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Adventures in Linux


Last week has been in the focus of playing with Linux. I installed a proxy masquerading firewall for a collegue, based on the Alcatel USB SpeedTouch modem, using the Open Source drivers of Benoit Papillault. It took some time to properly tuning the stability of the modem driver, but in the end, I managed to get a very stable box. It was based on Debian, of course. Unfortunately the stable Debian release, which new version is imminent... for several months now. As a result, stable has become archaic with its 2.2 kernel. I upgraded to a 2.4 kernel for USB support and used these pages to install and configure the modem. If you want to do the same, I advise you to use the 20011007 drivers (with pppoa3) and this HOWTO for the ppp setup.

After that, it was my machine's turn. First off all, I decided to fix the side effects of my unstable NVidia drivers, and upgraded my filesystems to ext3. Then I upgraded my NVidia drivers, only to found out that they were as unstable as the earlier release. Well, at least, ext3 was doing its job ;) I Googled a bit around, to found out that the following setting may be the solution : just add

Option "NoRenderAccel" "on"

to your XF86Config-4 file, and the crashes should be history. Looks like that fixes everything...

It is unbelievable how performant the Low Latency patch is for Linux desktop systems. Whereas a vanilla Linux 2.4.18 kernel is horribly sluggish on my 128 Meg based system, the LL patch really boosts things up. I first tried with the PreEmptable kernel patch, as it is now default in the 2.5 kernel series, but after giving unsatisfying results, I added the LL patch too. At least, my MPlayer is now again playing without glitches, while my Seti@Home is crunching in the background.