Thursday, June 16, 2016

NetBSD: 7.0 to 7.0.1 upgrade, working YouTube audio

It has been over a week and I'm still hanging in there with this NetBSD install. So far my distro-hopper's trigger finger is decidedly unitchy. (The DSM-5 is drastically incomplete without some sort of spectrum disorder to account for those who compulsively reinstall their operating system every other day. The first step towards people like us getting the help we need is being able to put a name to our condition.)

This time around, I'm remembering to breathe first and then find a way around (or through) problems as they arise. Since my last NetBSD-related post, I have been more or less using it to get mundane (but necessary) things done, mostly involving Thunderbird and LibreOffice. On a geekier note, however, I have accomplished the following...

YouTube with audio!

After posting a link to the aforementioned NetBSD article in Reddit, a reader offered a solution in that forum (/r/NetBSD) on how to get audio working for YouTube. They said "as for audio on Firefox, it Just Works, but the default uses PulseAudio, which requires dbus running". They recommended these steps to get 'er done:

# cp /usr/pkg/share/examples/rc.d/dbus /etc/rc.d/
# echo "dbus=YES" >> /etc/rc.conf
# service dbus start

And so now I can hear what YouTube has to say, though the playback is a little choppy at times. (The helpful reader above mentioned that some sort of graphic acceleration may be needed to get games to play smoother as per my complaint in the previous post, and methinks this may help make videos have an easier time of it, too. Now I just need to dig in and learn about graphic acceleration and how to make it happen in NetBSD.)

Upgrading from 7.0 to 7.0.1 using sysupgrade

There's not much to say here, other than my upgrade from NetBSD 7.0 to 7.0.1 being as simple as:

# sysupgrade auto

I didn't think to take notes during this process, as I was on the phone the whole time. Nevertheless, I simply typed in the command above (as per the official upgrade instructions, modified to reflect the correct version number) and watched text flying around the screen as things were downloaded and installed, and then answered "d" for "don't replace existing config files" or some such. And then it was done! I rebooted the computer and checked to see that the upgrade didn't throw up on itself:

# uname -a
NetBSD darkstar 7.0.1 NetBSD 7.0.1 (GENERIC.201605221355Z) amd64

And so now I have a UNIX on this laptop that is current as of May 22, 2016. I'm a happy guy.

Loose ends

Two things on my wish list right now include getting working WiFi and figuring out how to get the laptop's built-in microphone to work in Audacity.

The microphone issue is a distant second to getting WiFi up and running, and on that front I am well on my way. I won't confuse the issue by going into detail here until I can say I've conquered this particular beast. I have gotten some good leads, am oh-so-close, and will report my findings here when the time comes.

Part of the problem is that mounting WiFi seems to require stimulation of the same part of the brain that helps one make heads or tails of Euchre. Needless to say, if ever you're in a situation where your life being spared somehow depends on a hero flexing his Euchre abilities, just know that I'm not that guy.