Telling the world about the genius of simplicity

Slacker’s Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the information I provided in my previous post, and for that, I can only offer my humblest apologies. For one reason or another, I’ve not gotten around to making another entry in my blog regarding my journey through Slackware.

Since making that post, several events have happened which I should make note of. First of all, I discovered what made the Slackware 14 release kernel bug out on me when I rebooted after installation. Apparently, a firmware update needed to be installed which tended to the idiosyncrasies inherent to the latest iteration of AMD’s A-series of mobile processors. Without this firmware, the vanilla kernel could not handle the hardware setup, hence the panic. Understandable from a technical point of view, although I’ve not encountered such a problem when I installed Slackware in the past.

Second, I discovered what made the Brother printer driver (lpd and cupswrapper), which where packaged for RH, Debian, and their derivatives, crap out on Slackware. There are options that needed to be passed onto the rpm2txz script which converted the rpm package to a Slackware package. The description file, slack-desc, was converted from its rpm equivalent, and the post-install script, which sets up the Brother driver for proper operation, had to be carried over. In my ignorance, I did not include these command-line options. Thankfully the Slackware Documentation Project, which was spearheaded by Eric Hameleers (aka Alien BOB) who, as I understand, is just now getting over a nasty bout of the flu, had an article discussing the conversion of a sample printer, the Brother MFC-J825DW. Using the information contained in the article as a baseline, I was able to adapt it to my HL-2240, and — lo and behold! — my printer worked as advertised, without a bunch of gobbledygook coming out endlessly, wasting toner needlessly.  As an aside, I needed the printer to work with LibreOffice Writer. Okular would print without a problem, but –alas!– it would not with LO. After a short search, I discovered the problem: LO, for some unknown reason, treated the HL-2240 as a PDF printer, not as Postscript. Thankfully, the solution was near at hand. I was able to create a blank template and use it as default in Writer, wherein the only changes that were made was that my printer was set to Postscript Level 2, and paragraphs were double-spaced (a requirement for MLA-style papers). I don’t have to use Windows at all now to print my essays! Hurray!

Finally, I purchased another laptop, and this one will be the last one for awhile (I’m talking several years here). I had to go to my local Sam’s Club to get it, since Wal-Mart has only the cheap models available. The laptop I have not (and what I’m using to make this post!) is an HP Pavilion dv7-7227cl. It started life as a Windows 8 machine. Thankfully, HP provides a solution for Secure Boot; just turn it off in the BIOS. They call it Legacy Boot. There’s nothing legacy about Linux; rather, Windows uses several legacy components (such as drive letters, dating from CP/M days) that should have been consigned to its grave decades ago. But, that’s just me.

So, I’m pretty pleased right now with my new laptop, and anticipate fuss-free computing for as long as I own it. Speaking of fuss-free, my new laptop’s hardware was similar enough to the g7-2069wm (wifi, graphics) that I was able to swap hard drives, and Linux just booted up as if it were still on the old laptop! Windows upgrades should be as fuss-free. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon, though. Sadly.


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