萬法唯心 – Impermanence

Ubuntu 7.10 Gusty

November 1, 2007 7:13 pm

For some reason I didn’t keep up to date this time, I only found out about the new Ubuntu 7.10 Gusty release being told by a friend. I think my demand for my home PC is dropping, mainly using it for surfing the internet really! Surprisingly the new release doesn’t work for me!

So no luck for me with Ubuntu this time because firstly the upgrade manager (7.04 to 7.10) wouldn’t work… so I did a fresh install (keeping my /home directory). After that everything seems to work but it wouldn’t display correctly on the external montior (Xerox XA7), I tried almost all the settings I can think of including manually editing the xorg.conf and using the auto-config tools, just wouldn’t go above 800×600! Imagine a 19″ monitor on 800×600 resolution! I can stand a lot of the features not working, but working on a proper resolution is one of the min. requirements.

As much as I like Ubuntu, I have decided that I will try something different, may be something very simple, something very fast and stable, doesn’t have to look good but run very fast on my laptop (Toshiba Tecra-S1), and of course supporting 1280×1024. Decided to try out FreeBSD and may be with gnome 2 since the main upgrade in Ubuntu 7.10 is the support of the new gnome, but I know that it’s very possible that it’s gnome 2 which is not compatible with my monitor and or my ATI graphics card! Will see how that goes, but conclusion is, simple is good…

On a side note, about simplicity, I have come to like a very old text editor (VI) very much. It must be one of the oldest text editor that comes with Linux, it’s great because it’s so simple, don’t even need the mouse to operate it, your hand can stand on the keyboard all the time while performing search, replace, etc… There are Windows version (e.g. VIM) which people have developed. Also I’m using a web browser called Epiphany is great too, very simple and fast, but less feature as compare to FireFox. Something that’s worth trying out.

Blank screen after upgrade to Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty

April 22, 2007 10:38 am

Managed to solve the problem with getting a blank screen while loading gdm after upgrading a desktop from 6.10 Edgy to 7.04 Fesity Fawn. The desktop has a ATI 9600 graphics card and works fine on 6.10 Edgy, however after the upgrade to 7.04, it starts having this problem. I knew it’s something wrong with the Xorg like many others, after trying a few changes in the xorg.conf without success, I ran the autoconfig for Xorg and that fix the problem, the command is:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

What that basically did for me to finding the HorizSync and VertRefresh, most importantly it changes the driver from “ati” to “vesa“! Initially I thought the problem was just that it doesn’t have a correct sync value, however when I changed the driver back to ati it gave me a blank screen again. So will have to use the vesa driver for a while until the problem with Xorg is fixed. Anyway, after configuring your xorg.conf or ran the command above, restart gdm by:

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

everything should be running :).

Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn Released

April 19, 2007 7:31 pm

The new Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn is released today! I’m very impressed by Ubuntu for having a new release every 6 months. I have been using the beta version for a while so I can’t test the upgrade function, which I had problem with before when I upgraded 6.10 to 7.04 beta but that problem should be solved with this final release. Although I can’t try it on mine, I will try it on other laptops later when I get a chance.

My experience with 7.04 has been good and the new feature of supporting music sharing should quite attractive to many people. If you are interested in finding out more about my experience with Feisty or Ubuntu in general, these are some of my previous posts:

— Update 20/04/07 —

Just downloaded a CD for upgrade, ran it on a desktop (AMD) with Ubuntu 6.10 installed. Everything ran smoothly until the restart, it loads up to the point where it try to initiate Xorg but it returns a blank screen. Still not sure where the problem lays, will work it out when I have time…

— Update 22/04/07 —

Managed to solve the problem with getting a blank screen while loading gdm, view this post for details.

Installing Ubuntu on Toshiba Tecra S1

April 18, 2007 2:16 am

System info of Toshiba Tecra S1:

  • BIOS: Version 2.50
  • system-version:PT831T-11Q4L
  • Ubuntu Version – Currently using Feisty 7.04, previously worked on 6.10 Edgy and 6.04 as well
  • Kernel – currently using 2.6.20-15-generic, had problem with 2.6.20-14 but 2.6.20-13 works

Hardware Components

Status

Notes

Pentium M 1.5GHz Works No special procedure
15″ XGA TFT Screen Works Default settings works
External VGA – 19″ Xerox XA7 Works See this post for xorg settings
ATI Radeon 9000 Mobility Works Read this post for 3D support
1280MB RAM (1.2G DDR-266) Works No special procedure
40GB HDD 5400 RPM Works No special procedure
DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive Works No special procedure
WLAN (Intel PRO/Wireless 802.11B) Works No special procedure
LAN Works No special procedure
56k Modem Untested No special procedure
SD Card reader Untested No special procedure
Lithium-Ion Battery Works No special procedure
Sound Card Works No special procedure
SD Card reader Works No special procedure
USB 2 Works Plug and Play works for external harddisks including k800i

Basic Installation of Ubuntu:

  • Very simple to install with graphics interface, can test if everything works first before installation with the live CD.
  • Ubuntu is a free distribution, can download from the Official Website
  • A very useful online guide (wiki) for Ubuntu
  • Post-Install modifications/tweaks – there are many tutorials online, here is one that I wrote for my laptop

Setting up additional features for Ubuntu

Unresolved issues

  • Couldn’t get Direct 3D to work on external monitor at 1280×1024 resolution, therefore Beryl can only work on 1024×768.

Configuration Files

  • Sources.list – /etc/apt/sources.list – follow this guide to add extra repositories
  • Menu.lst – /boot/grub/menu.lst – Startup menu for choosing which OS to enter
  • Xorg.conf – /etc/X11/xorg.conf – Some changes to get 1280×1024 resolution to work on 19″ Xerox XA7

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “Xerox XA7”
Option “DPMS”
HorizSync 31-82
VertRefresh 60-75
EndSection

Some useful commands

  • sudo – wherever you want admin access
  • sudo aptitude search <application name> – search for a application that you can download and install
  • sudo aptitude install <application name> – download and install a application
  • sudo gedit <file name> – use gedit to edit a file, can use sudo nano <file> in recovery mode
  • sudo fdisk -l – list all the hard disks available
  • ifconfig – same as ipconfig in windows
  • ctrl + z – stop a running command in terminal
  • ctrl + alt + backspace – restart Xorg
  • mount myiso.iso /mnt/iso/ -o loop – mount an iso image

Some Applications that I found useful – not installed by default

  • Tomboy Notes
  • Gnumeric

Contact Information

Links

Beryl + Ubuntu + ATI Mobility 9000

April 14, 2007 12:07 am

Spent some time today trying to get Beryl to work on my Toshiba Tecra S1 running Ubuntu Feisty 7.04 beta with ATI Mobility 9000 graphics card. To start I used the following xorg.conf settings:

Section “Device”
Identifier “ATI 9000”
Driver “radeon”
Option “DRI” “true”
Option “RenderAccel” “true”
Option “EnablePageFlip” “true”
Option “XAANoOffscreenPixmaps”
Option “DisableGLXRootClipping” “true”
Option “AddARGBGLXVisuals” “true”
Option “AllowGLXWithComposite” “true”
Option “AGPMode” “4”
Option “AccelMethod” “XAA”
Option “ColorTiling” “on”
Option “AGPFastWrite” “on”
Option “GARTSize” “64”
BusID “PCI:1:0:0”
EndSection

Note that I used the driver radeon instead of fglrx and with xgl loaded. With these settings, I could get direct rendering on, can check yours by:

$ glxinfo | grep direct
direct rendering: Yes

After restarting Xorg, installed Beryl with the following command:

sudo aptitude install beryl beryl-manager emerald-themes

After the installation, I started the Beryl manager, however Beryl doesn’t start automatically. I ran the command beryl in the terminal it returns with the following error:

Checking maximum texture size : failed

Root window size (1280/1024) is bigger then maximum texture size (1024×1024)

From some online resources, I find out that I can use driconf to set the graphics card to have allow_large_textures = 2. However this didn’t solve the problem for me, later I found that I can set GARTSize to higher in xorg.conf. I tried:

Option “GARTSize” “256”

After restarting Xorg, I was able to run beryl without the error given before. However it returns a white screen, restarted Xorg again and find that direct rendering is off. It was found that setting the GARTSize to anything larger than 64 will set direct rendering to off. Knowing that I couldn’t get it to work on 1280×1024 on the external monitor (19″ Xerox XA7), I tried it on lower resolution 1024×768 and got that to work with the following screenshot:

Beryl on Ubuntu + ATI

Given that you are not using an external monitor, it would work on the laptop monitor on resolution 1024×768. The function shown in the screenshot is really the only function that I want from Beryl, and knowing that ATI doesn’t work very well with Beryl/Compiz anyway, don’t think there is much I can do to make it work on 1280×1024 unless new drivers come on or with another graphics card.

Optimising my Laptop – Ubuntu Feisty

April 3, 2007 7:43 pm

Before really getting into my final year project and revision for exams. I spent some time ugrading my 3+ years old laptop (Toshiba Tecra-S1) from Ubuntu 6.10 to 7.04 and optimising it. At the same time cleaned up my desk to have more space to work.

My Workspace - Desktop

I have trying many different ways of optimising it with online resources including some websites and forums. Here are the changes or applications that I have installed that I felt have increased the performance dramatically.

  • Upgrading to Xorg 7.2 beta (follow link for detials)
  • Added all the respositories on this page and perform a update + upgrade
  • Installed the windows manager E17, see below for details

Also tried out a windows manager called Enlightenment (E17), the installation was quite simple, updated some repos and did a apt-get install. Then just log out and change the session and everything works already. I have to say it looks very nice with many special effects, however after using it for a while (10 mins) I find that I prefer the normal gnome. The effects are just too much for me, but it’s quite impressive that it’s very fast with all these eye-candle enable. After I decided to go back to the normal gnome, I find that applications switching and menu loading are a lot faster. Not sure excatly why that is, possibly because some softwares and core has been updated.

Anyway I’m quite happy that everything is working fine now on this laptop and it doesn’t feel slow at all! It doesn’t take much time to load any application, if I don’t run any heavy program or applications, don’t think its responses is any slower than a new desktop. It’s amazing how Linux makes this possible, but at the same time I do feel that Linux is getting way too user friendly, a bit like windows!