GUIDE: OSX + Dell Latitude C840 - P3

So we've made it this far huh? Wow, the journey is coming along pretty quickly. Now, we're going to look at optimizing the system, setting up some basic interface features and let's try our hand at getting that nagging built-in Ethernet to work, what do you say? This is a another article in this series which succeeds the first, "HOWTO: Mac OSX + Dell Latitude C840 - Part 1" and the second "HOWTO: Mac OSX + Dell Latitude C840 - Part 2". Quickly, once again, allow me to just state that theReformed and/or it's contributors are not responsible for any loss of data, systems, equipment or other unnamed damages and cannot be held liable pursuant to your actions taken in conjunction with those outlined in this article. The first thing we need to do with this new system is set our root (most powerful system administrator account) password. To do this, open up your Terminal application by click Go > Utilities > Terminal (sidenote, you might notice that all the major applications crucial to maintaining your Apple operating system are three clicks or less with little to no redundancy, unlike that of Microsoft Windows). Surprise, you've just ventured back into the console screen, just a little prettier. From the root# prompt, type sudo passwd root. This command is going to allow you to use the powers of a super user on the subsystem to change the password of the root user. Change it to whatever you like when it prompts you to do so, although it is recommended to have a 8 to 15 character alphanumeric password with at least two special symbols included since the root account is the most powerful account on your system - leave the Terminal application open for the timebeing until I instruct you to close it. Now, let's get down those nuts and bolts. Did you get that 10.4.3 IONetworkingFamily.kext I spoke to you about in Part 2? If not, then you'll need to get ahold of a copy of that before you continue with this next section:

  1. Insert the CD containing the OS X 10.4.3 IONetworkingFamily.kext (you can also download a copy of the kext from here). When it comes up, access the CD and keep that window open on your Desktop.
  2. With your cursor, select Go > Computer and from the left pane select System. Now, in the right pane, navigate with your cursor through System > Library > Extensions (look familiar? - you're looking at a graphical folder view of the BSD subsystem's directory structure).
  3. Now, go back to your CD's window and select the IONetworkingFamily.kext and drag it to the System/Library/Extensions folder. Mac OS X is going to ask you to Authenticate your selection once you select to replace this system file (the kext). Authenticate under the username/password combination you initially setup.
  4. From there comes a twist, we've gotta go back to the console window to get this to all work properly. So select that window again and let's type out some unix commands. The first thing we're looking to do is change the permissions on the IONetworkingFamily.kext (because it isn't defaulted to a specific group other than the user which the system services can't process legitimately) - type su. This is going to ask you for a password, enter your new root password.
  5. Hoorah, we've got our root# back. Let's tell the system to do something to that file now, type chmod -R 755 /System/Library/Extensions/IONetworkingFamily.kext.
  6. So we've just changed the group permissions the file is assigned, now let's type something else, chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/Extensions/IONetworkingFamily.kext.
  7. Good job, we've just successfully changed the user and group that this file is assigned. Let's get this bugger loaded up, type kextload -v /System/Library/Extensions/IONetworkingFamily.kext.
  8. Excellent. This should have loaded with no errors. If you got some, you need to try and search out a solution before you go any further.
  9. So let's clean up the mess we just made to the disk permissions, type diskutil repairpermissions /. It will take up to a minute for this to run successfully, you'll see some screen traffic while it does.
  10. Last major step is to clean out our cached kext information, so type rm -rf /System/Library/Extensions.mkext /System/Library/Extensions.kextcache

Great job, feel proud that you've just navigated your Ethernet device's problem and resolved it with a little elbow grease. Final step is to type reboot at the command prompt and let the machine do the rest. Once the machine comes up, you should be able to navigate your cursor to the System Preferences icon in the bottom right of the screen close to the Wastecan. Select Networking and you should see your Built-in Ethernet device running with the settings you put in a couple of articles ago. Ok, so we've got the network running, but for some reason if I leave the system alone for a short period of time it just locks up… Not a problem. Quick workaround, we're going to bypass the problem altogether because at this point we need a system that runs solid all the time so that we can do the other necessary modifications. So:

  1. Select with your cursor Go > Applications > System Preferences and move to Energy Saver.
  2. The top bar in this window needs to be moved all the way to the right. "Sleep" as it is known, hasn't been entirely perfected in these alternative distributions so S3 isn't always cooperative - let's not leave it to chance, right?
  3. Next, this is a personal preference, uncheck the "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" box.
  4. Now, move your cursor up to "ScreenSaver" - since we don't have QE/CI support, select the "Computer Name" screensaver as it isn't intensive or problematic.
  5. Select the red "X" button at the top left and we're done.

Where to now? Well, we're going to jump back in console. So, open up your Terminal application once again since it got closed when we rebooted. We're going to attack the system's laggy behaviour. There is a simple tag we can put in the boot configuration file so that when the system goes to startup, it knows exactly what type of hardware is calling the shots. To do that:

  1. In the Terminal window, type su and it will ask you for your root password, enter it.
  2. Now type cd /Users, type an ls and then find your home directory and do a cd /yourhomedirectoryname to enter it.
  3. Once located, type cd /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ to get to the directory holding the necessary boot file
  4. Next, type pico com.apple.Boot.plist (PICO is a simple, yet powerful text editor ported to the BSD subsystem). Doing this, we're telling PICO to open this file for editing.
  5. Where the line Kernel Flags is setting, we want to add some text into the line below it, , so we'll we want to add the following text platform=X86PC to establish to the system specific what type of platform we're running it on.
  6. Perfect! Let's hit Ctrl+X and type "Y" for yes. Hit enter to save changes and we're done. Now, type reboot
    once again and see if you don't see an increase in performance when accessing the menus.

Outstanding! We've not only setup our computer for some optimal performance, we've kept it from locking itself up and resolved the Built-in Ethernet problem. If you're liking the series so far, the next article is going to be fun so stay tuned!

3 Responses to “GUIDE: OSX + Dell Latitude C840 - P3”

  1. 1 phra1se Jun 24th, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    cd /Library/SystemConfiguration/
    vim com.apple.Boot.plist

    Find the Kernel Flags line and under it should be -v. Change the entry to read -v platform=X86PC. If you want to see a graphical boot, (grey screen with the Apple logo), remove the ‘-v’.

  2. 2 Irate Jul 30th, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Dude you rock but:

    From the root# prompt, type sudo passwd root. This command is going to allow you to use the powers of a super user on the subsystem to change the password of the root user.

    Was critical for me and I missed it the first time, it may be worth adding it as a step with a number, like: “1)”

    Great tutorial.

  3. 3 J. Longoria Jul 31st, 2007 at 2:02 am


    Hey thanks, I appreciate your compliment. I think somehow that command got cut from my original final draft, most likely when I was having issues with the WP native editor. I’ll look into adding it into the frey as soon as I can get to it.

    I appreciate your input and for those of you that want to learn a little more about some of these commands that will really make your installations, modifications or maintenance easier, be sure to check out http://wiki.osx86project.org .

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