Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

Update 20110723 – CentOS 6, Sabayon, Slackware, NetBSD, Etc.

July 23, 2011

Long time no see, haters. Since my last update earlier this year, I’ve been pretty busy. Usual stuff: family, work, and sports injuries.

I have a shiny new Lenovo laptop. One of the reasons I chose this one is because I was able to get a list of the hardware and checked it against lists of supported devices. It’s all supported very well under Linux and the BSDs (Net, Open) I looked at.

First thing I did was reduce the very large NTFS partition someone formatted it with (I never have booted this into Windows 7) so that it’s actually quite small. Then I installed a release candidate for Scientific Linux 6 on it, as that was the first available RHEL6 clone. I’ve since changed that over to CentOS 6 using a net install. And since I have no interest in booting the pre-installed OS, I changed my grub menu.lst to no wait, no options, just load that one in a freaking hurry.

As usual, I found some nits to pick about how certain other things were configured and I had to make some changes to get simple things to work. This goes for software as well as hardware.

First the hardware side of it. I thought the inkjet printer I keep in my room was supported out of the box despite noticing the printer would “eat” up paper upon finishing the job — not fully ejecting it before pulling it back in to the printer. It was only the past few days, though, I realized there was more wrong than met the eye. I needed to make some quick scans and xsane reported back I had no scanner. Hmmm. I checked it via scanimage and it was detected. I also double-checked the drivers and saw that the sane backends for hp and usb were there. I decided to see if the hplip site had a newer RPM than is available in any of the repositories I’ve enabled. I entered the relevant information and downloaded an up-to-date RPM with new drivers. Installing it required removing old RPMs. Then I had to set some permissions so I could use the scanner without escalating my privileges to root. The new hplip RPM also resulted in better printing and no more “eating” paper.

There was a variety of software I installed from the normal as well as third-party repositories. Most of it has been without any trouble — only a couple things from a more bleeding edge repository (EPEL) have conflicted with packages from others. Some of the configuration issues have been simple and straightforward. I’m coming around to accepting pulseaudio, especially as it makes some things easier. My Bluetooth headphones work fine and are able to remotely control playlists in totem. Haven’t tried yet in rhythmbox but mplayer (from rpmforge) needs remuco to work.

Even though I’d be exaggerating to call RHEL6 or its clones bleeding edge, it’s still new enough that repositories lack certain packages that I wanted to install. One solution (other than “wait”):

sudo yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'

I’ve recompiled things that bugged me as well as things that were either unavailable or that I wanted to update. I wanted liferea so I had to compile it myself. Dittos sylpheed (NOT claws) and mew (emacs e-mail client). I also wanted an update of org-mode for emacs, but I’ve also played around with compiling other emacsen. This morning, I decided to try sxemacs.

I wasn’t impressed with the clunky xaw widgetry, let alone the faces available on my laptop (trust me, terminus looked only a little better), and I decided against installing GTK1 headers just to see if that would look any better. Not even some minor color changes helped. I usually run emacs from console anyway because it’s easier to run it in screen and then shell in and out, locally or remotely, as needed. The faces (fonts) bother  me a lot more than the widgets — it’s not about the aesthetics as much as if I can clearly see what the hell I’m doing.

I’m going to try this for a while and see how much work it’ll take to get it working the way I use GNU emacs. Just remembered I forgot to change EDITOR=emacsclient to EDITOR=gnuclient. Also, this (last line!) has to go in the init.el to keep from opening a new sxemacs GUI instance:

(require 'gnuserv)
(gnuserv-start)
(setq gnuserv-frame (selected-frame))

Sheesh! Recompiled –without-x. Much better, too, after removing background color (transparent terminal over black wallpaper).

Now the fun of getting my other emacs stuff to work correctly with this.

I also converted my previous laptop over to CentOS 6. I did a minimal net installation, installed xfce from EPEL, and then added some of my own packages (including dwm and jwm because I decided I don’t care for xfce). My ridiculous Acer Aspire One is still running SL6 and still having issues with the fucking Atheros wireless card. When it starts to flake out on me, I pop in a zyd-based USB wireless adapter. Voila. I should blacklist the module for the Atheros card but, honestly, the AA1 has been such a pain in the ass that I seldom use it. I recently updated XP (30-something packages!) after not even booting it for like half a year and suffered some USB-related issues as a result. The good news is under the RHEL6 clones, all the other AA1’s hardware — including both internal card readers — work properly, without having to boot one side with a card inserted.

Okay. The headline mentions other distros and NetBSD. I’m considering some changes on the other laptop because a lot of stuff I’ve compiled for it would be just as easy from scratch instead of using source RPMs or new source. I tried to get a measure of how many packages are installed by default on a minimal install of various distros. I figure RHEL clones will have the most, followed by Debian, and on the other side of the scale will be Slackware and Gentoo (I haven’t used Sabayon before but I like the option of using a binary or portage depending on my tastes — this is why I’m also considering a BSD and pkgsrc).

There are certain distros I’ve taken off my radar list despite having a fondness for them. As I now use laptops, netbooks, and other portable devices — including portable USB storage — about 90% of the time, encryption is very important to me; one of my parents’ was a victim of identity theft in the past couple years and I was already a bit paranoid about what kind of information could be found in plaintext on my computers. On all my computers, I like the option of installing to, or easily setting up, one encrypted LVM which includes at the very least my /home, /var, /etc, and swap. I used to think it was adequate to encrypt just /home and swap but I’ve changed my mind after auditing “identifying” information available elsewhere on an unencrypted system. For example, plaintext wifi passwords in /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf (or elsewhere on a “non-standard” system) or stuff stored in /tmp. I also think it’s not enough that the “core” of the operating system be protected from threats, such as over the Internet; the biggest vulnerabilities usually stem from applications and user choices, and you can’t reboot those problems away — they’ll still be there if (or because) /home and /usr/local are RW, not read-only. When storage is measured in GB and TB and speedy multi-core processors, it’s harder for me to choose to run my OS in some “embedded” style.

Still on my TODO list is my post about what I use instead of OpenOffice.org. Also, I’ll try to write a post about the minimal install I did with more specifics (need to edit my gnote version of it — wish I could import that into this without reformatting) in the near future. As usual, no promises on time lines.

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Update 20100209 – Debian Lenny, TinyCore, emacs, ratpoison, oroborus, and security of small distros

February 9, 2010

AA1
I’ve intended to sell this thing but haven’t yet. I updated my AA1 page last week to reflect the fact that I really don’t run Linux on it anymore. I still have {Tiny,Micro}Core set up on it, but I’ve booted that maybe three times in the past few months including once this morning to get my emacs-related files. I don’t know if the issues with wireless were related to the network stack, the ath5k driver itself, wpa-supplicant, or a combination of factors. For the last time, it’s NOT a hardware issue because the problem never happened (meaning started) under Windows; it only happened (started) under Linux and persisted after rebooting. I occasionally boot TinyCore from a USB stick on my other computers (see below).

New Desktop/Workstation
It came with Windows XP Pro installed. I first installed Scientific Linux 5.4 via the live CD, which provides a Gnome desktop. I’ve already posted about adding an old hard drive that had OpenBSD 4.3 on it, on which I installed NetBSD 5.0.1 after backing up $HOME. I’ve been too busy to even update SL54 (which I know has updates because I was also running it on my new-old laptop for a while), let alone configure NetBSD beyond the basics (e. g., setting up my network card even though it’s not yet networked, SSH, etc.). I’d hoped to set it up further this past weekend but I’ve been eye-deep in a stack of reports to edit and charts to generate.

New-Old Laptop
I’m still using Debian Lenny, which I installed using net install. I let it go ahead and install the default Gnome desktop even though I initially thought about just doing a minimal installation and adding what I wanted. One of the reasons I did that is because life has been so hectic the past 18-24 months that I care a lot less about bloat than I do about the convenience factor and having everything ready to roll. Otherwise I’d already have the other computer set up and ready to roll, no?

I have switched some apps around, though. I was using xemacs but decided instead to revert to GNU emacs 21.4 from backports so I’ll have more of the modes I’ve come to take for granted and which require either finding via apt or from their developers. I’m posting this now via weblogger.el (which I’ll have to clean up later) from within emacs. I’ve also installed oroborus and am using it instead of metacity within Gnome (edit ~/.gnomerc to include a line “export WINDOW_MANAGER=oroborus”); this is RAM-sparing to some degree but not nearly enough. I already have ratpoison installed as well, and will more likely than not start paring down on the Gnome bloat as I find time. I’ve been running ratpoison mostly under another user account.

Other Computers
My ancient ThinkPad got a minimal install of Debian Lenny several months ago but hasn’t been booted in at least a month. I may use it for TinyCore. Or as I’d intended with Lenny just to be a temporary HTML/blog server for home use. I may just use MicroCore if I do that.

Nothing to report on my old MMX box. I haven’t booted it in so long I don’t even remember what it has on it.

Unfinished Business
Speaking of {Tiny,Micro}Core, I started on a screencast/presentation back before Christmas that I alluded to at least once here. I’ve been too busy to finish it. It’s in response to a question that was asked at the TCL forums about using TCL as an enterprise Linux replacement. I wanted to demonstrate beyond the more obvious answers why I thought it was unsuitable and worked out a quick and dirty concept to show how vulnerable such a distro — based basically on one file — could be. This kind of goes beyond the security of the image being read-only and, accordingly, being able to reboot into its original state; instead, I wanted to see how difficult it would be to take advantage of the fact that the image is on a read-write partition which can be mounted by user tc locally or remotely and then replaced. My little POC requires user interaction at this stage (which was in maybe 20 minutes’ work) to basically get a corrupt image to replace the original so that each subsequent booting of it isn’t actually the “pristine” original tinycore.gz image but instead the corrupted one (which could have any variety of “reconfigurations” in it, but mine basically pings another computer when it has an IP and has a message stored in a file stating what changes have been made to the original image).

I haven’t decided if I’ll go through and see if I can get it to work remotely without user interaction. Even if I do that, I won’t post it here. Sorry, kiddies.

Since these small image-based distros typically lack logging facilities, it would be trivial to pull this off and possibly leverage vulnerabilities in various packages to further make a mess of it. The smaller the distro’s base image, I think the less noticeable it would be. With my download speed, I can download the TinyCore image in just a few seconds.

Also, I tested this on USB. It’s trivial to test if something has been booted from sd{a,b} and contains a directory named boot containing a file called tinycore.gz. The same applies to other small distros which similarly use one file to store the operating system, allows full sudo (or, in the case of some like Puppy, root only), etc. Even though something is running from RAM, it’s still found on a storage device attached to the computer and can be mounted (unless it’s quickly removed). So I don’t think this is inherently more secure than anything else (or inherently secure at all), and the smaller size could be a disadvantage since it would take less time to download and be less likely to be detected by most users.

As improbable as it is that such things can be accomplished without some kind of user interaction or physical contact with a USB stick to install a corrupted image, it’s still possible. Add in potential vulnerabilities from various packages — including browsers, improperly set up servers, etc. — and the possibilities increase both locally and remotely.

No, the sky is not falling, but there is a potential for risk even though the image itself is read-only. The image may be, but its partition isn’t. The risk may be acceptable for most uses. It isn’t acceptable for enterprise use — not without some kinds of safeguards that enterprise distros have to help reduce problems like this from occurring.

I’m not knocking these small distros. I think they have a special niche, but too many people think they can be one-size-fits-all. Enterprise-grade distros — including RHEL and its clones, SLED, etc. — have a variety of safeguards that would be “bloat” in something designed to be small and minimal. Adding those things to a minimalist distro would seem to be counter to their very purposes. That includes everything from security enhancements to logging facilities (you really do want to know who logged into which computer at what time on what day, and having every user named “tc” can’t be of much use if you need a chain of custody for various computer records, file records, changes, etc.). Moreover, the packages or extensions these small distros offer typically don’t undergo the same level of testing as in enterprise distros, are more often than not bleeding edge rather than tested and stable versions, and aren’t signed. Even signed/trusted repositories aren’t free from trouble as the RedHat/Fedora people found out a couple years ago when their mirrors were compromised.

I’ll see if I can finish the presentation and get it posted soon. Then again, I thought I would’ve had that done a month ago. Stay tuned.

Michael Dell’s New Toy

January 28, 2010

TechCrunch has a video of Michael Dell showing off a new device. It’s 5″, runs on Snapdragon arch powered by Android, has a 5MP camera, 3G ready, etc.

And a rumored price tag over $1000 before subsidy. Look for it “soon.”

Price and size notwithstanding, this would appeal to me more than the iFad since the iFad lacks various things (multitasking, a camera, a real keyboard, etc.) and its size makes it similar to toting around a real laptop or netbook once I’d pack the various things I’d use with it. If Dell were to come out with a similar “pad” in the 7-9″ range, I’d be all over it.

AA1 + madwifi-hal + WPA = FAIL

August 27, 2009

I’ve started another video but need to edit it together and this time there will be voice-over (oh dear). For now, here’s a couple screenshots to show that the problem isn’t going away with madwifi-hal. Happened a couple hours ago. See the “stream” aterm listed on my tray? That’s mplayer with a stream. It disappeared right after I took this screenshot. And the page I was trying to load in Opera wouldn’t.

screenshot_0827085133

The first thing I did was attempt to ping out. No luck. Then I looked to see if dmesg had something revealing, and it did.

screenshot_0827085903

I rebooted into TinyCore and immediately checked to see if the card was detected. I was pretty sure it would be just like the timeouts with ath5k and that I wouldn’t even appear to have a wireless card. Being right all the time is more a curse to me than to everyone else around me. Believe it or not.

screenshot_0827090157

I went ahead and ran my script to connect to my home AP. No surprises. Can’t connect with what’s not there. Or what’s not recognized.

Movie version later. I’ll try to keep it rated no worse than PG-13.

(edited mildly)

Desperate Times and Desperate Measures: AA1, TinyCore, madwifi

August 26, 2009

I’m giving madwifi-hal a shot using TinyCore. Hopefully this will behave better than the ath5k driver. The modularity of TinyCore means I had one file to download and nothing to blacklist or change aside from moving the extension with ath5k to the optional directory. I edited my connection scripts to change wlan to ath. No big deal. How much easier can it get?

No noticeable difference with a half hour uptime except the LED isn’t flickering. That suits me fine.

Thanks to those who recommended this. Especially if it does work better.

Past my bedtime. I’ll give it another shot tomorrow and see if it flakes out on me.

—-
posted from emacs 23.1.1 using weblogger.el

20090823 Update: AA1, Linux Security, TinyCore, Etc.

August 23, 2009

Quick personal follow up to my previous post about the latest, and probably most extensive yet detected, vulnerability in the Linux kernel.

I’ve been using my own kernel under what used to be CrunchBang. I can’t blacklist certain modules (e. g., bluetooth and IRDA) because I built them into the kernel rather than as modules. Yuck. Back to using the big-ass kernel from the repository if I’m going to use Linux. At least if I’m going to use my ex-CrunchBang install (it’s no longer even close to being what it was originally — from the window manager to the applications to my own kernel and so on).

I haven’t even booted into Linux since last week when my wireless crapped out under Linux again — I’ve had a busy week and this next one will be even more hectic. Right now, I’m not sure if I’ll bother upgrading again because I’m completely fed up with losing wireless and not being able to get it back without rebooting several times. As I noted, the crash and resulting videos came as I was making a screencast explaining why I dislike binary-based distros and their packaging and why I was more likely going to start using TinyCore more often.

Problem is, the same thing occurred one time under TinyCore. The ath5k time-out thing is not a distro problem. It’s a problem somewhere between the kernel/module, possibly WPA, and possibly a couple other things. So I have more than a reason or two to reduce my use of Linux on my AA1. I’m most likely reclaiming the larger partition I have set up for /home under CrunchBang for use under Windows (probably as an encrypted partition) and then using my 5GB partition for {Tiny,Micro}Core.

I’ve settled on another laptop and should have it next week. It’s not new — I don’t think I’ll ever again buy anything new enough that running Linux will be such a pain in the ass as it’s been with the AA1. The more bleeding edge the hardware, the more quirks and utterly stupid bullshit there will be with getting its glorious open source drivers to function properly and in some sort of stable manner. I checked all the specs to make sure Linux will have better support for the next laptop than I have on my AA1 now.

Right now I’m debating between Slackware (13 is almost ready) and CentOS 5.3, both of which have modern-enough kernels to support the hardware in the laptop. The reasons I’d install Slackware are for its lengthy support cycles and so I don’t have to download miscellaneous headers to (re-)compile anything. The reason for CentOS is to have an enterprise-grade distro with enterprise-grade support cycles (as in seven years). After all, I have to use this for my work. I can’t afford to randomly lose wireless (especially if it requires several reboots to get it functioning again) or to have to deal with freezing up when disconnecting the laptop from a projector.

I’m open-minded beyond those two distros. Even source-based since I’m going to have a few days around Labor Day weekend where I can leave it to compile all day long and let it catch on fire or something.

Back to the security issue affecting eight years’ worth of Linux kernels. Is {Tiny,Micro}Core a better solution for problems like this particular vulnerability? In some ways, it may be. It doesn’t come with a full set of modules. You have to install things separately because the whole concept is more modular. The kernel is read-only and in RAM. If someone were able to pwn at the kernel level, you can reboot into a fresh environment because the base system isn’t writable.

The counter to all that is, the more persistency you have for your installation the more vulnerable you are. Most of your configuration files are stored either in /opt or /home, which are read-write. Depending which extensions you use, you may have the same kind of exposure you’d have under any other distro.

And, most importantly, the weakest link in security is almost always the user. You can’t underestimate the problem users cause from clicking on links to opening things to setting up files so that anyone (aka “world” in Unix terms) can write or execute them. Some people ignore permissions altogether or set them up for the sake of convenience — such as other small/live distros that run only as root. I’m not saying that {Tiny,Micro}Core is inherently safer with its use of sudo (I wish more users would accept a default scheme which sets a random password so even running off the live CD or USB would require entering a password before mounting and erasing a drive, etc.).

So add TinyCore to the list with Slackware and CentOS. That may be the fastest way to get it up and running anyway. And TinyCore may be the last remaining Linux distro on my AA1 whether I run Linux on it again or not.

Addressing More Search Engine Hits

August 11, 2009

Here’s another post addressing search engine hits to my blog.

To the person hitting on “error installing xubuntu,” I couldn’t agree more. Installing Xubuntu is a very serious error! Fortunately it can be corrected by installing something else. I recommend any other distro, but if you insist on an Ubuntu-based distro give crunchbang a try.

I keep getting sporadic hits looking for microcore screenshots. You know what it would look like? A console. You boot straight into a prompt that (if you boot without user= and/or host= cheatcodes) looks like this:

tc@box /:

Do you really need a screenshot to decide if you want that? It would seem to me that people who don’t want X shouldn’t need a screenshot of a prompt. It would also seem to me that anyone using MicroCore with the intention of a full X extension would appreciate the fact that the TinyCore screenshots are MicroCore+X screenshots. Duh.

Today was the first time I had a hit about how to use an AA1 as a keyboard for another computer. Ummm, via ssh? That would certainly do it but the AA1 is a computer not a keyboard.

Finally (for now anyway), I’m getting a stream of hits for searches related to ath5k problems. I’m using kernel 2.6.30.1. There’s been no changes to ath5k in the changelogs up to current (2.6.30.4) and no significant changes to the 802.11 stack, either. I try to limit my Linux use to less than three hours per session but I still lose function of the Atheros wifi card. It’s a pain in the ass and one of the reasons I continue to dual-boot with XP (never had any problem with the Atheros card under XP except that the problem persists between boots after it crashes in Linux) and am strongly considering upgrading to Windows 7.

Thoughts on ath5k, Stability, and Linux (In)Security

August 3, 2009

I’ve continued to have serious issues related to Linux ath5k wireless so I’ve decided that I’ll upgrade my netbook to Windows 7 when it’s released. I was hoping that recent improvements in the ath5k code would fix what had plagued me before with frequent loss of detection of the Atheros card itself, which, as I’ve described before, continues even after rebooting into either Linux or Windows. That alone tells me something’s really, really bad with it.

I’ve been kind of restraining myself from going beyond that particular point about the gravity of the problem or what it potentially means. As I’ve already written, loss of detection of the card even after rebooting leads me to have concerns about physical damage to hardware. In case you haven’t noticed, every distro comes with a disclaimer that you’re on your own and developers take no responsibility for damage to your hardware. That’s always so comforting to know, that these people promise you the world but can’t stand behind their code.

The problem is capricious and can’t be tied to one event. That makes it difficult to initiate some specific sequence of events on my netbook to replicate the issue. At least that would give some guidance on what not to do — whether it’s a certain application, hitting certain sites, using a particular encryption protocol, etc.

Here’s what I haven’t said thus far. I wonder if it might actually be easier to recreate the issue outside of my netbook than on it.

Where there’s a “bug,” there’s often a vulnerability not far beneath. With the frequency of loss of wireless with this particular driver-card combination on my netbook, I wonder how difficult it would be to cause DoS (edit: whether limited to the wireless device, extending to the whole OS, or even pwnage/arbitrary execution) on the same network or even outside of it. If so, then there’s a much bigger and potentially more serious problem than instability.

This is only something I’ve pondered so far. I haven’t done anything (yet) to see if this is possible. It may not be any easier to cause the DoS externally than to set up a situation where the card panics and the OS no longer detects it. Either way, Linux is not proving a rock-solid option on my AA1.

My curiosity, though, is piqued by the possibility that I may be able to at least cause DoS through the instability of this driver (or the Linux 802.11 stack?). I’ve never been one to presume that Linux is inherently more secure than any other operating system. I’m certainly not going to start lying and join in the lie that it’s more stable than any other operating system. That’s especially true when it comes to my Atheros card: flawless and no crashing under Windows, unpredictable and buggy as hell under Linux.

One of the things I wrote last summer when Linus Torvalds mocked the OpenBSD people for their attention to security is that the OpenBSD team focuses on correctness of code because that makes security-related issues easier  to find. Where Linus is more concerned about fixing bugs, the OpenBSD team is concerned about doing things correctly from the start so there aren’t myriad little bugs to find because of sloppily-submitted code. One’s “bug” is another’s hole to pwn en masse.

I’ll probably continue looking to see if there are changes to the ath5k code and/or 802.11 code in Linux. I’ll also see if I can find another card with a better track record under Linux. Barring any changes, though, my Linux days are numbered.

20090731 – Pseudo-Update ion3 Wireless Blah Blah

July 31, 2009

It’s not much. Just ratmenu in ion3 with a few minor interface changes.

screenshot-20090731124353

I added some aliases to help control mocp from terminal. Those work better than ratmen(u) in ion3 even though I’m not opposed to using my ratmenus set up for single apps like this but it’s kind of awkward. I might try something different this weekend.

I’d noticed that my statusbar wasn’t diplaying any systray icons so I went ahead and set that setting to false. I also set up the statusbar to take up the whole area (fullsize). Like it makes a big difference.

Finally, I’ve resolved the “issue” of my AA1 first associating with a neighbor’s AP before eventually connecting with mine. By setting my wireless up with a single configuration via wpa_supplicant I no longer am scanning/polling for APs, which is one of the things NetworkManager, wicd, and wifiroamd do. Since I don’t like that — I think these things should go through a whitelist of APs first before ever associating with anything else — I’m going to remove NetworkManager and not install wifiroamd (which, the more I look into it, seems the most promiscuous of the bunch).

One thing that hasn’t been cured by a new kernel or by any other changes is the race condition my Atheros card periodically goes through. It did it again this morning, suddenly and without warning. This is really frustrating because it happens irregularly, capriciously, so that I can’t pin it on one thing like suspend or using a particular application. I don’t know if it’s an issue with the driver, with WPA, a combination of those two things, or something else. I really want this to work correctly, and I don’t consider sudden loss of wireless signal and loss of detecting the card at all “correct” operation.

Adios NetworkManager

July 29, 2009

Tonight I finally got pissed off enough about losing wifi when not in X to ditch NetworkManager. Maybe, in an odd way, I’m kind of like Cheech and Chong when they “borrowed” a neighbor’s car and found its automatic transmission too complicated, but I find NM way more hassle than it’s worth. Probably brought to you by the same people who are simplifying audio with PulseAudio. I don’t get it, but I never had a problem with the “old” and “complicated” way. Then again, I actually read the fucking manual.

I haven’t installed wifiroamd yet because I’m not doing much roaming until my ankle heals. It’s easier with one network to deal with (just one wpa_supplicant configuration to set up) but that’ll change and I’ll have a couple more networks to set up. I may just use a series of scripts like I did when I was using OpenBSD on my other laptop — select an option for where I am, connect to whichever AP however I need to as needed rather than automatically connecting and potentially waiting a while to connect to multiple APs. I don’t know if wifiroamd is a better solution for that or if it’ll act like a desperate hooker trying to pick up any signal it can get while it ignores my own (see next paragraph).

In addition to being able to stream audio while in console (I have such odd tastes, eh), I noticed I’m finally below 140MB actual RAM after startx. I also noticed that there was none of the bullshit I’ve written about with associating with other APs before even getting to mine, which is the only one it should associate with. I know a lot of people don’t think twice about piggybacking but no wireless manager application should allow it by default — I think that kind of thing should require a user to choose an “any AP” setting or otherwise interact to allow it after searching high and low for a trusted AP.

I still can’t get over how many distros tie wifi to X by default now even though Linux distros are oriented for boxes and dials to set things up. I’m not really inclined to say this kind of thing because I try to stay open-minded about other systems, but that’s so Windows. Bunch of wussies.