Latest version of Mint on the z510

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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:54 pm

Latest version of Mint on the z510

Post by vtailor »

I installed the latest Mint Linux on the Compulab z510, and I have some observations about it. I think that running a video benchmark using its xf86 system can burn out the sound chip, only a suspicion. At any rate, if you read Xorg.0.log, you discover that the Mint designers found a way to use and to get around the gma500_gfx kernel module completely. In other words, /dev/fb0 and /dev/dri are there, but not in use. Instead, if you dislike the resolution in use, you use the "Appearance" app to change to, say, 1440x900 without any command line interaction that the use of would call for.

The consequence of doing this is that streaming video on the z510 is very poor, even in partial-screen mode, and, although the Peacekeeper Benchmark score remains roughly the same as for other distributions, the actual performance is poor. And, as I mentioned, things heat up.

Another thing revealed in Xorg.0.log is that the "pre-configured xorg.conf" calls for psb_drv and fbdev_drv, both of which are not in the installation and can't be gotten using the software packages manager. Maybe I could use the source code and get it to work on the system, haven't tried to. I did manage to download a precompiled .rpm version of psb_drv and test it on RIP. Since it wasn't compiled for the RIP version of xf86, it ran in "debug" mode and might actually have done something except it did not know how to communicate with the vga/hdmi setup on the fit-pc2. Some enthusiast in Israel might see about finding any more evolved versions of psb_drv. At any rate, the Ubuntu people decided that the ppa in charge of developing this graphics driver was "untrustworthy" and closed it down. Which brings us to the question of why the folks at Mint Central set up the latest Mint to use, but not use, psb_drv. There is an old saying in the US state of Texas: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I think that applies here.

I think that Mint Maya Plisetskaya is still probably the best bet for the z5xx series of Compulab computers. Followed by Slackware-Current and RIP with fbdev.

As for Windows 8, it installs with roughly 500 megabytes of ram to spare for the z510 on first run, then goes down to 100 megabytes to spare when the gma500 graphics driver is installed (successfully). If you turn off Windows Update and run Windows Defender to get it shut off, all the background activity that keeps CPU usage at 99% slowly shuts off, but it takes hours of run Time to get to where it runs at 58% or whatever. And, if you uninstall the gma500 driver, the spare memory available does not change.

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