[GRLUG] Knoppix with mouse problems?

Bob Kline bob.kline at gmail.com
Fri Jan 2 11:40:56 EST 2009

On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 11:17 AM, John J Foerch <jjfoerch at earthlink.net>wrote:

> Bob Kline writes:
>  > I tried V4.4.3 of DSL on the old hardware,
>  > and the PS/2 mouse worked.  Alas, DSL is
>  > still using the 2.4 version of the kernel, so I
>  > expected as much.  Even V4.4.10 is using
>  > version 2.4.31 of the kernel.
>  >
>  > So far the only consistent theme is that a
>  > distribution with a 2.4 kernel works on my
>  > old motherboard, and one with a 2.6 kernel
>  > does not.  This is just for fun, since the end
>  > result would be a very limited system in any
>  > case.  At most it's interesting to the extent
>  > that "Linux" is embodied in the kernel, not
>  > the endless apps that are hung on it. So
>  > perhaps somewhere deep down the drivers
>  > do not completely support the chipset in the
>  > old motherboard?  As pointed out by someone
>  > here,  PS/2 mice have been around for a long
>  > time now, and are ubiquitous.
>  >
>  > I can still try to see whether a USB mouse
>  > works....
>  >
>  >   -- Bob
> Did you try resetting the BIOS to defaults?  You could get lucky and
> find a setting in there labeled: "Disable PS/2 mouse".  :)
> People have commented in this thread that perhaps linux has abandoned
> compatibility for some old machines.  I highly doubt that.  Linux is
> renowned for its excellent support of ancient hardware--and renowned
> for people porting it to all kinds of crazy devices.  It wouldn't be
> linux that abandoned your hardware, but perhaps the compile settings
> used by the distros you have tried.  Perhaps you should try compiling
> your own 2.6 kernel for this machine.

If I follow you correctly, the PS/2 mouse
works fine for distros using the 2.4 kernel,
so it would seem the BIOS settings are not
an issue.

Re compile one's own 2.6 kernel,  I suppose
I could do that.  Philosophically, I'm not
clear about where "lack of support" leaves off
and compiling one's own kernel takes over.
i.e., in principle would could always find,
and the right people could always write, an
appropriate driver for chip set in the old
motherboard, but does one then say that
Linux supports the hardware at issue?  In this
case,  the 2.4 kernel does, out of the box,
and 2.6 does not.  So does one say the 2.6
kernel does not support the hardware any
more, even while it could in principle?

Given the age of the box, and the bigger
notion that not much will be done with it
anyway,  it probably makes sense just to
use the distros with the 2.4 kernel and move
on.  My guess is that if people have to roll
their own kernels in order to keep old iron
going, a lot more old iron is going to find
a dumpster.

Or are a lot of people in this group compiling
their own kernels?

   -- Bob
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