The old Toshiba?

Well the Toshiba is proving to be a bit of a problem. It’s an old Toshiba Portege 7140, Pentium III 500Mhz, 192 MHz RAM. I like the machine even though it’s underpowered, it’s a poor mans Netbook if you like.

The problem with it at the moment is the current crop of Distros and the XOrg platform and drivers. It seems to have broken the framebuffer driver for me. I used to get by with the xorg-server-video-fbdev frame buffer device. The Trident driver has never seem to work for me and the same goes for the VESA driver so I’m left with the lowest common denominator in the vanilla frame buffer driver.

So with no luck on the current distros (Debian Lenny, Gentoo 2010ish, Arch and Ubuntu Karmic) I’ve gone back to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy and did a CLI install from the Alternate CD (one of the F? key options at the first install screen). So with a minimal install I grabbed U-Lite and dropped that on along with an install of Google Chrome unstable. It’s not as fast as I’d like to boot but it’s reliable and gets me to a browser session within a minute or so and it’s lightweight enough so it’s practical to use.

Happy again 😉

MythTV the GT220, HDMI and ALSA

Grabbed a Gigabyte GT220 based card for the MythTV box. $86AUD from Dropped it in the Mythbox and it fires straight up for video, configure for VDPAU and we are good to go. The driver was NVidia’s 185 which produced a lot of tearing/vsync issues and an upgrade was in order. They’ve done some repackaging of the NVidia drivers which caused a bit of grief with one of the libraries (I ended up using dpkg – r to remove it as apt-get remove or aptitiude would try and remove MythTV, the packagers of Mythbuntu binding the NVidia drivers to MythTV itself, oh well).

So the upgrade to NVidia 195.36 allows me to fully use VDPAU on the GT220, the output quality is great and the CPU (C2D E4600) runs at about 5-10%. Happy with that 😉

So next is the HDMI audio. A little bit of a task of recompiling ALSA with the GT220 patch from XBMC (check out XBMC btw, create software I’ve been using it on my modded XBox-1 for years now and have always been impressed). So for those with a GT220 and wanting HDMI Audio on ALSA check this out,_GT220,_or_GT240
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Off and running

First post! Ok probably the most social thing I’ve done on the net for a while.  I’ve been pondering a blog for a while now and thought I’d get off my but to do it.

What’s it all about? We’ll the stuff that is technical and spins my wheels.  Computers are a big part so you can expect to see some stuff in and around my MythTV setup and my experience with Linux in general.

More to follow soon.  I’ve been working on a minimal Debian install for my old clunker Toshiba Portege 7140 Laptop.  The Toshiba only has 500MHz PIII and 192MB of RAM and I’d like to have something of a web tablet machine.  Just pop it on and boot up into a web browser as quick as I can.  I’ve currently got some issues with the Xorg trident driver so I have to try my hand at debugging the driver (a first for me at this level in Linux).