Sometimes problems are good things. I mentioned a long time ago that my sometimes-used Corega CG-WLCB54AG2 wireless card has begun acting strangely, showing rapidly blinking lights instead of the previous “normal” behavior, which was one light as a power indicator, and one flashing light to show activity.
At the time I took it as a sign that I had misconfigured the 126.96.36.199 kernel somehow in Crux, or hadn’t made a clean transition between 188.8.131.52. But I was somewhat intrigued to see that, on a completely different machine running Arch Linux, the lights also flash madly and without reason, much as they did with my kernel.
So if I can assume that the Arch overlords know what they’re doing (and in my experience, they usually do), I can probably also assume that the problem back in January wasn’t mine, it was in the kernel, and still is. It doesn’t seem to affect the card’s performance, but it is interesting that its behavior is the same in both distros.
Similarly, I ran into problems a few weeks ago in Crux where mplayer playing against the framebuffer was causing hard lockups when the terminal went to blank mode. In other words, after watching a DVD rip for about 20 minutes, when the blank timeout expired, instead of shifting to an all-black screen with the movie overlaid on the framebuffer, the screen went black everywhere, the system locked and there was no recourse except to power down completely.
I didn’t mention it then. Because again, I assumed this was my error in somehow misconfiguring Crux or the kernel or mplayer or something else in between (I don’t remember what was updated before that happened). But after trying an Arch installation on the same machine and configuring the system in much the same way, I see the same lockups in the same versions of the same software.
So maybe I didn’t make a mistake, maybe the mistake was somewhere else down the line, and I just inherited it. I should probably be perturbed that these things don’t stay fixed — occasionally the mob seems to think they are entitled to a perfect experience, each time — but it doesn’t really bother me. Things seem to iron themselves out over time.
Until then I shall be double-checking my home-grown systems against the “professionally” built ones, to see where I actually went wrong, and to see where I actually went right.