Sentelic is the plague

Trouble with Sentelic Finger Sensing Pad Page 1 / Kernel & Hardware / Arch Linux Forums.

Apparently, having a Sentelic touchpad is akin to having an infectious disease.  I have done my best to get some help on the Arch forum for my Sentelic problem, and while my thread has gotten nearly a hundred views, it hasn’t received a single reply.

I have done my best to sort of keep it in the public eye with additional posts that are both informative while also bumping it back into view, but I have just about run out of things to add and I fear my question is simply going to slip into the darkness unanswered.

I really am sort of surprised at the lack of help on the matter.  There is only one entry in the Arch wiki on the subject, and it is a rather brief and unhelpful segment for the MSI Wind laptop that essentially assumes that your touchpad is functioning, but you just need to be told how to manipulate the values of these functions.  That is not my situation.

There was also a Gentoo wiki entry that I still have not successfully applied to my Arch context.  However, it seems to still be the best lead, and so I guess I am simply going to have to go back to it and see if I can’t get it to work again.

Sadly, I fear that there is some precedence for the lack of attention my thread has received, as there have been two other threads that have ultimately resulted in no solution to the Sentelic problem (here and here).  It appears that I will have to solve this on my own and then perhaps post my success for others if ever I do succeed.

My letter to Sentelic

Sent via their website:

I purchased a laptop from CyberPower Gaming PC’s (www.cyberpowerpc.com) with your Sentelic Finger Sensing Pad installed on the laptop. I purchased this computer without Windows, fully intending to use one of the Linux distributions I already have available to me.

But I have discovered that the driver that you have released for Linux use is severely impaired, and that this impairment is intentional on your part. I cannot express how disappointed I am with your company and product.

This experience has driven home one very important point to me, and that is that you do not care for you customers. I will almost certainly be wary of your product in the future and will do my very best to avoid it for more helpful competitors, like Synaptics. Congratulations on driving away another potential customer.

Sentelic’s Finger Sensing Pad

I have been bashing my head against this device since the new computer has arrived. Apparently Sentelic doesn’t like…anyone? Look it up on Google. You have both Windows and Linux users stymied and outraged by what would otherwise be a rather simple device. It almost had me give up on Arch Linux and move back to Ubuntu, but after more hours spent scouring the internet, I determined that I might yet be able to pull it off with Arch. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but I want Sentelic to know that I am not afraid to compile a custom kernel just to thumb my nose at them and their unwillingness to simply put out a workable driver, or to make their device operable with already workable drivers. At least I know I have the processing power to do it within a reasonable span of time (that does help make one a little less fearful of such things).

My next ideas, however, don’t involve kernel compilation, but rather overcoming the FSP linux drivers ability to record and modify touchpad settings. I hope that if I can surmount this obstacle, that I will have a fully functional touchpad. I will post my solution on the blog once I have found one.

Trouble with Arch Linux

I have really enjoyed using Arch Linux, first on my laptop, and then later on the desktop my wife uses. But after the last update on my wife’s system, and a subsequent reboot, I ran into a rather serious problem. I have the computer set up to automatically log in so that my wife doesn’t have to deal with it, but at the moment this autologin is failing, so that the computer screen is locked into a rapid cycling of trying to login and then failing and only a hard shutdown can stop this once it has started.

The only clue I have to what could be the problem is that prior to attempting to load the display manager, the boot message indicates that the modules are failing to load. My first thought was that perhaps this was a bug, and so I chrooted into the system and updated the software. This had no effect, however, and so I am wondering if perhaps my issues don’t center around a recent change regarding module blacklisting (the only thing I can see that may have recently changed about module loading).

However, I spent a considerable part of my morning today just figuring out how to chroot from a live cd (and then figuring out I needed to make sure my internet connection was working before I did that), so it looks like it will have to wait until tomorrow before I try any of the things suggested in the article. I think I will try to do some boot time blacklisting first and see if this doesn’t have the desired effect.

Regardless, I am still happy with Arch. This is simply an expected element when using a do it yourself cutting edge distribution. Not that this makes it any more fun (especially when you have family members breathing down your neck to get the computer back to operational). Ah, the joys of a learning experience on a deadline.

Flash works in Chromium (sort of)

The Codfather reports success in getting the Flash plugin to work in Chromium on Linux. The steps are pretty easy, but it’s reported to not work on 64bit systems. I’m going to go home tonight and try it out for myself and report back the results of the experiment. Anyway, for anyone running an i386 version of Linux, the fix should work and get you a functioning Chromium with flash and all.

This isn’t certain to work on Chromium versions prior to 3.0.194. Luckily, the Chromium PPA is up to 3.0.195, and even the Google Chrome alpha you can get from Google is at 3.0.194, so the fix should work with either of these.

Edit: I didn’t work on my system. I would be interested in finding out if others have gotten it to work, whether that be on a 64 or 32bit system.

Edit2: Ha, it does work. Apparently a recent update of Chromium disables the plugin option, so in addition to the instructions offered by Codfather, you have to run chromium from the command line: chromium-browser –enable-plugins. Doing this will allow chromium to run the plugin and then you will have flash.