Belkin Switch2 & Linux

The Belkin Switch2 is a range of KVM switches to switch between 2 computers. Some of the range support usb keyboards and mice and include stereo audio switching, it is these particular models which are of interest.

Software isn't required for out of the box functionality but it can be used to enhance it. Belkin have released software for Windows & Mac that allow the audio and video to be switched independently. Belkin haven't released official software for Linux. This is problem for me as I wanted to use the KVM with a Window and Linux machine.

So I did a bit of searching. In other parts of the world the Switch2 range is know as Flip. The hardware is the same just a different name. Some kind person has created a Linux application called 'flapjack' , a command line utility to perform the joint or independent switching functions.

It requires "Device Drivers > HID Devices > /dev/hiddev raw HID device support" to be compiled into the kernel to work (Tested with Gentoo-sources kernel 2.6.22-r2). Just build the package and your ready to go. It's simple and it just works.

Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part3)

The Frame Buffer/Nvidia/Xorg problem

To get the frame buffer support I compiled the relavent sections into the kernel and added "video=vesafb:mtrr:3,ywrap vga=865" to the kernel line in my grub.conf. The framebuffer works correctly and with these settings. It is then possible to load gdm and enter gnome without issue. The problem comes when trying to exit gnome. The screen flickers and goes black. There is no way to recover the system aside from hitting the power button.

Removing the framebuffer support from the kernel and recompiling it solves the problem of entering and exiting gnome but you miss out of the framebuffer support. Reading around it appears to be an issue with the nvidia-drivers. Currently there isn't a version in Gentoo portage that fixes the issue. The only work around is disabling framebuffer support for the moment.
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Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205

I have recently acquired a Toshiba Satellite X200-20S laptop. Whilst it shipped with Windows Vista it was never my intention to run it as the primary OS. The primary OS for this machine will be Gentoo Linux.

This is my first post in what might be a series of configuration notes for the aforementioned setup.

First of all I will say this is a very nice (and high spec) laptop. The screen (1680x1050) is stunning compared to the one on my old Acer Aspire 1355LC.

Specs:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz, FSB 800MHz, 4MB L2 Cache
WIFI: Intel Wireless Link 4965AGN
CHIPSET: Intel PM965
RAM: 2GB DDR2 667MHz [4GB Max Capacity]
HDD1: 160GB
HDD2: 160GB
OPTICAL DRIVE: HD-DVD ROM, DVD-RW
SCREEN: 17.1" Toshiba TruBrite WSXGA+ 1680x1050
GFX: Nvidia 8700M GT, 512MB Dedicated VRAM 16x PCI Express Bus
SOUND: Intel HD Audio, Harman Kardon Speakers
OTHER: HDMI & VGA Out, Bluetooth, IEEE1394, RJ45, RJ11, 6in1 Card Reader, Expresscard Slot + even more.
Continue reading "Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205"