New Computer Fund

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My LinuxMint 17.1 Evaluation

First, not going to work for my Toshiba Satellite this go around.  The main reason is the WiFi connection isn't very stable.  Wouldn't be a a fatal flaw except that the security camera kinda depends on a reasonably stable WiFi connection.  I end up getting some router and camera passwords scrambled which bombed out the ZoneMinder package.  Probably my fault, but I doubt completely since that seems to be related to some of the common ZoneMinder questions.

Second, there is a graphics issue with the Toshiba and Linux in general.  The Satellite model I have is one of the few not supported at all by Linux.  Since several closely related models are, I thought I could get it to work.  From what I have seen perusing the blogs, a few have Linux running on the same machine but without some of the infra net functions I was playing to use to stream the security camera video.

Reverting back to Windows 7 wasn't too bad but could have been done with a bit more class.  LinuxMint created three windows boots and I had to experiment with all three before I hit a working combination.  I still have mint on the machine and may plan on giving it another shot, but not until I have learned a bit more about the Sricam options.

Other than the couple of screen freezes that required hard restarts, most of the package was pretty slick.  I was able to do a lot of things at once without putting half as much pressure of the CPU.  Firefox is the main browser and worked just fine.  The Sricam though is pretty much hard wired for Internet Explorer if you want admin access.  I could bypass that, but would nearly have to rewrite ZoneMinder which recommends using IE for a number of camera admin functions anyway, see the first issue.  Other than a few quick patches I am not really in the mood to learn another couple of languages and sort through a dozen different package builds to fix things.

Because of the various builds in use, getting quick and accurate help is almost impossible if you need something other than a reminder to check power.  This seems to be due to some of the problem child extra features built into CPU/GPU for laptops.  It seems my particular CPU has scale-able speed for a reason.  I will need to track down that particular adjustment in the next Linux trail since that is likely related to both of the main issues I was having.

On a brighter note though, there are several, few generations back, laptops that seem to have been focused on by various Linux groups.  Plus I have a crap Dell desktop with one of the more favored AMD CPUs from the Vista era that might make a fair Home Network server if I 86 the crap HDD in favor of a 128 GB USB memory stick that is about twice the capacity of the crap HDD and costs less than 25 bucks.

Anywho, for now I am back up with windows and have the Sricam running on iSpy with most of the basic features and I have access to an easier to patch xml driver that I can fiddle around with.  There is even a facial recognition feature that I might get to work with a Bluetooth electronic deadbolt.  Most likely just another never to be finished project, but it doesn't look all that difficult.

btw, without antivirus and mals, internet surfing was a BLAST and the numerous restarts I had to do only about 30 seconds each. So if there is a next time I will likely be a complete Linux convert.

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