Friday, July 07, 2006

SuSE Linux 10.1 on my laptop

One of my friends downloaded the 5 CD's of SuSE Linux 10.1. He has a Rs 900/- plan with BSNL which permits unlimited downloads (this is a *big* deal in India). I couldn't resist the thought of installing SuSE on my Wipro LG 2200 laptop. I have hardly used a SuSE Linux distribution. My first choice has usually been Redhat and now the Fedora Core series. So i set about installing SuSE.

Well i did have initial problems with the installation. I first got an error of one of the font packages not being found on the CD1. I tried out the skip/retry/ignore option presented. But none of these worked and i ended up with a text based menu from where i could restart the installation. Now this is at least better than the Fedora installation coz while installing in Fedora one *has* to reboot and has no other option if one of the packages is not found or is corrupt. I realized that the CD1 was corrupt and had to wait till i got a new CD burnt again.

One of the great things about the SuSE distribution is that it has the Reiser Filesystem. Now this is *cool* coz i have had some experience benchmarking ext2/ext3/Reiser and Resier comes out on top. The installation otherwise was a breeze. I dint have to use expert setting to repartition. I used the suggested partition table and continued with the installation.

Well once the CD1 installation was done, i had to reboot and then it set about installing the remaining CD's. Another good feature here which i believe is not available in Fedora is that once the basic installation is done, you have a bootable Linux OS. If your CD2 turns out bad, in Fedora you have to abort your changes and have to start all over again. This is not the case in SuSE, i could boot into SuSE in a 'distressing' resolution and with the minimum of tools. Once in, i could use YaST to go ahead with the updates in CD2/3/4/5.

Well, i managed to install packages from CD1/2/3 and then go about completing the installation.
Once the installation was complete, i booted for the first time into SuSE and used the GNOME desktop.

I have a Intel 915 chipset and SuSE had no problems there. Its has a 2.6.16 kernel which is just fine :). I got a 1024*768 resolution and i was pretty pleased that i dint have to break my head over the display. With the look and feel working out of the box, i set about testing the rest of the available stuff.

These are some of the features/tools/packages that i set about testing

1) Software Suspend
With a lot of pessimism, i used the suspend option. swsusp started the suspend and wow! it did go to the suspended state. I pressed the power button again to get it out of hibernation (is that a windows word?:) ), and well it did come out of suspend. This is really beautiful!!:)

2) Browser
Firefox 1.5+. Hmm impressive and it loaded up real fast. This is something that i noticed with great surprise. Things load up much faster than they do in Fedora or for that matter Windows.
This is true with Firefox/Ethereal/consoles.

3) Display
Works out of the box. Has drivers for the 915 chipset and provides me with a decent 1024*768 resolution

4) Sound
Works out of the box. Had no issues here as well

5) Network

Ethernet: Works out of the box.

Wireless: Now this was the pain area. I have spent about 20 minutes but haven't yet got the wireless working. The firmware is not available. Once i download and install it, i should update this blog. Bear with me till then!!

6) NTFS support
The installation gives a default NTFS support (unlike Fedora i believe) and it mounted my Windows partitions without problems. This is a *good* feature to have.

7) Virtualisation
It provides XEN which i havent used as yet. I have been using vmplayer all along on both Linux/Windows. Will try out Xen and update this blog at a later point in time.

Well there are many more things to play around with, but the experience has so far been fruitful. SuSE seems to be slicker than Fedora.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Megz and Me

Megz and me in Jaisalmer just after our marriage. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shipping embedded boards from the US to India

I sent an enquiry mail to one of the embedded board manufacturers that make "way small" boards ( . I wanted to order one of their basic boards and to my surprise i received a mail from telling that they *dont* ship to India currently. The explanation given was that India was listed in "Tier 3" (not 1 not 2, but 3 !!!) by the US Commerce department. They also mentioned that the process to put India in their shipping list was in progress.

Now what is amazing to me is that India is listed in the "Tier 3". Why? Isnt that a barrier to trade?
Now, is that an export control regulation on India? Guess what!!! Googling with "export controls + tier 3 + india" shows India listed in tier 3 along with Pakistan, Russia, Middle East etc. Guess these restrictions came about after India had their 'peaceful' nuclear explosion some years back. Subsequently the US put an embargo banning the export of "Dual Use" technology.
Huh!! All with with my Dad/FIL/MIL being Scientists working in the Dept of Atomic Energy. :))

But then i guess US is working towards removing that embargo and allowing exports of arms and "Dual use" technology.