In the previous episodes of this series Ronix described the increasingly troublesome assembly of his new Linux-based Eve machine, and faced a series of challenges with courage and fortitude. In this terrifying final instalment of the “Penguin” trilogy, he brings us a tale of betrayal, of revenge, of desperation, and of hope.
Multi-Box Down the Rabbit Hole
I feel I am learning, and that once I figure out how to start two clients at once I will be in a great place. Some research via Google and the Eve forums led me to try a couple of different ways to create shortcuts and run two instances of the client. However, while trying to install a second instance of Eve, my computer said I was out of drive space. WTF? I have a 120GB solid state drive (SSD) for the operating system (OS), and 1 TB hard drive (HD) for user files. I bring up the disk drive utilities and start to investigate why it appears that I have no disk space.
While researching my Linux Mint build I had a series of notes around how to partition the drives so that the OS was on the SSD, and user files were on the HD. I even spoke to the Linux support team in my office and confirmed that what I was trying to do was correct. So now, I log into the Linux Mint support chat room and talk about what I am seeing and what I need to do. This is when I discover that /home and /usr are not the same thing. Going over my options with the support chat room I had two options and one recourse:
- Work on a process to migrate my /home to the HD and migrate /usr to the SSD;
- Reinstall the OS with the correct drive partitions;
- Give Purple Nurples to Linux Team at Work.
Given that the computer is only about a day old, and I have pretty good notes on what steps I took, I conclude it would be easier to re-install and know that I have a fresh OS. So I set about the task, little realising that my patience and sanity will be tested over the following 24 hours.
Rounds Two through Twelve
I essentially go back over the installation of the OS with a lot more confidence. Unfortunately, I miss a menu option, and the boot loader is added to the HD, and not the SSD. Not seeing this oversight I install the OS, and then my computer barks that there is no bootable media on the drive. About 20 minutes of troubleshooting, I realize what has happened, and decide to once again re-install the OS with the correct drive partitions and the correct drive selected for the boot loader.
About this time is when the frustration is building, and I am starting to think I might be experiencing Groundhog Day; just a few short hours ago I thought I was on a good path, and now I can’t seem to get past the installation of Linux. The only thing I can comfort myself with is that I can go through the menu pretty easily now.
I am able to get finally get past the installation of the OS, and now I am back to the same video issue that I experienced the first time. In my mind I am in a good place, I verified that the drives were correct and went through the instructions to install the NVidia drivers. I reboot the computer – and the video does not work. It is too late at night to keep going and I am too frustrated to deal with this anymore. I go to sleep to try and get a different perspective.
I wake up and spend the next couple of hours re-installing the drivers, going over my steps and logging into the chat room for help. A passing comment by one of the people in the room was that the shiny NVidia card and the basic onboard Intel video cards were conflicting with each other. In an act of desperation I go into my computer’s BIOS and disable the Intel video card. With another reboot, the dual monitors and accelerated video card are working!
With that, I re-install the software on my list and get back to the point I reached about a day ago. I reinstall Wine, Teamspeak and Eve without much fuss. Going over the support forums I determine that the easiest way to have multiple clients running is to enable the virtual desktop and run the launcher twice within it.
After dual-boxing EVE within the Virtual desktop, I am informed that an upgrade of Wine would offer a much better experience. I upgrade to the latest version, and now each client has its own window. Success!
One thing I think Eve players can appreciate is the support of a large community to assist each other. Here is where I feel Linux Mint is a very good thing. I can’t speak for other Linux distributions but, with Linux Mint there is an active support forum and when you are running either the LiveDVD or an installed instance of the OS, you can access the live chat room where there are people willing and eager to assist you. If you have the determination to work through challenges, and perhaps adapt solutions to your issue, you can overcome quite a few hurdles.
There is also an active and helpful Linux community within Eve. Not only is there a sub-forum within the Eve Online forums, but there is also a Linux channel that you can use to ask questions.
There are a couple of issues that I am still investigating. For example, sometimes Eve does not respond to my keyboard the first time.
I use a Razor Naga mouse and I am interested in getting the additional buttons mapped. There does not appear to be any recent software for this.
Astride the Rubble
Beyond the few outstanding issues, the computer is functional, and far better than my old MacBook Pro. I am not sure that I learned a lot on the technical side, but I did compile a long list of notes and things that I tried for various issues. In the end, I am glad I took up the challenge. Typically, I like technology that works and is plug and play. I work with technology in my real life and, like the contractor that never fixes up his home, have simple technology needs. I am not a Linux convert per se, but the OS is stable, easy to use and gets the job done.
If you feel like challenging yourself, picking up new skills and having a unique computer, try to run Linux, or dual boot your existing machine. It’s not easy – you can expect days, not hours, of frustration bordering on madness – but EVE players know how satisfying it is to take a tough project and make it happen. Pride may come before a fall – but it also comes after a successful Linux build.