Short Attention Span Theatre

Debian on Macbook Pro 5.2

So, Mac OS X got on my last nerve and led me back to the holy land (linux, what else?). While FreeBSD beckoned there are certain pieces of software I must have working for this Quarter. It is the first of my Master Degree classes, so I want to get in the proper habits (such as not staying up all night getting Math­e­mat­i­ca or MATLAB working in FreeBSD, when Linux versions are available ;)).

Regardless, some notes about stumbling blocks would be helpful if I need to do this again, so here goes.

WIFI - The wireless is a Broadcom Cor­po­ra­tion BCM4322.

$ lspci -s 04:00.0
04:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4322 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller (rev 01)

Checking the debian wiki page about Broadcom wireless cards indicated the fix is not difficult... oh, unless you do not have a connection to the Internet so you cannot get the software so you do not have conne... ahem.

The solution (some might have simply plugged in upstairs by the router and continued on their merry way - but certainly not I) was to download the needed debs on another computer (thanks wif!), and create a small temporary repository to hold them until I got connected. Why did I not just use dpkg to install the debs? Good question: The dpkg method does not handle de­pen­den­cies, the local re­spos­i­to­ry method does.

The method used was from a handy obsolete page about repos­i­to­ries and allowed me to install the two packages ([broadcom-sta-common and broadcom-sta-source]) with all their de­pen­den­cies, and move on to the con­fig­u­ra­tion (remember, every time the kernel changes, you must rebuild the broadcom-sta module).

Con­fig­ur­ing wireless is fairly painless... at least it is once you realize the wlan0 interface does not actually exist! That is right folks, it is a red herring to trick you into typing silly things like sudo ifup wlan0 (when what you really want is sudo ifup eth1). Heh.

Next annoying thing to attract my wrath was the function keys... whoever decided it was a good idea to make the function keys act like the cute little alternate functions... well, let us just say there is a reason I left Mac OS X. I will probably pick up an MS Natural Keyboard just to have an MS product hooked to a Mac... well, that and (other than the plus shaped extra arrow keys useless for gaming) it is my favorite keyboard of all time.

While a fix to the function key problem was on a page about the Apple Keyboard, someone also created a daemon which fixed all the problems I had with function keys (without updating initramfs) and the brightness adjustment which was my next stop on the way to insanity! Check out pommed if you are installing on a Mac.

Next to fix was... erm... oh, yeah, nvidia drivers... wait! I almost forgot, the annoyingly small font in xterm. The line I used in my .Xresources file follows.

xterm*font:     -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-17-*-*-*-*-*-iso10646-1

NOW for the nvidia drivers which was very an­ti­cli­mac­tic. First, I am running testing, so YMMV if you are not. All I did was install the nvidia-kernel-dkms package, then put the following in an /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Section "Device"
    Identifier  "My MASSIVE GPU"
    Driver      "nvidia"

That was it, and it worked. Weird.

Last problem: Fonts do not want to show up with the new "mod­u­lar­i­tal­ized" xorg, and my xorg font hell post did not help, so I will have to go digging. Oh, yeah, firefox all of a sudden starts giving me fits (CPU hogging, machine lagging, but never crashing fits). So, I have installed chromium (little brother of chrome) until I can figure it out... wonder if adblock plus is available for chromium. ;)

That is all for this set of adventures. Hopefully I will remember to look here next time I install on a Mac.

Stability for i386 and ZFS » « Xorg font follow-up
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