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Multiple Sound Card Wizard improved

July 23, 2017 — BarryK
Quirky 8.2 tester Philb reported some sound issues, and posted a link to an improved MSCW by Geoffrey:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=961550#961550

Geoffrey's forum post is here:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=100033

...that thread continues on with improvements by jlst, and I even see that I posted, that I had downloaded jlst's PET -- however, I got distracted then never got back to it.

Quirky has MSCW (Multiple Sound Card Wizard) version 2.2. This was originally written by kirk, with updates by npierce, rodin.s, 01micko, BK (me).

I have put Geoffrey's script into the PET and bumped the version to 3.0. The PET has a pinstall.sh script, that renames /usr/bin/alsamixer to alsamixer.bin, and alsamixer.script to alsamixer -- that was in 2.2 and left it in 3.0.

I haven't checked out the PET by jlst, and Philb has reported that Geoffrey's script works, and it is fairly minimal change to the previous script.

The new PET (2KB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/noarch/packages/pet_packages-noarch/mscw-3.0.pet

Tags: linux

Quirky Installer improved

July 22, 2017 — BarryK
The Quirky Installer, which is launched via the "install" icon on the desktop, or in the menu Setup --> Quirky Universal Installer, has a couple of limitations in Quirky 8.2.

One of the Quirky testers complained that he had to download the ISO file a second time, to do an installation to a partition.
I don't know why, as he would have downloaded it to burn the live-CD -- presume he must have deleted it after that.
Anyway, I have taken it onboard to fix...

Installing to a drive or partition, it requires the downloaded ISO, from which to extract the files. The frugal install, on the otherhand, allows a choice of ISO, CD, or a folder (with vmlinuz, q.sfs and initrd.q).
I have enhanced install to drive or partition to also have this flexibility.

Another tester complained that installation is very slow. Yeah, even with my i5 CPU, a frugal install is painfully slow. A "Please wait..." message displays, and you have to wait, and wait.
The install script opens up q.sfs, using 'unsquashfs', modifies it, then creates a new q.sfs in the target location. The script has a 'sync' operation after running 'unsquashfs' and this is the holdup. q.sfs is about 400MB, xz compressed, and expands to about 3 times that, which the 'sync' flushes to the drive. I am surprised how slow that is. Um, but I am doing the work on an external USB drive.

Anyway, I have greatly speeded up the script by not having 'sync', instead just a 'fsync' on the target q.sfs. But then, my PC has 16GB of RAM, so a big advantage not syncing.

All of this work is happening in /usr/local/install_quirky

Tags: quirky, linux

Sub-100 dollar x86 combo boards

July 22, 2017 — BarryK
I have an interest in x86 hacker boards, in the price range where they compete with the plethora of cheap tiny ARM-based boards. Not just price, but cost-effectiveness, the features that you get for that price.

The chap who runs cnx-software.com also has an interest in this, and posts whenever he finds some new inexpensive x86 board.

Leaving out boards that come in an enclosure for now, just looking at bare "combo" boards with a CPU, there are some sub-US$100.

Sapphire BP-LX210KL
http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/07/07/89-sapphire-bp-lx210kl-board-is-powered-by-amd-g-series-lx-dual-core-processor/

That is the most amazing heatsink!
The price is reported as US$89, but I cannot confirm that, and I doubt an individual purchase price would be that low. I noticed one comment that it doesn't have sata and msata is dying.

ASRock N3150
These are available for around US$70 to US$80, for individual purchase.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157621>http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/07/12/intel-braswell-motherboards-n3150-n3050-are-now-available-for-60-and-up/
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157621



aliexpress.com
This site has lots of x86 boards:
https://qotom.aliexpress.com/store/group/Nano-ITX-board/108231_254906486.html?spm=2114.10010108.100008.21.mRthqK

With these boards, we have to factor in the cost of memory and power supply, and postage. I can buy 4GB DDR3 RAM locally for AU$38, which is about US$29.
There doesn't really seem to be an x86 "ARM-killer" hacker board out there yet.

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Auto disable touchpad if external mouse connected

July 20, 2017 — BarryK
While researching how to fix the touchpad on the Alpha Litebook, I came across this page:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Touchpad_Synaptics

Noticed a udev rule to disable the touchpad if an external mouse is detected. For myself, I like this, as find it annoying when accidentally brush the touchpad and it does something unexpected. I always use a USB mouse.

So, have put this into woofQ, file /etc/udev/rules.d/01-touchpad-disable.rules:
# ref: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Touchpad_Synaptics

# disable touchpad if mouse detected...
SUBSYSTEM=="input", KERNEL=="mouse[0-9]*", ATTRS{name}!="*TouchPad", ATTRS{name}!="*Stick", ACTION=="add", ENV{DISPLAY}=":0", ENV{XAUTHORITY}="/home/username/.Xauthority", RUN+="/usr/bin/synclient TouchpadOff=1"
SUBSYSTEM=="input", KERNEL=="mouse[0-9]*", ATTRS{name}!="*TouchPad", ATTRS{name}!="*Stick", ACTION=="remove", ENV{DISPLAY}=":0", ENV{XAUTHORITY}="/home/username/.Xauthority", RUN+="/usr/bin/synclient TouchpadOff=0"
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pmcputemp CPU temperature monitor

July 20, 2017 — BarryK
There hasn't been a temperature monitor in the tray in Quirky for a long time, however, I notice that a couple of testers of 8.2 have installed pmcputemp.

pmcputemp is created by 01micko (Michael), who is also the guy behind the Slacko Puppy Linux releases. 01micko is also one of the main guys who setup, and continues to maintain, woof-CE, the community-based build system for Puppy Linux.

Here is forum discussion of pmcputemp:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=98299

The latest source is here:
https://github.com/01micko/pmcputemp

I have compiled it in Quirky Xerus 8.2 and created a PET. This will be in the next release of Quirky.

My desktop midi-tower runs so cool. The thing has fans all over it. It is a PC that I bought secondhand earlier this year, and it continues to run well.
pmcputemp was reading around 22 degrees C, so I watched NASA live-feed from space, at 720p -- very nice -- and the temperature crept up a bit, peaked at 35 degrees.

The NASA feed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtU_mdL2vBM

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woofQ tarball uploaded

July 19, 2017 — BarryK
For anyone who wants it, this is a tarball of woofQ, as used to build Quirky Xerus x86_64 version 8.2 final.

Download (47M):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/project/woof-project-20170719.tar.gz
md5sum:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/project/woof-project-20170719.tar.gz.md5.txt

It will expand to folder 'woof-project' and at woof-project/quirky/ there is a README file, also another useful README inside woof-project/quirky/woof-code.

Note, I maintain woofQ online as a "bones" minimalistic VCS, see explanation here:
http://bkhome.org/news/201604/woofq-uploaded-for-quirky-80.html

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky Xerus64 8.2 final

July 19, 2017 — BarryK
This is it, the final official version 8.2 release of Quirky Linux Xerus series. This is for PCs with x86_64 (64-bit) CPUs.

Announcement blurb and release notes are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.2/release-xerus64-8.2.htm

There is a beautiful new theme:


There is a choice to download, either a live-CD ISO file, or an image file for 8GB or greater USB Flash stick. Install instructions:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.2/howto-install.htm

Primary download site:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.2/
Fast mirror:
https://ftp.nluug.nl/os/Linux/distr/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.2/

To turn Quirky into a complete compiler environment, install just one PET package (334M):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/devx-8.2-xerus64.pet
Also, kernel patched source is available as a PET (146M):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/kernel_src-4.11.11-patched.pet

To patch and compile the kernel:
http://barryk.org/sources/kernel-4.11.9-aufs/, and
http://barryk.org/sources/kernel-4.11.11-aufs/
U#se#r: p#up#py P#as#sw#or#d: l#in#ux

Forum thread for feedback:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=106460

Please note that I have not provided a Service Pack to upgrade from Xerus 8.1.6, as I want to examine some possible issues with the mechanism. I do expect though, upgrade to 8.2.1 will be by a simple Service Pack PET package.

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Alpha Litebook laptop

July 18, 2017 — BarryK
Puppy Forum member muggins (David) purchased one of these laptops:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/litebook-launches-cheap-chromebook-like-linux-laptop-powered-by-elementary-os-513578.shtml

However, he decided that he didn't want it, and offered it to me. I offered to pay him something, but he didn't want any money. That is extremely generous.

The reason behind the offer, is I posted awhile back that I wanted to replace my baby laptop with Cherry Trail CPU, as it has problems running Linux.

The Alpha Litebook has a Intel Celeron N3150 CPU, which is 14nm technology, 6W TDP and 1.6GHz (2.1GHz burst). This is a more Linux-froendly CPU.

It arrived this afternoon, and I eagerly fired it up. It comes with Linux, however, I am keen to run Quirky Linux on it.
No problem with configuring the UEFI-setup to boot from a Quirky Xerus 8.2 USB stick, but...

The kernel loaded, then just got a blank screen with a blinking cursor at lop-left. Rebooted with "loglevel=7" so I can see what is happening, and saw messages like this:

ata3: Link is slow to respond, please be patient (ready=0)
ata3: SRST failed (errno=-16)
ata3: Reset failed


Anyway, after 2 minutes and 20 seconds, spewing out the above messages repeatedly, it booted and I got a desktop. Well, after bootup, it all looks good, sound, drives all working.

I examined the GRUB config, can't see any special kernel boot parameters. So, the next thing to do is compare the kernel configuration of the Linux that the laptop came with. It is kernel 4.4.66.

Quite a nice laptop, hi-res screen, good specs for such a low price.

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