More Kubuntu Developments

I finally figured out how to control the monitor brightness via this forum thread using the xbacklight command. I’m really happy for that, because it was a bit of a strain on my eyes and I couldn’t find a way to do it through the desktop manager. One other nice point about the forum thread is that it also walks you through how to execute this command automatically when battery power kicks in.

Kubuntu doesn’t install it by default, but if you search Adept for ndiswrapper, you should get an option to install Windows WiFi Drivers. This includes drivers for the Intel PRO/Wireless 4965 AG/AGN card, and once installed, it worked without requiring me to track down and install drivers manually.

I wanted to see if some of my games would work under Kubuntu. I tried Wine, but wasn’t able to get it to run Warcraft III without crashing immediately after selecting the play option from the splash screen. Apparently the supporting libraries for my particular graphics card (Intel 965 chipset) are fairly buggy when it comes to hardware acceleration.

I also attempted to install VMware in order to run the game in a virtual machine, but that was a dead end as well: the game won’t run with the display drivers provided by VMware tools and that it’s not possible to install the host machine’s drivers and have them work correctly. Incidentally, this forum thread provided some feedback about how to remove a partial installation so that aptitude will allow you to do a reinstallation. sudo dpkg –purge –force-remove-reinstreq vmware-server ended up doing the job.

So, as much as I hated the idea of having to go back to Windows, I set out to configure my system to dual-boot. Small problem: I have a SATA drive, which requires special drivers that Hitachi claims can only be installed via a floppy drive. My laptop doesn’t have one, and I’m not overly inclined to purchase an external one just to install XP.

My friend Jeff Jones pointed me to a forum thread detailing how to integrate the SATA drivers as well as Service Pack 2 into a custom XP CD. Since I didn’t have another existing XP installation, I had to use a VMware machine. It took some digging to find the Intel 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI Controller drivers and how to extract them for unattended installation. I used XP-ISO-Builder to create a custom ISO image and  DeepBurner Free to burn it to CD.

In attempting to boot with the CD, though, I got as far as being prompted to install the drivers before being presented with the error “The file iaStor.sys is corrupted.” Setup wouldn’t proceed any further, so I gave up on it for now. If you have any experience with a working solution rolling SATA drivers into a custom XP CD, I’d be interested to know. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog entry.

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