notes on linux

Linux isn't windoze and so it requires a little bit of effort in it's installation and configuration. Here I describe how to configure Linux on my ThinkPad 380ED. In reality the installation and configuration of a distribution doesn't change that much. I have used these tricks from slackware to redhat when configuring my Linux box.

The most difficult task in configuring Linux on my ThinkPad was Sound. When setting up a new machine I usually compile a new kernel for it, making sure that I only include the necessary drivers and services for my computer. So, if you have a different sound card you will have to change things, but here is how I did this on my TP380ED:

First I install a new kernel, there is a plethora of information about this on the web so if you want more information about it, google, just make sure you include your sound card driver (for the thinkpad I use the OSS supported module for CS4232)...

To install sound I make a small bash script that inserts the module on startup. I call the bash script through /etc/rc.d/rc.local. Here are the commands you need, test them out before modifying your rc.local to make sure they work properly.

  • modprobe sound

  • modprobe ad1848

  • insmod uart401

  • insmod cs4232 io=0x534 irq=5 dma=1 dma2=0 mpuio=0x330 mpuirq=9

If you are using a Redhat based distro then you can use Red Hat's Sound Configuration Utility (command-line only) to configure your sound card. For the TP380Ed use the Crystal CS423x Sound Chip. Use the the same configuration as when you insert the module manually. One thing to be aware of is that many distro's install the device drivers in weird directories like //dev/sound/ instead of just in //dev/. Because of this many popular programs (Real Audio in particular) won't see your sound card. To correct this make a soft-link (ln -s //dev/sound/dsp //dev/dsp) for all of your sound drivers. I usually do this with everything in the //dev/sound directory.

Aside from this everything else is pretty much cosmetic. An example is Aterm, a terminal emulator that works well for me. I set it up with these options (aterm -fg white -tr -sh 75 -tint blue) to get a pseudo transparent blue background. I usually use fluxbox as my windowmanager. It is straight-forward in it's configuration and has a lot of toys. I enjoy talking to my friends using the pebrot MSN client. It is semi-entertaining to chat using MSN protocol on a program written for the command-line in python on a linux box...Have fun.