x86 64 vs 32, still messy

Just when I thought that the mess between 32 bit and 64 bit was over (I am talking about Linux, of course) I got bumped into it again. Problem this time was the lightning plug-in or add-on for Thunderbird. Here was the solution:


Me so sad...


The N900 boost: getting the turn-based navigator in...

It has been a while since I was excited about the new (back then) N900. Little did I know that the device will go in couple of months through the war of the MeeGo announcement and several delays in some basic applications. One of those being the basic navigator. Yes, it comes with Ovi Maps 1.0, but that cannot help but tell you where you are (and even that with some aid from the online connection). Having this long introduction, I am here to actually write about the new comer on my device: The Sygic Mobile Maps

The new application comes in a zip file, you un-zip it on the root of the Internal Nokia N900 drive and then install the .deb file. It probably would have been easier via the Ovi.com portal, but since Nokia delayed their acceptance, the Sygic guys decided to go by themselves. After all, the N900 users should know their ways around to install a local file.

Now, let's get to the business of running the application. Firs, it has a wide range of maps (all of Europe, at the price of ~60€). Then, it has many voices available. I would have liked a female voice for English, but the britt there is quite entertaining.

Then, the routing. It starts fast, it remembers the last destination (although, the settings get lost if you don't exit the application the right way... bad programming) and it is easy to use. Also, I like that I can change the things that I want to see (it has quite a nice personalization ideas). The a-gps might come handy, but here, in Finland, I don't make use of it. Another thing was that it had some routing that was not quite the best way to go around, but again, that is hard to please everyone. After all, it gets you from point A to B in the best way a computer can get you.

So, conclusion? I love even more the N900. It has everything that a Linux freak can want (well the most anyway). I hope that Nokia will keep this thing up and with Intel we will see better devices, with better UI and having the best of Free Software running so that more developers will join the fun. Yes, it is a lot of fun to have the N900...


UPDATE4: Kubuntu/Ubuntu: OCZ SSD, swap, memory, 64 bit, or how to pimp your life with a Panasonic CF-R8...

Here is some overview on how to get a new Panasonic CF-R8 to work with Ubuntu and an OCZ-Vertex SSD...

First, you need to open up your laptop in order to change the drive. I will come back on this pictures in another article later...

Then, you need to make sure that the OCZ partitions are aligned properly (that is before you install the Ubuntu/Kubuntu). Before you start, make sure that you have backed up all the partition (i.e., use rsync -ax / /mnt/USB) and  then, in a console/shell with fdisk:
fdisk -H 32 -S 32 /dev/sda

And of course, the creation of the partition (use :
Command (m for help): o
Command (m for help): n
Command action
   e   extended
   p   primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-15711, default 1): 2
Be sure to start from cylinder 2 (to have it aligned) as discussed also in some forums.

Another good tip is to create the filesystem with the extended options for the RAID strip of 64k. Here is the command for it (assuming that you have the sda1 as the partiotion):
mkfs.ext4 -E stripe-width=128 /dev/sda1

Since the SSD is fast enough, you can also tweak the /etc/fstab for better through output and make the logs go to memory (volatile):
/dev/sda1       /               ext4 noload,noatime,nodiratime,data=writeback,nobh,commit=100,barrier=0 0       1
tmpfs           /tmp            tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
none            /var/tmp        aufs noatime,br:/tmp=rw:/var/tmp=ro 0 0
none            /var/log        aufs noatime,br:/tmp=rw:/var/log=ro 0 0
none            /var/cache      aufs noatime,br:/tmp=rw:/var/cache=ro 0 0
Though, make sure that every now and then, you rebuild the cache...

Other optimizations for boot time can be committed via /etc/default/grub (to run update-grub after) to speed up also the kernel loading, with some nice tweaks:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash=silent resume=/dev/sda2 fastboot elevator=deadline raid=noautodetect rootflags=noload,data=writeback,nobh,commit=100,barrier=0"
You will need to update the grub via update-grub command...

Add swappiness to fix some default behavior, and switch back now from noop to deadline that is more cpu/write friendly-with fifo_batch option for io scheduller:
cat << EOF| sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf
# Peter added swapiness...
vm.swappiness = 0
vm.laptop_mode = 5
vm.dirty_writeback_centisecs = 1500
vm.vfs_cache_pressure = 50

And last, we need some optimizations after booting:
cat << EOF| sudo tee /etc/init/ssd-optimizations.conf
# ssd-optimizations - Set the parameters

description     "Set required ssd parameters"

start on starting dm

#       echo deadline > /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler
        echo 1 > /sys/block/sda/queue/iosched/fifo_batch
        echo min_power > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/link_power_management_policy
end script

Well, believe it or not, but with these settings, I got X starting at sec. 2, so, it is pretty fast (no initrd!)...

Some good links:
  1. OCZ Firmware update
  2. Ted Tso guide to partitioning...
  3. http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=54379&page=17
  4. http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=373226&postcount=98
  5. http://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase