Avoid Wintel meltdown with open source utility
By bnitz on Oct 28, 2005
I've used Solaris, Linux and Apple desktops almost exclusively for the past few years. But about a year ago we purchased a brand-name centrino laptop for use with my wife's embroidery and patchwork software and as a VNC client to a powerbook with a broken display. It didn't surprise me that alternative OSs often require new drivers or tweaks in order to get power management working. What does surprise me is that this laptop, which was designed for Microsoft Windows, has terrible power management when used with the preinstalled XP professional OS. When I close the lid it sleeps. When I open the lid, it fails to wakes up about 40% of the time. Most of the time it gives a "drive letter component failure" error and offers to email microsoft. About half the time it wakes up without restoring network access. Repairing the network doesn't work so I must reboot. This completely defeats the purpose of sleep mode. What's more, running a CPU intensive application caused the laptop to overheat and crash ungracefully. Fortunately there is a solution to the overheating problem. The fan utility on the Toshiba Linux utility website can be used to force the fan on. Open source software can help those who use Microsoft Windows.
P.S. A few months ago while making myself a cup of coffee, Damien Farnham explained to me how dtrace scripts can be used for power management. I hadn't thought about all of the possible uses of dtrace's awesome instrumentation capabilities. Maybe we can get Damien, Casper or Bryan to explain how it works.