Cùran's life
A Debian Developer's observations

2nd April 2011 16:56 (GMT)
A note on current wine-unstable builds

Just a short note, as I've already got e-mails about this: the binary packages are built ASAP, but currently one Build-Depends (openssl) isn't satisfiable for all platforms. The reason is simple: a new OpenSSL package (1.0.0d-1) was uploaded into unstable just recently and not all builds made it into the archive yet, some are still in incoming (please note, that they might not be there anymore, when you click the previous link).

So please be patient, the builds are done, when possible. Thanks. ;-)

Permalink | debian, wine.
11th April 2011 15:27 (GMT)
Debian on a ThinkPad Edge 15

All my notebooks till today have been ThinkPads from the T series, sadly Lenovo decided (or, maybe, were persuaded) to go with nVidia GPUs for their current designs (T5xx). That's sad, because nVidia doesn't cooperate with the FLOSS world. I still wanted a ThinkPad with up-to-date parts. That left me with the Edge series, which is designed to be the bridge between consumer and business models. After some searching I settled on the NVLJ6GE model (the last two letters just indicate, that this is the "German" variant). The key specs are Intel Core i5-480M, 4096 MB RAM, AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5145, Intel WLAN module and a non-glare display.

Now to the part about running and installing Debian testing on this. Judging from the hardware I was pretty sure, that getting all hardware (i.e. all hardware I'd be using; e.g. I'm not using WiMax or the integrated web cam so far, which means I've dectivated them in the BIOS) up and running. and I'm happy to report, that this is true.

The installation was really straight forward (netinstall CD in expert mode (64 bit), running through all steps and booting, that's it). I did the install over a wired network, mainly because this is faster for me, but with an USB stick and the firmware for the Intel Centrino module a installation over the wireless interface should work too.

I'm now running a slightly customized setup (e.g. my own kernel and Mesa 7.10.2, the X from experimental), but not because some serious problems with Wheezy.

So far I can recommend this ThinkPad for usage with Debian (or Linux in general), though, if you don't want a "big" GPU, you might be happier with a T or L series model. They should run somewhat longer with the default battery (Lenovo 25+ with six cells). As for the service for this line I can't say anything yet, but as it's still a ThinkPad, I hope it'll be as for the other ThinkPad series.

Permalink | debian, review, thinkpad.
13th April 2011 13:15 (GMT)
Wine with 3D acceleration on amd64

As I got some e-mails about this: if you're on amd64 and Wine complains that it couldn't find a 3D acceleration card, then this is no bug in my wine-unstable packages but #614805.

The short-term workaround for you is to use LIBGL_DRIVERS_PATH=/usr/lib32/dri. You can either put it in front of every Wine invocation or you can export the variable in a specific shell session (don't export it globally), in which you'll run Wine or other programs needing the 32 bit libraries.

#614805 should be fixed automatically by the next ia32-libs upload, if it contains a version of Mesa containing Git commit cdd1912f.

Permalink | debian, wine.
24th April 2011 12:25 (GMT)
S3TC-compressed textures with Wine

Yesterday I received another report for a game, which wasn't working with the wine-unstable packages built by me. The reason why the reporter wrote to me and suspected a bug in my builds was, that the same game worked on the system of a friend (using a different distribution). After some exchanged e-mails it became apparent that this was yet another installment of S3TC-compressed textures. And as this wasn't the first time I got such reports, I thought I blog about the solution today.

As S3TC is one of those patent-encumbered texture compression formats (don't ask me why one can get a patent for such things, it's, IMHO, a very bad thing and we'd be better off, with a lot less patents), Mesa doesn't support it out of the box. You need to install an additional library or the proprietary driver for your graphics card. Before installing the library, make sure, that it is legal in your jurisdiction (i.e. check whether the patent is valid in your jurisdiction). If that is the case, you can install libtxc-dxtn0 from the Debian Multimedia repository or compile it yourself from source. If the patent is valid in your jurisdiction, you're most likely required to get a license from the rights holder for using the library, but I'm no lawyer so you might want to consult one prior to making your decision.

For amd64 users, there is an additional caveat: Wine needs the 32 bit variant installed. At the moment, this means downloading the i386 package from debian-multimedia.org and extracting the library to /usr/lib32.

For users with the r600c/g driver it gets (currently) really tricky, as there is no fully working support for loading libtxc_dxtn.so (current status is WIP). Here the only solution I know, would be to use the proprietary driver or writing patches for r600g (last option preferred *g*).

Permalink | debian, patent-mess, wine.
26th April 2011 12:53 (GMT)
Update on installing S3TC on amd64

Just two days ago I wrote about S3TC-compressed textures and that it is a little bit tricky for amd64 users to get the correct libraries installed. Since then I've been in contact with Christian Marillat, the guy behind debian-multimedia.org and he immediately responded with uploading ia32-libs-libtxc-dxtn0 to make it easier to install the 32 bit variant of libtxc_dxtn0 on 64 bit platforms.

A big Thank You! to Christian! And if you find his service helpful, consider donating to him (I can only guess at the amount of traffic he gets, especially since a lot of people certainly don't use one of the mirrors). (Just a short disclaimer: Christian didn't ask me to put the donation request in this post, in fact he'll only know about it, as soon as this goes online.)

I'll add an Suggests: in the next upload of wine-unstable to the server on libtxc-dxtn0/ia32-libs-libtxc-dxtn0 so people'll have an easier time to get S3TC working. But again: before installation: make sure it is legal for you to install the library.

Permalink | debian, patent-mess.

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