So today I had this great idea. I’m going to scrape the Xubuntu (with bits and pieces of GNOME and KDE) install and put Debian Squeeze on there instead. Yes, I failed here before, but this time I actually have a plan (unbelievable! ).
Now, here’s what I’ll do:
- Standard installation of Debian Squeeze base (the one I did before).
- Use Keryx to get a minimal install of IceWM, plus NetworkManager and modemmanager (for the ZTE).
- Connect to the Internet via my ZTE modem using NetworkManager.
- Use the instructions here to download and install the Broadcom driver.
- Set up that ugly framebuffer to look good in widescreen. As detailed here, I guess.
And then, provided it works, I’ll configure IceWM to look like Windows 2000, as K.Mandla detailed here.
Yesterday, I tried installing Lubuntu. It failed to detect my USB broadband modem, and I assumed it was LXDE’s fault. Then I tried Xubuntu, at which point I discovered that the modem had to be plugged in at boot. Then I tried installing KDE3/Trinity, because Xfce reminds me of GNOME too much. Well, it sucked. I spent half an hour trying to sort through the dependency mess, and after I ran it I saw was too noisy, didn’t detect the wireless, didn’t even show me my battery status, had an awful KDE4-style control center and it actually crashed when trying to open something.
Long gone are the days of the rock-stable, beautiful, fast and easy to use KDE3 that I installed 2 years ago on my Eee… I remember it tried to install KDE4 when I changed the sources to testing, and I killed apt and FUBARed my system when I saw that. Good old times
Anyway, back to the initial rant. I then installed Xubuntu again, installed Openbox (just openbox), tint2 and a few other things and removed Xfce while it was still running I then issued a sudo reboot and basked in the glory of pure Openbox running on my system (and the monospace white text on purple background plymouth theme ).
The problems, however, were just starting. First of all, my resolution was broken (the Debian Framebuffer Syndrome, now available for X too). That was quickly fixed by an “xrandr -s 1366×768″. After starting tint2, I was surprised to find nm-applet already running. One thing off my mind.
Then, I realized that the Openbox menu was almost empty. After installing menu-xdg and hitting “reconfigure”, the Debian menu appeared and I was happy once more. But I quickly found out that a lot of software doesn’t use it, so I can’t access it. Then I realized that I didn’t have battery status displayed. Added gnome-power-manager or whatever to autostart and it worked once more. And a few more troubles like that.
But the problems were deeper than I thought. Now I can only suspend on lid close once or twice; then, it just ignores the lid. gnome-power-manager started quitting on me randomly. And now nm-applet. I can’t live like this any longer, so as soon as I finish writing this post, my current install is going down and LXDE is replacing it. Probably.
Edit: if anyone has the problem with Lubuntu not detecting mobile broadband modems, the solution is to install modemmanager and restart. NetworkManager is going to pick it up afterwards.
Today, I tried installing Debian on my HP ProBook 4510S. Three times.
Obviously, I failed. On the first try, I got the wrong CD image (Lenny instead of Squeeze) and only realized that after I installed it. On the second try, I assigned the 500MB /dev/sda1 to / instead of /boot, which resulted in a cataclysmic Debian-style out-of-space dpkg error. Something I got about four times with Ubuntu on my Eee PC, but that’s another story. And on the third try, I almost got it done and even did an offline install of the Broadcom STA driver using Keryx, dpkg and module-assistant. However, it failed to detect any networks, citing a read error
Then I gave up and decided to install Linux Mint 9 LXDE. I just burnt it on a CD-RW and I’ll install it as soon as I finish this post
Anyway, here’s my “detailed report” on installing Debian Squeeze:
- You don’t get an Internet connection during the install, so you have to download the 600+ MB CD1 image instead of the 180 MB netinst one.
- The first CD image for Squeeze doesn’t even come with wireless-tools packaged.
- You absolutely need Keryx to do any kind of offline Debian install. And the guide here.
- It’s probably easier to do all this if you install GNOME. But it’s a pain to remove in my experience, so I didn’t even try that.
- The framebuffer made my eyes bleed. 800×600 on a widescreen display? No thank you.
- Doing an offline install of the Broadcom STA driver on Debian-based distros is mostly impossible.
The Broadcom driver has been annoying me since I got the ProBook. The only distro on which I managed to manually install it is Fedora. On Ubuntu, I now connect to the Internet using my ZTE MF110 modem and use Hardware Drivers (jockey?) to automatically install it. On a side note, I couldn’t do that with Kubuntu, because KNetworkManager is too buggy to let me connect to networks that do not support 2G data (which Digi Mobil Romania is).
The conclusion? I probably won’t install Debian on this machine again too soon.