but it works if you need a text mode browser. That's an option if it comes down too it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Is the one that buggered me up. Monitor in XP runs perfectly at 1024 x 768 @ 85hz. The last time I played around in the CLI was in Redhat 7, before this sudo crap. I used Vi some, but thats well forgotten now. I think I got a Knoppix CD of the same era as Redhat 7, would that work, I am very familure with Knoppix (Which is why I chose KDE in Mandriva, I liked it in Knoppix). A guide to what to change in the file would be handy :), so I do not break anything else.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

didn't think this one posted.. removed now

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

it may be easier to do a reinstall for the all of 20 minutes it takes. But, the alternative is to find out what the real name of that setting is in the xorg.conf file. - Plan A; get your trusty SystemRescue or similar liveCD that will automatically mount any found partitions. Go find your harddrive hosted xorg.conf in /usr/X11 or wherever it is these days. Commend out or remove the setting that enables what is breaking your display. - Plan B; get into your machine through it's normal boot and then use the ever-handy crtl+alt+F2 or similar to get yourself to a text terminal, login, su to root, go find your xorg.conf and comment/remove the offending config setting. Those two ideas would probably get you back into X where you can use drakconf to run through the X config and confirm that the offending settings are not in place. It will redo your xorg.conf at this time also which cleans things up. For your tube monitor, you'll want to know the refresh rates at your desired resolution. If it's not in the list by vendor and choosing the generic settings doesn't fix that flicker, you can use the custom monitor settings through drakconf. My last tube monitor was a generic model so I just chose 1024x768 or 1180x??? and went with the refresh Hz that where listed. With the LCD now, I pick flatscreen 1280x1024. Do you have the manual or tech specs for your monitor?

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

you need a Win machine to get to the Internet? If only 1 system, why would not a Live cd work? Why would it *require* a Win system to look up?

Slayer_
Slayer_

Using google is fairly impossible. Unless of course you have a working Windows machine somnewhere else, but then it almost defeats the purpose of Nix doesn't it, if you need a Windows machine to fix it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Good ole CRT, some Phillips e7 or something like that. I just remember it had it exact. Can I fix my current problem with the bad option choice without reinstalling?

lightweight
lightweight

I've never ever reinstalled Linux, and I've been using it for 14 years... Reinstalling is a reflex developed by Windows users. If you know how to use Google, you can fix *anything* that happens on Linux (unlike Windows).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Just to confirm I?m thinking of the correct place; in the X setup after it detected your graphics card type, ah.. wait.. I see it here. Here?s what I have setup: [X] 3D hardware acceleration [ ] Enable Translucency (Composite Extension) [X] Use hardware acceleration mouse pointer [X] Enable duplicate display on the external monitor [ ] Use EXA instead of XAA (better performance for Render and Composite) [ ] Automatically start the graphical interface (Xorg) upon booting 3D and hardware acceleration works fine. I don?t bother with composite extensions; this would be Compiz and the likes. I also don?t enable ?Use EXA? as it?s previously been listed as a feature in testing. Compiz was flakey when first available and graphic bling doesn?t justify itself for my personal needs. I also don?t boot directly into a graphic desktop. I go to the text login (nice black screen with ?login:?) then type ?startx? once logged in. If I break X, I can simply fix it and type ?startx? again. If what I?m doing does not need a graphic desktop, I can skip that entirely. Once trapped inside X with broken settings, you can skip ?safe mode? entirely. Crtl+alt+F1 or F2 to F5 or so should give you a new login prompt; login, fix the X config and either reboot or use Alt+F6 to F11 or so until you find your existing X desktop session. My solution was the same as your though, I reinstalled and didn?t enable it again; been rock solid since. Actually, when exploring a new major version of Mandriva, I?ll expect to do one or two reinstalls until I get it feeling the way I want; I?m a picky kid though. So, in short.. Safe Boot is not actually the thing you needed, it was virtual terminals so you could fix what was broken. I think that setting breaking your session so easily kind of sucks but that?s also why I tried it on a test box and haven?t had reason for it since. Grief 2 I had grief with my Linksys 54gs pcmcia due to drivers. I had to use the Windows driver but that installed easily during the initial setup wizard. I?m not sure why it wouldn?t remember your SSID and passphrase assuming it was correct. I install with the wired port on the notebook (desktop wired also obviously) then do the wireless setup after. That way, I can get the system setup and worry about mobility after. I?m the same with Windows so it?s not platform dependent. The only times it?s not remembered a passphrase I?ve put in has been when it?s been wrong. If I?m sure the passphrase is right, it usually connects after an extra click on the connect button or two. I?ve also had to change my wireless channel from time to time due to the number of routers broadcasting in my local area. If my wireless is flakey on more than one system then it?s time to do a quick wifi scan and see what channel has the least noise to contend with. Wait.. sorry, typing as I go along; broadcasting SSID. I think this tangent deserves a minute or two. First, it?s more secure to broadcast your SSID; or, less insecure to broadcast your SSID. Anyone who is looking to break into networks is going to see your SSID regardless of if it?s broadcast. Also, with a hidden SSID, your machines know it?s hidden and that they have to call out for it. When don?t realize they are not within range of your router so they announce your SSID constantly when turned on but not at home. All one needs do is setup a computer that listens for your machines calling out to your router; it replies ?oh.. that?s me.. send the password? and now they have your SSID, MAC and network password. Also, check our router for WPA/WPA2 support. WEP is so broken you may as well be running your network wide open. The end result is that your wireless issues are more to do with the router than the platform that wouldn?t connect too it. Grief 2.1 How did you initially check for updates before going to the package manager? Did you update your package list or just ask it for updates? My habit along with always logging into a text cli is typing ?urpmi ?auto-update? before my ?startx?. Urpmi will update your repository package lists then show any updates it?s found asking if you?d like to download and install them. The graphic approach is to use the rpmdrake tool which updates the list and displays what newer packages are available. Both work if your going for the ?never touch the command line? approach but this is a two second command worth considering rather than the graphic tool. Graphic tools is the place to go for browsing/searching what is available or updating your kernel package but if you know what package you want or want to do a general update; ?urpmq?, ?urpmi?, ?urpmi ?auto-update?. 7 hours of patches? Are you on a 54.6 modem dialup? My humble Rogers highspeed goes from minimal install, through my selected package list and then updates in under an hour. The first update after an install will take a while unless it?s a very new version that hasn?t had much work done on it yet (2009.1 rc2 for example). But, the issue that froze your machine was mucking with resolution settings rather than slow download speeds so? In ?Set up the graphic server? there is a pulldown box to select your monitor resolution and vendor type. If it?s an LCD as most are, you simply go to Generic and select the native resolution of the monitory. Heck, for my tube monitor, I was using the generic resolution+refreshrate setting rather than a vendor specific issue. Mucking with the X config for a specific monitor resolution may be making things harder than they need to be. The wireless was still active because only the graphic layer was frozen. You may have been able to do a crtl+alt+F2 to get a login prompt and fix the resolution. You may also have been able to press crtl+alt+backspace to close out the X session and go back in again fresh. If the keyboard was frozen and Mandriva wouldn?t reboot after that then it?d be a reason to reach for the install DVD. I wouldn?t call you impatient though your luck with Mandriva has sucked. When you do give it a go again, let me know and I?ll answer any questions I can hopefully avoiding a reinstall. If the command line is not a concern for you, this is my install process: Insert disk and select ?Custom Install? Partition the drive as needed without killing off the Windows partition that will be a dualboot When prompted to select packages, deselect all major package groups except the ?basic system utilities? or whatever that one is; no X, no KDE or other desktops, no ?office computer applications?. Check the ?select individual packages? at the bottom before continuing on. This will bring up a package selector like the GUI one you?ve used. Select Openssh from the servers, select joe editor or your preferred text editor. Under KDE, select the package for Konsole (probably kdebase-konsole) and also select the various rpmdrake tools and ?first boot? package. Konsole will pull in the minimum KDE that you need including ?Menu?. The rpmdrake and related tools will fill in your ?configure my computer?. After that, I believe you get the hardware and final configurations. Here, configure X by allowing it to detect the graphics then select your options and resolution; leave that compiz stuff unchecked or if you take it.. don?t do the ?faster rendering? thing. Check your network settings if it hasn?t already installed a network card. Set your local time and date and continue on to the first boot. Again, the benefit of a text prompt is that I get a quick reboot and am dropped to friendly Bash where I can start to add in the rest of my preferred software picks. ?urpmi openssh-client? ?urpmi openoffice? ?urpmi Mozilla-firefox? and so on. If I can?t remember the exact package name then I du a ?urpmq firefox? and get a list of all package names with firefox in them (or whatever partial text string I need). My way may not work for those who need the GUI tools but it?s worked since 2007.0 and previous major versions. One other tip to add, keep your /home on a separate partition. Mandriva?s graphic partition tool does a good job of recommending disk sizes as it goes. The minimum for me is /home separate though; if I reinstall, I format the other partitions leaving my saved files and user settings waiting in /home rather than starting from scratch every time. Your hardware shouldn?t present an issue based on what you list. What is the monitor make and model? Is it a tube or LCD?

Slayer_
Slayer_

The option said like use EXXA instead of IXXA or something like that, then it said in parenthses, "Renders Faster". So naturually I tried it. And now if I highlight any menu or any visual object, I get kicked back to the login screen. Does this in all the desktops including the fail safe one. If I load from the bootloader the failsafe it just takes me to CLI which is of no use to me. So it's back to reinstalling. I'm just saying that if this was Windows, 9 times out of 10 you can boot to safemode and reverse your change and then all is well. In Mandriva your simply screwed. Its either that or I am so unlucky that the very first bit of playing I did broken it so bad that even safe mode doesn't work. And that just seems really far fetched. My other bad experiences even more fun. Install #1: After install, it comes up asking if I want to remove excess packages, so I choose yes. Now I go to install stuff, first, setup wireless. So I plugin my wireless USB, and go to wireless section, oh sorry, not installed. WTF? Ok, so I click Help, oh sorry, not installed. WHAT THE ****??? So I go to try and install it, you cant, doesn't even show you packages that must have existed on the install CD. You need internet connection... Alright, Install #2, Plug in USB wireless BEFORE doing install and don't allow it to remove packages. Ok, all is well. WHy can't it find my wireless??? Every time I choose WEP2, it goes back to Openwep and ignores my key that I enter. I enter the SSID and it can't find it. I copied the info exactly from my laptop with XP on it. After spamming the back next buttons suddenly it works... wtf? Ok, so I tell it to install (now certain that internet works). Ok, to installed desktop. The handy "Menu" is mysteriously missing (WTF???). alright, I figured out its a widget and got it back, though I cant seem to place it on the far left (starting to feel a lack of quality control here). And mysteriously the wireless isn't working again. Getting anouyed, I fire back up the XP laptop, go to router controls and tell it to broadcast SSID, BAM suddenly Mandriva figures it out. Alright thats irritating but fine, I'll live with it. So now I go to see if I am up-to-date, doesnt find any updates. So I find that unlikely. So I go to package panager and sure enough, almost everything has an update. So I check off a few updates, let em go. Go back to the updates page and suddenly it had 480 updates. Alright, install em. THen I came here (while installing updates) to see if anyone could solve the monitor flickering. While waiting for a response and the 7hours of patches, I tried playing with resolutions and refresh rates. I try 800 x 600 and get out of range on my monitor reporting it tried to go to 800 x 600, 32hz refresh rate, wow, thats wrong. Then it pops up saying resolution restored... and its frozen. Huh?? I can see the Wireless USB is still active, but everything is frozen. Hard reboot, nix won't restart... Install #3, Repeating all previous steps, still trying to solve flickering, I tried that render faster option... Now we up to Install #4. No one can say I am impatient, I stayed up till 2:00 AM trying to fix this thing. Thats 4 different Nix's I've tried now, and I seem to be more disatisifed with each one as time progresses. I intend to try it again, but since I thru a gig of RAM at this older machine, the crippled XP home runs like a Top now, so very very tempted to just go back and re-extend to partition for XP. TO think, all I want is a system that can browse web, read email, and remote into my XP machines and VM's for other tasks. Wine might be nice too to play some games that require the slightly dated hardware. A vague description of the computer would be: 1.8ghz Single AMD CPU, 1 gb of DDR RAM, 40 GB HDD, integrated SiS Video currently set to 64mb but is adjustable up to 512mb. Integrated sound.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's why I'm curious about the version and hardware. I've long since used VMs to play random download/install on as that kind of thing will eat any platform. Are you grabbing obscure little projects that found there way into Mandriva's repositories or some such thing? Are you trying to run heavy server tasks on it? With a history in Red Hat and Mandrake, I learned quickly to keep my play build and regular build separate. Each regular build I tend to do a minimal install on then urpmi the rest in so things I no longer use are naturally left out. This grows my build more organically around what tasks I actually use. Install/uninstall remains a play-thing task for the applicable platform (I'm just about to restore a backup point and update my standard Windows build between trials). Server tasking has also proven to be better suited to other distributions. Mandriva will remain my desktop distro of choice but if your doing a server, it's Debian or BSD unless you need Red Hat or Novell to point blame at. ;)

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