Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Running windows under VMWare

I've spent the last week running windows vist 64Bit under VMWare to see if it can be used sync my gadgets (iphone, tomtom, harmony remote). All as been going pretty well, though still frustated my roaming profiles. The cause windows to take ages to log in and out. A nfs soultion would be much better given that this machine is a desktop one.

I've been syncing my iPhone without problems, which gave me a lot of hope that things would work. However last night I tried to upgrade the firmware to iOS 4. This proved to be impossible and left the phone useable. I googled around and found some suggested fixes for the problem, however none of them worked and all involved hacking around with the Linux Host USB options. If I can't update the firmware, then VMWare is not going to work for me.

I'm not considering other options, and it seems the best one is to by one of the new MacMini's. More money than I wanted to spend, but the benefits are quite large. First of I should be able to connected it to my linux next work with ldap auto mounts via nfs. No more roaming profiles! Backuping up to my Nas should be easy. My netgear nas pretends to my a apple time machine.
All my gadgets seem to work on MacOS X so I should be able to sit the box on the desktop and use VNC from my main Linux machine.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Getting gadgets to work with linux

So I'm not at stage 2 of replacing windows on my gaming machine. So far the games I play are working very well using crossover games from codeweavers. The next step is get my tomtom, iPhone, iPod and Harmony remotes all working and syncing.

In a perfect world their would be native Liunx drivers for these products, but that does not seem to be the cause. The really anoying thing is that at least one of these devices is running Linux! So currently I'm evaulating VMWare. I will hopefully be able to install iTunes and all the other drivers under vista in VMWare running windows vista. So far the installation of VMWare has been pretty easy and I'm currently setting up vista to talk to my network (Samba PDC). The trick part was working out what product I actually wanted. The VMWare website lists all sorts of products, I'd suggest they create a table showing how they all differ.

VMWare does strike me as slighly overkill for what I want, and I would quite happily pay codeweavers or anyone the price VMWare will cost me to get all these things working in crossover office. I wonder how many other people think this too? If I'd not already had to by windows vista, I'd give them that money also. I guess the main problem is getting USB devices working under wine and keeping up to date with the latest versions of iTunes.

I'm also going to have to install outlook, and the only reason for this is that iTunes only really supports Outlook for syncing.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Crossover games 9.0.0

My windows vista machine has recently developed a hard disc fault, their is a clicking noise and the machine keeps freezing. This machine is mainly used for playing games and syncing my iphone. I've got a new hard disc on order, but it occured to my I might not need to run windows on the machine any longer. Since stopping Neverwinter Nights development, I've been playing World of Warcraft (WoW) and Guild wars. I've notice that both of these run in crossover games now so though I'd give things ago.

So I've got crossover games 9.0.0 installed on my laptop, the laptop is less powerful than my windows machine so I won't be comparing performance. All I'm looking for is the games run correctly and they are playable.

First thing I need to do is install WoW, this is quite a painfull process as it's a huge game. It was painful on windows too. Rather than install from the CD's I though I'd use the Internet installer, so I downloaded it and used crossover games to install it. The install process then took 2 days....... 6GiG download. Wish I'd used the DVD now :-) Anyway, a couple of days later and it's all installed, but now it needs patching!!! This is really anoying thing about wow, you think it would just have installed the latest version. So anther day and a half later and it's patched to the latest version.

I can now run wow and see the initial screen. Crossover games has added a icon to my KDE desktop and start menu which is great. I now try to log into my WoW account, it's at this point things go really wrong. Turns out I downloaded the wrong version. I have the enUS and not the enGB, so I can't log into my account. This means another 4 days of downloading...........

Ok time to try something different, I move the Wow install on my hard disc and mounted my windows machines hard disc via samba. I now copy the installed version on their to the place where crossover games installed things before. There is a config file at the path "World of Warcraft\WTF\Config.Config.WTF". With the help of a crossover games WoW page I edit the settings in their to add the following:

SET SoundOutputSystem "1"
SET SoundBufferSize "232"
SET gxApi "opengl"
SET ffxDeath "1"
SET gxMultisampleQuality "0.000000"
SET gxFixLag "0"
SET fullAlpha "1"
SET lodDist "100.000000"
SET SmallCull "0.070000"
SET DistCull "500.000000"
SET farclip "477"
SET particleDensity "1.000000"
SET unitDrawDist "300.000000"
SET gxCursor "0" SET baseMip "1"
SET spellEffectLevel "0"
SET weatherDensity "0"
SET pixelShaders "0"
SET ffxGlow "0"

After all of this, I fired up WoW again and successfully logged in. I've been playing the game most of the day and it's all working really well. It's a little sluggish in places, like for example when it displays a tool tip. That is probably down to my laptop been a bit underpowered. All in all, crossover games is really impressive.

I think I'm going to be checking out VMWare next for running iTunes and iPhone syncing. If that works I'll be able to ditch windows for Linux.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Scanners in Opensuse 11.2 (64 Bit)

For a while now I've been attempting on and off to get my flatbed scanner working in OpenSuSE versions. I've tried most versions from 11.0 to 11.2, but I always ran in to the same problem. The problem is that Yast tells me it will work on a 32Bit version of OpenSuSE, but not a 64 Bit version. I've got a "Epson Perfection 4490 Photo" flatbed scanner that I'm connecting via USB.

Last night I need to do some scanning and felt it was time to have another go and getting it working. Yast gave the same error message, so I though I'd check out the Epson website for drivers. First of their UK site was completly broken :-(, but their US site was working fine. I was surprised to find that their was drivers for Linux on their site!! How things have changed these days :-)

It turns out that the driver is a link to another site This site seems todo quite a few drivers for Linux, amongst them are 64 Bit drivers for and instructions for my scanner. They also seem to have the source code on the site. It's quite possible that the OpenSuSE driver support for scanners could be improved by this.