April 05, 2009


My system is working, let's play with it. First: the framebuffer.

Here are the steps I followed to get it to work:
  1. Configure your kernel to hoave both uvesafb and viafb built in the kernel.
  2. emerge v86d
  3. Append video=uvesafb:1200x800-24,mtrr:3,ywrap to your kernel line in /boot/grub/grub.conf
  4. To install splash screen, do an emerge ">=media-gfx/splash-themes-gentoo-20090324" splashutils
  5. Generate the initrd: splash_geninitramfs -g /boot/fbsplash-natural_gentoo-1280x800 -r 1280x800 natural_gentoo
  6. Append splash=silent,fadein,theme:natural_gentoo console=tty1 to your kernel line in /boot/grub/grub.conf
Along with that, I discovered that the theme natural_gentoo had also a grub splash screen. To install it, go to the fbsplash website and download the archive for natural_gentoo. You will find a gentoo.xpm.gz file. Copy it in /boot/grub/ and change/add this line to your grub.conf: splashimage=(hd0,X)/grub/gentoo.xpm.gz. Now your have a new theme for your grub!

By the way, if you want to be able to use your trackpad in terminals, do this:
  1. rc-update add gpm default
  2. /etc/init.d/gpm start

March 31, 2009

Gentoo Install -- Next Step : Base System

I'm back after some hard working on my netbook. I will not speak about things which worked just fine, but only about my issues.

The first one is the most important: I couldn't manage to have a working 64bit system. So I got back to a 32bits system with:
CFLAGS="-02 -march=native -pipe -mmmx -msse -msse2 -mssse3" (some of these options are only available after an update to sys-devel/gcc-4.3.2-r3)

Then during the kernel configuration, don't forget like me to select the PATA drivers for the Via chipset. It took half an hour to compile with the NC20.

After that I was able to boot under my new Gentoo. The next step is to recompile system tools. An "emerge -e world" will do it.

I will be back soon...

March 30, 2009

Gentoo Install -- First Step : Ext4

Now that I have made some place on the HDD, I can (finally) begin to install Gentoo.

Unfortunately, the filesystem I have chosen is ext4, which is included in the 2.6.28 and above kernels, is not supported by any gentoo live cds (I have only seen 2.6.27 kernels). Nevertheless I found out that the beta of the next Ubuntu release uses a 2.6.28 kernel, so I created a live USB (with unetbootin) to boot with.

New issue : X doesn't work with the NC20 on this particular live Ubuntu, so I switched to a VT (Ctrl+Alt+F1), and continued the installation as explained in the Gentoo Handbook.

Note that I was able to create an ext4 partition with the Gentoo live usb, but I couldn't mount it...

Edit: SystemRescueCD is a live Gentoo with ext4 support enabled, so next to the live Ubuntu, this one is far better

"Burning" a Live USB & Resizing NTFS Partition

I wanted to use the distribution Parted Magic to have something user friendly to resize my Windows XP partition. Unfortunately, the live USB I created didn't worked, so I used a Gentoo Minimal Live USB to resize.

Before explaining how I resized the NTFS partition, let's see how to create a live USB. The process is really simple : under a gentoo box, emerge netbootin, and execute it. Aside from that, download the ISO image you want to place on your USB key, and mount your key (usually, WMs like Gnome or KDE mount it automatically). Now you have all the elements to create your Live USB key with netbootin. After booting the key on your NC20 (F2 to enter BIOS setup and change boot order), you will have your live linux.

Now, the resizing. first of all, you need to place all the data of the partition at the beginning. If it is unmounted, use something like this :
ntfsresize -s 9G /dev/hda2
which will give you a ntfs partition with all its data in the ten first gigas. After that we need to redimension the partition, and to do so you must use fdisk :
fdisk /dev/hda
: p (to print the partition table)
: d then 2 (to delete the partition /dev/hda2)
: n then 2 then XXX (number of the Start cylinder shown for hda2 by "p") then +10G (to recreate the partition with a little more space than the resize operation took, just to be sure)
: w (to write the partition table and exit)
You can now reboot to unsure windows is still operationnal (it will check the ntfs partition, so let it do it, it's needed after ntfsresize).

Here I am : I have a 160Gb HDD with 16Gb for Windows, and plenty of room for Gentoo !!

My new Netbook

Here we are. I finally received my brand new Samsung NC20. This is a 12" widescreen netbook with a Via Nano processor. Here are the complete specification seen on Samsung/UK :
  • Operating System : Windows XP Home Edition LrgScrn LFD
  • Processor : VIA Nano™ U2250 processor (1.3GHz - 1.6GHz, 800MHz)
  • Main Chipset : VIA VX800
  • Memory : 1GB (DDR2 / 1GB x 1) Memory Slot 1x SODIMM
  • Display : LCD 12.1" WXGA (1280 x 800) Gloss Display
  • Graphic : (Graphic Memory Shared) VIA VX800 Chrome9™ HC3 DX9 3D engine
  • Sound : HD Audio
  • Sound Effect : EDS (Enhanced Digital Sound) Effect
  • Speaker : 2 Speakers x 1.5 Watts
  • Integrated Camera : 1.3 Mega Pixel integrated digital motion camera
  • Storage (HDD) : 80GB (5400rpm S-ATA) / 120GB (5400rpm S-ATA) / 160GB (5400rpm S-ATA)
  • Wired Ethernet LAN : 10 / 100 LAN
  • Wireless LAN : Atheros 802.11b.g
  • Bluetooth : Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • I/O Ports : VGA / Headphone-out / Mic-in / Internal Mic / 3 x USB 2.0 / Multi Card 3-in-1 (SD, SDHC, MMC) / DC-In (Power Port)
  • Keyboard Type : 84 Key with Silver Nano technology (Anti-Bacterial Keyboard) (QWERTY)
  • AC Adapter : 40 Watts
  • Standard Battery : 6 Cell (57Wh / 5200mAh / 11.1V)
  • Dimension (W x D x H) : 292.4 x 217 x 30.7mm
  • Weight, include Standard Battery : 1.5kg
  • Warranty : 1 Year International Collect and Return
There are many photos of it on the web, Google is your friend if you want to see how it looks in detail...

First step was to boot it under Windows to see if rebooting works (3 reboots before even starting to do anything). I will keep a copy of windows in case of I have a course on a software only available under this OS. Do not be afraid though, I will only speak one more time about it to explain how I redimensioned its partition (that will be my next post).

So, now my first impressions. Its color (white pearl) is wonderful, let's see if the plastic will be same after a year or two of intensive use. Keys are of the size of a normal keyboard, definitely a good thing. Finally the 6 cells battery merely goes out of the hull. Oh, I almost forgot, the pocket shipped with the netbook is nice even if it really is thin.

Next step : make some place on the HDD to install Gentoo !