GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
Dell OptiPlex GX270 (Modern)
This is a desktop machine with modem access, a flat screen (with 4 USB sockets), and a USB mouse.
Base install was with the beta Debian Installer (12 Nov 2003), which was under development for the next stable release of Debian. A partition of 9GB was used for /, 65GB from /home and 5GB for swap.
With a HP PS2210 all-in-one printer connected through USB the machine's BIOS (A02) stops for about 5 minutes trying to boot from the printer (presumably because it has a card reader and is being seen as a mass storage device from which it might be able to boot--but without a memory card inserted). This can be turned off by entering BIOS setup (F2 at boot), choosing Integrated Device (LegacySelect Options) and changing the USB Emulation to No Boot.
With xfree86 4.3.0 multiple virtual terminals are not (always) supported for the intel 865G graphics card. With kernel-image-2.4.22-1-686 multiple virtual terminals are just fine. With kernel-image-2.4.23-1-686, starting a second X server freezes the system with a black screen. There have been problems with switching virtual terminals in that there is a 30 second delay after switching. There is also a 30 second delay on start up. Clearly something is timing out, and the suspicion is that it is something to do with USB. When hotplug was installed and the module usb-uhci was removed from /etc/modules the delay disappeared. Moved to kernel-image-2.4.25-1-686-smp, with smp supporting the hyperthreading CPU that makes it appear as two CPUs.