The Ultimate Linux Box
Microsoft should chuck its software business and sell keyboards. You can get much better ergonomic keyboards if you're willing to fork over lots of cash, but if you want to pay an average price for a keyboard, Microsoft ergonomic keyboards are among the best. We like ergonomic keyboards, so we went with the Microsoft Natural 4000 Black Wired Keyboard. Taste in keyboards is highly subjective, however, so just replace this choice with whatever you like best. It isn't likely to make much of a difference in the overall price.
Taste in mice is almost as subjective as with keyboards, but you should give the Logitech G15 mouse a try. It has two killer features. First, it comes with a little puck in which you insert weights, after which you snap the puck into the mouse. This lets you make the weight of the mouse fit your personal preference. You might not think that makes much difference until you try it.
Second, you can press the minus button on the mouse to shift into multiple lower resolutions, and jump back to higher resolutions by pressing the plus button. This feature is meant for gamers, but it works beautifully for drawing and editing graphics. Aside from a drawing tablet, it's hard to beat this mouse for a drawing tool. You have instant control over the responsiveness of your mouse without taking your hand off the mouse itself.
How to Install NVIDIA Drivers on Ubuntu/Kubuntu
According to a recent survey, most Linux Journal readers use Ubuntu/Kubuntu, so here is one way to install the latest NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 7.04 and its spin-off distributions of the same version. (See our Tech Tips section for a more automated method.) Install the Linux source code, compiler and other build utilities first. You can use sudo for each command, but it's easier to get to a root prompt and work from there:
$ sudo -s -H # (you should see this root prompt after you type the password) # apt-get install build-essential linux-source # cd /usr/src # tar jxvf linux-source-2.6.20.tar.bz2 # cd linux-source-2.6.20 # make oldconfig # make prepare # make scripts # cd /usr/src
Now, download the latest NVIDIA drivers, which we put in the directory /usr/src. Important: you must stop any graphical desktop you may have running in order to execute the NVIDIA installer. For example, if you are using KDM for graphical login:
# /etc/init.d/kdm stop
Now, run the NVIDIA installer you downloaded. For example (assuming a 64-bit Linux installation):
# sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-100.14.09-pkg2.run
Follow the installer prompts, and allow the installer to modify your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.
You may have to make some changes to /etc/X11/xorg.conf in order to make X11 work with your card and monitor. The most important changes follow. Comment out the monitor's horizontal and vertical frequency range (the driver will discover your monitor's capability):
# HorizSync 28.0 - 51.0 # VertRefresh 43.0 - 60.0
Make sure the Screen section includes the maximum resolution you want to use. In the case of our choice of monitor, that will be 1920x1200 at 24-bit color. You can add other resolutions if you want to switch at runtime, but here's the bare minimum of what you want your Screen section to look like (various settings such as “nVidia Corporation” probably will be different on your system):
Section "Screen" Identifier "Default Screen" Device "nVidia Corporation" Monitor "Generic Monitor" DefaultDepth 24 SubSection "Display" Depth 24 Modes "1920x1200" EndSubSection EndSection
Nicholas Petreley is Editor in Chief of Linux Journal and a former programmer, teacher, analyst and consultant who has been working with and writing about Linux for more than ten years.
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