I was bored this evening and I started playing around with some stuff I had lying around, like the USB Missile Launcher I bought in 2007, known as a Dream Cheeky Missle Launcher, for which I never found a GUI control tool under Linux. I never got that guy’s code to work before, it would always fall over when configuring or trying to compile. Tonight I realised it was just because I had stuff like automake, libgtk2.0-dev and libusb-dev missing and that the automake symlinks were version specific. The code compiled after I fixed that stuff and the app ran but some of the images were missing and it still wouldn’t control my Missiler Launcher, so I did a quick apt-cache search missile and found pyrocket. It works! I think I tried it before and it didn’t but now it does. My Missile Launcher works!
I discovered that my Sony Eye Toy webcam works and works well under Ubuntu, I tried in most Ubuntu releases since I was given a PS2 for Christmas a few years back but it never worked and most times I Googled, it wasn’t expected to work any time soon. Well now it works and the output looks very good. Fresh from this success, I decided to try another webcam I have lying around, made by Genius, I think Jono Bacon gave it to me last year. That never worked either but now it does. Output is pretty dark but I guess that’s down to the webcam’s sensor.
Another recent triumph was my USB Serial converter. I did a CCNA a few years back and it dawned on me that most modern PCs, desktop or laptop, don’t come with serial ports any more and pretty much every Cisco device uses a serial cable for (at least initial) configuration so I bought a cheap USB serial converter from Ebay straight from Hong Kong for about £3 including delivery. Came with a Windows driver CD, but didn’t work under Linux, even though there was a driver for the Prolific PL2303 chipset it used, so I had to buy some for ~£20 from Maplins which did work. It didn’t work from Dapper right through til the last time I checked which was some time around Hardy or Intepid, but now it works.
I don’t know whether this is the work of the Linux Driver Project, existing drivers getting tidied up and supporting more variations of hardware which uses the same chipsets or just natural maturation of the kernel and widening of the supported hardware base, but damn people, you work hard and you surprise me. Thank you.