Pleasantly Surprised

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rumplestiltskin
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Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:25 pm

I have an old 1st Gen MacBook Air (2008). The latest macOS it could run was 10.7.5 which is not, as we know, secure. Rather than toss it, I thought "Why not Linux?" Well, that was easier said than done. All the distros I tried ended with a WiFi dead-end. Mint, however, showed me the choices and, after the first one didn't work, I tried the next. *Bingo* We're in business. I do appreciate the updates that address the Meltdown and Spectre flaws. I even managed to get one of my Brother printers working and found some advice that I will eventually try to get the other printer (an MFC) fully operational, as well.

This MBAir has only 2GB of RAM and a 1.8" PATA ZIF 80GB HD. I don't think it will be cheap enough to swap that out for an SSD (although suggestions would be welcome). Though this certainly isn't the fastest machine (Mac or otherwise) I own, the fact that it will remain a useful, safe computer and not end up in the landfill is a good thing.

Barry

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by absque fenestris » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:55 pm

:wink: Congratulations. Maybe interesting https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macb ... r-ssd.html
An SSD makes a big difference. The hard disk is also 10 years old, so could break anytime.
Pay attention to the dimensions, the space is tight. The screws are typical Apple - pretty tricky.

An 80 GB (4200 RPM, 8 MB buffer) 1.8 inch, 5 mm PATA hard disk drive is standard. A 64 GB solid-state drive originally was available as an optional build-to-order upgrade for US$999, and on July 8, 2008, Apple dropped the upgrade price to US$599.
Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (Mate) 32-bit - Acer D250 Netbook (Intel Atom N270, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD)

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:21 am

Yes; all my other Macs and PCs either came with or have been upgraded to SSDs. The MBA has a 1.8" PATA ZIF drive so it's completely non-standard (in terms of what's readily available in the 2.5" size). Agreed; it's a tight squeeze in there. I've done this to other MBAs of that vintage so I'll be careful. Thanks! (Just wish it weren't so expensive; this is only worth about $200 max. Oh well, it's only money.) :D

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by absque fenestris » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:00 am

Hi! I see you know the Apple screws - especially if they fall on the floor or in the case... the old PATA-standard could be a problem - is that still available? eBay?
Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (Mate) 32-bit - Acer D250 Netbook (Intel Atom N270, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD)

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:52 pm

Well, it turned out the Air wasn't quite as robust as I had hoped and it started misbehaving to such an extent that I decided it wasn't viable. I thought it might have been the HD. I found an old 5th Gen iPod with a dead battery and I knew that model had a 40GB PATA ZIF HD in it. I dismantled the iPod and swapped its HD into the Air but the same misbehavior convinced me it wasn't a HD issue so off it went to eBay for parts.

But I'm not upset (as I got the money I spent for a new battery back when I sold the Air so all is well there). I then installed Sylvia on an old Dell all-in-one (that had been a Windows7 box). Again, a lovely experience. My printers were installed once I made a trip to 127.0.0.1:631/ to access the CUPS interface. (Any attempt to install my Brother printers using any software downloaded from Brother was a total failure - it's always been so with every Linux distro I've tried.)

I liked Sylvia on the dell so much, I'm installing her (is that too anthropomorphic?) on some older laptops (HP, Dell, Asus - all work fine with Sylvia).

There's only one issue I don't know how to resolve (and, according to everything I've found on this topic so far, it may be unresolvable): How do I calibrate the internal screen of the laptops? There's a fairly simple calibration utility which permits adjustment of gamma, color, etc. on my Mac (in macOS) and even in Windows. But it looks like that's missing from Mint so far. I'd find it troubling to edit photos without such a calibration. (No, you don't need any extra hardware to do this on the Mac or even Windows.)

So I'm 95% pleased and, at this point, I only have two Windows10 boxes left; one of those will be running Sylvia by the weekend.

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by Arch_Enemy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:12 pm

rumplestiltskin wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:52 pm
Well, it turned out the Air wasn't quite as robust as I had hoped and it started misbehaving to such an extent that I decided it wasn't viable. I thought it might have been the HD. I found an old 5th Gen iPod with a dead battery and I knew that model had a 40GB PATA ZIF HD in it. I dismantled the iPod and swapped its HD into the Air but the same misbehavior convinced me it wasn't a HD issue so off it went to eBay for parts.

But I'm not upset (as I got the money I spent for a new battery back when I sold the Air so all is well there). I then installed Sylvia on an old Dell all-in-one (that had been a Windows7 box). Again, a lovely experience. My printers were installed once I made a trip to 127.0.0.1:631/ to access the CUPS interface. (Any attempt to install my Brother printers using any software downloaded from Brother was a total failure - it's always been so with every Linux distro I've tried.)

I liked Sylvia on the dell so much, I'm installing her (is that too anthropomorphic?) on some older laptops (HP, Dell, Asus - all work fine with Sylvia).

There's only one issue I don't know how to resolve (and, according to everything I've found on this topic so far, it may be unresolvable): How do I calibrate the internal screen of the laptops? There's a fairly simple calibration utility which permits adjustment of gamma, color, etc. on my Mac (in macOS) and even in Windows. But it looks like that's missing from Mint so far. I'd find it troubling to edit photos without such a calibration. (No, you don't need any extra hardware to do this on the Mac or even Windows.)

So I'm 95% pleased and, at this point, I only have two Windows10 boxes left; one of those will be running Sylvia by the weekend.
Wow. I have three different distros running on different drives and have zero issues getting my Brother to print or scan.

You should (if not already) start a new thread about your Brother experience, but first, search. There are a few Brother threads around.

Setting up my Brother was almost as easy as using HPLIP for an H=P I had!
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:38 pm

Arch_Enemy wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:12 pm
...{snip}...You should (if not already) start a new thread about your Brother experience, but first, search. There are a few Brother threads around.

Setting up my Brother was almost as easy as using HPLIP for an H=P I had!
This wasn't a "Mint issue". I've never found a Linux distro of any persuasion that knew what to do with my Brother MFC-L6710DW or MFC-L2700DW. Brother's software download pages for Linux are essentially "Download this and then a miracle happens" and they have no PPDs for these units. Strangely enough, when I shared this printer from my Mac, connecting to it from a Linux machine took two clicks of the mouse.

When I was ready to attempt the printer installation in Mint, I found (purely by accident) a printout from an old post (from an unknown Linux forum) that recommended doing the printer config through CUPS in my web browser. *Presto* Done (for the MFC-L2700 - haven't tried the L6710DW yet). Maybe this would have worked with other Linux distros but I like Mint so much there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to try.

Now, my MFC-L2700DW is seen as an HL-1470; that's the PPD that had the word "recommended" next to it so I just clicked on it and agreed. It works.

Scanning will be another issue but I still have my (newer) Macs and a Windows box which use the native Brother drivers for all functions that Sylvia can't do yet.

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by Arch_Enemy » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:47 pm

rumplestiltskin wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:38 pm
Arch_Enemy wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:12 pm
...{snip}...You should (if not already) start a new thread about your Brother experience, but first, search. There are a few Brother threads around.

Setting up my Brother was almost as easy as using HPLIP for an H=P I had!
This wasn't a "Mint issue". I've never found a Linux distro of any persuasion that knew what to do with my Brother MFC-L6710DW or MFC-L2700DW. Brother's software download pages for Linux are essentially "Download this and then a miracle happens" and they have no PPDs for these units. Strangely enough, when I shared this printer from my Mac, connecting to it from a Linux machine took two clicks of the mouse.

When I was ready to attempt the printer installation in Mint, I found (purely by accident) a printout from an old post (from an unknown Linux forum) that recommended doing the printer config through CUPS in my web browser. *Presto* Done (for the MFC-L2700 - haven't tried the L6710DW yet). Maybe this would have worked with other Linux distros but I like Mint so much there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to try.

Now, my MFC-L2700DW is seen as an HL-1470; that's the PPD that had the word "recommended" next to it so I just clicked on it and agreed. It works.

Scanning will be another issue but I still have my (newer) Macs and a Windows box which use the native Brother drivers for all functions that Sylvia can't do yet.
Hmmm...

All I had to do was download the installer. I untarred it into a directory I call "test" for these purposes. You then chmod the installer so that anyone can run it, and then sudo the command anyway so it can write to where it needs to.

The installer starts and asks for the model name. You type in the model name, including the '-', and then it starts. It then asks you the location of the device, with suggestions. If it's connected by USB, it usually displays the USB port it is connected to. Of course, IT HAS TO BE ON! It can't be in 'sleep' mode. If it's network attached, you select that option and then provide the IP address. For this it's best to have a static IP, and reserved in yout router if you use DHCP for other devices.
It then runs through installation, resolving dependencies along the way. Then it asks if you want to test print.

Then it asks if you want to install the scanner software. A simple 'y' starts that process. After the installation you open Simple Scan or XSane and test the scanner.

I have done this on 2 versions of Mint, Arch, Manjaro and SuSE without issue.
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:59 pm

Thank you for the detailed process. I'll try to follow along with the bouncing ball. You mentioned two things that raised questions, however:

1. "...then chmod the installer"...
Is that simply using the Terminal, as in chmod {name-of-installer-here} ?

2. "...then sudo the command anyway"...
Is that adding 'sudo' to the chmod line, above? (and then provide my admin password when prompted?)
-or-
Is that a separate line sudo {name-of-installer-here} (and then provide my admin password when prompted?)

Thanks!

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by Arch_Enemy » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:05 pm

rumplestiltskin wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:59 pm
Thank you for the detailed process. I'll try to follow along with the bouncing ball. You mentioned two things that raised questions, however:

1. "...then chmod the installer"...
Is that simply using the Terminal, as in chmod {name-of-installer-here} ?

2. "...then sudo the command anyway"...
Is that adding 'sudo' to the chmod line, above? (and then provide my admin password when prompted?)
-or-
Is that a separate line sudo {name-of-installer-here} (and then provide my admin password when prompted?)

Thanks!
Let's see...I don't use chmod very often, but I think it's" chmod <name of item to be changed> <username>"
and then "sudo <commandname>" and then it asks for your password.

I can't remember right now, but I think it might be "sudo ./<commandname>" I think you have to use the ./ to run it.

It's been so trouble-free I haven't had to do it for a while! (I shouldn't have said that...) :D
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:06 pm

Oh, such high hopes!

I followed your directions and managed to get the installer going in the Terminal and, 1/2 hour & miles of scrolling feedback later, it choked when it couldn't find a file. It asked for the printer's IP address (which I provided) and then simply quit the installer (leaving me in the Terminal). I checked the Printers admin panel and found a printer there with a big ! in its icon and any attempt to use it showed a "can't find the printer" (or some such) in the panel.

I deleted all the detritus and went back into my browser's CUPS page where I added the printer and used the HL-1450 CUPS/Gutenprint driver (PPD?). Apparently, Brother uses this as a common denominator for its lasers (although it probably is one of the earlier 1270 models). Anyway, it prints and supports 2-sided auto-duplexing. I may try just the scanning driver at brother{dot}com to see if that works any better than their printer installer. But as long as I have my Macs, I can get things scanned or faxed through the machine.

Now on to the MFC-J6710DW. I wonder how that installer will work.

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by rumplestiltskin » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:26 pm

Yes! The MFC-J6710DW installed properly and I can even scan. To paraphrase Yoda: Blown away I am.

Obviously, I'll have to try it again with the MFC-L2700DW software.

[Edit: I did exactly the same installation as I did originally with the L2700DW but this second attempt worked. Maybe something that prevented it from working the first time was fixed when the J6710DW was installed properly. It's the same script(!) and the only difference is in the name of the machine at the end of the terminal command. Whatever... :lol: ]

I'm feeling even more pleasantly surprised now.

Thanks again, Arch!

[Edit: Scanning works, too!]

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Re: Pleasantly Surprised

Post by Arch_Enemy » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:12 am

rumplestiltskin wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:26 pm
Yes! The MFC-J6710DW installed properly and I can even scan. To paraphrase Yoda: Blown away I am.

Obviously, I'll have to try it again with the MFC-L2700DW software.

[Edit: I did exactly the same installation as I did originally with the L2700DW but this second attempt worked. Maybe something that prevented it from working the first time was fixed when the J6710DW was installed properly. It's the same script(!) and the only difference is in the name of the machine at the end of the terminal command. Whatever... :lol: ]

I'm feeling even more pleasantly surprised now.

Thanks again, Arch!

[Edit: Scanning works, too!]
NP. Glad it worked on the inkjet.

Do a search on Brother Drivers on the forum, because someone else also had an issue with a laser printer driver. All I have is a J470DW, and the driver has always installed without issue.

Oh, one thing. On the inkjets, for some reason the installer points to an older version of the driver, even though there is a newer version available. I can't remember the particulars, but maybe this is why you're having the issues. Perhaps it is also happening with the lasers. The installer SAYS you're installing the latest version, but when the script runs it calls an older version.
I have travelled 35629424162.9 miles in my lifetime

One thing I would suggest, create a partition a ~28G partition as /. Partition the rest as /Home.
When the system fails, reinstall and use the exact same username and all your 'stuff' comes back to you.

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