Configuring Your Laptop for GNOME and Sound
Advanced power management (APM) is the primary link a user has between his laptop and its power consumption. Due to APM's integration in the Linux kernel, there is little difficulty to get it running. All you need to do is compile your kernel with the APM support enabled, and you will have basic APM functionality. You must set the following options in the 2.4 kernel compile for APM:
Power Management support
Advanced Power Management BIOS support
At boot time APM reports as to what type of BIOS is detects. After the machine is booted you can verify APM is functioning correctly by running more /proc/apm. If this file does not exist, you have a problem.
Once APM is enabled, GNOME provides an extremely useful battery monitoring applet that you can add to the control panel. Right click on the panel, then go to Add to panel, then Utility and then click on Battery Charge Monitor. This utility if perfect for monitoring your battery; it tells you your power source and your charge level. If you want to use sleep and suspend, you can use this applet to kick it off. Due to the proprietary nature of enabling those features, I am not going to delve into explaining how to enable sleep and suspend. If you are looking to enable them, however, you will find your needs met by consulting a howto manual for setting up your exact laptop model. Such tutorials can be found here.
By default the current build of Sid comes with XDM installed for your X login needs. Although XDM was great in its day, it is bare bones when compared to the newer versions of GDM. XDM is more appropriate if you are running a server, whereas GDM offers more desktop, or in our case laptop, oriented features. The ability to shut off or restart the system is only one of GDM's many abilities. In a server environment, shutting off a system without logging in is a security nightmare. But, for a laptop this type of worry is trivial. A few of GDM's other advantages are: it can be configured on the fly without starting a window session; it has a lavish GUI where you can configure many aspects of it's appearance; and it enables you to manage multiple sessions. With GDM you even can manage remote sessions.
Unfortunately, the Sid repository does not currently have the latest version of GDM, 2.4; it offers the older, 2.2 version. In regards to laptop use, the big difference between these two version is the graphic greeter option. The graphical greeter provides a much more customizable (XML) theme-oriented environment. If you want to use GDM 2.4, you have to acquire it from an alternate source. A tool like this one can be used to find alternative download sources for GDM. After a source is found, you have a choice of apt-getting it or downloading it directly from a site for a manual dpkg install. I think you'll find the latter method to be faster than editing your apt-sources and updating. I was able to download the gdm_188.8.131.52-2_i386.deb package directly from this site, which I found through www.apt-get.org.
From the standpoint of the end user, the appearance of the graphical greeter is big plus, and it's pretty simple to enable and configure. When GDM is first installed, it defaults to using the standard greeter. To change this click on the System drop-down menu and select Configure. You will be asked to enter the system's root password and then presented with GDM's configuration window. To switch to graphical greeter mode, under the General tab, use the drop-down menu next to Local: to select graphical greeter. To configure it further, select the graphical greeter tab at the top of the window. From here you can add new themes or switch between existing ones.
To add a new theme, you must first download the .tar.gz file of your preferred theme. Such themes can be acquired at many web sites. A great place to start is art.gnome.org. Once you have downloaded the theme, you must go back into the configuration menu for GDM and click on the Install new theme button under the graphical greeter tab. This allows you to browse your system for a downloaded theme; it also uncompresses the tar.gz theme and installs it into the appropriate /usr/share/gdm/themes folder on your system. If you are familiar with XML, you can go into that folder manually and manipulate any theme. Each theme's primary configuration file resides in the directory by the theme's name and is named $themename.xml.
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