Fixing image distortion on websites using Firefox/Iceweasel 3.5 on Debian testing with intel xorg driver

Lately I noticed some image distortion appearing on some websites using my laptop with Debian squeeze. Menus on swiftfox did not appear as they should, some logos appeared out of their place and there were artifacts and other annoying things. For example Planet Gnome looked like this:
When using iceweasel 3.0.12 everything looked fine. Then I followed a guide to install Iceweasel 3.5 from experimental to my system. Images looked distorted again. So there must have been a problem with the latest xulrunner….

After some googling I bumped into Debian bug #491871 – [965GM EXA] display corruption with xulrunner 1.9. Following post #67 on that thread I was able to repair my xorg.conf to something that fixed the image distortion. Now Planet Gnome looks like this:

Some info:

# apt-cache policy iceweasel xserver-xorg-video-intel xulrunner-1.9.1
Installed: 3.5.1-1
Candidate: 3.5.1-1
Version table:
*** 3.5.1-1 0
1 experimental/main Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
3.0.12-1 0
500 squeeze/main Packages
99 sid/main Packages
Installed: 2:2.3.2-2+lenny6
Candidate: 2:2.3.2-2+lenny6
Version table:
2:2.8.0-2 0
99 sid/main Packages
*** 2:2.3.2-2+lenny6 0
500 squeeze/main Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
Version table:
*** 0
1 experimental/main Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

halevt in portage!

Since yesterday halevt (HAL Events Manager) and its dependency, boolstuff library are in the official Gentoo portage!
halevt on Portage
boolstuff on Portage

They only thing it took was convincing hwoarang how much they were needed since ivman is pretty much borked. At first I asked him to add them to sunrise overlay but he insisted they go straight to portage.

The original ebuilds were taken from Gentoo bugzilla: new ebuilds for halevt and boolstuff -> supersedes ivman, they were refined a bit and then added to Portage. Thanks to Mike Gualtieri for the original ebuilds.

Hwoarang has added me as the proxy maintainer of these two packages. I hope that when updates go out, I’ll test them as soon as possible and then create new ebuilds for them.

The packages are currently only in ~x86 and ~amd64 (testing) branches. If you test the packages and think that they are stable enough please let me know and I’ll try to convince hwoarang to put them to x86 and amd64 (stable) branches.

Thanks again to hwoarang! Cheers!

ivman is dead, long live halevt

It’s been a while since ivman stopped working on my Gentoo box but I never had the time nor the willingness to take a look into it. It appears that ivman is incompatible with some newer versions of hal and dbus. The good thing is that there’s an alternative, it’s called halevt and as far as I’ve taken a look into it the configuration options look quite straightforward.
For Gentoo, there are ebuilds for halevt on Gentoo bugzilla, which install just fine.

In my point of view there’s an issue here for Gentoo. Latest ivman (sys-apps/ivman-0.6.14) compiles just fine against all of its dependencies, but then it does nothing at all when a deviced is plugged in. If the devices are present when ivman starts then it can detect and mount them, if you plug the devices after ivman is started, then ivman does nothing at all. I think ivman is broken since hal 0.5.9.X versions. Gentoo developers stll keep ivman in the stable tree though. I find no real logic to this decision. Ivman is buggy with current stable hal and dbus. I would prefer a de-stabilization of ivman or even a package mask for it. What’s the point in keeping a package (ivman) in the stable tree since it requires not the latest stable but an older version of another package (hal) ? IMHO, since they correctly decided to stabilize hal 0.5.11-r8, which subsequently rendered ivman useless, ivman should be wiped from the stable tree.
Some bugs on ivman reported on Gentoo Bugzilla:

I once used ivman with a couple of custom scripts to create/remove icons of automounted devices on my ROX desktop. I think I can make these scripts work again with halevt…I am in the process of rewriting them. More on that in the following days…

Severely degraded harddisk performance on sata_sil by athcool

I am writing this post to provide some statistics on athcool + sata_sil usage. The results are horrible.

Athcool is a small utility, enabling/disabling Powersaving mode for AMD Athlon/Duron processors.
The homepage of the utility has a big fat warning as well:

WARNING: Depending on your motherboard and/or hardware components, enabling powersaving mode may cause:

* noisy or distorted sound playback
* a slowdown in harddisk performance
* system locks or instability

The Gentoo ebuild also has these warnings:

ewarn “WARNING: Depending on your motherboard and/or hardware components,”
ewarn “enabling powersaving mode may cause:”
ewarn ” * noisy or distorted sound playback”
ewarn ” * a slowdown in harddisk performance”
ewarn ” * system locks or unpredictable behavior”
ewarn ” * file system corruption”
ewarn “If you met those problems, you should not use athcool. Please use”
ewarn “athcool AT YOUR OWN RISK!”

Ignoring all these warning I was using athcool for years on my old desktop box filled with 2 IDE disks. Never had any real problem at all, except for a some performance loss. The problem appeared when I first used a sata disk on motherboard’s, Gigabyte GA-7VAXP-A Ulta, sata controller which uses the sata_sil module.