Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New (Good) Post Coming Soon

I know I haven't posted anything in a while but that's because I really have nothing to post about. Sure, I could ramble on about something non-computer related that was bothering me but no one wants to hear about that so I try to keep this blog mostly related to tech and computer stuff. The problem is: since I've been running Arch, I haven't had any problems worthy of making a post about. Everything in Arch "just works" to the point that posting something about it would be unnecessary. Heck, even just a couple of days ago, I had what I thought would be a major project in turning my Arch install into a temporary LAMP server for an upcoming school project. I thought this would require a lot of my time, thinking I could make a good post about it that would really help someone out. But the whole thing was done in a matter of 5 minutes! If you just follow the directions on the Arch Wiki about LAMP, it really is idiot-proof. I love this distro!

Alas, now I do have something worthy of posting. I ordered a laptop last week (yay). It's a Dell D630 and my company paid for it (suckers!). Yet it is my personal laptop and I take it with me wherever I go even if I leave the company. Anyways, here are a few of the specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, 2.00GHz, 800MHz 4M L2 Cache, Dual Core
14.1 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD for Latitude D630
2.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 2 DIMM for Dell Latitude Notebooks
Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 Latitude D630
80GB Hard Drive 9.5MM 7200RPM for Latitude DX30
Touchpad with UPEK fingerprint reader, Latitude D630
Dell Wireless 360 Bluetooth Module for XP, Latitude
90W AC Adapter for Latitude D-Family, Factory Tied
8X DVD+/-RW w/ Roxio Creator
Intel 3945 WLAN (802.11a/g) mini Card Latitude, Factory Install

I must say, it's a pretty nifty machine, even though I haven't even received it yet. The one thing that bums me out a little bit is that they didn't have the WXGA+ screen available. The sales rep said it would delay my shipment 20 days if I wanted it so I just did away with it.

Anyways, my plan is to shrink the pre-shipped Windows partition down to about 10 GB, or however small I can make it while still being able to do some basic development work on it, and then install Arch to the rest of the hard drive. My company won't let me do away with Windows completely so I have to keep it around. I'm also going to make XFCE the Desktop Environment. I wanted a (relatively) light GUI to keep battery usage to a minimum and decided on XFCE. I thought about Openbox or Fluxbox but the truth is I don't have enough experience with any of those really lightweight window managers to feel confident in installing them and configuring them to my liking. Unfortunately, I'm not the ├╝ber nerd some members of the Arch Forum are that can configure one of those to look really good. That's not meant to offend anyone who does possess the capability; I envy their talents and effort but don't really have the time nor the inclination to study up on those things. Maybe I'll do that one day down the road but I'd like to get a working system first and then experiment with them.
So, my plan is to get everything working: wireless, bluetooth, fingerprint reader and all the other little gizmos that come with the D630. I'm going to document the whole thing and post the results and associated process(es) that came along with it for the benefit of anyone who plans to install Arch on a similar laptop with similar hardware. I think I'll even make an entry on the Wiki about it seeing as how there currently isn't one. There's a very sparse entry for the D620 (the previous generation of the 630) but it doesn't offer much in the way of help. So, stay tuned for that. I've already started researching and am excited about getting this baby up and running. In my experience, Linux is an entirely different beast on laptops so it should be interesting.