Really quick boot

I’ve been setting up a new server for my parents and boy is it fast. And by fast I mean fast bootup. This untweaked server does it from power up to login prompt in just over 16 seconds. So I’ve stripped a few services I didn’t need but the important ones are there; acpid, crond, rsyslog, sshd and something called udev-post

Auto detecting monitors in Linux

When using an external monitor to my laptop I have set my X to enable TwinView and have the larger external display be primary display left of the laptop display. But when I am away from home and does not have external monitor connected the nv driver does not detect that and still set up TwinView as before leaving much of the desktop out of display. To remedy this I have made two xorg.conf, one for single display and one for dual.

I have copied these manually before when I’m switching. Now I have something slightly better. I start X, run xrandr, capture its output and copy one of the configs depending on what’s in the output. This is how I do it

rm -f /tmp/xrandr /tmp/nullconf
/usr/bin/xinit /usr/bin/xrandr -q -- /usr/bin/X -config /tmp/nullconf -quiet >/tmp/xrandr 2>/dev/null
if grep -q '^DVI.* connected' /tmp/xrandr ; then
cp -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf.dual /etc/X11/xorg.conf
cp -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf.single /etc/X11/xorg.conf
rm -f /tmp/nullconf

My external monitor is detected as a DVI and the internal as LVDS

Upgraded harddrive with encrypted LVM

My HP laptop with 160GB harddrive was getting full and I wanted to upgrade it to a bigger one. Found that 2.5″ 500GB was relatively cheap so I bought one and detailed the procedure of upgrading with all data intact. I bought a 2.5″ USB-SATA chassis as well for the old drive to sit in. As I hit a few snags when doing this I thought it could be useful for others to read about.

Continue reading Upgraded harddrive with encrypted LVM

Gentoo Linux

I evaluated all tree major BSDs and would have gone with FreeBSD if it wasn’t for me being so used to Linux and that I couldn’t get it to run fully on my hardware. So I chose what seemed to be the closest Linux distro, Gentoo Linux. I maybe give FreeBSD another round some time in the future. When I separate my firewall (modem-ppp-internet) and server (file and web) from other stuff like jukebox I will probably go with OpenBSD for the firewall. pf seems really nice.

If all this seems to be excuses they are. I would really like to have most of the functionality I have on my Linux workstation but with a BSD. If I get filthy rich I might go for a Mac (as well).

I now run

XFree86 4.3.0
I will look into someday if it supports nVidias drivers and my Wacom table
I really recommend an upgrade. It looks a little better, has nicer features. I run the SmoothGNOME theme (except for the icons). Be sure to apply this patch to gtk-smooth-engine 0.5.6 if you use GTK 2.4 or later
Kernel 2.4.25 + Gentoo patches
I tried to get 2.6.4, 2.6.5 and 2.6.6 to run but X hung a lot and I couldn’t find what was causing it so I gave up and reverted to 2.4 (and installed ALSA).

… and more.


I’ve started trying FreeBSD. It seems nice and is less hyped than Linux. Also I know my way around Linux, FreeBSD is a new challenge. If all of my hardware is supported odds are that I depenguinize (manually by reinstalling it) my Linux boxen. I run Red Hat Linux 9 on it now and after looking around for another distro trying Debian, Gentoo and Mandrake Linux, Gentoo was the one I liked the most. After learning that it used some concepts of BSD I gave the three free BSDs a go. FreeBSD was the one I found to my liking so I am now giving 5.2 a beating. I hope it goes well because I’d much more like running FreeBSD than some dead hat distro.