New Linux Mint convert

Last Christmas I bought a new ASUS TP200SA netbook(?) for my wife. It was familiar as I have the ASUS C100PA Chromebook, and I love it. This ASUS however came with Windows 10. She wanted it as a windows box as she was sure she needed windows to do some of the work she wanted to do. A false premise, I know, but one that a lot of people have.

And it worked Ok, at first, however Microsoft should never get into specing hardware, in this case, in an effort to produce a Chromebook ‘killer’ that used a similar specification. duo-core, 2GB ram and 32GB of storage. And while this works for a lightweight OS like ChromeOS, this is nowhere near adequate for windows 10. And the issue raised it’s ugly head with the first ‘Update’ that Microsoft forced down on the users who own these.

It doesn’t work, would never have worked, so MS has produced another dud of a product. Don’t buy one of these for Windows 10, you will hate it.

The good news is that I did my research beforehand on this laptop, and there were several people managing to get Linux to boot on them. Mosly having to delete the entire windows 10 partition. So knowing I had a solution I bought this. And when the wife finally got too frustrated with making Windows work, she ask me to convert it.

The previous Linux geeks were using things like Fedora but I wasn’t enamored of that distribution. So I tried out my favorite Linux Mint 18.2 and performed the steps I found here: TP200SA Linux Success! except where they used Fedora I used a live USB stick for Linux Mint 18.2. This work great, and I showed my wife how to use the install after she tried out the live USB.

Everything when great, and the install worked even the touch screen, a good surprise. However on the first reboot to the internal ‘ssd’ in the TP200 the track pad did not work, the touch interface work and I assumed that there was a setting that needed to be changed. Not! But after googling the Elan touchpad, I found this: Elantech Touchpad not working

had the same problem. After googling a lot I found a workaround: in /etc/defaut/grub

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
I added i8042.reset to the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”i8042.reset quiet splash”
and then

sudo update-grub
Finally after a restart the touchpad works fine (multitouch included).

And then after I rebooted, it all worked. It does not auto switch to ‘Pad’ mode, but the wife never used that feature anyway, she is delighted to have dumped Windows, and with the addition of the Chromium Browser it synced up with her other Sony Laptop, and she’s using the touch screen all the time. Win!

My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists

This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.


CPU Blowfish	    4.070
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
FPU FFT		   0.972
FPU Raytracing	  3.688

Webmin back door

NOTE: Do not accidently drop your own permissions to su to root.

{Unless you happen to remember to have Webmin running. }

This weekend while trying to get CUPS to print on my DYI-Server I managed to grant myself ‘CUPS management’ and lost all other permissions, including the ability to su to root. If you aren’t a sysadmin this is roughly the equivalent of locking your keys in your house. OpenSolaris, and most of the modern Linux distro’s don’t allow root login. So I thought I was thoughly screwed, until I calmed down, and realized that I had Webmin running, so permissions repaired. Yet another harrowing learning experience.

I’m learning too much that a classic, easy to administer desktop operating system might be beyond Linux and OpenSolaris. Windows and MacOSX have just managed to hide most of the pain involved from the average user. And believe me, there is a lot to hide. Unfortunately for Linux and OpenSolaris, the developers and discussion groups associated with these OS’s ARE NOT end users for the most part, and have little interest in the area of user experience. So if printers don’t print and webcams only work ‘sometimes’ that’s Ok, something of interest, just not a serious impact on their development or their perceptions of the impact to the end user experience.

I appreciate that OpenSolaris is reasonably stable, and features are abundant. I’d just like to snap a picture off the webcam, and play a DVD movie once in a while and not just marvel at ZFS time shifting and what not.

Now back to the books….;-)

Palm WebOS for the T/X

I may be a bit wishful after seeing the demonstration of the Palm Pre but knowing that you can get Angstrom Linux on the Palm T/X, there isn’t any reason that you couldn’t get the Palm WebOS shoehorned into it. But I’m assuming that CPU power and memory will be issues. Still one can be hopeful that since the Linux Kernels are nearly the same version, the WebOS environment is the only portion that needs to be ported. It might be a bit sluggish, but the Angstrom installation has built-in over-clocking of the T/X processor so that hurtle could be overcome.

Future of Linux on the Palm

Having read this article about how to Dual Boot Linux on a Palm TX. I then downloaded the linux distribution described in the demonstration from the Reware Project And loaded it on a spare 2GB SD card as outlined. IT works as described, and it didn’t do any harm to my normal Palm OS installation. After trying the music app from this project and drilling down through the filesystem to find a complete Linux distro, I downloaded another system called Opie from here and have now been throughly impressed with Linux running on my Palm.

The OPIE project is more or less a replacement PIM running over the Linux, and contains many Palm PIM equivalents, and although not as polished as the Palm applications, it makes for a very good beginning. From what I can know, the OPIE system boots off a Ångström Linux distribution of a Linux v2.6.23 kernel. And while the networking elements of the Palm T/X don’t appear to be operational, it’s still impressive.

If the forthcoming release of Nova Linux can take the edges off this OS, much in the vein of Android, Palm just might pull it out of the fire.

Here hoping!

One more foolish Palm move

if this rumor is true that Palm’s Treo Pro in the wild, probably not fake. Then Palm has got to be the most foolish company in the world. Just when they are promising a new OS, a Linux cum Android like platform, they should announce yet another Windows based Phone, makes the company management come off all unfocused and wishy-washy in the vision department. How foolish can you be? Bring out the new OS, dammit, even in beta format. Get on with it Palm!