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Red Hat and USB devices
- The Emperor Linux Computer I have and USB
- The USB Optical Mouse
- USB HP PhotoSmart 318 camera
- BUSLink 40G USB external hard drive
- Suggestions for Future
The Purpose of this article is to get my USB mouse, USB camera, and
USB hard drive to work with Linux.
The Emperor Linux Computer I have and USB
I started to use Red Hat 7.3. Although it has come a long way and I really
like how all the Linux Distributions are turning out, Red Hat 7.3 makes me
mad for only a few reasons:
- OpenOffice doesn't appear to be in the distribution. Whatever the reason
is, it needs to be overcome. KDE Office and Gnome Office are cool, but not
including OpenOffice is a big big big mistake. OpenOffice is one of the key
suites to convert people to Linux. Having the choice of 3 office suites,
KDE Office, and OpenOffice (along with lots of other cool software like
GIMP. Mozilla, Evolution, PovRay, etc) can really convert people over.
- The kernel under /usr/src/linux for Red Hat 7.3 doesn't seem to be
configured the way they installed the kernels onto your system. I tried
searching on Red Hat's website, but I didn't anywhere. Isn't it a little
stupid that that don't supply (or make it easy to find) the configs
files they used to compile the kernels? Perhaps I am blind, but it wasn't
obvious to me where their custom config file was. It makes me mad because
whenever I try to compile the kernel,
I can never get all the features I want without
it being too large (even though I try to modularize everything).
- The kernel installed apparently won't let you add modules that you
create yourself. At least, when I tried to compile the usbide module
outside the source tree of the kernel, it was giving some weird error saying
it wasn't allowed to do it. However, on the computer I bought from
Emperor Linux (Red Hat 7.2),
I didn't have that problem (the kernel was compiled by the company and I was
able to compile the usbide module without recompling the kernel).
Even though my USB camera and mouse works in Red Hat 7.3, because I couldn't
use the usb hard drive with it (without compiling a new kernel from scratch
which I always screw up), I decided to use the usb hard drive and camera
with the Linux laptop I got from Emperor Linux.
The USB Optical Mouse
I have 3 USB optical mice (different brands) and they all worked with
Red Hat 7.3, Red Hat 7.2, and my Emperor Linux computer. I don't know if the
default kernel in Red Hat 7.2 works with the optical mice because I compiled
different kernels (to get my wireless network cards to work right).
NOTE: Whoever likes to use trackball mice compared to optical mice has to be
an idiot. The optical usb/ps2 mice are very cheap these days and the balls
on the standard mice always get cluttered with junk and wear out. Go out
and replace the stupid trackball mice with an optical mouse today.
The USB HP PhotoSmart 318 camera
My HP PhotoSmart 318 camera really rocks. Here is a help page I found.
It rocks because on a price/performance ratio, it was the best camera
out there for $179. All the other cameras that could do the same (or even less)
were easily two or three times more expensive. I think the market changed
and a lot of older models haven't dropped in price yet. For my needs it
was perfect. It had enough resolution, it saved jpg images, and I could
get memory expansion if I needed it (8 megs is fine so I will never
need to get the expansion).
Bottom line, in Red Hat 7.3 and my Emperor Linux computer, just as the
And then the images where at "/mnt/camera/dcim/100hp318/". I didn't test
deleting the images. I will just delete them when I use the camera, but
I copied them over just fine. I am able to get about 14 images without
additional memory expansion.
- Changed the camera to hard drive mode.
- usb-uhci worked fine (in the article it didn't).
- In my /etc/fstab,
### for my camera.
/dev/sda1 /mnt/camera vfat noauto,sync,nosuid,user,unhide 0 0
- mkdir -p /mnt/camera
- mount /mnt/camera
I think ultimately most people will be using digital cameras within 5 years
and the standard camera industry will be dead except for photographers
and the little cameras you buy for one-time events. Digital cameras will be
able to contain so much memory in the next few years, hopefully
within 5 years you can store hundreds of images on a simple small camera.
Why would you want a film camera?
BUSLink 40G USB external hard drive
My USB external hard drive was a pain in the butt. It was easy once
I found this webpage,
http://bravin.home.cern.ch/bravin/usbide/usbide.html. It was a pain
because I kept on trying and trying to figure what to do to get it to work.
There were a few problems,
- Downloaded usbide-1.2.2-b.tgz
- tar -zxvf usbide-1.2.2-b.tgz
- cd usbide
- make install
- I had to make a symbolic link from /usr/src/linux pointing to my copy of the Linux
- The hard drive can only have one partition because it won't save changes
if you try to change the heads/sectors/cylinders.
- When I stress-tested the hard drive by copying lots of data over,
after 1 gig, it froze on me and gave me a weird error. I haven't
had a problem since.
- For whatever reason, the standard Red Hat 7.3 wasn't configured
right to let me compile my own module and add it to the modules
under /lib/modules. Personally, I think that is stupid.
- For whatever reason, I couldn't find a config file for kernel compiling
to get the exact same kernel Red Hat has installed on my system. If I had
to compile a new kernel, I would want the exact same one with just a
few of my changes. Maybe you can do it and their config file exists
somewhere, as I didn't try that hard, but it
wasn't obvious (which it should be). Thus I just used the computer I got
from Emperor Linux.
Suggestions for Future
I have a webcam I was interested in trying out.
http://webcam-osx.sourceforge.net/cameras.html. My IBM NetCam is not
supported on that list, bummer. They are cheap enough. I will just consider
buying a new webcam.
Using USB devices is really cool. I used to hate USB devices, but now that
I can have tons of stuff attached to my Linux boxes without them using
up all the resources, I like it. I just wish more companies would help create
Linux drivers for their products. I would never use a USB hard drive
for anything except backups and I wouldn't rely on USB for stuff that
requires a lot of cpu power. Firewire is good for heavy stuff.
All the other USB devices (mice, keyboards,
printers, webcam, camera, etc) are a good match for USB because they require
I copied over 3 gigs of data to my hard drive and I got seek errors. I thought
there could have been bad sectors, so I ran mkfs with the "-c" option, and
it took all day. Eventually, mkfs bombed, so I am going to wait a little
longer before I use the external hard drive with Linux. Most likely, I will
check hardware compatibility and go out and buy a new external hard drive
(maybe firewire instead of USB).
Mark works at
which creates, delivers, and tracks personalized multimedia email, web,
and newsletter campaigns. He works as a consultant delivering end products
to AudioBoomerang.com clients, such as advanced customized statistical
reports used for demographic or pyschological profiles for future campaigns.
In his spare time, he writes articles relating to Free Software (GPL) or
Free Literature (FDL) and is involved with the non-profit learning center
Copyright © 2002, Mark Nielsen.
Copying license http://www.linuxgazette.net/copying.html
Published in Issue 80 of Linux Gazette, July 2002