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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
Multiple issues with Puppy 4.3.1 install (with added extras)
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Squishy

Joined: 28 Dec 2009
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat 23 Jan 2010, 19:46    Post subject:  Multiple issues with Puppy 4.3.1 install (with added extras)
Subject description: Losing my patience with Puppy
 

Well, I'm having multiple issues with Puppy. After a bumpy initial install and several issues with Fluxbox and XFCE, I wiped the HDD and started from scratch, hoping to avoid similar issues. Boy was I wrong.

On this fresh install of Puppy 4.31 (vanilla) I have the following installed:
usb_modeswitch 431-2
Opera 10.10
Puppy Arcade V5
sfsinstall 0.1.2.
pmodemdiag 1.0

No other packages have been installed and nothing has been edited in any config files anywhere.

The following problems are cropping up:

1. Menu icons don't work. Reboot, Power off, Exit to Prompt and Restart X Server are the most pressing, but numerous other icons do not function.
2. JWM has to be started manually (xwin startjwm), each and every time.
3. PCMCIA wireless card is detected properly in only 1/3 of boots.
4. Desktop Icons are missing and the background is blank.

It seems to me that every time I install a package, something else breaks spectacularly.

I have a Dell Inspiron 1000, 2.2GHz Celeron, 2.2GB of RAM, SIS onboard GFX.

Does anyone have any idea why the power options in the menu break so easily? I say this because it seems particularly to effect the entire system - things were going fine until those menu entries stopped working, and from then on everything else started misbehaving.
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1299

PostPosted: Sat 23 Jan 2010, 23:32    Post subject: What's going on here?  

Hi Squishy,

Seems like you're going in several directions at once. I'm assuming from the information above that you tried a full hard disk install on a Dell Inspiron 1000 laptop, then added a number of packages not in the official repository. For simplicity and safety, we generally recommend starting with a frugal install. I'm using one now, even though I'm running on a desktop machine with 1 GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive. This keeps my other systems pretty safe, unless I deliberately set out to change them.

Going to fluxbox or XFCE is a fairly large change, and the custom in the Puppy community is to create derivative versions called puplets. Forum member Gray has produced a nice puplet based on XFCE called NOP. (I am less familiar with Fluxbox versions, but I know they're out there.) Whittling a large desktop system down to the 100 MB or so that is typical for Puppy is not a trivial task, but it is the key to keeping everything in RAM, even on small machines, which is behind the speed of Puppy. If you want everything, including the kitchen sink, you don't want any minimalist distribution.

You may have a misperception of the organization of this community. There is no formal organization with central authority, as in Ubuntu. This isn't a commercial distribution, like Red Hat, Mandriva or SuSE. We don't have a hierarchy with lots of maintainers and developers, distinct from users. Many things now found in Puppy were created by people who started out as users wanting a particular package or feature. BarryK created Puppy Linux, and holds the trademarks and copyrights. He produced most of the vanilla releases, but is now a benevolent dictator emeritus, working on more advanced concepts.

There are many modified versions floating around, maintained by different people, with varying degrees of skill. Except for a limited selection of packages provided through the stock system, most pet packages out there should be considered experimental. That Opera 10 package is likely to be reliable, but when you see one with a fractional version number, use caution. If this bothers you, you really should choose a different distribution.

If you want to become part of the community, there are people here who will help with specific problems, though we can't promise to solve every one. (I myself am working around a problem with embedded SiS graphics at the moment. SiS hasn't been especially forthcoming with information for open source development in the past. I think Mandriva may have a better driver for your video, but that distribution is no light-weight.)

You may have compounded your trouble when you wiped your hard drive. Laptops are particularly likely to have code in "hidden partitions" on the hard disk, even if these are called part of the BIOS. Before you do any more experiments, try to get the machine working reliably under some system you understand. Dell support should have the tools for restoring a disk drive after a crash or reinstallation, but they think everyone runs Windoze. I often use Puppy to test machines, but I'm familiar with how it behaves. You need to return to a known good state you understand. Right now, you can't tell what is due to Puppy, and what is the result of your history of previous trouble.

Regards,

prehistoric
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racepres


Joined: 16 Jan 2009
Posts: 531
Location: Central Michigan, US

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan 2010, 01:19    Post subject:  

Or... Just run from cd till you understand that this aint Ubuntu!!!
RP
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1299

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan 2010, 12:56    Post subject: clarification  

Two points I want to clarify: 1) things that happen when you wipe your original hard disk installation, 2) why regulars prefer "frugal" installs.

Even if you do not have a system with such things as "hidden partitions" containing BIOS or diagnostic code, your Windows partition very likely holds important things the manufacturer of your laptop put there. When a laptop does a suspend-to-disk, it writes the current contents of RAM to a special swap file inside the original Windows partition, usually one with an NTFS file system. When it tries to resume, the BIOS executes a Windows file which does various housekeeping tasks associated with waking up, and reloads the previous RAM contents. When you destroy this partition, you lose any chance the machine will recover from a suspend to disk.

This is not a feature of Linux, it is built into the BIOS by the manufacturer. Exactly what it does may well be covered by non-disclosure agreements with M$, who are quite happy with the resulting dependence on Windows. After you have paid for a machine, manufacturers have little motivation to keep it running forever. If you reach a point where the machine becomes unusable, because the OS is bloated, this causes you to buy a new machine.

There was a time when manufacturers performed various hardware set up operations before calling Windows, sometimes even loading microcode patches for processor bugs. M$ put a stop to that years ago, forcing them to tell M$ how to initialize everything, if they wanted to run the latest Windows, but "protecting their intellectual property" through non-disclosure agreements. These strong arm tactics to gain access to intellectual property which is then denied to everyone else are characteristic. To a large extent, they subvert the intent of various consent decrees and anti-trust rulings. I'm surprised there has been so little litigation about this.

"Frugal" installs have advantages frequently lost on those new to Puppy. They do not mean all your data must fit in RAM; you are free to mount drives and partitions, and store gigabytes in them. This is where most downloads should go. What does stay in RAM is configuration data. This is normally saved into a pup-save file on shutdown or reboot.

This allows me to run five or six different versions of Puppy on a single machine, while sharing the massive data I've downloaded between versions. If I screw up a configuration, (which happens more often than I like to admit,) I next boot with the parameter "pfix=ram" to start from scratch. You can enter this at the boot prompt from the CD, or, if you boot through GRUB, you can temporarily edit the kernel line in the menu, (just hit "e" to edit the menu entry, select the line, and hit "e" again, hit "b" when ready to boot).

There is also no reason I can't make copies of pup-save files, so I can go back to earlier, working configurations. Doing this on many other Linux systems requires tricky work with multiple partitions, or even removable hard drives in trays. (I have a collection of such.) If you have multiple pup-save files the initial ram disk system can find, Puppy will ask you which to use.

In building an OS, you can either do everything just like everyone else, or you can innovate, there is a clear choice. Puppy is not a clone.
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Squishy

Joined: 28 Dec 2009
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat 06 Feb 2010, 17:32    Post subject:  

I think I owe you an apology and an explanation. Unfortunately I'm prone to rare bouts of insomnia that last 3 or 4 days at a time, and when I posted that I was in the middle of one of those bouts. As anyone who's been through the same can tell you, a few days with no sleep leaves your brain rather.... frazzled, and as a result my tone was rather accusatory and made me out to be rather less intelligent than I actually am. I fully appreciate the nature of most (Ubuntu now being the obvious exception) linux distributions - they are not a commercial venture but rather a community driven effort, and as such has community driven support, which can't solve every problem. This is, in fact, the main thing that drew me towards linux in the first place, and eventually to Puppy. I like the idea of being involved in a community driven project, especially if it means escaping the clutches of Microsofts oppressive policies and dirty tactics.
So let me rephrase my initial post:

I'm having several issues which I hope someone can enlighten and educate me about. (List of problems)

Mainly I want to know why exactly those power related menu entries seem to be so easily effected by unofficial packages. I'm not sure what the particular setup for this laptop is in regards to powering off and so on, but I do know for a fact that all power options work just fine in AntiX, Puppy (when its a clean install), Mint and Ubuntu, without any alterations.

See all the power options work just fine when I initially install Puppy, it just seems to be that after a certain point power options just seem to break. It could be something as trivial as simple menu associations, or something a lot more complex, and that more than anything is what I want to learn more about. So can someone enlighten me? Bear in mind that since then, I have reverted back to a clean install of puppy, and everything is working just fine now.
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racepres


Joined: 16 Jan 2009
Posts: 531
Location: Central Michigan, US

PostPosted: Sat 06 Feb 2010, 18:44    Post subject:  

While I am not positive, I believe that the things that you want to add are available as .pets. I tend to use .pet pkgs cause I am not adept at putting packages together in linux, Heck I am so GUI oriented that I kinda like Mandriva... Anyway Might I suggest that you install a .pet pkg of what you want, and then you can fool with it and manipulate it, After it is working.. Kinda "roll yer own" .pet if you will... Might be fun or someone who likes to really get "into" the system
RP
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1299

PostPosted: Sat 06 Feb 2010, 23:05    Post subject: What's going on here?  

Squishy wrote:
...See all the power options work just fine when I initially install Puppy, it just seems to be that after a certain point power options just seem to break. It could be something as trivial as simple menu associations, or something a lot more complex, and that more than anything is what I want to learn more about. So can someone enlighten me? Bear in mind that since then, I have reverted back to a clean install of puppy, and everything is working just fine now.
I'm at a loss to explain what's going on with your laptop. Perhaps, there was something left out of the description.

Several days of complete insomnia is a serious medical problem. Take care of yourself before you worry too much about any computer.
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