Tag Archive for 'ubuntu'

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Ubuntu + KDE 4.3 + log in = instant reboot

With the release of KDE 4.3, I added the PPA archive for Jaunty and upgraded from the previous release.

Now, the computer boots to the log in screen just fine, but logging in causes the computer to instantaneously reboot the machine.

Creating a brand new user account and logging in also suffers the same problem.


Update: Changing the video driver from radeon to vesa stopped the system from instantaneously rebooting, however the machine freezes at the KDE loading screen (even magic keys don’t work!). Looks like something to do with hardware initialisation, perhaps kwin trying to enable something fancy.. not sure.

Update 2: I was able to log into KDE with the vesa driver and disable desktop effects. After a reboot the system no longer crashes with the radeon driver. I then re-enabled the desktop effects and rebooted. This time I can log in, the effects are enabled and it doesn’t crash. We’ll see if it lasts!

World’s smallest desktop PC comes with Linux

Ohhh.. this would make a sweet Myth-TV front end, I reckon. Well, it’s make a sweet lots of things. Thoughts?


Linux on an Apple Xserve EFI only machine

We have a few of these Apple Xserve machines at work which weren’t doing much, so I thought I’d make better use of them. Naturally, this meant installing Linux on them.

These machines do not have a BIOS (or even any emulation), they use EFI and as such won’t boot the standard Linux install media. I knew that Fedora could boot EFI, so that’s where I started, with Leonidas (version 11). Unfortunately, the install media just wouldn’t work on this device, presumably as it has no BIOS emulation.

To cut a long story short, I had to learn how EFI works in order to get it booting and it wasn’t an easy thing to discover!

Continue reading ‘Linux on an Apple Xserve EFI only machine’

Printing with a Canon is a blast

Recently a friend bought a Canon multifunction Pixma MP630 printer and wanted to get it working on Ubuntu Jaunty (Debian should work the same). To my surprise, Canon are making Linux drivers available on their website.

It’s not well spelled out on the site but there are 4 packages that you need and they need to be installed in a specific order. The first two relate to the printer itself, the second two are for the scanning component. Both are i386 packages (but probably work in 64bit as they aren’t actually architecture specific).

First, download the “common” packages called, “IJ Printer Driver Ver. 3.00 for Linux (debian Common package)” and “ScanGear MP Ver. 1.20 for Linux(debian Common package)“. These contains the backend components.

Secondly download the actual driver for that model MP630, “IJ Printer Driver Ver. 3.00 for Linux (debian Package for MP630series)” and “ScanGear MP Ver. 1.20 for Linux(debian Package for MP630series)“.

Now, install the first “common” packages and it will fail because it needs some dependencies. These dependencies are in the tree so running sudo apt-get -f install will fix it. Installing the specific printer drivers will fail because they require the common packages first, which is why they are installed second.

Next, install the two specific drivers. All dependencies should be met and it should proceed smoothly.

Restart CUPS and plug in the printer. When you do, Ubuntu should just automatically detect it and configure it.

When I did this previously apparmor was blocking the backend. It doesn’t appear to in Jaunty, but if you have problems, this is how I removed cups from apparmor.

apt-get install apparmor-profiles
ln -s /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.cupsd /etc/apparmor.d/disable/
apparmor_parser -R /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.cupsd
/etc/init.d/cups restart

Once you’ve done all that, everything should be sweet. Print a test page!

Will Linux Shine as Google Chrome OS?

There’s been a lot of talk about Google’s new Linux based operating system for netbooks and desktops, Chrome OS. I thought that I’d talk about it a bit too.


Yum still on the menu?

Update: I’ve tried to post my results back to Seth’s thread but it won’t work, so I’ve emailed him instead.

In response to my article comparing Yum and Apt (at least I think it was my article, might have been someone else’s I guess), lead developer of Yum, Seth Vidal, wrote his own test script and performed some Yum benchmarks of his own.

He wrote:

Always a fun comparison. It’d be even more fun if any of the numbers seemed accurate.

His ran his test and concluded that Yum is “pretty good” and offers for others to run the test and post their results. So I did, on the same computer I used for the my article. I also compared the results to Ubuntu, as that’s really what my article was talking about :-)

So what did I find?

Continue reading ‘Yum still on the menu?’

Having Yum for Breakfast

This week I decided to write a comparative article between Yum and Apt (the package managers). Using Fedora 11 and Ubuntu 9.04, I performed various tests and benchmarked both the time and CPU usage they took. But why? Let me explain.

I really like the Fedora project. Really. I like their stance on proprietary drivers and codecs (and of course free software) and these days they seem to be pushing the technological envelope more than others. Sure Red Hat drives the direction of the project somewhat, but I don’t mind Red Hat either.

In fact, I wish I could use Fedora as my main distro! But every time I try it I just get so frustrated with Yum. Sure it’s better than up2date, but it’s so damn slow and annoying. That’s a problem for someone like me who manually updates his package database first thing every morning and checks to see what packages are available and updates the system by hand. Why do I do that? Cause I like to.

But every time I’ve tried to get into Fedora that damn package manager has stopped me. I get frustrated after a day or so. I think the longest I’ve had it on was 2 days before I switched.

Recently I installed Fedora 10 and 11 to see if there was any performance increase. Actually, to tell you the truth I was completely surprised by Yum’s agility and speed. The old Fedora I remember was not to be seen.. or so it felt like anyway.

Hence, I thought it might be good to run some tests to see.

Of course as the article points out, does any of this matter? Do we really need a fast a nimble package manager? Well for me it matters. It matters a great deal. For most users though they probably won’t care, as they just let the package manager do its thing in the background.

Still, it makes for some interesting thoughts. I think.

Telstra NextG working with MF626 USB modem

Essentially, these devices are detected as a SCSI CD device so that Windows and Mac users can install the drivers and software to make the device work and connect to the net. They then switch product ID to activate the device as a modem. Unfortunately this didn’t work properly in Ubuntu, and would only detect as a mass storage device. With this fix, it can be hot plugged and still work :-O

Thanks to a post in the Ubuntu forums, I finally got the Telstra NextG wireless working for a friend of Mike, on his Jaunty netbook.

Here’s what I did, for for future reference:

1) Install udev-extras which provides some extra hal scripts.
sudo apt-get install udev-extras

2) Install the Debian Sid i386 usb-modeswitch package, rather than build from scratch.
sudo dpkg -i usb-modeswitch_0.9.7-1_i386.deb

3) Uncommented the “ZTE MF626″ entry of the usb-modeswitch config (including the # comments!).
sudo vim /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf

ZTE MF628+ (tested version from Telia / Sweden)

Contributor: Joakim Wennergren

DefaultVendor= 0x19d2
DefaultProduct= 0×2000

TargetVendor= 0x19d2
TargetProduct= 0×0031

MessageContent=”55534243123456782000000080000c8501 0101180101010101000000000000″

4) Create new HAL rule to activate the device as a modem.
sudo vim /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/20thirdparty/20-zte-mf626.fdi

<!– -*- SGML -*- –>
<deviceinfo version=”0.2″>
<!– ZTE MF626 HSDPA USB Modem –>
<match key=”@info.parent:usb.vendor_

id” int=”0x19d2″>
<match key=”@info.parent:usb.product_id” int=”0×0031″>
<match key=”@info.parent:usb.interface.number” int=”3″>
<append key=”modem.command_sets” type=”strlist”>GSM-07.07</append>
<append key=”modem.command_sets” type=”strlist”>GSM-07.05</append>
<append key=”info.capabilities” type=”strlist”>modem</append>

5) Create a new udev rule to auto run usb_modeswitch when the device is plugged in.
sudo vim /etc/udev/rules.d/90-zte.rules

ACTION!=”add”, GOTO=”ZTE_End”

SUBSYSTEM==”usb”, SYSFS{idProduct}==”2000″, SYSFS{idVendor}==”19d2″, GOTO=”ZTE_ZeroCD”

RUN+=”/usr/sbin/usb_modeswitch -W -c /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf”


6) Remove the HAL FDI cache and reboot.
sudo rm /var/cache/hald/fdi-cache
sudo reboot

7) Then after a reboot, I plug in the device, wait for it to go blue, then connect to Telstra (Next G Card) in Network Manager.


Aspiring to be Jaunty

Mike has a friend with an Acer Aspire One netbook (which he bought over 6 months ago) and it has been no end of trouble getting it to work properly. The main issue has been the horrible built-in Atheros wireless chip. There was much to-ing and fro-ing, the end result of which is that the guy wanted to buy a Windows netbook to replace it (all because of this one main issue). In fact, it’s been down right embarrassing that Linux doesn’t work. He’s wanted to give the rotten thing away, or rather, throw it away (preferably somewhere jagged with lots of rocks).

Eventually we did get it working with Intrepid and even though it was clunkalicious, it did work. Until he did an upgrade that is. So Jaunty comes along and everything is supposed to work out of the box, but it doesn’t. Wireless is still broken. The device is detected, but network manager just won’t work (also iwlist wlan0 scanning does not work).

I dug around on launchpad and found out, lo and behold, there is a bug that stops wireless from working.

The fix? Blacklist the acer_wmi module (add blacklist acer_wmi to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist) and reboot. Essentially the rfkill switch on the Aspire One is dodgy and it gets permanently set to off. Not loading this module prevents that, which means it’s free to be, well, on.

So, if you have an Acer Aspire One with Jaunty (or other distribution) and you don’t get any wireless love, try this work around. Now I just have to get his dodgy Telstra 3G USB modem device working.. and that’s a whole other level of pain.


Letter to the editor

Well this week I created my very first DistroWatch Weekly as the new editor of the popular newsletter.

While some readers complained that Ubuntu is getting too much coverage, I think that overall most enjoyed the newsletter.

I’m looking forward to compiling the DWW for next week’s release!