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I'm still trying to sort out all of my hardware issues with Nvidia / Optimus. I got bumblebee working a while back, but it won't do what I need because ...
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  1. #1
    Linux User Steven_G's Avatar
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    Help selecting minimal (but not too minimal) distro...


    I'm still trying to sort out all of my hardware issues with Nvidia / Optimus.

    I got bumblebee working a while back, but it won't do what I need because you can't run VMs in Optirun. It's unstable and crashes constantly.

    I found a hack to "bypass" Optimus and run straight off the card by exporting my x-server to an external monitor. (Kind of sort of / I don't feel like typing it all up right now / maybe if it works.)

    But, there is a conflict between the version of VirtualGL that Nvidia uses and Virtualbox. I need both to pull off what I'm tyring to build.

    So, I'm hoping that if I get the lastest kernel, latest VirtualGL, latest Nvidia driver, latest VirtualBox and use the bypass hack that everything will friggin work. Otherwise I've dropped 2k on a box that won't do what I want it to do.

    (That's copied from an earlier post where the complier hung for a long, long time. / Don't spank me Oz, this is a fork; not a dup.)

    I'm stuck. I tried recompiling the kernel in Kubuntu.

    It didn't work. The first time I selected some optional debug and documentation stuff. "Make install" hung for a long time and then failed.

    So I did it again on all default settings and it failed rather quickly with a different set of errors.

    Trouble shooting this is currently beyond my skill level and frankly I'm not ready to tackle it right now.

    So, next idea: Find a minimal distro that's not *too* minimal.

    I'm figuring that there is probably some kind of conflict between whatever UB's custom stuff is and the default / main line / latest kernel.

    I have no idea how to fix that.

    So, I'd like to find something that has a graphical installer that doesn't layer a bunch of custom stuff on the distro that will conflict with the latest main line kernel, but at the same time won't leave me chasing my tail in circular dependency hell.

    Pre-compiled pakages / repos would be nice so that I don't have to do every single thing from source. But I can live without that if I have to.

    A good pakage manager would be nice too. I've read about some of the super minimal distros that come without one and getting a package manager working on them is way more trouble shooting than I want to deal with. I have enough ahead of me as it is.

    And it will have to have all around good driver support.

    (BTW, I've already tried DEB7 beta1. The installer crashes at detecting my network. And I'm figuring that since my hardware is only a year old Deb6 won't cut it. I also tried Fedora 17. I really don't like their installer for several reasons.)

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I've been playing with different Linux distributions on an MK802 (tiny USB sized ARM peripheral-less desktop system, similar to a Raspberry PI) and Lubuntu has been working nicely. There are port of a number of different distros already for that device and it's so slow that you can definitely tell the different using them. Of course some of the performance differences are related to other things, like I don't think all the ones I tried were compiled to take full advantage of the capabilities of the specific ARM CPU in the box.

    But even so, Lubuntu is much faster then the complete Ubuntu package or Fedora. But since it's based on Ubuntu you still get to use "apt-get" to manage things you might want to add on top of what's already provided. I layered on full OpenGL runtime and development packages (and more) to compare performance of the system with a normal desktop. The OS handled everything I've thrown at it so far.

    I've seen discussions where it's clear that some people are in the Lubuntu camp and other prefer Canonical's Xubuntu "smaller" distribution. So that might be worth a try too. I tried that on the MK802 as well and it seemed to run better on that limited hardware than full Ubuntu as well.

  3. #3
    Linux User Steven_G's Avatar
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    Well Kubuntu is UB based and when I tried to compile the latest main line stable kernel in to it (3.5.2) it failed twice. Once including extra debug options and once on default settings. This is the first time I've tried compiling a kernel. I have no idea if the failure was due to Ubuntu in general or Kubuntu in particular. It was a fresh install with no changes of any kind and I was trying to upgrade from 3.2.0.29 to 3.5.2.

    To be honest I have no idea if this will work. This is basically a hail Mary pass. I'm tired of dealing with all of the hardware and software conflicts. I need to get this stuff fixed and get on with my life. Strictly speaking I may not actually need the absolute latest stable kernel. I'm just figuring that since I'm going to try to force the Nvidia driver to use the latest version of VirtualGL to (hopefully) eliminate the conflict with VirtualBox that I will probably be best off trying all of the newest software versions I can get my hands on.

    Which, as I understand it, means building from source? (If I have to I will.)

    I'm looking for something that is not just raw kernel. I don't want to have to goof around with tools chains and dependency hell. But, at the same time I want a level of modification that is so low that it will not interfere with me trying to run bleeding edge from source.

    Anybody know of a distro like that, or am I SOL on this front too?

  4. #4
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Crunchbang which is based on Debian Stable or backports. Uses openbox so nice and light
    One of the lighter Fedora spins such as LXDE. Fedora is right on the raggedy edge and is currently running the 3.5.1 kernel and I suspect that in the next few days 3.5.2 will be available going on past performance.

    [edit]Just found this which relates to Fedora 17[/edit]
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  5. #5
    Linux User Steven_G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elija View Post
    Crunchbang which is based on Debian Stable or backports. Uses openbox so nice and light
    One of the lighter Fedora spins such as LXDE. Fedora is right on the raggedy edge and is currently running the 3.5.1 kernel and I suspect that in the next few days 3.5.2 will be available going on past performance.

    [edit]Just found this which relates to Fedora 17[/edit]
    I appreciate the suggestions and the research.

    Where did you find the info on the current F17 kernel version? According to distrowatch it's using 3.3.4. Do you know if they have an alternative GUI installer that is better than the default GUI installer? I really don't like their default installer. My disk is hacked all to pieces with tons of custom partition work. In their default installer I couldn't find the advanced options that I needed to make the make the install fit my set up. So I let it auto install. Big mistake, it chewed my partition structure to pieces and I had to recover my data. They also don't have native Nvidia drivers; prefers Nouveau. Maybe Rawhide? It's shipping with 3.6.0. But, it also says that it's unstable as heck and basically don't expect it to work a lot of the time.

    I was looking at #! when you were answering. It's based on Deb testing (Wheezy) and also says you should expect it to break down often. It ships with 3.2.21 and also has no native Nvidia drivers.

    Deb7 is in beta and has no release date yet. The installer crashes on detecting my network.

    I looked at Arch, and I'm giving it some serious thought. Their current stable release ships with 3.4.9, which even though not bleeding edge is still several versions newer than *UB. It also ships with the latest xorg and Nvidia.

    I'm looking at Gentoo as well. Their unstable ships with 3.5.2 and the latest Nvidia. But xorg is current stable +1 (alpha).

    So I need some recomendations / advice:

    How unstable is Gentoo unstable? Should I expect it to break often?

    Will VirtualBox run on either one or both?

    Is their xorg setup anything like .deb? (Will I find xorg.conf in etc/X11?)

    What are the admin tools like in both? Does either use sudo / su?

    Should I back off the bleeding edge of Gentoo unstable and make a gain towards the edge with Arch and pick up some stability in the process. Would I pick up some stability in the process.

    Will either one support the KDE meta-desktop? (I really like it.)

    If you've used both which one did you like better and why?

    Thankx!

  6. #6
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven_G View Post
    Where did you find the info on the current F17 kernel version?
    I'm running it The 3.3.4 is just the kernel on the disk
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  7. #7
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    I run Arch and Gentoo, both will run VirtualBox, I run it on both.
    Gentoo you can run stable, some packages unstable or unstable.
    Suggest you try installing both distros. Arch will save you having to install everything from source, but using AUR you can install most things from source easily.

    Pacman does a great job as a package manager for Arch and Portage does a great job for Gentoo. At first I found Gentoo broke more than Arch ... ymmv

    If you want stability then I'd suggest Debian Stable, but you trade stability for the latest packages. For a new user I setup Mint Debian Edition and use Debian Stable repositories ... but have not tried running VirtualBox with that setup ...

  8. #8
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    I am running kernel 3.5-antix.2-486-smp in AntiX 12 but it is i486 and your rig is pretty souped up. I have tested it on my Acer Aspire dual core 4gig ram laptop. Ram showed about 3.5gig in inxi readout. It worked OK.

    Liquorix Project

    You can install Liqourix kernels in any Debian based Distro Like AntiX, Crunchbang, LMDE also via smxi or package manger.

    How-To: Install the Liquorix kernel in LMDE | r3dux.org
    Install Liquorix Kernel on any Mint Debian edition (32-bit) - Linux Mint Community
    Tech Patterns :: Installing Liquorix kernels

    Reading
    Steven Barrett
    @damentz

    The Liquorix guy.
    Tweets though. His latest tweet was

    2 Jun Steven Barrett Steven Barrett ‏@damentz

    Liquorix 3.4 is now available in 'future'. Only thing really notable is a new version of BFS (422) and CleanCache by default.
    Just for info. You might give them a try also, (I know, experimenting can be a *****, but, you can always un-install headers and images. then update grub), I know they are for atom (just throwing this out here)

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/po7p8fjw1...8LRGgFL/Latest

    And in Ubuntu

    Distro Geeks How To Install Linux 3.5-quantal Kernel In Ubuntu 12.10
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