Debian minimal install of a base system (Lenny aka 5.0).

In this post I’m going to describe how to do a very basic no-frills Debian install that I quite often use for the basis or foundation of my other installs. Begining with a Net Install image (available from http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/) I install the bare (ish) minimum without much fuss and little fluff.

Disclaimer:- This install should be considered a destructive process. If you follow these directions you will completely and irretrievably erase any data you have on the hard drive your select to install Debian onto. Do not come crying to me if you lost information from following this procedure. To be safe backup all data prior to starting (verify the backup ;O ) or install to a new hard drive.
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Musing: A Linux based wireless access point

I currently run a Belkin Wireless N+ ADSL modem/switch/wireless AP. It works well enough but given my nature to want to try things I’ve found the capability of the Belkin box to be limited. If it were a book it would have a yellow and black cover (Home network for dummies). It’s great for it’s designated audience but I want the ability to play.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of a home server for various things and am wondering if I can combine the two. So a NAS/Wireless router.

Requirements:

At the moment I’m leaning towards hacking an old laptop, putting in a 500Gb drive and a D-Link DWA-642. Gives me all sorts of options I can play with till my heart is content.

I’ll need to pair it up with a good ADSL 2+ Modem (Billion 7300RA perhaps, seems they are Linux based too 😀 ).
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Make it look nice, aka fonts in Linux

Now that I have the Toshiba setup with SliTaz it’s time for tweaks.  Since this machine is mainly for surfing the web I want web pages to render nicely.  A lot of Linux distributions don’t tend to address this well and it can make a big difference without much effort.

Installing the Microsoft core web fonts (Verdana, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Arial, Trebuchet, Comic Sans, Impact etc.). See if you can track down a .tar.gz of all the Web Core fonts.  Google to the rescue also while you are there grab the Droid font from Google’s Android SDK.

Now unzip the fonts into /usr/share/fonts/truetype
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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 msy.com.au. 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 http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=HOW-TO_set_up_HDMI_audio_on_nVidia_GeForce_G210,_GT220,_or_GT240
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