Verdi installation notes, mdv2010.1/2

Notes taken during my clean install of Mandriva 2010.1/2.

In December 2010 I finally had time to replace my elderly mdv2008.1 on my main box Verdi, and decided to try some new things while I was at it. This is a supplement to my notes on installing a new distro.

INSTALLATION MEDIA
I downloaded mdv2010.1 One (Gnome, because I couldn’t find an Xfce image). Even though the md5sum checked, CDs burnt from it would not boot. I discarded the downloaded image, downloaded a new one (md5sum checked again), and burnt a new CD, which worked. Go figure. From this I learned two lessons:

  • An OK md5sum does not guarantee an uncorrupted download. Next time you have a potentially corrupt download, try all offered checksums (not just MD5) and see if a different checksum method is a better indicator of corruption. SHA in particular is promoted as the successor to MD5.
  • Don’t waste time and CDs on a potentially defective download. Try Parchive2, a tool to repair defective ISO images, or just download it again.

THE INSTALLATION
The hardware would sometimes successfully boot into the live system or the direct installer, and sometimes not, and I was unable to determine what was causing the intermittent failure. Multiple tries finally got me to the installer, which then was unable to complete the installation until I booted the CD in text mode (supply text as a kernel boot option). The installer then ran without visible error — oddly, not in text but in graphical mode.

The installer had no apparent way to enter into expert mode, and so ran without offering me options I would have preferred, such as package selection or not starting X automatically on boot. For next time, install using Free, not One. The Free installer apparently has additional options.

Wanting to try a new partition scheme and give EXT4 a try, I used the One installer to repartition everything thus:

Filesystem    Type    Size  Mounted on
/dev/sda1     ext4    7.7G  /
/dev/sda5     ext4    2.1G  /opt
/dev/sda6     ext4    2.1G  /var/www
/dev/sda7     swap    1.0G  swap
/dev/sda8     ext4    139G  /home

The installer asked permission to install a guest user, xguest, which out of curiosity I accepted.

I had been warned to make certain the new installation uses the same user and group ID for each user as in my previous installation; they were in fact the same.

POST-INSTALLATION
Graphics
The system booted, although X resolution was perhaps 800 x 600, identical to my Mandriva Flash 2008.1. The following settings in MCC – Hardware – Graphical Server fixed that:

  • Graphics: Intel 810 (default)
  • Monitor: Generic 1280 x 1024 @ 60 Hz (not default)
  • Resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 16 bits (not default)
  • Enabled options: Translucency, hardware enabled mouse (both default)

(I hoped those setting would also fix my Flash, but no such luck.)

Graphics were originally set to 24 bits, but the Xorg.0.log showed the warning:

(II) intel(0): direct rendering: DRI2 Enabled
(WW) intel(0): Option "PreferredMode" is not used

In man intel I read “The driver supports hardware accelerated 3D via the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI), but only in depth 16…”. Changing resolution from 24 to 16 bits and restarting the Xorg server eliminated the message and improved graphics performance, according to Extreme Tux Racer (see etracer –help). 16 bit color also noticeably degrades the quality of images on the monitor. Since I need good color better than good Tux Racer scores, I went back to 24 bit color.

Also in MCC – Hardware – Graphical Server, enabling the option 3D hardware acceleration was accepted without error, but upon saving and returning the option was once again unchecked. My inquiries about this on alt.os.linux.mandriva and the Mandriva Forum went unanswered; given that it causes no problems I left it alone.

Peripherals
Cups was not installed out of the box, so I manually installed it and cups-pdf, started cups (as root, service cups start). What I should have done was use the MCC (Hardware – Set up the printer), which installs numerous other packages.

All other hardware and peripherals worked out of the box, including (a first for me) my webcam.

Filesystem
Unusual directories were found in the system; my guess is that they were caused by the observed difficulties with the CD and installer:

  • /home/->{settings}{default_user}/, containing .config/autostart/, which was empty
  • /home/live/, a symlink owned by root pointing to /home/warren/
  • /live/, containing the empty directories distrib/, media/, and memory/

I checked all system users to see if there were users associated with those directories. Seeing none, I deleted them.

Under Gnome, recurring pop-up messages were appearing along the lines of “The volume “Filesystem root” has only 194.8 MB disk space remaining”, despite the fact that df showed considerable free space on root and all partitions. After consultation I concluded the messages were spurious. Oddly, they stopped appearing just about that time.

After setting up msec it called to my attention the following:

Security Warning: these home directory should not be owned by someone else or writable :
user=davfs2(492) : home directory is group writable.

After consultation I decided that davfs2 should not have been installed in the first place. Again, my guess is that this was caused by the difficulties with the CD and installer. After I uninstalled it and manually removed the user and group davfs2, all was well.

Other
After playing with the guest user account I decided it was of no use to me and I deleted that user. Then I manually deleted the associated directory /home/xguest.

In Gnome, OpenOffice’s quickstarter did not work out of the box. In Gnome, I opened System – Preferences – Startup Applications, selected “OpenOffice.org 3.2 Quickstarter” and pressed “Edit”. In the default command I replaced “ooffice” with “ooffice3.2” and saved. Then when I later replaced OpenOffice 3.2 with LibreOffice 3.3 I had to undo the change.

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About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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