Making the machine go

I’ve been spending more time than usual the last few days on just getting my
desktop computer to run.

Graphics card

The problem I was trying to solve was that it would slow to an
unusable crawl if firefox had been running for more than a day,
especially when the automatic backup kicked in every 4 hours.

One thing I thought might help would be to run the monitor off
of an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 SE/7200 GS graphics card. The network
know-it-alls on one of my mailing lists laughed their heads off at
this idea, but it still seems reasonable to me.

Unfortunately, it fixed the problem of firefox taking over the
whole computer when it had been running for more than a day,
because with the nvidia driver, the whole X system would freeze up
in much less than a day. The nvidia driver is a closed-source
product of the Nvidia corporation; there’s also an open source
driver called nv, but when I tried that, it would only let me run
at very low resolution.


Then a small number of days later, I got home after midnight
and went to check my email before bedtime and the monitor died.
(The little light was yellow, and instead of turning green as the
screen came back to life, it went out and wouldn’t come back on no
matter what I did.)

So I hooked up the old heavy 17″ CRT that I replaced because it
got jittery and was giving me headaches, and ordered a new monitor
for pickup from microcenter. I use
microcenter (which is less than two miles away) for anything I
need fast, for anything that might have a problem with linux
compatibility, and for anything with a motor in it. They sometimes
cost a little more than buying online, but they’re really good
about taking returns.

I bought this
Acer 22 inch wide monitor.

I had to boot it several times in order to get it configured
right. It seems that with the nvidia driver, you have to run both
envyng and nvidia-setup, or some such to get it to recognize that
you have a different sized monitor.

And it ran for most of a day, but this morning when I got up, X
was frozen again.

So I googled some more, and found a different open source
driver called “nouveau”. It figured out the right resolution and
size to run the screen at, so it looks good so far. It’s only been
two hours, though.

If you’re running ubuntu and have an nvidia card, you just have to “apt-get install
xserver-xorg-video-nouveau” and then edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to
say “nouveau” instead of “nvidia” or “nv”.


I’ll tell you some more about the browsers I’ve been
investigating later. The current situation is that the google
chromium-browser is great when it works, but has serious bugs,
like not displaying this blog at all and the “copy link address”
not copying. So I’m currently using that as well as firefox,
which is still what my mail program opens links in.

One thought on “Making the machine go”

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