38.37 Dell OptiPlex GX270 (Modern)

This is a desktop machine with modem access, a flat screen (with 4 USB sockets), and a USB mouse.

Base install was with the beta Debian Installer (12 Nov 2003), which was under development for the next stable release of Debian. A partition of 9GB was used for /, 65GB from /home and 5GB for swap.

With a HP PS2210 all-in-one printer connected through USB the machine’s BIOS (A02) stops for about 5 minutes trying to boot from the printer (presumably because it has a card reader and is being seen as a mass storage device from which it might be able to boot—but without a memory card inserted). This can be turned off by entering BIOS setup (F2 at boot), choosing Integrated Device (LegacySelect Options) and changing the USB Emulation to No Boot.

With xfree86 4.3.0 multiple virtual terminals are not (always) supported for the intel 865G graphics card. With kernel-image-2.4.22-1-686 multiple virtual terminals are just fine. With kernel-image-2.4.23-1-686, starting a second X server freezes the system with a black screen. There have been problems with switching virtual terminals in that there is a 30 second delay after switching. There is also a 30 second delay on start up. Clearly something is timing out, and the suspicion is that it is something to do with USB. When hotplug was installed and the module usb-uhci was removed from /etc/modules the delay disappeared. Moved to kernel-image-2.4.25-1-686-smp, with smp supporting the hyperthreading CPU that makes it appear as two CPUs.

38.37.1 Modern Specification

Using lspci and lshw commands and /proc/cpuinfo:

Key Value
Machine: OptiPlex GX270
CPU: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz
Bogomips: 5570
Memory: 512MB
Network: 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet Controller (e1000)
Disk: ATA Disk 74GB /dev/hda (9G/60G/5G)
Video: Intel 82865G Integrated Graphics Device (i810)
Audio: Intel 82801EB AC’97 Audio Controller (intel810_audio)

Hostname: | modern Domainname: | togaware.com IP Address: | Netmask: | Broadcast: | Gateway: | DNS |

38.37.2 Modern Install Log

Install Sarge i386 Netinst dated 9 Nov 2003. The ISO image was downloaded from http://gluck.debian.org/cdimage/testing/sarge_d-i/i386/.

Simply boot from CD-ROM by going into the boot device menu (F12). Choose English (USA)—choosing Australia resulted in bad keyboard. There is no DHCP set up on the local network so set up a static network. Choose sarge as the mirror. Partition the 80GB disk into 10GB ext3 for /, 65GB ext3 for /home, and 5GB for swap. Choose LILO (but should have chosen GRUB). Reboot.

Now configure with GMT, Australia/ACT, using Shadow Passwords. Create Root and User accounts. For apt choose the http US mirrors.kernel.org. For configuring exim choose togaware.com, smarthost mailhost.togaware.com.

Problems included DHCP failing and requiring the user to skip menus over to the set static network choice. The hostname remained localhost and had to be reset later. The clock was really not GMT but I said it was because I want it to be.

Now install wajig, ssh, emacs21, less, and most. Set up visudo for wajig usage by users. Replace LILO with Grub using

  # grub-install /dev/hda
  # update-grub
  # wajig remove lilo
  # reboot

Add update-grub to /etc/kernel-img.conf:

  postinst_hook = /sbin/update-grub
  postrm_hook = /sbin/update-grub

and then install kernel-image-2.4.22-1-686. Correct the host name: hostname modern; emacs /etc/hostname. Install ntp-simple to regularly check the time against a network time server (e.g., ntp.togaware.com). Also install ntpdate to initially set the time at boot time. Set up ssh scp athens:.ssh/id_dsa .ssh/ and \texttt{scp athens:.ssh/authorized_keys2 .ssh/authorized_keys}. Copy setup files .bashrc .bash_profile .emacs .emacs-custom .emacs-kayon .xsession Copy sources.list; wajig update; wajig dist-upgrade Get X Windows Working with the nVidia card. Install x-window-system gnome gdm gdm-themes cinepaint xine-ui.

Get X Windows working. It had an unknown chipset (82865G) so move to xserver-xfree86 4.3.0-0pre1v4 from experimental. 8 bit worked, but from the BIOS be sure to set the graphic memory to report 16MB (not 1MB) and then 24 bit works!

To get the usb mouse working modprobe usb-uhci (or uhci-hcd in the 2.6 kernels) did the trick! With hotplug installed the appropriate kernel modules will be automatically loaded.

Install x-window-system gnome gdm gdm-themes cinepaint xine-ui. Get DVD stuff working: create /dvd, edit /etc/fstab to reflect, ln /dev/dvd to /dev/cdrom0, add users to group cdrom to access dvd for view. Install ica client, and pppconfig.

With X multiple windows (C-A-F7, C-A-F1) there are problems (not supported). With 2 gdm screens the screen blanks every 10 minutes or so. Need to C-A-F8 C-A-F7 to recover, but quite slow (seems like a 30 second time out). So go back to one gdm and no problem (except 30 second delay on startup and switching terminals)!

Just after a boot, using usbmgr, connecting a USB camera recognises it as /dev/sdb1 (presumably because the printer’s card reader is seen as /dev/sda1 initially). After disconnecting, the kernel module is unloaded and when the camera is next connected it becomes /dev/sda1! Using hotplug instead does the right thing (always loading it as /dev/sdb1. A USB flash drive memory stick can be plugged in and is seen as /dev/sdc1 and mounted as /flash.

Your donation will support ongoing development and give you access to the PDF version of this book. Desktop Survival Guides include Data Science, GNU/Linux, and MLHub. Books available on Amazon include Data Mining with Rattle and Essentials of Data Science. Popular open source software includes rattle, wajig, and mlhub. Hosted by Togaware, a pioneer of free and open source software since 1984. Copyright © 1995-2021 Graham.Williams@togaware.com Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.