March 2008 Archives

Ubuntu/gutsy and (apparently) even the venerable Debian have badly broken ideas about runlevels: runlevels 2-5 are the same, all of them start the GUI (via gdm, kdm, or whatever), 2 is the default, and it's ridiculously difficult to get a sane runlevel configuration working. Sorry, Ubuntu, but this is one that RedHat got right at least 11 years ago.

Ubuntu has abandoned inittab in favour of their homegrown upstart, not in itself a bad thing. inittab was cryptic, nobody understood it, and everyone who ever edited their inittab did so with fear and trepidation, but kernel boot options should override defaults, not the other way around.

The “sane runlevels” solution presented herein actually works and has been tested, unlike a lot of what I read, and tried, in “help” forums.

Can a Dell® PowerEdge® SC420 be upgraded with Cedar Mill Pentium® 4 processors?

Until Steve Ketchem sent me a screenshot showing a '631 running in a SC420 (I blurred details that named the machine, etc., or that I thought might otherwise leak information), it seemed very, very unlikely indeed: there is only one report online of a SC420 being upgraded with a '631 and the preponderance of evidence suggested otherwise. It appeared that the Intel® E7221 northbridge used in the SC420 simply doesn't support the Cedar Mill processors, making BIOS support a moot point, but Steve's email complicates the picture.

The later “Catalyst” version of the ATI proprietary drivers, 8.2 (8.45.5), 8.1 (8.45.2), and 7.11 (8.43.3) do not have this problem, so this page is now obsolete.

The previous non-Catalyst version, 8.42.3, solved a long-standing problem with the ATI proprietary drivers for the first time: not being able to run Compiz or Beryl easily because of lack of support for compositing.

The driver packages, for all versions, allow you to build .deb packages for a variety of distributions, including Ubuntu/gutsy, like this:

$ sh ./ --buildpkg Ubuntu/gutsy

Unfortunately, on x86_64 (aka amd64), building the 8.42.3 package failed with an error message about missing files in X11R6/lib:

# amd64 needs some library redirection


dh_install -pxorg-driver-fglrx "usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri"     "usr/lib32"
cp: cannot stat `./usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri': No such file or directory
dh_install: command returned error code 256
make: *** [binary] Error 1
Removing temporary directory: fglrx-install.E10832

The problem was that ATI's build script looked for some 32-bit libraries, common to both the 64bit and 32bit drivers, in the wrong place.


The solution is very easy, you just do the following:

  • Extract the package
  • Copy missing files to their correct location
  • Build the package

Assuming that you've downloaded the package into the “current” directory, all you do is:

$ bash --extract ati-driver
$ cd ati-driver
$ cp -r arch/x86/usr/X11R6/lib arch/x86_64/usr/X11R6/
$ ./packages/Ubuntu/ --buildpkg gutsy

The packages should build correctly.

After doing this, I was able to install the packages and follow this guide to get Compiz working on Ubuntu/gutsy on an Athlon64 with an ATI X1550.