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Linux kernel 4.11.12

July 26, 2017 — BarryK
I have compiled kernel 4.11.12, with two third-party patches.
Firstly, aufs, secondly realtek 8723bu wifi driver.

I also brought back the "usb-storage" patch, which is a small patch that logs some extra USB memory probing to dmesg.

Configured the kernel as before, except one change, disabled Device Drivers --> SATA --> legacy ISA PATA Support.
This was builtin, now have completely removed it. This is CONFIG_PATA_LEGACY.

The wifi driver is needed for the Alpha Litebook, and the CONFIG_PATA_LEGACY caused slow bootup.

PETs (41.7M, 1.1M, 146M):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/linux_kernel-4.11.12-aufs-xerus-amd64.pet
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/linux_headers-4.11.12.pet
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/kernel_src-4.11.12-patched.pet

Kernel source, patches, build scripts:
http://barryk.org/sources/kernel-4.11.12-aufs/
u#se#r: p#up#py p#as#sw#d: l#in#ux

Tags: linux

Fontwizard improved

July 25, 2017 — BarryK
Fontwizard version 0.0.1 was released by 01micko in January 2013. This is a GUI app for enhancing fonts for LCD screens.

It has languished since then. I can't find where 01micko originally announced it, and there don't seem to have been any later versions.

There are some issues with fonts in Quirky Xerus 8.2, that we are discussing in the forum.

Forum member radky is the creator of some great apps that are in Quirky. The latest addition is JWMDesk, and using it has lead to the fonts discussion.

Here is a post by radky:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=961712#961712

This is excellent. I have put this new script, 'fontwizard' into the PET, and updated the version from 0.0.1-1 to 0.0.2 (2KB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/noarch/packages/pet_packages-noarch/fontwizard-0.0.2.pet

Tags: quirky, linux

pEqualizer fixed, maybe

July 24, 2017 — BarryK
pEqualizer is a GUI equalizer created by 01micko and zigbert, that can run standalone and is also used by Pmusic.
Forum thread:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=81889

Quirky 8.2 has version 0.9.0, which we have found to be broken:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=961642#961642

I searched online and found pequalizer-1.0.0.pet, which has a bugfix so it will work in Slacko. However, still broken for Debian/Ubuntu.

I have fixed pEqualizer and bumped the version to 1.0.1 (5KB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/noarch/packages/pet_packages-noarch/pequalizer-1.0.1.pet

Note to users of Quirky 8.2, you will need to install 'caps' and 'libasound2-plugin-equal' DEBs from the Package Manager.

I am still not sure if it is working, there may be a problem with using the utility 'amixer', that pEqualizer calls.

Tags: quirky, linux

Sound and keyboard buglets

July 24, 2017 — BarryK
Forum member Philb has been testing Quirky 8.2 and reported some little bugs.

For a frugal installation, audio level settings were not being preserved over a reboot. Fixed.

At first bootup, if a non-US keyboard is chosen in the main window of QuickSetup, it is followed by XkdConfigManager, which is to fine-tune keyboard layout localization.
There was a "Please wait" popup on top of the latter window. Fixed.
There were also a couple of missing icons on buttons in XkbConfigManager, also fixed.

Tags: quirky, linux

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 23, 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 23, 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 21, 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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