Thursday, April 21, 2005

Disaster Struck! and Recovering...

One fine morning one of our main servers went down... so I thought why not upgrade to Mandrake 10.2 (I still like this name against Mandriva). Can you see the clouds lining along the horizon!!! Not even a week Mandrake 10.2 (or Mandriva LE2005) has been released, I am yet to read a review (not even an amateur review). I already had Mandrake 10.2 beta running (more or less OK) on the my test partition. Disaster struck when I decided to upgrade my working partition from perfectly running Mandrake 10.1 to Mandrake 10.2.

Install procedure: There was nothing wrong in the installation procedure; I am just including it here for completeness. Note that, Mandrake is yet to release CD ISO images - the new release is only available via ftp (for free access). I used the standard urpmi approach:

  1. Added Mandrake 10.2 sources (and PLF sources too so that I can upgrade all of them) from EasyUrpmi. While adding the URLs, replace official in them by devel. The files in official are broken (read in /.).
  2. If you havent done this before, add the PLF signing key.
  3. urpmi urpmi
  4. Logout from kde. Go to text console, log in as root, stop X (e.g. init 3). Rest of the commands are to be given at the console prompt.
  5. urpmi --auto-select --auto
  6. It will automatically update all your packages, except the kernel. Look out for missing file errors. In case of any missing file, get the file manually from any other mirror and install maually.
  7. urpmi kernel - get the standard one - 2.6.11-6mdk-1-1mdk
  8. Fix lilo.conf with any additional kernel parameters and reboot.

Okay till now. It booted fine (nice, transparent lilo choosing screen). At the kdm login prompt, somehow the display (rather the fonts) didnt look fine. They looked a bit fuzzy. Anyway, went ahead and logged in as my test user (in case the user explodes, I dont want to loose my data :) ). The font problem continued. Rest were OK. Logged out and logged in as me. Hmm... fonts dont look good. Tweaked with the anti-aliasing settings, hinting setting, changing the fonts, sizes ... nothing worked.

Fixed it now by using Freetype-2. Followed the steps of this page and to some extent the font settings from this page. BTW, I found that freetype with anti-aliasing looks better than freetype without AA, so I left AA on. Look for yourself.

Original font rendering. Look how the curved letters like "o", "s" etc. are a bit hazy.

After making the changes (with AA turned on).

Freetype without AA (using Tahoma).

Freetype and AA. Current settings.

Next thing to test is sleep/hibernate. Suspend to ram (S3) works as before - still the video reinitialization tool (video_post by Venki) is needed. Major problem with hibernate/suspend to disk(S4/S4b). Resume from hibernation doesnt work - no matter what I do (tried all the possible suggestions from different forums, faqs). At last, following a bug report, installed the mm-kernel It seems that is the only rescue as of now; once I fully recover from the upgrade-trauma I will try the latest kernels to see if the bug is fixed. The mm-kernel works OK and everything works (in fact, there was an earlier bug due to which lid-opening events were not caught properly and I had to manually press the power button to wake it up from S3; now just opening the lid wakes it up).

Oho, suspend and resume works but USB mouse (havent tried other USB devices) doesnt wake up from sleep. Replugging it seems to make it work. Had to change the script to modprobe -r uhci-hcd; modprobe -r echi-hcd before and modprobe uhci-hcd; modprobe echi-hcd after both S3 and S4 sleeps.

With 10.1, whenever I inserted a USB pen drive or my USB camera, an icon used to show up on the desktop. 10.2 uses KDE3.3.2 (backported from KDE 3.4) - and uses hal and it is supposed to improve the behaviour a lot. Now I have to turn on "Show unmounted hard disks" in control-center so that a desktop icon shows up when USB devices are inserted (as a result, my linux partitions also show up on desktop which I dont need nor like - but I guess I will to fix them later).

Having the annoyances mostly removed, I should mention that I installed beagle. Its great and once I figure out how to open up files/directories from within beagle, it would become indispensable.

Thats it for now,
- d.

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