…if your time has no value

So for those who are keenly following the ongoing saga of Oscar, my flea-market Thinkpad:

I got wireless networking last night, with the SMC 2835W (my third card). I had to use Linuxant’s properietary DriverLoader software, which enables Win32 WLAN drivers to be used by Linux. It’s going to cost me $20 to license it permanently. I also had to disable ACPI in order to get it to recognize the card – apparently there’s some kind of IRQ conflict. APM seems to be at least partly working in it’s stead, although less so when I’m running KDE. Why the desktop environment should have any effect on power management is beyond me – seems to me all of that should go on at a much lower level that doesn’t care about GNOME, KDE, or even X. Having the graphical environment alter the behaviour of the hardware is so… Windows-y.

I’m using insecure WEP encryption for the moment. I was never able to get WPA working even under Windows; I haven’t yet attempted it under Linux.

Sound card doesn’t work, but that’s a solved problem and I just need to take the time to do the right configuration.

For some reason Ubuntu doesn’t use the framebuffer by default on this machine, so the console is in a tiny 640×480 rectangle in the middle of my screen. Another easy fix, I think.

The battery is kaput for the moment, but apparently that’s due to a well-known hardware flaw in my Thinkpad model (600E). Will cycling it a few times and then avoiding charging it while the machine is running, which is apparently what causes them to die. If I have to I’ll replace it.

Ironically, I’m not just going to all this trouble because I’m a nerd. This laptop is nearly unusable running Win98. For some reason, after running for more than a couple hours, it starts constantly freezing up for like ten seconds at a time. And no, it’s not loaded down with spyware – this is on a fresh install, with just essential apps and latest IBM drivers. I’m hoping that with a suitably stripped-down desktop environment, I can turn this old 400Mhz, 96MB RAM relic into a respectable workstation.

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  1. Driverloader was my friend when I was trying to do the same thing (basically.) WPA is what hung me up. 🙁 I do have it successfully running on the Windows machines, but…yeah.

  2. I dunno if it’d help you, but I remember using something called “ndiswrapper” which was like a free alternative to driverloader, or at least for the Centrino crap… however $20 isn’t too bad and it’s supporting Linux development, so it’s still a win I guess.

    1. I know others have had success with ndiswrapper, but it failed on three different cards for me.

  3. I was wondering what you were doing about that! Now I can sleep!

  4. To fix the framebuffer issue, pass a vga argument through the bootloader.

    As for the KDE thing, there’s probably a ‘helpful’ KDE daemon that’s looking after your power for you, but improperly. There’s almost certainly a way to turn it off. I have no idea how, though.

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