slackware 12.0 again

So my switch back to slackware 12 went quite well on the thinkpad 600x, so I thought I’d do the same on the T42. I actually tried updating Archlinux on the T42 the other day. It told me it wanted to apply 177MB of updates. Thats just a bit too silly.

So I installed Slackware 12.0 on a spare 5GB partition on the T42. Install went fine. I chose not to put KDE on. Maybe I’ll do that later. Initially I set it up using blackbox.

With the 600x I had hanging problems with firefox and I deduced that that was something to do with ACPI. Since I’ve switched to APM on the 600x I haven’t had any problems while still running a 2.6.21.?? kernel. The T42 supports ACPI just fine and I wanted to use the same setup I’d used under Arch.

So I started off with the slackware 2.6.21.?? kernel and it seemed to go OK. Firefox did not hang. I ended up recompiling the slackware kernel anyway. I really just set the processor type and changed the scheduler to a low latency desktop. That seemed to go OK.

Then I had a long look at the fonts. On the 600x the fonts seemed OKish … but definately not as good as what Arch was doing under XFCE. After a while on the T42 I decided the fonts were actually really awful. I ended following the ‘hard way’ on the slackwiki regarding fonts. I tried the ‘easy way’ and that didn’t seem to do much. The hard way involved recompiling freetype to use the patent encumbered hinting stuff, and additionally installing the MS$ core fonts (to do that I found a core_ms_fonts package on linuxpackages.net, but it needed cabextract. There is a package for cabextract for slackware 11.0. Fortunately that works on slack 12.0). Anyway, with these changes and the MS$ fonts … everything looks great. Perhaps even better than what my other distro’s do.

However, I use synergy extensively. The 600x is the synergy ‘head’ with external keyboard and mouse. The other systems are synergy clients. This has worked quite well up to now.

With the T42 running Slack 12.0 I am now getting periodic mouse and keyboard glitches, but only for the T42. For example, if I’m moving the mouse about on the T42 screen sometimes it will stop for a period of a few seconds … and eventually come back. The same goes for the keyboard, if I’m typing away, sometimes my characters don’t appear on screen for a few seconds. If I start moving the T42’s trackpad or trackpoint when these lockups occur then the mouse moves on screen. This makes me thing its some kind of network issue. Moving the mouse and typing on the Debian Etch box (which is also a Synergy client of the 600x) is always fine. It’s never locked up.

So I changed the T42 to run off the same old 2.6.17 kernel I’d been using under Arch (yes, I know Arch is up to 2.6.22something, but I’ve always turned off kernel updates to avoid a lot of hassle). I know that that kernel worked fine under Arch and never had any mouse glitches. I thought that would see if its to do with the ethernet driver. So I downgraded and still got the occasional glitch. So then I downgraded the kernel on the 600x to 2.6.17 as well. And I still get the occasional glitch. Very very odd.

I’m trying turning off IPV6, as its caused me problems in the past. I’ll see how that goes. Nope that doesn’t help.

I’m now thinking it might be a bug in Synergy and or Xorg. Slackware 12.0 runs Xorg 1.3. My Arch build was running Xorg 7.2 which I think is the previous release. I’m running the same version of Synergy on all hosts (1.3.1).

I tried startx — -ignoreABI … that doesn’t help

I found an update to the xf86-video-ati driver on www.slackware-current.net. Installed that. That doesn’t help.

Tried turning off Composite in my xorg.conf. That doesn’t help either.

That glitch is very annoying. I hope I get it fixed. Its the kind of the thing that makes me choose some other distro. I’m quickly running out of distros.

So far I’ve got most of my regular pieces of software working. firefox is fine, thunderbird is fine, the softmaker office stuff works the same. I ended up copying the vncviewer from my arch distro and fortunately that just works. I should compile tightvnc properly. The citrix client I was using worked first thing. I’d been using mrxvt on Archlinux to get tabbed shells, and ended up compiling that from scratch on the T42. I tried the latest/greatest version; v0.5.3 but it just ignored shift-PageUp, so I’ve used v0.4.2 (stable) instead. That works fine.

I’m using icewm as the window manager for now. I should change it. icewm is fine on the 600x, but its one of many window managers that doesn’t work well with multiple monitors (I usually have a 20inch screen attached to the T42). XFCE is part of Slackware 12.0 so I might try that … but I found in all my time using XFCE on Archlinux that it tends to break due its use of multiple ‘bits’. But it does handle multiple monitors reasonably well.

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