Linux on the Toshiba Satellite M35X-S114

Author: Michael Minn (see www.michaelminn.com for current contact info)

October 22, 2005


Describes how to set up Fedora Core 2 Linux on a Toshiba Satellite M35X-S114 notebook computer.

1. Introduction

2. Splitting your Windoze Partition

3. Installing Fedora

4. Installation Tweaks

5. Sound

6. Power Management and Fan

7. Networking and Internet

8. Windoze Interoperability

9. True Type Fonts

10. CD Writing

11. DVD Viewing


1. Introduction

The following document describes how I set up Fedora Core 2 Linux on a Toshiba Satellite M35X-S114 notebook computer. The Toshiba M35X-S114 is an entry-level laptop manufactured in early 2005 with the following specs:

All of the internal hardware is currently supported under Linux, although some components require additional configuration or drivers. Toshiba's frequent offerings have often involved multiple extremely similar models and incremental (rather than revolutionary) changes from earlier models. As such, various parts of this document may apply to a wide variety of Toshiba models. I am providing this information to help others avoid the problems I encountered.

The definitive source for Linux laptop information is the Linux on Laptops Page.

This document assumes some minimal UNIX/LINUX knowledge. I provide no guarantees for any procedures stated in this document. You're more than welcome to e-mail me if you've got a problem, but I can't guarantee a prompt or helpful reply. Like many things in the Linux world...you're on your own. I would, however, appreciate any errata that you can point out so I don't mislead anyone else.


2. Splitting your Windoze Partition

This machine comes with Windoze XP Home Edition preinstalled on a single NTFS partition. Since the supplied installation CD will only contains a ghost image to completely rebuild the drive the way it shipped from the factory, you will have to use NTFSRESIZE and FDISK to get the existing partition resized and space freed up for the Linux partitions.

This the most precarious and unpleasant set of tasks in Linux installation on this machine. If you want to have a Linux-only, Windoze-free system, you can skip this section.

Download ntfsresize: The ntfsresize utility can be used to split an NTFS partition. Some distributions come with ntfsresize integrated into their installers, but Fedora does not. You should download the statically-linked binary, which should have a link on the ntfsresize info page. (old link here). Decompress the tarball (tar -zxvf) and burn ntfsresize onto a CD-ROM.

Defragment: Boot up into Windoze and run the Disk Defragmenter to defragment your hard drive. The utility is located in Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter. If you haven't done much on your Windoze partition, this should complete in under five minutes. Supposedly this step is no longer necessary, but I avoid taking unnecessary chances.

Change Boot Order: As you're rebooting, press F12. This will allow you to select the CD-ROM as the boot device. You also have the option of going into the PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility and moving the CD-ROM first in boot order.

Boot Into Linux Rescue Mode: Insert the Fedora installtion CD #1 into the CD drive and reboot. When you get a boot: prompt, type

	boot: linux rescue

When asked, you can skip to the command shell

Mount the ntfsresize CD: Remove the Fedora installation CD and insert the CD you created that contains ntfsresize. Although the kernel supports the CD drive, the device file must be created in order to mount the CD.

	sh-2.05b# mkdir /cdrom
	sh-2.05b# mknod /dev/hdc b 22 0
	sh-2.05b# mount /dev/hdc /cdrom

Verify Hard Drive: Verify with FDISK that Linux is seeing the hard drive.

	sh-2.05b# fdisk -l /dev/hda

You should get something like this, showing the single bootable NTFS partition:

	   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
	/dev/hda1   *         1      4864  39070048    7  HPFS/NTFS

Find the Split Location: Use NTFSRESIZE to find out where you can split the partition. If everything is good, you will get a message indicating where to split

	sh-2.05b# /floppy/ntfsresize -i /dev/hda1

	You could resize at 5819277312 bytes or 5820MB (freeing 34188MB)

NTFSRESIZE will warn you if there is a problem. If you plan on using your Windoze side for anything non-trivial, you should leave some extra space for data and new programs.

Do a Test Run:

	sh-2.05b# ./ntfsresize -n -s9000M /dev/hda1

	The read-only test run ended successfully.

I didn't have a problem, but if you get one, you should probably not ignore it, or you will mess up your Windoze installation.

Resize the Partition: The -s option is the size in MB of the new partition. You should use whatever number you got from the earlier run of ntfsresize. You will get one additional prompt to verify you want to continue and you should get a completion message in a minute or so.

	sh-2.05b# /floppy/ntfsresize -s9000M /dev/hda1

Start FDISK: Finally, we repartition with FDISK. Be careful here as a mistake will corrupt your hard drive, forcing you to have to reinstall Windoze and start from the beginning.

Start fdisk and use the "p" command to list the current partitions:

	sh-2.05b# fdisk /dev/hda

	Command (m for help): p

Delete Windoze Partition Entry: You should get a listing of the first and only partition: /dev/hda1. Delete it with the "d" command. If any other partitions are listed, delete them as well.

	Command (m for help): d

Recreate the Smaller Windoze Partition Entry: Create a new primary partition for the Windoze partition you resized earlier. It should be the same size as the resize value. Note the + before the size.

	Command (m for help): n
	Command action
	   e   extended
	   p   primary partition (1-4)
	p
	Partition number (1-4): 1
	First cylinder (1-4864, default 1): 1
	Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-4864, default 4864): +9000M

Modify its type to NTFS (type 7) and make it the boot partition ("a" command)

	Command (m for help): t
	Partition number (1-4): 1
	Hex code (type L to list codes): 7
	Changed system type of partition 1 to 7 (HPFS/NTFS)

	Command (m for help): a
	Partition number (1-4): 1

Create A New Partition With Free Space: Create a new partition for the remaining free space on the drive. You need to create this partition, or Windoze will undo your resizing and stick it back onto the first partition.

	Command (m for help): n
	Command action
	   e   extended
	   p   primary partition (1-4)
	p

	Partition number (1-4): 2
	First cylinder (1096-4864, default 1096): (choose default)
	Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-4864, default 4864): (choose default)

	Command (m for help): t
	Partition number (1-4): 2
	Hex code (type L to list codes): 7
	Changed system type of partition 2 to 7 (HPFS/NTFS)

Verify and Write: List the partitions with the "p" command. You should see a listing of the two partitions with the dimensions you specified. If you're satisfied, make the committment and write the new partitions:

	Command (m for help): p

	Device		Boot	Start	End	Blocks		Id	System
	/dev/hda1	*	1	1095	8795556		7	HPFS/NTFS
	/dev/hda2	*	1096	4864	30274492+	7	HPFS/NTFS

	Command (m for help): w
	The partition table has been altered!

	Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
	Syncing disks.

Reboot: CTRL ALT DELETE to reboot to Windows to check everything is right . CHKDSK will automatically run when you reboot and Install New Devices will run at startup to assign the new drive letter. If everything is good in Windoze, you can move on to the installation.


3. Installing Fedora

The Fedora installer (Anaconda) is relatively straightforward and should require no special concerns if you have some basic Linux knowledge. I am including my choices here for your reference

Media check: May be advisable since you don't want to find out disk 3 has a problem after your old OS has been blown away

Graphical installation: Works fine with this video chip

Welcome screen

Language selection - English

Keyboard configuration - U.S. English

Monitor Configuration

Unable to align partition properly: You can ignore this error message

Installation type: Custom gives you the most flexibility

Disk partitioning setup: Manually partition with Disk Druid

Disk setup: Assuming you have two existing partitions after splitting your NTFS partition, you can delete /dev/hda2 and use the free space to create your Linux partitions. My partition table is as follows. Note that I allow 1GB for swap space (assuming 2x upgraded RAM of 512MB) and have a 1GB /exchange partition to permit exchange of data with my Windoze side (there is no support for writing to NTFS filesystems).

	/dev/hda
		/dev/hda1		ntfs	8569MB
		/dev/hda2	/boot	ext3	100MB
		/dev/hda3	/	ext3	5000MB
	/dev/hda4 (extended)
		/dev/hda5	swap		1024MB
		/dev/hda6	/home	ext3	22440MB
		/dev/hda7	/exch	vfat	1000MB

Boot Loader Configuration (default)

Network Configuration (default): eth0 with DHCP (default)

Firewall Configuration: Defaults are appropriately stiff

Additional Language Support: only English USA

Time Zone

Set root password

Package Group Selection: Your choices will vary.

About to install: Installation with the above configuration uses disks 1-3 (not 4) and takes about 25 minutes. The "Remaining Time" values given by the installer are bogus.


4. Installation Tweaks

The following are some tweaks I have done to my installation to reflect my personal preferences. Not essential, but given here for your consideration.

First User Account: The custom configuration does not include creation of a user other than root. To preserve system security and integrity, you should spend as little time as possible logged in as root. Therefore a new user should be created. Log in as root and from the command line:

	useradd <username>
	passwd <username>

Memory Upgrade: This machine ships with 256MB of memory, of which 64MB is shared with the video chip. A memory upgrade will improve performance dramatically, especially with memory intensive applications like OpenOffice and Gimp. Memory can be purchased from numerous vendors online (my 256MB cost $30) and comes on small SODIMM boards. Although the machine can accept up to 2GB, my performance is fine with a 256MB upgrade (for a total of 512MB). The open memory slot is located in a small, vented compartment on the bottom of the machine.

Motif Window Manager (MWM). As an old-school Unix guy, I've never found desktops to be the most comfortable way to work. I actually prefer typing commands rather than using the mouse to hunt and peck. Helps the carpal tunnel in my right hand as well. However, X Windows is still useful for graphical applications and having multiple terminal windows.

Therefore, I use the very simple Motif Window Manager instead of KDE or Gnome. Create a .xinitrc in your home directory (/home/<username>) and type the following lines. This creates a single terminal window, puts a clock window at the bottom of the screen, sets the "desktop" color to blue and starts the window manager. When you type startx, from the text login, it will start. You can create additional windows from a popup menu when you right-click on the desktop.

	xterm &
	xclock -d -update 1 -geometry +819+710 &
	xsetroot -solid navy
	exec mwm

Text Login. I prefer to see what's going on with my machine rather than have the boot messages hidden behind a glitzy bitmap. Therefore, I have configured my machine to boot in run level 3 (text mode) rather than run level 5 (X windows mode). This will give you a command line prompt for login. The configuration above (with no KDE or GNOME) will do this automatically, but you can do this at any time. As superuser, edit the /etc/inittab file and change the line:

	id:5:initdefault:

	to

	id:3:initdefault:

If you chose text login mode, you will be given a VGA login prompt when you initially boot Linux. After you login, you type startx to start the X Windows desktop. Be aware that the screen will go completely black for a few seconds while X starts.

Touchpad. My personal opinion is that the touchpad is the worst laptop innovation of the last five years. Aside from the fact they're hard to use, I began developing significant wrist problems in the months immediately after getting my first touchpad machine. Unfortunately, almost all laptops are equipped with touchpads nowadays. I purchased a USB trackball mouse that largely alleviated the wrist problems. If a supported mouse is plugged in when installing Linux, it will probably be detected and configured during installation. However, the touchpad will also be enabled. Input devices are located in the /dev/input dirctory and the /dev/input/mice entry apparently aggregates all connected pointing devices. /dev/input/mouse0 is just the touchpad and /dev/input/mouse1 is dynamically assigned to the USB mouse. Edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and change: (reference)

	Section "InputDevice"
		Identifier  "Mouse0"
		Driver      "mouse"
		Option	    "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
		Option	    "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
		Option	    "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
		Option	    "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
	EndSection

To...

	Section "InputDevice"
		Identifier  "Mouse0"
		Driver      "mouse"
		Option	    "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
		Option	    "Device" "/dev/input/mouse1"
		Option	    "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
		Option	    "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
	EndSection

Cron Scripts. Within a few minutes of booting Linux, you may notice a flurry of disk activity. If your system stays on for an extended period of time, you may notice similar activity early in the morning (mine starts at 4:02AM). A program called anacron runs system administration programs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The configuration file is /etc/anacrontab runs the script /usr/bin/run-parts, which in turn points to the directories containing other scripts, /etc/cron.daily and /etc/cron.weekly. makewhatis.cron can be very disk intensive, but it is helpful for keeping the database used for the man -k or whatis commands up to date. I deleted /etc/cron.daily/tetex.cron which deletes unused TeX fonts (since I never use TeX). I left tmpwatch (which cleans out unused files in the /tmp directory), and logrotate (which cleans up old system logs).

Unneeded Services. To reduce boot time, improve system performance and enhance security, unneeded services should be turned off. chkconfig can be used to list active services and to turn services on or off:

	/sbin/chkconfig --list
	/sbin/chkconfig <service> on
	/sbin/chkconfig <service> off

Below is a list of things I have turned off.

	sgi_fam
	rpcidmapd
	rpcsvcgssd
	rpcgssd
	messagebus (application communication)
	mdmonitor (RAID)
	autofs (automount)
	apmd
	mdmpd (device monitoring?)
	cups (printer)
	irqbalance (multiprocessor support)
	kudzu (hardware changes)
	netfs (automount network file systems)
	isdn
	sshd
	smartd
	sendmail
	nfslock
	gpm (some kind of mouse server)
	rawdevices (needed for Oracle)
	rhnsd (Red Hat network)
	xinetd

GLIB / GTK 1.2: Some applications that use GLIB/GTK for their user interface (such as xmms and xcdroast) may fail with the following message when you try to configure them for compilation:

	*** The glib-config script installed by GLIB could not be found
	*** If GLIB was installed in PREFIX, make sure PREFIX/bin is in
	*** your path, or set the GLIB_CONFIG environment variable to the
	*** full path to glib-config.
	configure: error: *** GLIB >= 1.2.2 not installed - please install first ***

The problem is that the v2.3 glib/gtk+ development libraries are installed but the v1.2 libraries are not installed. RPMs for these libraries are on Fedora installation CD #2. Installing them will allow you to compile.

	rpm -i /mnt/cdrom/Fedora/RPMS/glib-devel-1.2.10-12.1.1.i386.rpm
	rpm -i /mnt/cdrom/Fedora/RPMS/gtk+-devel-1.2.10-29.1.1.i386.rpm

5. Sound

This machine uses a Realtek ALC250 (rev 2) AC97 audio chip integrated with the Intel 82801DB-ICH4 I/O Controller Hub and AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 03).

ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) has now superceded the old OSS (Open Sound System) as the Linux audio standard. ALSA is much more robust than OSS, but also much more complicated. ALSA comes in multiple packages and loads a significant and confusing number of modules when it is started. As such, configuration problems are rather difficult to diagnose.

ALSA is installed with Fedora, although there are often configuration problems with laptop sound chips. Because it's been so long since I did a clean install, I'm not certain if there are any problems with the default installation of ALSA and this machine. When I first installed Fedora, I disabled ALSA so I could use MMUSBAUDIO to drive my Edirol UA-5 USB Audio Interface.

Reinstallation Solves Problems: The default solution to many ALSA problems seems to be to reinstall. I did have numerous problems when trying to reinstall ALSA, which are documented below in case other people have similar issues.

Uninstall Existing ALSA: Before recompiling ALSA, you should remove any existing installation of ALSA from your system. If ALSA was installed with RPM packages (i.e. when the OS was installed), you can find installed packages with

	rpm -qa | grep alsa

ALSA packages can be removed with "rpm -e". Because ALSA is tightly integrated into a number of other packages, you will need to use the --nodeps option. You may also want to consider removing the dependent packages if you don't need them. The packages I removed included:

	alsa-utils-1.0.3-1
	alsa-lib-1.0.3a-2
	system-config-soundcard-1.2.8-1
	firstboot-1.3.14-1

You should probably not remove the Enlightened Sound Daemon (esound-0.2.34-2 in FC2) which is used by the Macromedia Flash Player (and will cause a crash if not present) and incorporates the Audio File Library. Similarly, you should not remove the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL-1.2.7-3 in FC2), which is a cross-platform multimedia library used by programs like mplayer.

If you have an ALSA that was compiled and installed from source, the source Makefile has a "make uninstall" target that can be used for uninstallation.

Download: ALSA is not available from the ALSA website in binary form and must be recompiled from source. Depending on the version and configuration of your kernel, you may need an older version. With FC2, I found success with the 1.0.5a version of ALSA, not the most current (1.0.9 at the time of this writing).

You will need four packages, which can be downloaded from the ALSA site:

You may also want the alsa-plugins and alsa-tools to use with JACK.

Compile: Each package must be configured, compiled and installed as superuser IN THE ORDER GIVEN ABOVE: lib, driver, utils and oss:

	./configure
	make install

Configuration: The ALSA utility /usr/sbin/alsaconf can be used to detect and configure ALSA. Follow the prompts.

Problems: My first indication of an ALSA problem was when I attempted to use alsamixer, which gave the message:

	$ alsamixer
	No mixer elems found

An attempt to diagnose the problem with amixer gave the message below, indicating that the driver was running, but had no mixer controls:

	$ amixer info
	Card default 'Modem'/'Intel 82801DB-ICH4 Modem at 0x2400, irq 11'
	  Mixer name    : 'Silicon Laboratory Si3036/8 rev 7'
	  Components    : 'AC97m'
	  Controls      : 0
	  Simple ctrls  : 0

When I installed ALSA versions 1.0.9a and 1.0.7, starting ALSA failed and dmesg indicated a long list of unresolved module symbols, including the following:

	snd_pcm: Unknown symbol snd_dma_reserve_buf
	snd_pcm: Unknown symbol snd_dma_get_reserved_buf
	snd_ac97_codec: Unknown symbol snd_interval_refine
	snd_ac97_codec: Unknown symbol snd_pcm_hw_rule_add

Again, the solution to all these problems was to install an older version of ALSA (1.0.5a).


6. Power Management and Fan

Older laptops used BIOS driven APM power management but most laptops now use ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) which requires some software support in the OS for complete support. ACPI handles hibernation/standby as well as the fan and disk shutdown.

The Celeron M processor in this machines runs relatively cool compared to its desktop brethren and the thermostat on the motherboard handles turning the fan on and off pretty well. Because various Linux daemons access the hard drive sporadically, the hard drive is never inactive long enough to spin down. So, ACPI is largely irrelevant on this machine for basic operation.

A kernel module is available for viewing and setting custom functions (like fan and battery status) in this system's Phoenix BIOS. Despite the name, you need the Omnibook kernel module available HERE. When installed, this module provides system files in the /proc/omnibook system directory. Download the kernel module, make install and modprobe omnibook to get it up and running. Full details on the /proc/omnibook/* files are given in the README with the kernel module.

This module can be loaded at boot time by adding the following line to /etc/rc.local:

	/sbin/modprobe omnibook

When diagnosing overheating issues, listing /proc/omnibook/temperature will list the current CPU temperature. The CPU automatically shuts down when it gets over 70°C for a few seconds.

The toshiba_acpi module is written for a different BIOS and DOES NOT WORK on this machine.

There is some Alpha level support for ACPI (ACPI4Linux), but it doesn't seem to handle the fan very well. Other features like suspend to disk are not yet supported, so I don't see any reason to have the ACPI daemon (acpid) running. Because the kernel and file system have daemons that frequently write to the disk drive, the disk drive is never inactive long enough to spin down.

To turn the ACPI daemon off:

	chkconfig acpid off

Since Centrino M and Celeron M processors do not require as much cooling as their desktop counterparts, they are probably not as susceptable to clogged heat sinks as earlier laptops. However, if you use this machine around pets or in a dusty work environment, you may start to have overheating problems after a few months of operation. There is a cover on the bottom of the machine that can apparently be removed for cleaning, although I haven't had to do this yet. Use extreme caution (or find a trained professional) since it is very easy to mess up your motherboard beyond repair with an electrostatic discharge.


7. Networking and Internet

Ethernet

The Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC is supported by the kernel with no additional drivers needed. You can use numerous GUIs to configure the card, but the cleanest method is simply to create a /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file with these contents:

	DEVICE=eth0
	TYPE=Ethernet
	STARTMODE=onboot
	ONBOOT=yes
	BOOTPROTO=dhcp

If you are setting up a home network with no DHCP server (or ISP connection) to provide IP addresses, a typical static ifcfg-eth0 file:

	DEVICE=eth0
	TYPE=Ethernet
	STARTMODE=onboot
	BOOTPROTO=static
	IPADDR=172.16.1.1
	NETMASK=255.240.0.0

The interface will be started at boot time with the above configurations. You can also manually bring the interface up or down with the /sbin/ifup eth0 and /sbin/ifdown eth0 commands.

Wireless

The Atheros AR5005GS Wireless Network Adapter (802.11b/g) in this machine is supported by the MadWiFi driver. Supposedly the hardware supports 802.11a, but I guess the MadWiFi driver doesn't support 802.11a, which isn't that important since 802.11a is rarely used. Installation requires a bit of massage...

sharutils: The Makefile uses uudecode for decoding a file encrypted with IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (uuencode). This utility is included in the sharutils RPM that doesn't seem to be included with the standard installation package groups. The RPM is located on installation CD #3. You can check to see if it is installed with

	rpm -qa | grep sharutil

Or just install it from the CD:

	rpm -i /mnt/cdrom/Fedora/RPMS/sharutils*

Download / Compile / Install: Download the most recent version of the MadWiFi driver from the website, then unpackage the tarball and make:

	tar -zxvf
	cd mad*

Kludge for Lock-up Problem: A number of users have observed that the MadWiFi kernel module will completely lock up the system when executing modprobe -r, rmmod or performing an ifdown followed by an ifup. Much love to Andargor The Wise for finding a kludge that will solve the problem. In the madwifi directory edit the ath/if_ath.c file and comment out (place a "//") at the beginning of the line that looks like this:

	ath_hal_setpower(sc->sc_ah, HAL_PM_FULL_SLEEP, 0);

This is on line 1006 of the version I downloaded - the file date is 5/19/05. There is an ominous comment before this line that indicates why this is a problem. Also demonstrates the value of strategically placed descriptive comments.

	Set the chip in full sleep mode.  Note that we are
        careful to do this only when bringing the interface
        completely to a stop.  When the chip is in this state
        it must be carefully woken up or references to
        registers in the PCI clock domain may freeze the bus
        (and system).  This varies by chip and is mostly an
        issue with newer parts that go to sleep more quickly.

Compile and Install:

	make install

modprobe.conf: You should add the following entry to /etc/modprobe.conf so the driver is loaded when you try to bring the interface up:

	alias ath0 ath_pci

You can also manually load the module with: /sbin/modprobe ath_pci

Configuration File: While there are numerous GUIs for configuring wireless parameters, it is cleanest just to manually create the configuration files yourself. Network interface configuration scripts are located in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts and are named ifcfg-xxxx, where xxxx is the name of the interface. The MadWiFI driver creates an interface named ath0, so you should create a /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ath0 with the following contents:

	DEVICE=ath0
	NAME=ath0
	BOOTPROTO=dhcp
	ONBOOT=no
	MODE=Managed
	ESSID=xxxxx

The ESSID entry should be set to the SSID of the wireless access point you are trying to connect to. I believe that if you omit this line, the card will simply attempt to connect to the most powerful access point. If you want to know what access points are available you can use the iwlist command:

	/sbin/iwlist ath0 scan

Start The Interface: Start the interface with the ifup command. You can bring it down later with ifdown.

	/sbin/ifup ath0

The ONBOOT option in the config file (given above) can be set to "yes" to start the interface automatically at boot time, although it is safer to leave it off until you actually need it.

Dial-up Modem

The internal modem built into this machine is a Winmodem, which is basically a cheap analog telephone interface with the actual modem signal processing provided in software drivers. The Intel 82801DB (ICH4) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 03) (BCP\VEN_8086&DEV_24C6&SUBSYS_00011179&REV_03\3&61AAA01&0&FE) uses an Agere Systems codec SIL27 subsystem and is supported by the cumbersome slmodem driver, not the slick ltmodem driver.

Download / Compile / Install: Download the most recent Smartlink modem driver (I'm using slmodem-2.9.9d). Decompress and make:

	tar -zxvf slmodem*
	chmod slmodem*
	make
	make install

Start: As the name implies, the slmodemd uses a daemon that must be started before dialing. You must load the slamr kernel module before starting the daemon. You can include this in a script to simplify connection.

	/sbin/modprobe slamr
	/usr/sbin/slmodemd --country=USA /dev/slamr0

When you start the daemon, it should issue a message like:

	SmartLink Soft Modem: version 2.9.10 Mar 23 2005 11:52:23
	symbolic link `/dev/ttySL0' -> `/dev/pts/2' created.
	modem `slamr0' created. TTY is `/dev/pts/2'
	Use `/dev/ttySL0' as modem device, Ctrl+C for termination.

As the message indicates, the modem device provided by the daemon is /dev/ttySL0.

Dial: Finally, you need a program to dial out and establish the PPP connection. I use wvdial, an excellent, no-nonsense command line program that can be used to test and use the modem. All you need is one simple config file. Given the modem setup above, the following is my /etc/wvdial.conf file. You should modify the username/password to the one given by your ISP. Note the Carrier Check parameter is necessary to use this driver

	[Dialer Defaults]
	Modem = /dev/ttySL0
	Phone = 1-212-202-6884
	Username = (ISP username)
	Password = (ISP password)
	Carrier Check = no

If you prefer a dialer with a GUI, kppp seems relatively popular and also uses the wvdial.conf file.

ALSA: The modem interface is integrated with the sound chip. Both involve analog audio signal processing and this is a cost and space saving design choice. As such, ALSA's snd-intel8x0m module can be used in lieu of the slamr module. However, the --alsa option must then be specified when you start the daemon. I don't know of any advantage to using snd-intel8x0m over slamr, but the option is there if you have a problem or preference.

	/sbin/modprobe snd-intel8x0m
	/usr/sbin/slmodemd --alsa --country=USA /dev/ttySL0
	/sbin/wvdial

The following resources can be helpful for WinModem issues:


8. Windoze Interoperability

XP Partition. If you left an NTFS partition on the drive at install time it is possible to access it READ-ONLY. Fearing the beast, Red Hat has not included the NTFS driver with Fedora. However, installation is simple.

Download: Download from the Linux-NTFS website. The easiest approach is to download an RPM. Note that Fedora 2 uses the 2.6.5-1.358 kernel. You can verify your kernel version with uname -r

Install the RPM:

	rpm -i kernel-ntfs-2.6.5-1.358.i686.rpm

Verify the Partition: The NTFS partition is usually /dev/hda1, but you can verify that with

	/sbin/fdisk -l /dev/hda

Create a mountpoint:

	mkdir /windoze

Add an entry to /etc/fstab (permits read/execute for everyone)

	/dev/hda1           /windoze                ntfs    defaults,umask=0222 0 0 

Mount

	mount /windoze

Sharing Files with XP: Because the NTFS driver does not provide write access, if you want to be able to share files between Linux and Windoze, one strategy can be to create a separate VFAT partition at installation as a shared space.

Accessing Linux partitions from XP. I am told that there are a couple of utilities that allow you to access a Linux partition from Windoze, although that's a scary thought and I've never tried either of them: fsdext2 and explore2fs.

Booting XP. If you left a bootable NTFS partition when you installed Linux you should have no problem booting XP. By default, GRUB (the GRand Unified Boot loader) loads Linux at boot time. However, you will get a screen briefly at boot time that will allow you to use the down/up arrow keys to select Windoze or Linux as the OS. Press RETURN after making your selection. FYI - the /boot/grub/grub.conf file contains the configuration options for GRUB and you can edit this file to change configuration parameters, such as the OS titles or splash screen displayed when GRUB starts.

Wine. WINE is a Linux Windoze emulator that can be used to run Windoze programs (including office suites). My early experiences were largely unsuccessful but I assume it has matured significantly over the past few years. If you need to run Windoze programs like M$-Turd, Exhell and the Windoze Media Player, Crossover Office from Code Weavers has an implementation of Wine that guarantees successful running of specific software. My modest office software needs are met by Open Office and I urge you make an attempt to divorce yourself from the Evil Empire.


9. True Type Fonts

X Windows supports True Type fonts.

Copy Fonts: Create a new directory at /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype and copy your TrueType fonts into that directory.

Create Font Configuration Files: Create the fonts.scale and fonts.dir

	cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype
	ttmkfdir
	mkfontdir

Configure font directory: Add the new directory to the "catalogue" section of /etc/X11/fs/config

	catalogue = /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled,
        	    /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled,
	            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled,
        	    /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1,
	            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo,
        	    /usr/share/fonts/default/Type1,
	            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype

Get out of X Windows and startx again so X loads the fonts. You can verify loading of the fonts by using the xlsfonts command. Times New Roman is a common font and grep does a search on the output piped from xlsfonts:

	xlsfonts | grep "times new roman"

You can also transfer .ttf files from other machines via floppy or CDROM. Note that there are different font files for the italic, bold, bold italic and regular versions of the fonts. Some of the True Type files can be very large so you may need to use multiple floppys. After copying them to the font directory you must run through the subsequent configuration steps again.

OpenOffice: Although the OpenOffice Font Troubleshooting Guide indicates that TrueType fonts that are in a path listed by /usr/sbin/chkfontpath should be available to OpenOffice, that doesn't seem to be true. My fonts installed in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype are not visible in the OpenOffice font dropdowns. You will need to copy the .ttf files to /usr/share/fonts/openoffice. You do not need to restart X (reference)


10. CD Writing

The built-in CD-RW drive is detected by the installation program and no further configuration is necessary. cdrecord is the program included with Red Hat for recording CDs.

8.1 Data CD

I use the CD-Writer to perform backups of my /home directory. It can, of course, be used to create any kind of CD, but the following instructions are specific to burning a backup CD for a single directory tree.

You can probably put all these commands in a script to simplify CD writing, but I am including explicit commands here for clarity. Because things can go wrong at any step and waste media, you might want to do things explicitly from the console for awhile.

Create the CD image with the mkisofs utility. mkisofs was created when you compiled cdrecord. See the section above for information on compiling cdrecord and installing mkisofs. Supposedly it is possible to pipe the output of mkisofs directly into cdrecord without using an image file. However, every time I tried to do this I got "loss of streaming" errors.

/home/cdimage is an output file from mkisofs that will be used to burn the CD later. This is an arbitrary name...you can put your image anywhere you like (except the directory you're archiving?) [source_directory] is the root of the directory tree that you want to copy. The -r option sets the permissions of all files to be public readable on the CD and enables RockRidge-extensions. The -J option (MS Joliet extensions) can be used to generate a more Windoze friendly CD, but I have had problems with the option yielding the message "tree sort failed".

This will take a few minutes.

	mkisofs -r -o /home/cdimage [source directory]

Linux has the ability to mount files as if they were disk partitions. This feature is useful to check that the directory layout and file access permissions of the CD image match your wishes. Once you've tested CD-Writing on your system, this step is unnecessary.

	mount -t iso9660 -o ro,loop=/dev/loop0 /home/cdimage /mnt/cdrom

Now you can inspect the files under /mnt/cdrom -- they appear exactly as they were on a real CD. To umount the CD-image:

	umount /mnt/cdrom

CD-writers need to be fed with a constant stream of data. The process of writing the CD image to the CD must not be interrupted or a corrupt CD will result. Don't do anything with heavy disk access while writing the CD. Mechanical shock to the writer can also ruin the write. I would reccommend going away and doing something else while the CD is burning...it will take 70 minutes for a full CD.

	cdrecord -v speed=8 --dev=/dev/cdrom -data /home/cdimage

Although the writer is capable of 16x writing, I have had problems with buffer underflow at high speed, but speed=8 seems to work consistently.

	Min drive buffer fill was 95%
	Fixating...
	cdrecord: Input/output error. close track/session: scsi sendcmd: no error
	CDB:  5B 00 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
	status: 0x2 (CHECK CONDITION)
	Sense Bytes: 70 00 05 00 00 00 00 0A 00 00 00 00 2C 00 00 00
	Sense Key: 0x5 Illegal Request, Segment 0
	Sense Code: 0x2C Qual 0x00 (command sequence error) Fru 0x0
	Sense flags: Blk 0 (not valid) 
	cmd finished after 0.002s timeout 480s
	cmd finished after 0.002s timeout 480s
	cdrecord: Cannot fixate disk.
	Fixating time:    0.004s
	cdrecord: fifo had 7474 puts and 7411 gets.
	cdrecord: fifo was 0 times empty and 6772 times full, min fill was 59%.

8.2 Audio CDs

Recording an audio CD is actually a bit simpler than burning a data CD. If you have your audio files all in one directory in .wav format, the following example will burn them all on separate tracks. Since the list will be in alphabetical order, you will need to determine the order of tracks by appending some kind of alphabetical prefix to the track names (i.e. 01_your_song.wav, 02_my_song.wav, 03_his_song.wav, etc.)

	cdrecord -v speed=8 --dev=/dev/cdrom -pad -audio *.wav

The recorder records audio CDs at 16x speed, but as with data CDs I have had underflow problems at 16x. speed=8 works well. I have had problems with audio CDs recorded with the speed=1 and speed=4 options. cdrecord completes successfully but the CDs are then unreadable by the CD drive. I thought lowering the speed might remove the potential for error and buffer underflow, but it appears the drive or the drivers don't handle lower speeds well.

Reference:

8.3 CDRDAO

CDRDAO is a command line program for writing CDs in disk-at-once (DAO) mode. CDRECORD on most CD writers will only write in track-at-once mode, turning off the laser between track writes and forcing a 2-second gap between audio tracks (since the stream of pits on the CD stops between tracks). Although this usually does not cause problems, the preferred way to write a CD is disk-at-once as a single stream of pits - to prevent tracking errors and in case you want to send the CD to a duplicator to make bulk copies. CDRDAO provides capability for specifying a number of different parameters for disk writing, including specific timings between tracks, UPC numbers and CD-TEXT (album and track names) for writer drivers that support it.

With this added capability comes additional work in setting up the write. CDRDAO requres a text file that defines what the TOC will look like on the written disk. Although the format for this file is not complicated, it is a bit more work than simply specifying a set of files on the command line, as CDRECORD allows.

The internal CD writer is supported. To write, use the following command. Note that you must be SUPERUSER to write a CD.

	cdrdao write --driver generic-mmc --device 0,0,0 toc_file

11. DVD Viewing

Fedora does not include a DVD player due to fear of the Fascist MPAA and their expensive lawyers. However, numerous players (mplayer, xine, ogle) are available on the web and the DVD drive on this machine plays DVD's beautifully.

Ogle. Comes in easy-to-install RPM packages. The user interface isn't as pretty as Xine, but it is much simpler and more functional (especially chapter selection). You will need three RPMs: libdvdcss, libdvdread, and ogle. Although Fedora is not mentioned on the home page, you can use the RPMs for Red Hat.

Install the RPMs with the rpm command line program:

	rpm -i libdvdcss-1.2.8-1.fr.i386.rpm
	rpm -i libdvdread-0.9.4-ogle1.i386.rpm
	rpm -i ogle-0.9.2-ogle1.i586.rpm

The ogle command starts the program

	ogle /dev/cdrom

There is a config file you can setup as well as a GUI if you're so inclined.

Much love to DVD Jon for enduring all the legal nonsense so the rest of us can play DVDs we bought with hardware we own.

People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than the example of our power. (Bill Clinton)