Puppy Seamonkey 2.02 - Any Ruff Edges?

Date: 8/29/06

Introduction:

I kinda lost track of Puppy over the last several months. I have followed Puppy's development since it's inception and last tested version 1.08. Puppy has always been a simple Linux distro that I have used primarily for a rescue system for my Linux installations. What's new in the current release of Puppy?

First, I should mention my computer system. Not an easy system for a Linux distro.

Biostar K8M800-a7 AMD64 motherboard.
AMD Athlon 64 processor 3000+
1 GIG DDR memory
ST3120022A 120 gig IDE hard drive
Maxtor 6Y080L0 80 gig IDE hard drive
Western Digital WDC WD3200JD-00K  300 gig sata hard drive
Maxtor 6B250S0 250 gig sata hard drive
Viewsonic VA902b 19" LCD Monitor
NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX400 video card
D-Link DWL-G520 wireless PCI card
HP Officejet 6210 All-in-One Printer, Scanner and Fax



Installation:

Puppy's installation was pretty straightforward. After firing up the Live CD, I configured my mouse, keyboard and X-org to display my monitor at 1024x768 at 24 bps. Once Puppy loaded, I did a hard drive installation on my secondary IDE drive. Although Puppy will recognize sata hard drives automatically with Mutt, it's partition and mounting utility, Puppy does not yet support installing to a sata drive, according to the Puppy Universal Installer (Menu-->Setup-->Universal Installer). So, I elected to install to the IDE drive. Step one completed.



Networking:


The first order of business was to get my Internet connection established. I wanted my wireless connection to be my main route to the Internet, so I opened Puppy's wireless Internet Connection Wizard (Menu-->Setup--> Wireless Network Wizard). I realized that Puppy comes with ndiswrapper pre-installed, so I know how to load my drivers for the Atheros based wireless card. Having experience with this in Linux, I easily used ndiswrapper to load the Windows XP drivers and configure my WEP and ESSID settings, using the command line function. Since I have a DSL connection, once I loaded the ndiswrapper module, I configured Roaring Penguin to start the connection. I was up and on the Internet in less than 15 minutes.

Wait a minute! I was lucky enough to have Verizon fios installed the weekend of 8/19/06. I was easily able to reconfigure Puppy to use my wired connection (eth0). What about wireless? I now have a constant connection via DHCP, using a dynamic IP address.

There seem to be two ways to configure my wireless connection. I discovered this quite by accident.

Method #1: The old fashion way via the command line. I have done this with success in the past, but this version of Puppy gave me problems. Puppy has ndiswrapper installed by default, so this is a start.  i found that the original Windows drivers that i have used for ages were corrupt from copying them over and over, so I downloaded a set of new drivers and extracted the NetA3AB.inf and the A3AB.sys fresh. After doing ndiswrapper -i NetA3AB.inf, i had a working installation with good driver present hardware present message at the command line. Doing iwlist scan, I determined the correct channel that the card was on.  I added modprobe ndiswrapper to the /etc/rc.d/rc.local file, using Rox's text view. A reboot revealed that the card was recognized and the driver loaded.

Method #2: Puppy's Ethernet Connection Wizard. This is where it got a little tricky.  The Wireless Connection Tool failed with WAG problems. I moved on to the Ethernet Connection Wizard and found that wlan0 was a recognized connection. Clicking on wlan0, I received the following screen.



In order to use the connection wizard, you need to know the following information;

Name: Give the connection any name that you wish.

ESSID: as assigned by your router, or what name you gave it manually, if you did so.

Mode: Open worked for me.

Key: your WEP key (assumes hexadecimal)

Frequency: leave this blank.

Channel: what channel the card is seen at, from doing iwlist scan mentioned above.

MAC Access point: I determined this by looking at iwlist scan.

Follow the rest of the screens (for me I used auto DHCP for my fios setup).

NOTE: If you have previously have set-up your wired ethernet card, this can cause a problem. I had to delete the stale files in /etc/dhcpc (eth0.pid and all related files, as well as /etc/eth0.mode?? files). If these are present, they give dhcpcd a fit.


Sound;

My motherboard uses the onboard via82xx chipset. Use the WizardWizard to set up sound, choosing via82xx as the driver. How did I know this. use Puppy's hardware information tool -->Menu-->Control panel-->Xproc System Information to see what the chipset is.


Printing and Scanning:

See my article on the subject located here.


Navigation:

Puppy comes with a variety of useful packages for everyday tasks. I started this article with Seamonkey's basic html composer, but knew that I needed a full office suite to meet my needs. I was composing a PowerPoint presentation for a lecture the following week and needed presentation software to fit the bill.

Enter OpenOffice. Puppy's Package Manager (Menu-->Setup--> Puppy Package Manager comes with two types of package installation methods, Pupget and Dotpup. There was a set of Pupget packages for OpenOffice, a “cutdown” version and an additional full install Pupget package add-on. I elected to install both, which took about two minutes. My PowerPoint presentation and rest of this article was written in OpenOffice.

Pmount is Puppy's partition mounting utility. I think that a lot of work was done on this utility, as it now sees all my partitions, including ide. sata and external USB connected drives. You can mount any valid partition and the Rox file manager appears with the partition's file structure. Very nice indeed!

Gparted is a hard drive partitioning utility written for Linux. This is pre-installed in Puppy. I have experience with qtparted, another Linux partitioning utility. I have to say, Gparted is much easier to use and was able to detect and manipulate my multiple drives with ease. This included my sata drives and a 400 GB Hitachi sata drive that I received in the mail while testing Puppy. I used Ghostview to view the pdf file from the Hitachi website to view important installation notes on my new hard drive.

Mozilla Composer is Puppy's default html writing utility, with an icon on the desktop for easy accessibility. I used this composer to write this article and then published it to my website with gftp, the Linux file transfer utility included in Puppy 2.


Input Devices

I have a KVM switch to allow myself to navigate two systems at the same time. This requires that I have a  PS/2 keyboard and mouse attached to my KVM switch. However, I also have a NEC (Forward) USB keyboard that I like to use. In previous versions of Puppy with the 2.4 series kernel, I needed to load a couple of modules to get it going.  I did modprobe usbkbd in the RXVT terminal utility and the keyboard was up an going.

Additionally, my PS/2 mouse is dying and I have an extra USB mouse handy. However, my motherboard did not like both mice attached, so I have to look into this, as this is a hardware issue, not a Puppy one. Resolved - unknown hardware issue.