Linux Machine

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Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 9:10 am

I'm preparing to build a new box that's going to dual boot linux (probably crunchbang, my favorite distro) and a windows partition (probably 7).
One concern I have is driver compatibility with linux...
Nvidia has historically had good linux drivers and a phoronix test I saw shows that the i7 runs well also.
I'm a little concerned about the sound card and mobo though:
Sound: Asus Xonar DX
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5
Does anyone have any experience running either of these under linux?

Also has anyone tried Blu-Ray/HD-DVD players on linux? I know that the encryption is touch and go right now and honestly I'm not that interested in video playback of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD under linux. I can do that on Windows instead. But any BR/HD-DVD drive that I get will double as a cd/dvd drive on the linux side and I need to know if it will work as such. Maybe it would just be easier to run a standard dvd drive and forget about HD content entirely...
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 10:01 am

Can't say about the sound card, other than some people have working Xonar DXs. No guaratee it will work for you.

Linux almost never has a problem with motherboards these days, except for suspend and resume.

For graphics I would be tempted to go ATI - the driver situation really has changed and their binary one is on par with Nvidia now. More importantly, they explicitly support Linux and have released specs and code to help Linux developers, so there is an official open-source driver with 3D support for all cards except the very latest which are in progress (but the binary driver supports these anyway). When ATI drops support for your card you know the open one will last forever unlike with Nvidia where no binary = basic 2D only.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 10:39 am

Curious as to why you'd install CrunchBang on a new build, when its primary strength is in its ability to run on systems with very limited resources. Seems to me that a more mainstream distro like Ubuntu (on which CrunchBang is based), or even Xubuntu (if you want to keep things somewhat lightweight) would result in easier access to support, since there are a lot more people using it.

Regarding the Xonar DX, based on this thread it appears that recent kernels support it.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 11:31 am

What are you going to be doing on Linux? If nothing intense, you may just consider either a cheap second machine, or just a virtual machine.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 11:43 am

flip-mode wrote:What are you going to be doing on Linux? If nothing intense, you may just consider either a cheap second machine, or just a virtual machine.

Well, he did indicate that he wants sound support. While sound is indeed supported by current virtualization tools, my experience has been that virtualized sound tends to skip a lot.

Putting Windows 7 on the new box and Linux on the existing one might be a viable option though.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 11:50 am

I have my EX58-UD5 running Gentoo ~AMD64 current. It works flawlessly. I can't address your sound concerns, I use the onboard.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 4:33 pm

What's the Ethernet chip on that motherboard, an RTL-8111 or similar? Old distros may need the driver from Realtek if it is but anything recent should handle it OK.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 8:12 pm

@gameboy: Thanks. I'll consider ATI then since they're basically in a dead heat with NVidia right now on performance. Out of curiosity, no one ever developed an open driver for nVidia? Is that because nVidia never cooperated with the community on this?

@just brew it: It's true that Crunchbang is good on low spec systems and this obviously isn't going to be a low spec box. My reasons for using Crunchbang ahead of Ubuntu or Mint (or SuSE, Fedora, whatever) is just personal preference. I prefer openbox to gnome and I also like how crunchbang exposes me to a little bit more of the nitty gritty elements of the OS than ubuntu does. It forces me to learn a little. I'm not too worried about support given that it's built on ubuntu and that crunchbang's own community is really very responsive. Of course, there's always the possibility that I'll make a third partition for playing with other distros. Also, thanks for that link to the xonar forum post. Clearly, your search-fu is better than mine.

For reasons of physical deskspace I'm probably going to keep the clutter to a minimum by dualbooting. Last thing i need is another tower... I don't want to virtualize for a number of reasons including the sound limitations mentioned by just brew it and video playback...
The way it'll probably break down is that the windows end will be almost purely for gaming. I tend to do pretty much everything else in linux.

It's very reassuring to hear that the mobo works perfectly. I had hoped this would be the case but it's good to be sure...
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 9:04 pm

I'm a Gentoo user who routinely compiles his own kernel, and I can confirm that the 2.6.29 kernel definitely has support for Asus Xonar chipsets.

Code: Select all
 .config - Linux Kernel v2.6.29-gentoo-r2 Configuration
 ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
  ┌───────────────────── Asus Virtuoso 100/200 (Xonar) ─────────────────────┐
  │ CONFIG_SND_VIRTUOSO:                                                    │ 
  │                                                                         │ 
  │ Say Y here to include support for sound cards based on the              │ 
  │ Asus AV100/AV200 chips, i.e., Xonar D1, DX, D2 and D2X.                 │ 
  │ Support for the HDAV1.3 (Deluxe) is very experimental.                  │ 
  │                                                                         │ 
  │ To compile this driver as a module, choose M here: the module           │ 
  │ will be called snd-virtuoso.                                            │ 
  │                                                                         │ 
  │ Symbol: SND_VIRTUOSO [=n]                                               │ 
  │ Prompt: Asus Virtuoso 100/200 (Xonar)                                   │ 
  │   Defined at sound/pci/Kconfig:742                                      │ 
  │   Depends on: SOUND && !M68K && SND && SND_PCI                          │ 
  │   Location:                                                             │ 
  │     -> Device Drivers                                                   │ 
  │       -> Sound card support (SOUND [=y])                                │ 
  │         -> Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (SND [=m])                 │ 
  │           -> PCI sound devices (SND_PCI [=y])                           │ 
  │   Selects: SND_OXYGEN_LIB                                               │ 
  ├─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────( 99%)──┤ 
  │                                < Exit >                                 │ 
  └─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ 


How well your chosen distro will auto-detect the hardware and how far back kernel support for that hardware goes remains to be seen; 2.6.29 is bleeding edge and I haven't needed to look over the kernel's list of sound card drivers for well over a year.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Sun May 03, 2009 10:35 pm

nwillettjeffries wrote:@gameboy: Thanks. I'll consider ATI then since they're basically in a dead heat with NVidia right now on performance. Out of curiosity, no one ever developed an open driver for nVidia? Is that because nVidia never cooperated with the community on this?

Yup. As of a year or so ago, ATI/AMD has been releasing detailed hardware specs to the community. nVidia's hardware specs are still closed.

@just brew it: It's true that Crunchbang is good on low spec systems and this obviously isn't going to be a low spec box. My reasons for using Crunchbang ahead of Ubuntu or Mint (or SuSE, Fedora, whatever) is just personal preference. I prefer openbox to gnome and I also like how crunchbang exposes me to a little bit more of the nitty gritty elements of the OS than ubuntu does. It forces me to learn a little.

I'm finding that there's still plenty to learn, even with Ubuntu. But I suppose I also agree with you at some level -- I find myself using the apt and dpkg command line tools instead of synaptic, and I disable Gnome's network management applet and directly edit the /etc/network/interfaces file (just to give a couple of examples). I guess I should take a look at openbox sometime. :wink:

The way it'll probably break down is that the windows end will be almost purely for gaming. I tend to do pretty much everything else in linux.

Sounds like the direction I've been heading for the past year or so. At home, my Windows box is used only for gaming and video editing (which represent only a small percentage of my usage); everything else is on Linux.

At work it is more evenly split since our corporate IT environment is still Windows-centric (MS Exchange, MS Office, Visio, etc.); but even so, I probably do about 50% of my work on Linux. And a significant chunk of the Windows stuff is handled with a Terminal Services session (from a Linux based client) rather than a native Windows desktop.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Mon May 04, 2009 7:29 am

notfred wrote:What's the Ethernet chip on that motherboard, an RTL-8111 or similar? Old distros may need the driver from Realtek if it is but anything recent should handle it OK.


RTL-8111D, two of them.

Any halfway recent rt8169 driver handles it fine. The 8111* series is driver-compatible with RTL-8169 (under Linux, anyways) and the various variants are supposed to be tweaks and bugfixes but no functionality changes.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Mon May 04, 2009 7:31 am

CasbahBoy wrote:How well your chosen distro will auto-detect the hardware and how far back kernel support for that hardware goes remains to be seen; 2.6.29 is bleeding edge and I haven't needed to look over the kernel's list of sound card drivers for well over a year.


2.6.26 has it. Nothing older on hand to check.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Mon May 04, 2009 4:03 pm

^^Crunchbang should release shortly with the version based on Ubuntu 9.04. 9.04 is running 2.6.28 so it looks like I'm in good shape on sound...

@just brew it: Definitely give openbox a try. No guarantees but you might like it. Crunchbang is nice since it mixes the security that comes with familiarity of ubuntu (huge repos, huge support community, synaptic, etc...) with openbox in a way that makes the switch from gnome (or kde if you prefer) less intimidating. It's also cool to be able to post a question or concern on the Crunchbang forums and get a response directly from corenominal, who is the guy who is largely responsible for developing the whole distro.
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Re: Linux Machine

Postposted on Mon May 04, 2009 5:29 pm

nwillettjeffries wrote:Also has anyone tried Blu-Ray/HD-DVD players on linux? I know that the encryption is touch and go right now and honestly I'm not that interested in video playback of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD under linux. I can do that on Windows instead. But any BR/HD-DVD drive that I get will double as a cd/dvd drive on the linux side and I need to know if it will work as such. Maybe it would just be easier to run a standard dvd drive and forget about HD content entirely...

Any BR/HD-DVD drive with CD/DVD burning capabilities will work fine as a burner. I have an LG GGW-H20L Blu-Ray burner/HD-DVD reader and it works fine in that regard.

As for video playback, I've been fiddling with libbluray and the bdplus stuff with DumpHD, and I've had zero success. Apparently what happened is this -- the first title I inserted into my drive was a newer title that updated my drive's host key/certificate revocation list so the techniques used by aacskeys no longer work. I hate DRM; I just want to watch these legitimately purchased Blu Ray movies. I've been meaning to try a drive firmware patch, but I haven't had much time and don't want to risk bricking my drive.
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