Monday, November 1, 2010

Linux Mystery

I bought a joystick for use with Flight Gear. It's just an average joystick judging by the reviews but it is known to work with Flight Gear, and it was on sale. Believe it or not, this is the first joystick I've ever used on Linux.

The kernel recognised the joystick immediately but the udev daemon failed to create a device node in /dev. The kernel was 2.6.36 from Debian experimental. When I rebooted into the 2.6.32 kernel from sid, everything worked correctly. But, the kernels were different in one other respect. The one from experimental was 64 bit while the one from sid was 32 bit.

In order to be sure, I compared a 64 bit 2.6.32 from sid and a 32 bit 2.6.36 from experimental. (It's really great to able to swap kernels so easily.) After the test, it was clear the joystick only had a problem in the 64 bit kernels, regardless of version. Note that it's perfectly normal to run a 64 bit kernel with a 32 bit user space.

Despite narrowing down the problem a little, Google did not turn up anything useful. While it is possible that it's an undiscovered problem, it is much more probable that it is specific to my system. As to what the problem might be, I still have no idea yet. It's another Linux mystery. ^_^

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