Archive for the ‘Ubuntu’ Category

Deja vu. When Ubuntu first introduced PulseAudio, it was one hell of a plight for the end-user. And now it is Plymouth turn to make life an uphill struggle for user with recent ATI or NVIDIA card and proprietary drivers (as well as people having examination like me >.<). Here is an interesting article by Scott James Remnant on why your expensive card doesn’t play nice with Plymouth in Lucid. I also grow tired and wary of all the copy-n-paste instructions lying on the Internet which are out-dated and untested yet considered as panacea. My most hated one is ‘set gfxpayload=keep’ originated from Arch forum and now spreading like fire. It makes your the Virtual Terminal (VT) useless, ‘keep’ is not the working option in Ubuntu, last and not least, in Lucid, there is a more graceful way to do it. And I hope my guide below will not suffer the same fate as them. It was quite comprehensive after days of manual grinding and testing during exam period.

Plymouth splash screen…

  • is in low res mode.
  • has corrupted graphic
  • is decent but can’t switch to virtual terminal or VT is horribly in low res mode
  • is decent but the splash screen only appears for a brief 1-2 second ( you are missing the dots moving :P), before that you only see a black/blank screen

Use Synaptic or ‘apt-cache policy ‘ or common-sense to find out.

  • GRUB >= 1.98-1ubuntu5
  • Plymouth >= 0.8.2-2
  • ATI cards with FGLRX >= 8.723.1-0ubuntu3
  • NVIDIA cards with nvidia-glx-1*
  • A clean without other tweaks to plymouth & grub, please revert them before proceeding. Really, it will not work if you insisted on apply other tweaks. !!! IMPORTANT !!!
  • Common-sense and google searching skill
  • A bit of risk taking spirit and confidence

[Caveats and Limitations]
I will use the uvesafb to fix all the problems mentioned above but I have to warn you about certain limitations first. They don’t affected me much though (widescreen works on mine). I think problem will come when you want to use solar theme or any complex theme as uvesafb doesn’t have acceleration -> slow. Extract from documentation for uvesafb

uvesafb is a _generic_ driver which supports a wide variety of video cards, but which is ultimately limited by the Video BIOS interface. The most important limitations are:
– Lack of any type of acceleration.
– A strict and limited set of supported video modes. Often the native or most optimal resolution/refresh rate for your setup will not work with uvesafb, simply because the Video BIOS doesn’t support the video mode you want to use. This can be especially painful with widescreen panels, where native video modes don’t have the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is what most BIOS-es are limited to.
– Adjusting the refresh rate is only possible with a VBE 3.0 compliant Video BIOS. Note that many nVidia Video BIOS-es claim to be VBE 3.0 compliant, while they simply ignore any refresh rate settings.

Also, uvesafb replaces vesafb in Ubuntu, in case you are wondering.

* uvesafb required v86d package to be installed. Hwinfo package is required for the next step as well.
sudo apt-get install v86d hwinfo



* Find out the supported resolution by using hwinfo.
sudo hwinfo --framebuffer

Sample output :

02: None 00.0: 11001 VESA Framebuffer
[Created at bios.464]
Hardware Class: framebuffer
Model: "(C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. M92"
Vendor: "(C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. "
Device: "M92"
Mode 0x0321: 640x480 (+2560), 24 bits
Mode 0x0322: 800x600 (+3200), 24 bits
Mode 0x0323: 1024x768 (+4096), 24 bits
Mode 0x03ee: 1366x768 (+1408), 8 bits
Mode 0x03ef: 1366x768 (+2752), 16 bits
Mode 0x03f0: 1366x768 (+5504), 24 bits
Config Status: cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown



* Edit /etc/default/grub to make sure we boot with uvesafb framebuffer. For the mode_option parameter change to your native screen resolution you see from running the above comment (if not just set to 1024×768-24 which is safest. Oh, Netbook user – please exercise some common-sense here) Non relevant lines are omitted for clarity.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1366x768-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap"



* Edit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules to include uvesafb by adding the following line.

uvesafb mode_option=1366x768-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap



* Force the use of framebuffer:
echo FRAMEBUFFER=y | sudo tee /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash



* Update and we are done ๐Ÿ™‚

sudo update-grub2
sudo update-initramfs -u


* Now reboot and enjoy the high resolution sensation ๐Ÿ™‚ (my first reboot hangs, but 2nd time onward it works flawlessly). If it works correctly, you should be able to have moving dots with the splash screen; lesser time of blank screen and much more time with splash screen.

* And contrary to popular belief, my laptop resume and suspend works with uvesafb! ๐Ÿ™‚

* Thing you probably will see in dmesg if succeed:

[ 0.000000] Kernel command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-21-generic-pae root=UUID=44c7c661-1f5e-49e6-a14e-7a35f1ec3f9f ro quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1366x768-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap
[ 6.684235] uvesafb: (C) 1988-2005, ATI Technologies Inc. , M92, 01.00, OEM: ATI ATOMBIOS, VBE v3.0
[ 6.783693] uvesafb: protected mode interface info at c000:a2d4
[ 6.783695] uvesafb: pmi: set display start = c00ca376, set palette = c00ca434
[ 6.783727] uvesafb: VBIOS/hardware supports DDC2 transfers
[ 6.845060] uvesafb: monitor limits: vf = 61 Hz, hf = 48 kHz, clk = 69 MHz
[ 6.845110] uvesafb: scrolling: ywrap using protected mode interface, yres_virtual=1536
[ 6.847159] uvesafb: framebuffer at 0xc0000000, mapped to 0xf8380000, using 8256k, total 16384k
[ 6.854259] uvesafb: mode switch failed (eax=0x34f, err=0). Trying again with default timings.

[Other Alternatives]
* Rog131’s ‘Making a low resolution low color plymouth theme’ is an ingenious workaround. Here

* No splash screen but high resolution virutal terminal using EFI framebuffer. Edit /etc/default/grub, remove ‘splash’ option and replace the two entries below with your native resolution. Seriously, this is way better than setting the payload to keep and in 00_header. GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX is only available from grub 1.98 in lucid.


[Last Words]
– Comments are welcome and appreciated.
– Testers are welcome.
– I will try to respond to you ASAP but spare me some thoughts cos the poor guy here is having his final exams at his university life ๐Ÿ™‚

Read Full Post »

If you are upgrading to Amarok 2.3 Clear Light and experiencing crashes, weird behaviour in layout, CD can’t be played. Then you can take few bold steps as I suggested below.

Note to self: once there is a major update, wipe clean the previous version completely.

Wipe out your config and application layout and database.

mv .kde/share/apps/amarok/ ~
mv .kde/share/config/amarok* ~

You lose all your playlist, cover arts, etc… but Amarok works amazingly well again. You can try putting the config/database back one by one. Though I don’t bet on that. Wipe config alone will not give you a functional Amarok you have to kill apps/amarok as well, like in my case, layout isn’t remembered and new scanned tracks got weird random tag from random existing track.


Read Full Post »


Due to time constraint and burden from school work, I decided to forgo learning about making deb changes and upload to ppa. Apologize for it. This post will be a quick post on how to get firefox 3.6 without font rendering issues due to lcdfiltering and no –enable-system-cairo flag with official build.

Add the repository for firefox stable
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/mozillateam/firefox-stable/ubuntu karmic main

Install the necessary dependencies and build tools. Also grab the wonderful patch from Marc Deslauriers (THANK YOU SIR!)

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential fakeroot devscripts
mkdir ff-cairo
cd ff-cairo
sudo apt-get build-dep firefox
apt-get source firefox
wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/38560863/firefox_3.6%2Bnobinonly-0ubuntu2%7Emd1.debdiff
cd firefox-3.6+nobinonly
patch -p1 < ../firefox_3.6+nobinonly-0ubuntu2~md1.debdiff
debuild -uc -us

Then grab a cup of coffee and wait till the build is complete. Then in your ff-cairo folder will have a list of *.deb. If you have already installed ff3.6 from the stable repo, then just double click firefox_3.6+nobinonly-0ubuntu5~mfs~karmic1_i386.deb and choose option to reinstall it. Then restart firefox and VOILA, your font smooth and crisp again ;P. If vanilla, then I am not sure (no time again)… but should be the branding package and the above package.

Will update this guide proper when I have some free-time =/

If you really trust me and want my compiled debs, drop me a message. And I will upload to mediafire or megaupload.


Read Full Post »


My trusted Toshiba Tecra M5 motherboard gave up on me last week. I ended up spending all my savings on a new HP ProBook 4310s from my university. But configure this baby is a pain when it comes to Linux.

I loaded Linux Mint 7 Gloria (GNOME) then switch to Kubuntu Jaunty with 4.3.1 from backport. After 1 week of tingling with the configuration, installation and uninstallation, finally I had a usable system. I will not elaborate too much at the moment, since I will have mid-term soon. Also I am going to nuke my current system when Karmic come out.


Add either of the line below in ‘ /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf ‘
options snd-hda-intel model=mobile
options snd-hda-intel model=laptop

In KDE4 there isn’t much problem, but in GNOME, you might have to reload the alsa module from time to time, very annoying.
$ sudo alsa force-reload


iwl5100 needs backport module

$ sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-jaunty

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330:

This is the most painful thing when it comes to compositing.

You will probably need a no backfill patch. Some minors and tolerable corruption but no more slowness when maximized and resized.

Stock fglrx-installer is the worst (install X crash when fullscreen in mplayer – both stock and from rvm ppa) . Fglrx 8.620 (CC 9.6) from x-updates is okay for generic use but XV in mplayer performance is terrible and also has scaling problems. Basically, your viewing experience in mplayer will be a horrible one. Best for me is CC 9.9 from AMD: good compositing, Xv correct scaling with default settings. http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/ati-driver-installer-9-9-x86.x86_64.run

Instruction for 9.9 can be found below. I used the 2nd link mainly for complete removal of the old conf.


Any problem please feel free to drop me a comment =)

To install webcam viewer:
sudo apt-get install luvcview

Upgrade to alsa 1.0.21 to have no more cracking noise with max PCM.

Read Full Post »

Here is a script to find the maximum MTU (the value before the packet is fragmented). I was not particularly satisfied with dlsreports guide. The command given for us linux might not work most of the time (doesn’t prohibit fragmentation at time) as well as it is not an automatic operation but relies on trial and error.




count=`ping -M do -c 1 -s $PKT_SIZE $HOSTNAME | grep -c "Frag needed"`

while [ $count -eq 1 ]; do
 count=$((`ping -M do -c 1 -s $PKT_SIZE $HOSTNAME | grep -c "Frag needed"`))

printf "Your Maximum MTU is [ $((PKT_SIZE + 28)) ] \n"


This script will neatly print out the maximum MTU at the end of the operation after finding the optimal value of the packet size.


-M do : Select Path MTU Discovery strategy do (proโ€hibitย  fragmentation,ย  even local one)

-c : to stop ping when you are done sending information.

Read Full Post »

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty distribution release date draws near. Pulseaudio – the future is coming up as well. I admit that it works better compare to Intrepid, however, I still want to stick to the no-frills ALSA for my Intel on board card. If Pulseaudio works for you, by all means stick to it. I merely give you another option to choose. By the way, I manage to get my mic working ๐Ÿ™‚ This guide will help you to kind of disable pulseaudio from starting / avoid pulseaudio to hog the sound hardware. It also solves the problem of every boot, the master channel is turned all the way down and muted.

The Environments: Firstly, I upgrade my Intrepid to Jaunty RC 32bits PC through ‘update-manager -d’. I have only one laptop so I can’t test the vanilla Jaunty RC version. Though, I will try to match the configuration as best as I can. Secondly, I have a built-in mic. Thirdly, the soundcard is an onboard Intel STAC9200 and I don’t have 2nd soundcard. For the uninitiate, the $ in front just denote your shell, after that is the command.

Required Packages: alsa-oss; libasound2; libasound-plugins; sysv-rc-conf (optional)

$ sudo apt-get install alsa-oss libasound2 libasound2-plugins sysv-rc-conf

The Procedure:

Step 1:

When I upgrade to Jaunty, it doesn’t install any new ’70pulseaudio’ file in Xsession. If there is no such file, safely ignore this step. If it is present, move it to somewhere safe. The command below sends it to your home root folder.

$ sudo mv /etc/X11/Xsession.d/70pulseaudio ~/

Step 2:

Disable Pulseaudio service from run level. Watch out for the dot at the end. Else you can use sysv-rc-conf GUI.

$ sudo update-rc.d pulseaudio stop 50 2 3 4 5 .

Unset Pulseaudio from system and set my card from ‘asoundconf list’

$ asoundconf unset-pulseaudio
$ asoundconf set-default-card Intel

Make sure your libao.conf is using alsa. Use gedit if you like. For the uninitiate, to save in nano, press Ctrl + x.

$ sudo nano /etc/libao.conf

Navigate from the menu: System – Preferences – Sound, make sure yours looks like the one in the screenshots below:


So far so good. Cos those steps are similar to my previous guide. Now come to the more tricky part.

Prevent Pulseaudio from daemonize. Open ‘/etc/pulse/client.conf’ with your editor again. Look for this line ‘autospawn = yes’ then change it to ‘autospawn = no’.

This folliwng step is thanks to one of my reading of Sonal Santan on the mailing list last time, but now in Jaunty then it can shine. If the just above step doesn’t work properly. Open ‘/etc/pulse/default.pa’ in an editor. Look for lines similar to the following two commented out lines:

#load-module module-alsa-sink
#load-module module-alsa-source device=hw:1,0

Add the following two lines just after these two lines:

load-module module-alsa-sink device=dmix
load-module module-alsa-source device=dsnoop

The above change will force PAย  not toย  take exclusive control of sound hardware.

This step is similar to my old guide. Open ‘/usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf’ in an editor. Comment out the line which says ‘/usr/share/alsa/pulse.conf‘ by inserting a # in the beginning. After the change, the @hooks section would look something like the following.

@hooks [
        func load
        files [
#           "/usr/share/alsa/pulse.conf"
        errors false

The above procedure will make sure ALSA is use system-wise. ๐Ÿ™‚

OPTIONAL (But recommended anyway): Go to this link, https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HdaIntelSoundHowto look at this section Manually Specify Module Parameters and do yourself a favour ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Step 3:

Application specific issue is discuss here. Mplayer only at the moment.

MPlayer: 10 second wait before audio start playing.

—> Edit ‘/etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf‘, change the order to the order below (original pulse,alsa)
# Specify default audio driver (see -ao help for a list).

Step 4:

THE MIC WORKS ๐Ÿ™‚ ! This step might need the optional step Manually Specify Module Parameters above.

I will give you a short tutorial on `alsamixer` which is required to get the elusive mic to work. Open alsamixer by type ‘alsamixer’ in the terminal. In alsamixer, using Tab to change View property. To MUTE/UNMUTE press m. To move the slider, use up and down key. To move to another property of same view, use right and left button. And the spacebar…


Now guys, you see the box right below the slider?ย  [ 00 ] == unmuted,ย  [MM] == muted. Check before you keep whining that there is no damn sound.

For the Mic to work, make sure (look at the screenshot, that’s how your should looks like)

Capture and Digital properties are not muted / not zero db. 67 is a good value. Capture should look like in my screenshot . If your capture looks like, —– then press space bar once to change it to L Rย  Captur.

Mux should be at zero.

Select your Input Source to Mic. Fire up your gnome-sound-recorder, choose Capture the voila. The capturing quality is better than M$ Windows with noise cancellation. Bleh ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 5:

Check that you didn’t miss any step. Reboot (don’t be lazy) and make sure the damn sound is not muted =.=” .

Cheers and don’t disturb me for at least 3 weeks ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me be at peace with my exams.


If you get the message as below

“audiotestsrc wave=sine freq=512 ! audioconvert ! audioresample ! gconfaudiosink: Could not open audio device for playback.”

You need todo the following to resolve it. Backup .asoundrc first =)

‘sudo /etc/init.d/alsa-utils restart’
‘rm ~/.asoundrc’

Btw, I set up twitter @ http://twitter.com/idyllic_tux to further disseminate any tips if I have in the future.

Read Full Post »

Greetings everyone :]

After a long period of laziness, Intrepid problems on my laptop (wireless + kernel-panic #314961 and blank CD/DVD problem #321174), I finally resurface and of course not without a souvernir to you.

With many tasks at hand to handle, you are preoccupied most of the time, chances are important email goes unnoticed. Pidgin’s new email notification is puny and has no tray icon support (what a let down). cGmail doesn’t support normal free Yahoo! and WLM/Hotmail. You started your quest searching for a decent mail notification: kbiff, gbiff, mail-notification, etc. You settled for Mail-notification for it caught your eyes with the lean interface and gnome integration. After the installation from the repo, what a nightmare you got after an easy process of adding accounts. You started swearing mentally. Yahoo and WLM don’t work out of the box unless installing extra debs (fetchyahoo and getlive). Worst still, the deb itself is not up-to-date and even the latest deb doesn’t work!!! You googled and started swearing verbally now. SSL support is greyed out due to licensing issue. You could be like, “**** this sh!t already!”. Don’t worry, I was in the same situation as you. I am ended up building the package from scratch with ssl enabled and writing a guide on how to install and use Mail-Notification with Ubuntu.

== 1 ==

Download my deb with SSL enabled [*** here ***]. And if you need evolution integration then this deb as well [mn_evolution].

== 2 ==

Install neccessary debs for Yahoo!, WLM as well as OpenSSL

% sudo apt-get install fetchyahoo getlive openssl

== 3 ==

* Download the modified script for [GetLive here]. Credit goes here https://bugs.launchpad.net/mail-notification/+bug/297774
* Presuming you saved the file in your home document, we need to move/symlink it to /usr/bin and make it executable

% sudo mv ~/GetLive /usr/bin/GetLive
% sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/GetLive

== 4 ==

Launch it, Menu – Internet – Mail Notification
Configure the accounts, this is per usersetting.

== 5 == (Optional)
* Automatic start mail-notification when session start, System – Preference – Session
* Always display icon, open “gconf-editor” -> /apps/mail-notification/always-display-icon
* Give yourself a pat on your shoulder.

Cheers :]

PS:ย  if you want to build them manually next time, I just found a blog (http://glyphobet.net/blog/essay/286) which provided a script to do it. Though, you should revise the script before run it because removing “–disable-ssl” is in for 4.x whileย  “ssl=no” is forย  version >= 5.4 from debian/rules. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Me == High in Lethargy and Excuses. Diligence Free.

I have always been a fan of Thunar’s neat icon view where items with different dimension will have a same icon height in contrast to the peak and valley icon view of Nautilus.

Quick illustration of the hideous default icon view in Nautilus:


Now, we shall tweak the thumbnail of Nautilus icon view to make icons align in a more presentable way. The default thumbnail size is 96, to achieve a more consistent thumbnail, we use 50 as the value.

% gconftool-2 -s -t integer /apps/nautilus/icon_view/thumbnail_size 50

And if you prefer the GUI way, then Alt+F2, type in “gconf-editor”, navigate to the option as shown in the screenshot below, and set the thumbnail_size to 50.


Voila. The final Nautilus icon view will be as below. Not a 100% neat like Thunar but at least more consistent and presentable. I found this very useful especially for icons on Desktop.

nautiluschangedthumbOkay, that’s another nifty trick for you. And I am back indulging myself into studying for my last 2 papers.

Read Full Post »

After upgraded to Intrepid RC, I once again fiddled with Ubuntu sound system to use ALSA instead of Pulseaudio in a non-destructive way (a.k.a no removable of Pulseaudio packages and configuration which in turn not remove ubuntu-desktop package which is needed for future distribution upgrade). It was a bit trickier to do compare to Hardy, but I managed to locate all the culpirt that plague my sound system eventually and came up with this comprehensive guide. Without further ado, let the game begin!

1. Preparation! Install the follow packages if you haven’t had them yet. First one is alsa wrapper for oss, 2nd one alsa library and 3rd one is alsa library plugins. The last one is to configure the runlevel of pulseaudio (just for a total overkill)

% sudo apt-get install alsa-oss
% sudo apt-get install libasound2
% sudo apt-get install libasound2-plugins
% sudo apt-get install sysv-rc-conf

2. Removal Procedure! Remove pulseaudio from Xsession by moving it somewhere safe just in case you want to use back Pulseaudio again. The 1st command will move it to your home folder (~/).

% sudo mv /etc/X11/Xsession.d/70pulseaudio ~/

Remove pulseaudio (sound plugin) from gnome-settings-daemon

% gconftool-2 -s -t bool /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/plugins/sound/active false

Well you can always open a UI to do this if you feel unconfortable, Alt+F2, then type “gconf-editor”, navigate to /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/plugins/sound/ then untick the active box.

Unset Pulseaudio

% asoundconf unset-pulseaudio

Remove from runlevel [Overkill, just to make sure]

% sudo sysv-rc-conf

Page down till you see “pulseaudio” entry, then untick all the box []. Save and exit.
CAUTION: I dare not ask you guys to do this oneliner “sudo update-rc.d -f pulseaudio remove” or “sudo update-rc.d pulseaudio kill 15 2 3 4 5 .” cos I think it is dangerous. If someone can update me on this then I am deeply appreciated. Just stick to sysv-rc-conf for a safe journey.

3. Configuration for ALSA! Now time to configure alsa to use the main sound card

% asoundconf list
Names of available sound cards:
% asoundconf set-default-card Intel

Make sure the libao.conf is using alsa. You can use gedit if you want to.

% sudo nano /etc/libao.conf

Navigate from the menu: System – Preferences – Sound, make sure yours looks like the one in the screenshots below:



You will have no login sound from now on ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . Workaround is you create your own autostart event, use “aplay” or “mpg123-alsa” or “mplayer” and path to the your log in sound.

To further overkill pulseaudio, edit your .bashrc at your home folder and put this in:

% export SDL_audiodriver=alsa
Use this line if you want alsa wrapper for OSS: % export SDL_audiodriver=aoss

Ubuntu 8.10 has flash 10 package [adobe-flashplugin] so multiple sounds and flash sound work perfectly without libflashsupport (no longer in the repository) ๐Ÿ™‚

Still with me? Haha. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder. Reboot and enjoy ALSA. Self-check, type in the terminal “pgrep pulseaudio”. If no number return, pulseaudio is disabled ๐Ÿ™‚

Future tips will come as I explore the system more ๐Ÿ˜› Till then.

TROUBLESHOOTING: 10 second time out solution below in the comment ๐Ÿ˜›

I finally figure out the 10second lag. Those applications will first look for Pulseaudio, but it is gone, so the 10 second time out before alsa kicks in.


+ Edit /etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf, line 74, change the order to the order below (original pulse,alsa)
# Specify default audio driver (see -ao help for a list).

+ Totem-gstreamer i canโ€™t find the config for it yet, so work around is use totem-xine, then check that ~/.config/totem/xine_config , pulseaudio is comment out.

+ System-wide config (so far I only tested with mpg123-alsa, aplay, moc). Backup your /usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf. Then on the very top. Chage it to the following: (alternatively you can comment out /usr/share/alsa/pulse.conf or move it down the list, I prefer remove it anyway since we got a backup)

# pre-load the configuration files

@hooks [
func load
files [
errors false

=>>>>>>> Exam time!

Read Full Post »