I am sure this will excite many of our normal readers, but I have finally (after four years) switched my laptop to Linux.  Now that I am using it everyday, it is much nicer to be in this environment, instead of having putty windows all over the place.  Perhaps if I had a better window manager for windows, I would have been alright, but anyway...

I have a Sony PCG-V505DC2 for those search engines to help other folks trying to figure out any issues with installing Linux, and Debian specifically.

Fortunately, there isn't much to report.  Here are my notes as I went through the process:

I had a lenny nightly build 07/02/2007 netinstall cd lying around, so I used that.

After the packages downloaded, libc6 failed on "preparing libc6". There was a process running /var/lib/apt/tmp.ci/... and tmp.ci didn't exist so I killed it, and the installation recovered, saying there was an error. I tried again, and no luck.  I then just installed using the sources from the
cd and that worked.  Finished the install and rebooted.

Changes the sources to the lenny branch, and updated everything.

text-mode working fine, no touchpad.  simply installed gpm, and the touchpad started working.  Installed xorg, and xwindows is up and running.

I used lspci to see that my wireless card is an atheros ar5212/AR5213 and found that madwifi was the way to go for that.

wow.  module-assistant is really nifty!  Call me a lazy linux guy, but I pretty much don't use software that requires me to compile it - debian packages have pretty much everything I need.  But, using this driver for the wifi card with module-assist was quite nice.  zero work for me.  I
think that the computers should *just work* and let me get on with the stuff I care about doing, and that is how this has worked (so far).

I had to run alsaconf to get the sound to work - not sure what it did.

Yes, there are still a couple things that we need windows for: a BITS application, and Heather's BookReader application.  (and I am actually doing DOS development making USB flash drives work using Borland's Turbo C compiler. Ah, the good old days.  Though actually, I didn't know how good they were, as I only ever programmed in BASIC when DOS was around.  Running the DOS setup.exe was fun.  And recalling QEMM and the 640KB limit.  Fortunately, I still had some DOS and Procomm floppies around)  Installed VMware 1.0.5 with a little bit of trouble.  Had to set CC to gcc-4.1 to get it to compile the modules correctly on 2.6.22. For 2.6.24, I had to download some patches, and make small edit.  Note, I am using 1.0.5, but the patches for 1.0.4 worked fine.  I had some networking trouble, but it turns out that is by design.  You apparently can't bridge the network to a wireless network.  But, it works fine for the wired side.  Unless I can figure another way around it, the real estate web site I use requires IE, so I'll have to have networking working for that...

Hotkeys didn't work right away, and after some investigation, found that acpid and hal had to be patched, or else wait until a new kernel came out.   Fortunately for me, the kernel (2.6.24) was released to Debian testing this morning (a couple days after I initially installed it).  My backlight and volume keys now work perfectly.  Heather wasn't that impressed with the amount of work it took to get them working.

Here are the ACPI files that I wrote. event and script.


The power button was trivial to add to ACPI, but I am working on a script where you have to hit it twice within a couple seconds, since I bump it every once in a while.

The battery was recognized by default, and showed up on my task tray (I use icewm).

Closing the lid was recognized by default, and turns off the backlight.  Suspending would be nicer, and I'll have to configure that at some point.

Speaking of suspending and hibernating, I haven't worked on that yet, so I don't know if that is difficult. It seems to suffer from the problem of 47 different ways to do it (some of them compatible, some of them directly incompatible), and so the documentation is pretty scattered.

The sonypi module is loaded by default, in addition to the sony-laptop module. There is a warning that makes it sound like they aren't compatible with each other, and that sony-laptop is the new one, but in /etc/init.d/hotkey-setup, they are both loaded together.  I don't know... it just works.

Posted by Jon Daley on March 28, 2008, 11:56 am | Read 30322 times
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Don't forget RootsMagic and PowerPoint.

Posted by SursumCorda on March 29, 2008, 3:23 pm

I did forget RootsMagic, but we never had PowerPoint exactly anyway, since we use openoffice even in windows. But Jon is working on a dual boot system anyway. Book Collector and the other bits programs are also windows only.

Posted by jondaley on March 29, 2008, 7:35 pm
And Anyone Can Install Debian Linux on a Desktop
Excerpt: It took some amount of work to get Linux up and running on my laptop, but I just got a new computer ($50 from Peter's workplace - let me or him know if you are interested, there might be some more left) and installed Linux in an hour two, including cop...
Weblog: Daley Ponderings
Date: April 14, 2008, 6:15 pm
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