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Re: misc. woes

I can't answer all your questions, but I've done my best.  Hopefully it
will be useful.

On Dec 4, Albert D. Cahalan wrote:

> (It would be nice to have a sandbox for proprietary MacOS junk!
> An API translator, NSA's seLinux... then RealVideo, QuickTime,
> and that Microsoft thing could run w/o endangering the system.)

Mac-on-Linux has worked beautifully for me.  http://maconlinux.org/

> Of course I installed to HFS+ by accident. Apple doesn't call
> it that, so why do we? Anyway... I don't have a woody CD-ROM
> ("woody" is itself obfuscation BTW) so netboot was looking like
> the only way to install.

I've never understood why the documentation recommends netboot.  It seems
that hard disk installs are almost always easier for users.  At least, I
always prefered to boot from my hard drive and install via the internet.

By the way, the "woody" codename is for a not-yet-released version.  When
the next stable release is made, woody will receive a version number,
which you hopefully will find more appetizing than the cute name.

> It would be nice if the kernel would fall back to video=ofonly
> as needed instead of being dumb about this. I got a black screen
> without this. Now I have video=aty128fb:vmode:22 working because
> Google was able to find this:  [...]
> (really, video and USB input devices should be 100% autodetectable)

Hmm.  ati128fb does successful autodetection on most machines, including
my iMac.  Perhaps the Cube support is still a bit quirky.  I'm sure one of
the framebuffer hackers would appreciate any offers of help or testing to
get it working properly.

> Choosing to edit yaboot.conf by hand drops me into vi.
> The boot disks have nano-tiny for this sort of thing,
> which at least remotely resembles emacs, pico, joe, nedit...

Presumably, like most Unix tools, the configure script uses $EDITOR as the
text-editor and defaults to vi if no value is set.  This behavior is
fairly standard (cvs, vipw, mutt, ...), so I suggest you specify an EDITOR
if you don't like vi.

> Then I hit that deselect thing.  [...]  Somehow I ended up with all
> sorts of crud: ISDN stuff, leafnode, diald, aalib1, ibritish, dialdcost,
> wvdial, twm, and samba.

Well, the nice thing is that it is trivial to uninstall or reinstall any
of these packages at any time.  As you get used to dselect or the
frontends of your choice, you can prune and tweak your system quite
easily.  Tools like debfoster are helpful too.

Looking at the dselect conflict-resolution screen is especially useful.
If you're curious why aalib is installed, simply try removing it, and
dselect will tell you exactly what dependencies will break.

> There isn't any advice about what would be the best way to have X
> fonts work. I think I saw 3 font servers. Equally good? Hmmm...

I've always run without a font server, since it's not useful for anything
I do.  And of course, you can switch servers at any time if you find that
you need capabilities not in your current server.  The font infrastructure
should be fairly transparent to users, so I don't see this as a major
crisis of options.

> The config for ttf-commercial gets stuck if you don't have a
> path to give it. So I hit ^C, which kills the whole config
> process and forgets all the choices I've made.

This is bad.  I will file a bug report against ttf-commercial.

> I get GNOME complaining that twm isn't suitable. I'm not told
> what would be suitable, and a switch to icewm doesn't help.

Do you have icewm-gnome installed?  The plain icewm package is compiled
without Gnome extensions.

Perhaps there should be a Provides: gnome-window-manager that
gnome-session depends on...

> The way-too-small mouse pointer

I thought both icewm and sawfish used the same cursor bitmap as MacOS....

> likes to take a flying leap off to a far corner of the screen while in
> X, and GPM isn't working.

Be sure to compile your kernel with support for the new input layer (or
use the kernel-image packages, which have this set up correctly).  The old
input code had problems with both gpm and X running at the same time.  To
see if this is the problem, try starting the X server without GPM running.

> I see nothing about USB speakers. I don't even get a beep out of
> my computer. I'd like to be able to do normal stuff, like play a
> CD-ROM or run mpg123.

You say you're running 2.4.16, which presumably means you compiled your
own kernel.  Did you include the USB audio driver?  Is it built as a
module?  If you are running a Debian kernel image, the driver is a module,
and you should be able to "modprobe audio".

By the way, does kernel-image-2.4.12-powerpc work on your machine?

> GUI stuff is too slow.

This is strange.  Are you sure that your video card is running with
acceleration?  I have a much lowlier machine (iMac 350), and X11 is much
much more responsive than MacOS 9 or X.  On the other hand I don't run
Gnome (just sawfish) since I don't have the RAM for it.

> I miss getting the news too. I know, it's hard dealing with all
> the proprietary crap. But gee, www.cnn.com has _three_ formats
> available and not one of them works.

Did you try looking for a player?  Obviously Debian can't distribute it,
but RealNetworks has a PPC Linux binary in their Unix download section.
You'll have to navigate past all their attempts to make you buy the
commercial versions, but if you can find the download section for
RealPlayer 8 Basic, then you can get an installer that (last I checked)
works on Debian.  I can't recommend it too highly, but if you really need
to watch realvideo files then it works.

You can also submit polite requests to your favorite sites to support open
formats like MPEG-2.

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