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Thursday·21·September·2006

IrDA and Sound on the IBM ThinkPad 760ED //at 04:19 //by abe

from the Toy-Story dept.

Since I currently have Debian Sarge and a quite actual kernel (2.6.17.13) successfully running on my 10 years old Pentium-1-ThinkPad bijou, I today thought I could see, if I get the builtin infrared port working.

Since lspci and lshw didn’t help much to find out the details about the IR port, I looked at Werner Heuser’s tuxmobil for such information. And I was right: tuxmobil listed all the necessary informations:

It’s an internal serial port infrared device on /dev/ttyS0 working without any special driver. It seems to only need the kernel modules irda, sir_dev and irtty_sir as well as probably also the Debian package irda-utils.

I could immediately play around with gnokii after configuring it ot use the right serial port and the right drivers for my Nokia 6310i. Also sending SMS via xgnokii worked.

It was funny to be able to play ringtones on the phone by clicking around on a virtual piano keyboard.

Inebriated by the success with IrDA, I decided to go on and try myself with the notorious Mwave DSP sound and modem card, which came with some of the ThinkPad 760 versions including my ED version.

This didn’t start as easy as IrDA since tuxmobil this time writes: But MWave and some other sound technologies won’t work or are very hard to get working, e.g. booting to DOS, loading a driver, then using the soundcard as a standard SB-PRO. So you might need a commercial sound driver.

Well, I too often noticed that negative information about hardware support in Linux found on the net with a search engine often is outdated and the formerly badly missed hardware support is available nowadays.

So even not giving up on a 404 for a promising site, I found the no more existing webpage of the Mwave Project for Linux in the WayBack Archive. There I found a still working link to Thomas Hood’s Debian GNU/Linux on IBM ThinkPad 600X page which mentions tpctl, the ThinkPad configuration tools for Linux. And happily, they’re included in Sarge as package tpctl. Another link still worked, too: The one to Dale Wick’s Thinkpad under Linux page, which tell’s what I’ve expected: Some of the information on tuxmobil seems to be outdated, although Dave’s page mainly concerns the modem functionality of the Mwave DSP.

So I first installed tpctl on bijou, then tried to compile the ThinkPad kernel modules from package thinkpad-source with my both current kernels, 2.4.33.3 and 2.6.17.13 using make-kpkg. The modules built fine for the 2.4 series kernel, but failed on the two latest 2.6 kernels (2.6.17.13 and 2.6.18), I’m mainly running. So I switched over to playing around with the 2.4.33.3 kernel.

The thinkpad modules loaded fine and I get access to a lot of the ThinkPad’s special hardware. But tpctl at least doesn’t work as expected regarding Standby and Suspend: It has no effect while requesting Suspend or Standby using apm still works fine. But nothing to see in direction sound, modem or mwave.

So I had a closer look at documentation around the mwave module. Tried to find out appropriate I/O and IRQ settings for the module, but what I found in the Linux ACP Modem (Mwave) mini-HOWTO didn’t help. The module just didn’t load.

Then I noticed that module seems to need an mwave daemon. A search in the Debian package repository found the package mwavem. No long thinking – installed it. But the installation script gave the same errors when trying to load the module.

man mwavem(8) gave the reason: Only the 3780i chip is supported. Earlier Mwave DSPs, which were used for sound generation as well as modem functionality, are not supported.

Also according to the kernel documentation for the mwave sound module, the only way to get it making some sounds seems to be to boot to DOS, load the Windows 95 drivers, then call loadlin and warm-boot Linux from DOS.

So native Mwave sound on IBM 760 ThinkPads under Linux is really still a dream while the Mwave modem is said to work nowadays.

I will continue my ThinkPad 760 journey with a closer look at the pcspkr driver and at eBay, where I’ll look for another 760 series ThinkPad, but with ESS1688 soundcard and no modem instead of the Mwave DSP, e.g. a 760L, 760LD, 760EL, 760ELD or maybe also a 765L.

But I won’t do that today. It’s already much too late. Should have gone to bed about two hours ago…

Now playing: Auld Lang Syne (monophonic on the phone :-)

Yet another old laptop //at 04:13 //by abe

from the old-hardware-rules dept.

My father got me a nice IBM ThinkPad from 1996 earlier this year, so the next old laptop he digged up was planned to become a christmas present for my brother. But my father didn’t manage to find out, how old nor how fast that laptop was. And when I found out that it was a Pentium I with 90 MHz, it was clear, that my brother wouldn’t have any use for it, so he got “only” the used 850 MHz AMD Duron midi tower and my parents declared that old Compaq LTE 5100 laptop as a christmas present for me. :-)

As my IBM ThinkPad bijou, this Compaq LTE 5100 is from 1996 and has a Pentium I processor. Both also have a 800×600 resolution, a double PCMCIA slot and a floppy drive, which can be replaced by a CD-ROM drive (if I had one). But that are all similarities. Technically the Compaq has 90 MHz instead of the ThinkPad’s 133 MHz, but therefore has 72 MB RAM in comparison to the 48 Megs the ThinkPad has. Also regarding disk space the Compaq outperforms the ThinkPad: 1.6 Gigs of disk space in comparison to the ThinkPad 1.0 GB hard disk. Another difference is the battery: While the ThinkPad can work over 2.5 hours without external power, the Compaq even didn’t manage to completely boot its currently installed Windows 98 (the ThinkPad had a Windows NT installed when I got it) when running on battery. (Will do that test again when I can confirm, that the battery was full before testing. :-) Yet another difference is the keyboard layout: The ThinkPad has an US layout while the Compaq has a Swiss-German layout. But the most obvious difference is the look: The black ThinkPad still looks like having a modern design while the Compaq looks very very outdated in its perfect computer beige and with its quite small display.

So retroperspectively, it was a good a idea to name the ThinkPad “bijou” (French for jewel, jewellery, gem, etc.; named after a very neat british two-door limousine built in the UK by Slough on a 2CV base during the ’50s). Because now I have the choice between a lot of not so nice looking (not to say ugly ;-) 2CV derivatives to name the Compaq after. My favourites currently are the Iranian “Baby Brousse”, the Greek “Namco Pony” and the German “Fiberfab Sherpa”, all canvas and flatbed style 2CV based buggies, similar to the original Citroën Méhari but with steel body instead of the Méhari’s controversial plastic body. And one of the not used names, I can use for further ugly Compaq laptops¹.

Another question yet to answer is the question of what operating system to install on it. Since the ThinkPad runs fine with Debian 3.0 Woody and I have a lot of other Debian boxes at home (running Woody, Sarge or Sid), I currently think about installing the very fresh NetBSD 3.0 (released on Christmas’ Eve 2005), FreeBSD 6.0 (released early November 2005), DragonFly BSD 1.4 (to be released in December :-) or DeLi Linux 0.7 pre (which was also released in early December 2005 and already uses X11R7). Another idea was to install grml 0.5, but since grml is a live CD distribution, it probably would be hard to install it over network. Same counts for ReactOS (version 0.2.9 was released shortly before Christmas 2005), which doesn’t seem to have a floppy disk plus network install. Since I always planed to upgrade my currently defective Toshiba T6400 i486 laptop ayca (maybe after getting an organ donor on eBay or so) to DeLi Linux 0.7 (and perhaps write a review about it for Linux Magazine or so) and I may get an Sun Ultra Enterprise 2 soon (on which NetBSD 3.0 would be the perfect OS since Linux’ performance still seems to suck on Sparc :-), I currently prefer the FreeBSD or DragonFly idea. If the Ultra doesn’t come, it probably will get NetBSD, since I haven’t a NetBSD box yet. (Haven’t a DragonFly box either, but a FreeBSD 4.x running somewhere. :-)

Well, I guess, I’ll take even more old laptops than last year to the Vintage Computer Festival Europe (VCFe) in Munich next May. And since the two 1996 laptops are now 10 years old, they’re even ontopic! Yeah! ;-)

¹: I have two other not yet working Compaq laptops, both from an elder generation than Pentium I. One I got on a Swiss flea market for a few euros and the other was the first laptop of my boss, which he else would have thrown away. Unfortunately both are without power adapter and neither the usual allround laptop power adapters from Conrad, etc. nor the one from the LTE 5100 fits. But since there is eBay, I expect to get such a power adapter once. :-)

Software Freedom Day 2006 //at 02:07 //by abe

from the Looking-for-Freedom dept.

Today, well, yesterday was Software Freedom Day and the Chaostreff Zürich organised an information booth with support of the Linux User Group Switzerland at the Orell-Füssli Bookstore at Zurich and giving out Ubuntu CDs — and only Ubuntu. (Ok, and also Kubuntu CDs, but that doesn’t make a big difference.)

After writing a Symlink article about the Software Freedom Day, I went to Orell-Füssl, of course equipped with my 10 years old Pentium-I-ThinkPad bijou which is though running Debian Sarge and the latest Linux kernels, namely 2.6.17.13 and 2.4.33.3, both only about one week old.

Onsite, I tried to get access to the WLAN, but it didn’t work. Asking the network responsible guy from the Chaostreff, the reason was found quickly: The WLAN was WPA secured and older WLAN cards don’t work with that. No problem that far, but what I found very inappropriate was that this guy then told to put away that old computer since we only want to demonstrate on recent hardware.

First I still can’t understand why such intolerance happens even on a day having the word “Freedom” in its name and secondly I think that especially the ability to give old computers a second (or third) life is notable feature of Free and Open Source Software, Windows can’t offer at all.

So I did not feel like explaining someone the advantages of Free Software or Linux, since I’m not allowed to show some of it nicest features. I started folding some flyers which just had been printed. I accidently also started reading them and I found two grave errors in the content, especially in the context of a day about “Software Freedom” and not about “Open Source” or “Linux”:

  1. Free Software and Open Source Software were declared as being the same thing.
  2. Only the Open Source concept was explained.

So I used the rest of the event to chat with some of the SheGeeks I knew and a few people like Fabrizio who I just knew from mails and never met in real life before. I also had no guilty conscience to leave the event earlier since I didn’t like it — even if it probably was a huge success and I met there many people I like.

The late afternoon I helped a friend of mine moving. Well, actually I helped him transporting all the new furnitures he bought at IKEA to his new home with my CX Break.

And after returning home, I had to read on Symlink, that Rob Levin aka lilo from Freenode died yesterday after being hit by car while riding on his bike on Tuesday. May he rest in peace.

So somehow the Software Freedom Day 2006 was quite a sad day to me. :-(

Now playing (from compact cassette :-): David Hasselhoff — Looking For Freedom

Tag Cloud

2CV, aha, Apache, APT, aptitude, ASUS, Automobiles, autossh, Berlin, bijou, Blogging, Blosxom, Blosxom Plugin, Browser, BSD, CDU, Chemnitz, Citroën, CLI, CLT, Conkeror, CX, deb, Debian, Doofe Parteien, E-Mail, eBay, EeePC, Emacs, Epiphany, Etch, ETH Zürich, Events, Experimental, Firefox, Fläsch, FreeBSD, FVWM, Galeon, Gecko, git, GitHub, GNOME, GNU, GNU Coreutils, GNU Screen, Google, GPL, grep, grml, gzip, Hackerfunk, Hacks, Hardware, Heise, HTML, identi.ca, IRC, irssi, Jabber, JavaShit, Kazehakase, Lenny, Liferea, Linux, LinuxTag, LUGS, Lynx, maol, Meme, Microsoft, Mozilla, Music, mutt, Myon, München, nemo, Nokia, nuggets, Open Source, Opera, packaging, Pentium I, Perl, Planet Debian, Planet Symlink, Quiz, Rant, ratpoison, Religion, RIP, Sarcasm, Sarge, Schweiz, screen, Shell, Sid, Spam, Squeeze, SSH, Stöckchen, SuSE, Symlink, Symlink-Artikel, Tagging, Talk, taz, Text Mode, ThinkPad, Ubuntu, USA, USB, UUUCO, UUUT, VCFe, Ventilator, Vintage, Wahlen, Wheezy, Wikipedia, Windows, WML, Woody, WTF, X, Xen, zsh, Zürich, ÖPNV

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert

About...

This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

Links to internal pages are orange, links to related pages are blue, links to external resources are green and links to Wikipedia articles, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entries or similar resources are bordeaux. Times are CET respective CEST (which means GMT +0100 respective +0200).


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