Monday, September 24, 2007

sidux - the "easier" sid

I was playing a little distro-hopping lately and - having a big favor for Debian - came across "sidux". This distro is released by former "Kanotix" developers and is based on Debian sid. Sid being the "unstable" branch of Debian is a bit of risk when used as main OS. Though it may be more stable than some other released distro you're still having chances it'll break after one update or the other - and if you don't know how to fix it you may run into trouble. This is where sidux comes in. sidux includes a script called "smxi" which handles most of the system's maintenance. Agreed, you'll have to use the command line, but it has never been easier! This script get's you through system updates, installs proprietary Nvidia/Ati drivers and other third party software if desired. If some very new software releases come to sid repositories and are causing major trouble, smxi puts this software "on hold" which means that it's not going to be installed. For example: Xorg 7.3 just hit Debian unstable and users are having a lot of problems with it. When updating sidux via smxi, you'll receive a warning and Xorg will not be updated. You should not do a "normal" Debian dist-upgrade, because then you won't benefit of the advanced features of sidux' smxi script.
Besides those very nice features of smxi, sidux is very fast. In fact, it's the fastest booting OS ever on my desktop. I think this is due to it's kernel, which isn't standard Debian but a customized sidux kernel (which is also updated via smxi).
sidux is equipped with it's own "Control-Center", that helps managing services and has an option to remove old and unused kernels - very nice! And being based on Debian sid you'll always have the latest software.

sidux benefits from the excellent work of both: the Debian community and those guys from sidux. If you're interested in sidux, here's a very good documentation and a nice forum. Or stay tuned, there's an installation HOWTO following up these days! :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BIOS "F8" for GA-M55S-S3 :-(

Gigabyte released a new BIOS for their GA-M55S3 motherboard and I couldn't resist updating. To make it short: if you're running Linux, don't... After updating Linux will boot only with "noapic" as kernel option - again. I guess only BIOS version "F6" doesn't have this error (see this post). I skipped version "F7" so I can't say anything about this version, but all versions prior to "F6" had the same issue. If you don't have any real needs for updating your BIOS you shouldn't consider an update anyway. It's just me...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Installing Nvidia driver in Debian Lenny

If you're running Debian testing (aka "Lenny") which brings no Nvidia driver packages - only the legacy ones - or like to install the latest drivers by Nvidia for Etch, you'll be running into problems: the Nvdia installer won't find everything necessary for compiling the kernel module. So, here's a small HOWTO:

First, download the latest Nvidia driver (by the time of writing it's version 100.14.11) corresponding to your architecture (i386 or amd64) from the Nvidia ftp site (just look here). Then, make sure the following packages are installed:
  • build-essential
  • linux-headers-2.6 (corresponding to your kernel)
  • pkg-config
  • xserver-xorg-dev