Good news in linux-land

I have already mentioned earlier, that my new laptop and Fedora (back then in version 8) work quite flawlessly together. Things are always on a move, and since that other post, Fedora has been moving forward and it was released in version 9, codename Sulphur.

The change delivered several improvements. For me particularily useful are the new error-message-system of evolution (no annoying pop-ups anymore), Firefox 3 (still in beta/rc, though) and the better suspend/resume stuff. There is no more need for any quirks and the overall suspend/hibernate/resume-feeling is way better than it was ever before. In addition with another new Sulphur-feature, namely packageKit, it gave me an absolute astonishing, albeit small experience:

I usually only use the hibernate or suspend functionality and do not shut down the computer. This works without any problems – except when you install a new kernel and put the laptop to sleep afterwards. While rebooting, the latest kernel is chosen. The laptop tries to boot and sees, that there is a suspend-image which it tries to load. As the suspend image was created by the old kernel, the boot process might (and for me it did) fail. This messup may result in an undefined state and destroy data (well, again, that is what happened to me).

Say hello to PackageKit. After installing a new kernel, the suspend will fail. Although there is no notice of why it fails, it must be due to the new kernel. Small detail, but this little feature protects the user and its data because the inconsistency I described above can not happen (so easily)!

Linux on the desktop, way to go!

Fedora 7 and problems with the laptop fan

Maybe this also concerns others, despite me.
I have Fedora running on my Acer Laptop, which is a Travelmate 661 LCi (now running flawlessly for almost four years!). Since I upgraded to Fedora 7 with its Kernel 2.6.21 I had problems with the fan of the laptop: When it started spinning, the laptop froze. Under X, it froze the whole computer, the num lock led was blinking. When using the console solely, the computer just froze and sometimes threw some acpi error messages on the console.

Well, after a while I found out, that it is a regression in the Linux kernel, bug #8385 in kernel’s bugzilla, to be more precise.

So, what to do about that? I want to use Fedora 7 and its kernels. Just patch them with the patch supplied in Comment #50 of the above mentioned bugzilla report. And for those new to building kernels, here is a short howto on how to do so (hence the name „howto“…)

  1. Install the fedora-devtools package: yum install fedora-rpmdevtools unifdef
  2. Create your rpmbuild-directory: fedora-buildrpmtree
  3. cd ~/rpmbuild/SRPMS
  4. wget http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/updates/7/SRPMS/kernel-2.6.21-1.3228.fc7.src.rpm (or whatever kernel you would like to install)
  5. rpm -ivh ~/rpmbuild/SRPMS/kernel-2.6.21-1.3228.fc7.src.rpm
  6. cd ~/rpmbuild/SPECS; rpmbuild -bp kernel-2.6.spec
  7. cd ~/rpmbuild/BUILD/kernel-2.6.21/linux-2.6.21.i386 ; vi Makefile (your actual directory may differ)
  8. Change the string behing EXTRAVERSION to something sensible, let’s say -own.kernel
  9. Download the patch:
    wget -O p1.patch „http://bugzilla.kernel.org/attachment.cgi?id=11684“
  10. Apply the patch:
    patch -p1 < p1.patch
  11. make oldconfig (we will not customize the kernel in any way, so no make menuconfig or similar done now)
  12. make; su -c „make modules_install && make install“
  13. reboot
  14. When rebooting make sure to chose the new kernel in grub. The default choice can be selected by editing /etc/grub.conf

I hope, this mini-howto helps anyone out there to get Fedora 7 turned back into a usable system again.

Update: edited to include the recent development / updates / better patches