Linux hacking

With our little one here, I’ve been looking for ways to become more mobile, especially with regards to development. At my disposal I have:

  • An 2006 15″ Macbook Pro (with a Core Duo processor, i.e. the 32-bit one) with a dead battery, so it is essentially a static machine
  • An aging ThinkPad X200, dual boot Win7 and Ubuntu.

Now, the MBP has a great 15″ screen with lots of resolution, but the X200 is truly mobile (e.g. it has a working batter), although the screen is on the small side.   So ultimately I will use both machines, but I have to baseline them with regards to development..

To date my development has been using Eclipse CDT on my Mac Mini.  The MBP only runs Snow Leopard (10.6.x) and the X200 runs Windows; both of these OSs are unusable for (modern) development.  Yes, the X200 also has Ubuntu, but that was just to fuck around, so the entire install is spotty at best.  Solution?  Fresh installs of Linux on both machines.

I managed to get Debian 8.0 (Jessie) installed on the MBP, and except for the buggy graphics driver, the machine is pretty nice to work on.  I worked on that for a week, and today I sat down to wipe Ubuntu from the X200.  It was a pretty simple install, with the following caveats:

  • Debian installer asks for non-free drivers for the wifi, so I had to install over Ethernet and install wifi after the fact. Instructions were found here
  • The X200’s TrackPoint didn’t work, out of the box, so I had to follow the instructions here to get the middle button to allow for scrolling: instructions.

Because the Internet never seems to keep pages forever, I’m jotting notes down here for future reference. For installing the wifi drivers on the ThinkPad X200, instructions for getting wifi to work were pretty simple after the install was complete.  Log in, switch to root (or sudo everything), and:

  • Add a “non-free” component to /etc/apt/sources.list, for example:

    # Debian 8 "Jessie"
    deb jessie main contrib non-free
  • Update the list of available packages and install the firmware-iwlwifi package:

    # apt-get update && apt-get install firmware-iwlwifi
  • As the iwlwifi module is automatically loaded for supported devices, reinsert this module to access installed firmware:

    # modprobe -r iwlwifi ; modprobe iwlwifi
  • Configure your wireless interface as appropriate.

For the latter (TrackPoint), you had to:

  • Install xinput via:
    apt-get install xinput
  • And then to enable vertical scrolling

    xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation" 1
    xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation Button" 2
    xinput set-prop "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint" "Evdev Wheel Emulation Timeout" 200

As I type this Eclipse CDT is installing in the background, after which point I can start hacking again on PART.


Linux hacking

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