Monthly Archives: April 2007

Widescreen Intel video BIOS hack no longer needed

Many of us with widescreen laptops which have Intel graphics chipsets have been unable to use wide display resolutions without running hacky programs (such as 855resolution or 915resolution) on every boot to patch the video BIOS.

The new xf86-video-intel-2.0.0 driver no longer uses the video BIOS, it does native mode setting. In other words, the 855resolution/915resolution utilities are no longer needed.

For Gentoo users: xf86-video-intel is named xf86-intel-i810 in the portage tree.

Using ketchup to quickly install kernel sources

ketchup is a neat utility to download and unpack a specific version of the Linux kernel sources into the current directory. It also does rather well on saving download bandwidth, i.e. if you have the 2.6.17 source tarball and ask for 2.6.18, it will only download the 2.6.17-to-2.6.18 patch.

Here’s a quick usage example, which installs the 2.6.21-rc7 kernel sources:

# emerge ketchup
# cd /usr/src
# mkdir linux-2.6.21-rc7
# cd linux-2.6.21-rc7
# ketchup 2.6.21-rc7

When ketchup has finished, you then have a clean set of kernel sources for that particular version in front of you.

I like to configure ketchup to use the same storage directory as portage, so that they can share kernel tarballs. In my ~/.ketchuprc I have:

archive = "/usr/portage/distfiles"

Hardware protocol analyzers

After learning of my involvement with USB drivers through a recent interview in a Gentoo Weekly Newsletter, Elias P has donated me a couple of hardware protocol analyzers:

The USB one should be useful with my current and future USB driver projects, and will be a useful tool to learn more about USB on the physical/electrical level. In addition, the vendor do provide Linux drivers but they are closed source, so I will soon be attempting to reverse engineer the protocol analyzer (oh the irony) in order to provide open drivers.

I don’t currently have a use for the I2C/SPI analyzer, so if you know of any open source developers who would find this useful in their projects, please send them this way. I’m happy to send this device on, provided that I can see that it will be used to aid open source development.

UPDATE: I2C/SPI analyzer was donated to David Brownell for Linux kernel SPI development.

Thanks Elias!