31 May, 2007

Kubuntu on Sony VAIO PCR-SRX41P

Yesterday, I bought a new laptop. My old one (a Fujitsu-Siemens, PIII-450, 192 mb ram) let me down one time too much. On FOSDEM, it kept the audience waiting a long time, but things got even worse - during my KDE 4 talk at a Mandrivaclub meeting, I had to wait a few minutes between each slide, and at the KOffice ODF, fighting the laptop took almost as much time as writing the articles. Saturday I have a talk at the local NLUUG, so I would prefer to have a workable setup by then.

So I got tired of that, and got myself a very small (10.4" screen) VAIO. PIII-800 MHZ, 256 MB ram. Nope, not like 10 times faster, but I can't afford much more (I paid 200 euro's). It doesn't have a cd drive (well, an external one, firewire based), thus it's very light: only 1.2 kg!

Now how well does it work with linux (Kubuntu Feisty Fawn)? Almost perfect. Yes, really. suspend and hibernate both work (but choosing suspend hibernates the laptop, and hibernate suspends it...); the volume keys, mute, brightness - they all work. Different from the windows ones, where you first have to do Fn-F5 and use the arrows to change brightness, here Fn-F5 decreases, and Fn-F6 increases brightness. Same goes for volume, but who's complaining? I prefer it this way, actually...

Network works fine, I haven't tried wireless much yet, but it's pretty old (802.11b) so that might be a problem here and there. At least at home, it doesn't see my wireless network...

So, let's see how it works saturday.

And here, for the people from linux-on-laptops:

Installing Kubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) on Sony VAIO PCR-SRX41P

General Hardware Specifications of this VAIO:

Hardware Components

Status under Linux


Pentium III-M Processor, 800 MHz Works No special procedure required during installation.
10.4 SXGA TFT Display 1024x768 Works No special procedure required during installation.
Intgrated 82815EM in Intel 815EM chipset( Works No special procedure required during installation.
256MB, PC100 Works No special procedure required during installation
30 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Bluetooth might work I can't turn it on in linux (yet), so it doesn't work.
Integrated Network Card Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal 56k Modem Not tested. It is a winmodem. Should not be hard to get working but I don't need it.
external Firewire 24X Max Variable CD-ROM/DVD Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal Intel Wireless Networking (802.11b) Works No special procedure required during installation
Lithium-Ion Battery Works Guidance Power Manager DOES show time left properly, but the icons shows up always red
Internal Intel AC'97 soundcard Works

No special procedure required

This laptop is operating under Kernel version 2.6.20

Unresolved issues:
  • Bluetooth

  • KDE battery meter doesn't function correctly

Function Keys:
  • Fn + F2: Mute
  • Fn + F3: Volume down
  • Fn + F4: Volume up
  • Fn + F5: Brightness down
  • Fn + F6: Brightness up
I'm happy with the battery time, btw - works for 3 hours, no problem.

13 May, 2007


While we already had a few KDAB developers hanging and hacking around, we got another visitor: Sebastian Pipping. He happend to be close by, and decided to drop in. He is a Kate developer, currently mainly working on multi-line regular expression search. With the current Kate infrastructure that's pretty hard to do, and he is looking for libraries to make his life easier. Qt won't really help him, as it would be far too slow on big files, and had been looking at Boost. He described the relevant Boost library in pretty euforic statements, but then mentioned he tried to forget about it, as he was convinced Boost was simply not an option, not now, not ever, never... Now I did notice there was some discussion on the kde-devel mailinglist, and even if that wasn't the case - if boost can help so well, it's bad not to be able to consider it, right?

12 May, 2007

don't computers suck?

The KOffice ODF Sprint is progressing well. At least, for the other participants. I'm mostly fighting with my laptop while I try to write... At least he first article is send to sebas, let's hope he can get it online.

My laptop happens to be a little old, and recently something changed in Kubuntu which made it a lot slower. Memory usage went through the roof (I have 192 mb ram). Part of that is due to the Guidance power manager (top told Boudewijn and me it took 56Mb ram, almost nothing shared...). But it seems to me there is something else as well, as I never had these grave problems on earlier releases. Grave problems here means you can easily get it to a state where it takes several minutes for ONE character to appear in a console... You can imagine how that feels when you still have unsaved changes.

Another problem was getting the pictures of the SD card from the camera I used. Wow, that was a fight, even Windows got started to see if it could read it - but no, it couldn't. sigh... Finally, it was Boudewijn and his (french) linux phone he won on Akademy last year, which saved the day - it read the SD card without any trouble, and Boud used an USB cable to get the pictures on his computer. I had to work on them there, as Gwenview triggered a Out Of Memory kill with the pictures on my own laptop (after approx 1 hour, in which it was unusable).

Of course, that where just 2 of te irritations I had today - I kind'a hate computers right now. Still, for some reason I'm typing on my laptop right now... People are weird. And I know.

Well, at least the article is send, and I have some hope I will be able to finish the saturday article in time.

(I'm gonna cry now)