Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tuning Debian Etch 4.0

During using Debian Etch I found some issues which I have described in this article.

Ugly fonts in the Iceweasel (Firefox) application

When I changed Gnome to KDE the fonts in Iceweasel became to differ from other GTK applications (e.g. GIMP, Evolution). For resolving this issue I found the following solution:

Add this string gtk-font-name="Your favorite font name and size" in the gtk config. In my case this looks like this:

File ".gtkrc-2.0.mine" included in the .gtkrc-2.0 :

gtk-font-name="Arial 8"

NTFS write support

You can found the solution for this issue on the following site. Now I use ntfs-3g module for writing on the ntfs partitions. To add support your required locale you should add the following option to mount: locale=ru_RU.utf8. The list of /etc/fstab for example:

/dev/hda2 /mnt/win ntfs-3g umask=0,locale=ru_RU.utf8 0 0

I hope ntfs-3g more or less stable :)

Debian Etch 4.0 on the Acer Aspire 1642

Quick Guide

Here's a short guide to installing Debian Etch 4.0 on the Acer Aspire 1642. Let's go!


Part Type
Processor Intel Pentium M 1.7G
Memory 512Mb
Video card Intel 915G
Sound card Intel HDA (ALC 883 chipset)
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad
Pair of hands Not growing from an ass

After installation of Debian Etch 4.0 I found the following issues

  • sound card is not supported by kernel 2.6.18
  • resolution 1280x800 is not supported

For resolving first issue you must change kernel to version 2.6.20+, because sound card is not supported by kernel 2.6.18. You should download kernel 2.6.20 from and compile it using the following command:

# make-kpkg --append_to_version -smp --initrd kernel_image modules_image

Then you should install it:

# dpkg -i kernel_blablabla.deb

and add "model" parameter into file /etc/modprobe.d/sound:

options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=acer

and reboot linux. When you run amarok or another audio player sound will rise from the dead :)


We need to install 915resolution package so open up a terminal and type:

# apt-get install 915resolution

Reboot X11 and enjoy with new resolution.


To make the functionals keys work (fn+fxx, fn+up, fn+down) you should add the following code to the .bashrc or to an another place:

xmodmap -e 'keycode 160 = F16' # mute
xmodmap -e 'keycode 176 = F17' # volume up
xmodmap -e 'keycode 174 = F18' # volume down

xev utility can help you to retrieve a keycode of any key.

Useful links

Linux On Laptops