Computer: Trouble with new hardware
So I got this new laptop on Monday evening, here’s what I like about it:
- CPU: i7-3610, 6MB Cache
- RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Display: 17″ Full HD, 16:9, 1920 x 1080
- Disk: 750GB 5400rpm plus a free slot for SSD :-D
- Graphic: Nvidia GT 630M – i7 has integrated graphics, I might never need that
But so far it gave me some headache – it’s Friday eve and finally I have a booted kernel with visible output.
At the moment, I start my kernel by:
- Open BIOS
- Open EFI-BIOS shell (installed myself)
- Manually start grub with: “fs0:\grub2\grub.efi”
- Select kernel in grub, …
These things stink:
- Win7 License: I already own a licences for Win7 Enterprise, why do I have to buy OEM?
- Win7 Installation: The pre-installed Win7 takes 50GB … fifty gigabyte! *no comment*
- Drivers/Backup: Win7 wants to back up the pre-installation or the driver partition: 4-5 DVDs, taking hours. I haven’t even bothered yet.
- Ethernet: No Linux driver for that one. Rumors say Atheros got taken over without the developer in charge and thus the code did not make it into kernel 3.2.12 … I’m probably making this up, it’s been days since I got wlan to work, so it’ll wait.
- WLAN: Intel Centrino 2030: Needs kernel module iwlwifi plus the 2030 ucode. iwlwifi is common, but the ucode is not available for Gentoo yet. Luckily it was on SystemRescueCD!
- USB vs. Linux distros: I’m used to booting various Linux distributions from USB. Here the standard approach mostly failed. I tried:
SystemRescueCD: my winner, see below.
Gentoo: Doesn’t boot from USB, only from CD. Then doesn’t recognize USB, which means no wlan, no internet.
Knoppix: Boots from USB, startx fails about every 2nd time. Used it for gparted.
ArchLinux: Boots form USB, but I’m not familiar with it.
Ubuntu: Installed ubuntu server to HD in an early desperate attempt. It failed to boot afterwards …
Others: Tried some other rescue-CD Linuxes, none booted from USB.
- UEFI-BIOS: UEFI is a descendant of BIOS. I’ve seen development screenshot of pretty ASUS EFI GUIs, but this one here sucks. Win7 also requires GPT. – Each might be nice alone, but not with all other new stuff.
It requires Grub2-beta, tutorials differ, etc.
I’ll write next article about what somehow works.
Note: Fix for USB-installation, see: Linux: Notes on SystemRescueCd
SystemRescueCD was my rescue! Runs from USB, no problem, wlan-ucode is included, the bleeding edge HW is nicely recognized. “startx” quickly opens a lightweight desktop environment. And it’s Gentoo based, so it’s like home.
It froze frequently, so that only a hard reboot would help and the light browser also tends to crash.
But other distros were far worse – it did the job and I’ll keep this one ready from now on.