Best of Technical Support

Display Problems on Compaq Laptop

I am using a Compaq Presario 2500, and I have Fedora Core 2 running. The problem is my screen keeps shrinking, but I don't know what is causing it. What do you suggest I do?



There are reports of some problems, as you describe, with ATI RADEON video cards, such as the one your Presario 2500 probably has. One thing worth trying is to comment out the Load dri line in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, and then restart your X session or your computer. You may get unexpected results on your specific machine, though.

Felipe Barousse Boué

ACPI, Sleep and Standby

I have an ASUS L8400B laptop, with a 700MHz P-III. I recently installed Fedora Core 2 with kernel 2.6.5. This kernel uses ACPI instead of the APM used by the 2.4 series of kernels, and suspending the laptop works differently and confusingly.

With APM, I used the apm command to go into sleep or standby mode. The first, as far as I could tell, kept everything in memory; the second, I think, would save state to disk and then go to sleep. In either case, all I had to do to wake up the laptop was press any key on the keyboard.

With ACPI, I see this in /sys/power/state:

standby mem disk

Echoing disk into /sys/power/state does nothing. Echoing either of the other terms into it suspends the laptop. But, it won't wake up when I bang on the keyboard. If I use the power switch, the laptop does wake up. However, the system also notices that I pressed the power switch, and it starts an immediate shutdown.

Googling has brought me little satisfaction, and the ACPI FAQ seems to be around three years old. So, direct questions are 1) Is suspend to disk supported? If so, how do I make it work? 2) What is the correct way to wake up the laptop? 3) What else do I need to know? I'm a big novice at ACPI.

I would prefer to avoid updating kernels and the like, but I will if doing so would make a difference.

Arnold Robbins

Suspend to disk on that laptop is a BIOS feature. If you destroyed your suspend partition when you installed Linux, you may need to re-create it. Here's another ASUS owner with some helpful advice:

If you're interested in customizing your ACPI setup, it's easier to debug if you shut down acpid by running the appropriate init script with the stop argument, then run acpid in the foreground with the -d option. You can see what ACPI events are being generated and modify the appropriate scripts.

Don Marti

Daktronics Disses Linux Customers

Why do most manufacturers of devices choose the Microsoft model over the Linux model? Why not develop for both? Specifically, a large manufacturer of LED signs, Daktronics, uses all Microsoft products in the development kit it produces. The company does have a protocol guide but offers no support for the Linux shared library model. I am developing for these signs based on the Linux model, but that work soon will be tanked in favor of Microsoft development. What can we do to get manufacturers to create libraries to speed up development under Linux? I will continue to develop for this project on my own, as I feel there might be a use in the Open Source community for device drivers for signs such as these. If you can point me toward anyone or a group interested in the same issue, please do so.

Chuck Smith

Although advocacy groups certainly are available, such as the OSDL, most vendors respond only to one thing—customer pressure. Add your voice to the chorus, and contact every representative of the company you can to voice your desire for them to embrace Linux. Most manufacturers already are seeing the light in this area, but many find the addition of support for a new operating system challenging, and they need strong encouragement to do so. Patience and consistency are the keys in voicing your concerns. Take heart; over the next two years, it will become increasingly rare for a vendor to disregard Linux.

Chad Robinson

It's great that you want to work on a project, but if you're bound by the license agreement of the proprietary development kit, you may be prohibited from releasing your own open-source code with similar functionality. Check with a knowledgeable law firm such as—you're probably better off working on projects in an area where you've never clicked a nasty “I Agree” button.

Don Marti

Linux Connection for Old Microsoft Exchange?

I'm hoping this question can be answered; I've looked everywhere for a solution and found just about nothing. We're currently trying to do a roll-out of Java Desktop Systems, but we have found that Evolution doesn't support MS Exchange calendaring and such. To get this working, we found a solution in Ximian Connector, but it doesn't work on Exchange 5.5. Surely, more than only Ximian is out there. Being fairly new to the *nix field, I'm completely clueless as to what else can be used. Do you know of any other software that connects Evolution e-mail clients to an MS Exchange server?

Monique Marais

You have an old version of Exchange, one apparently receiving no further support even from Microsoft. There are plenty of solutions for calendaring and e-mail on Linux; some are free and some proprietary. Take a look at for a list of this type of software.

Felipe Barousse Boué

You're going to have to upgrade that old version of Microsoft Exchange sooner or later, so consider buying time by installing a VNC client on the new Linux systems, and a VNC server on the Microsoft side, to give users access to your old applications. See the discussion at

Don Marti

Point-of-Sale System?

I am looking for a good POS system to run a small salon with three employees. I am using Red Hat 9 and would like free projects or low-cost ones.

Randy Freer

I have evaluated several nice POS systems that may suit your needs. Take a look at, a site that specializes in Linux applications for the retail industry. This page has a large list of free software available for business applications, including POS.

Keep in mind that, depending on your company's needs, you might have to integrate a lot of things, including cash drawers, barcode technologies, ticket printers and so on. Therefore, for practical reasons, comparing the total cost of ownership—including your time or hiring third parties—with a commercial solution, even Linux or open-source ones, is a wise exercise. With a commercial solution, you receive support and a turn-key working solution instead of having to integrate, build and support everything by yourself.

Felipe Barousse Boué

Alternate Mail Solution

In reply to Walter's August 2004 Best of Technical Support question: I solved this problem quite a long time ago, see However, now that I have Postfix handling all my mail, I have no need for TrestleMail. I totally agree with Felipe's answer: as long as you're using multidrop mail, you suffer from mishandled boundary cases (mailing list mail, bccs and so on). There's no way around it. On the other hand, the simple stuff is totally reliable, and you have full control over all mail delivery. You might find that Trestlemail does exactly what you need. Let me know if you have any questions.

Scott Bronson


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