Tuesday, November 24, 2009

openSUSE 11.2 on EeePC 701: Wifi works!? Voodoo?

Luv openSUSE 11.2 so much, especially the default KDE 4.3 GUI... I find myself staring and admiring at it... this is big for me as I've not stopped and marvel at GUI for quite a while now... senyum ...

That was all the motivation I needed to install it onto my ASUS EeePC 701 (remember the very 1st netbook?) with 4GB SSD and 1GB RAM. Good news is everything works! Well, when I say 'everything', I meant things that matter to me like KDE GUI with compositing (ie 3D eye-candy), Firefox, OpenOffice and other apps, embedded webcam worked on Kopete and .... *drum roll*, Wireless! What's a netbook if wifi doesn't work yeah?

So, why am I so excited that wifi worked out of the box...? Apparently, wifi should not work with the default ath5k driver as its been reported at OpenSUSE on EeePC page and its true... until, by chance, I got it to work... and I'm going to described it here in very non-technical terms as I still have not figured out how/why it worked... hoping readers will have some good input and theories... maybe even a good technical answer. senyum Here goes:

1) Original challenge: Wifi appears to be available, can scan for SSIDs. However, it failed to connect with my home SSID.

2) Plugged in a Ethernet cable on my home network, just to test if physical network connection would work, I am able to surf the web. Hurray!

3) When I unplugged the Ethernet cable, it suddenly is able to automagically connect with my home wifi. While its a step forward, I am still unable to surf the web. However, I am able to ping all IPs in my home network.

4) Added a network route via route add and I can surf the web! So happy.
route add default gw 192.xxx.xxx.xxx metric 0 dev wlan0 (where 192.xxx.xxx.xxx is my home internal IP range)

Hope this will help those with the same itch/challenge. Would definitely appreciate your inputs on this behaviour. Thanks in advance.

PS: hwinfo | grep -i atheros returns:
info.vendor = 'Atheros Communications Inc.'
pci.vendor = 'Atheros Communications Inc.'
info.vendor = 'Atheros Communications Inc.'
E: ID_VENDOR_FROM_DATABASE=Atheros Communications
<6>[ 4.942343] Atheros(R) L2 Ethernet Driver - version 2.2.3
<6>[ 4.942355] Copyright (c) 2007 Atheros Corporation.
<6>[ 7.105539] ath5k phy0: Atheros AR2425 chip found (MAC: 0xe2, PHY: 0x70)
Model: "Atheros AR5001 Wireless Network Adapter"
Vendor: pci 0x168c "Atheros Communications Inc."

Monday, November 23, 2009

openSUSE 11.2: Making Flash work on Firefox

Update (23rd Nov 09): Please IGNORE this post (my bad) if you do not have any issues with getting Flash to work on Firefox, in fact, you should not have any issues here... With Thanks to astute readers woro and thuswa (see comments section). I had trouble because I should have used YaST Software Management to install Flash; instead I went and download/install Flash via Adobe's website... because I wasn't thinking and clicked a link to download Flash when visiting Youtube.com on my vanilla Firefox. D'oh! xpasti

Well! I'm back to blogging after 3 months...
senyum ... and all because I've taken ill and quarantined at home for the last 5 days... guess I've run out of things to occupy me... and recall how much I missed blogging... right, moving on... Alons-y!

You've probably heard that openSUSE 11.2 is out and what a fantastic (and concerted effort) launch and what a good all round package for a dot 2 (xx.2) release. I feel very optimistic for the enterprise grade SLED 11 SP1 in 2010. encem

One of the first things I always do with any new openSUSE is to install Adobe Flash Player onto Firefox. Its one of those ubiquitous proprietary software that does not come with a Free and Open Source package of Linux. A quick visit to the download page and got the RPM version (as of this writing, Flash version The default Firefox 3.5.4 will, quite cleverly, attempt to install the rpm via Install Software silently. A restart of Firefox should have Flash up and running right?... (rhetorical)... NO! What an annoying surprise.soal Here's how I got it to work after a little snooping around:

1) The default Firefox directory (/usr/lib/firefox/) does not have the usual /plugins sub-directory. Go ahead and create it, as root user, via:
mkdir /usr/lib/firefox/plugins

2) Now, go to the installed Flash directory (/usr/lib/flash/) and execute the setup script, as root, via:

3) Check that there is a softlink to the flash player lib in /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/ directory

4) Now restart Firefox and to double-check by entering about:plugins in the URL address bar. This will list all plugins on Firefox and you should see an entry (towards the bottom) for Flash.

5) I also noticed that audio does not seem to work. Not sure why but the PCM volume setting is set to zero. Click the Audio Volume icon and choose Mixer and move the PCM volume up. Again, not sure why this is set to zero by default and having installed openSUSE 11.2 on two different systems, I noticed the same behaviour.

Molto Bene! Hope this helps. peace