Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Installing OSX 10.5.6 on a Samsung NC10; what works and what doesn't

So I have managed to install Mysticus' 10.5.6 release on the NC10, following his guide.

Installation issues
The previous Windows 7 beta installation had (apparently) messed up my MBR and I kept getting the dreaded "Still waiting for root device". I can't recall how exactly I fixed it, but I used MBRWizard (/repair), which messed things up (could not boot). I used a USB stick with WinSetupFromUSB which allowed me to boot into my XP partition, and set it as active again. That "reset" my MBR somehow and allowed me to boot into the OSX installation.

Other than that, the installation went as normal. It's noteworthy that the second time I tried installing OSX (yes, I messed my installation up the first time), the Darwin bootloader would not identify my OSX partition but would rather label is as an NTFS partition and would not boot from it. The OSX installer identified it as a "Windows_NTFS" type partition instead of an HFS (if I remember correctly). Disabling the MacDrive installatio on my XP solved the annoying problem and I could reinstall succesfully.

The Atheros AR 5007 EG issues
I spent a couple of days trying to get the wifi card to work with Airport and I failed miserably. I managed to see networks and connect to them using kismac for 4-5 times, but wether it would work or not was totally random. I'd say it worked about once every 10-20 reboots. That's how I messed up my installation - I tried to install the 2008 004 Airport update which I probably shouldn't try to. I got a loop during boot, just before the login screen which forced me to reinstall.
I found a Dell DW 1390 on ebay for £5.99 plus £2.99 shipping which I swapped with the Atheros last night and works like a charm without any drivers or messing about. I hate to say this but its money well spent, £8.98 in total.

Dell DW 1390 installation
The Samsung NC10 doesn't have any warranty seals on either the ram slot or the whole bottom cover, only a bunch of screws (none of them under a label). Opening the bottom cover was quite easy - the only difficult part being unclipping the cover from the rest of the body after the screws were removed. I managed to do it by using a flat screwdriver - be EXTRA careful near the monitor hinges.
The Atheros card is clearly visible once the cover is removed, just one screw and two antenna cables and it can be pulled off its socket. Insert the new card, plug the antenna cables (white at white marker, black at black!), screw and that's it really!

What works - what doesn't
-Speakers work - you only have to choose "internal speakers" from the audio preferences.
-Mic/Headphones need drivers in order to work. have drivers now!
-Wifi works with the Dell 1390 (currently denying connection on 12,13 channels). -Bluetooth works and can be turned off with a fix from bike town.
-Trackpad works tap/drag as well although there is no multitouch at the moment because of the differences with apple trackpads (usb) and other makers (ps2). This is a fix that would be extremely welcome! multitouch drivers released!
-Wired ethernet doesn't work now works!
-Brightness and most other settings don't change with Fn key (volume works!); there is a workaround with Quicksilver for the brightness

I'm very pleased with the setup - currently dual booting XP and OSX. The only thing that I would really wish for is the multitouch trackpad (especially since it works in XP). Battery life is great, and startup/shutdown quite fast.

Big thanks to Mysticus for his efforts!
I should really split my posts into smaller chunks.
Anything I could help with, just ask!

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