...because it feels so good when I stop...
This time you can play along at home!
Click thumbnail for larger version of the stress reduction kit which can be used over and over again!
This is Bugfixing and Working Around Ubuntu 10.4 LTS Lucid Lynx Guide v.004
Now with 90% more sarcasm! If you act now we'll double your bitterness! But wait there's more! I can't stop using exclamation marks!!!1111
I've begun to think Linus' law ("given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow") is like Godwin's Law--it doesn't work when invoked directly. I'm sorry, my bad.
Lucid reinstalls now totaling 00399, but who's counting? Things I have learned so far...
The default kernel will not consistently give eeepc users a wifi signal. Sometimes it is possible to get a short lived connection by toggling the WiFi on and off, but you will need a wired connection to update and fix your Lucid install. Once you get your system updated to the latest default kernel this actually gets worse ninety nine percent of the time.
Powermanagement is still broken and there are strange run away processes that hide in the background and ramp up your processor usage. For some reason this mysteriously goes away or stops happening so frequently after a few days time. I don't know why. At first it was thought that UbuntuOne was the culprit, or that the kernel had an issue with the ext4 filesystem, but although removing UbuntuOne and changing to a different filesystem seemed to have helped some neither really fixed things a hundred percent.
How Lucid Lynx was allowed out the door with these and so many other bugs is beyond me.
Before proceeding I should warn you that I am not an expert and that many if not all of the tips and tweaks that follow are "dirty hacks" which could cause your eeepc to spontaneously turn into yogurt, make your significant other start chasing after moving vehicles in the street, cause your vision to go dim, etc etc etc. Proceed with caution. I am not responsible if things go awry. I will try to credit the sources of my information when at all possible, but no guarantees.
NOTE: I am performing all these operations using the EeePC 901 2103 BIOS with SLIC and a changed OEM image. Using a different bios will have different results in some cases. Your mileage may vary.
Speed up your Lucid Lynx (re)installs
There are several things you can do to help speed along the process of doing your Ubuntu (re)installs.
Do not connect to the internet during install time
Do not connect to the WiFi or the Ethernet during install and you won't sit there for an additional hour staring at the screen while the overloaded default servers download unneeded language packs.
I've seen install times drop down to almost nothing just by not connecting. If Canonical wants to install language packs it can include them on the ISOs, and not waste our time downloading them during installation. 'Almost done installing' my ***...
Backup your debs
When planning on doing a reinstall of Ubuntu make it a practice to navigate to the apt directory and copy all the *.debs over to a flash drive or SD card before doing the install. Believe it or not but there are now over five hundred megabytes of updates to do after Ubuntu is installed. If you back up the previous updates you've done you'll be able to apply many of them without having to wait for them to download again. This can shave off hours depending on your download speeds!
Where you want to go is:
Select all the files (minus the one named lock) and copy them to a safe place on an external drive.
Once you have Ubuntu installed you can copy them back by opening the terminal and getting a root nautilus session::
Now copy your backed up .debs from your portable drive back to the archives directory path listed above. Now once you connect to the internet and run update manager, you won't have as many files to download from the internet.
Technically the above is really more for post installation, but I've moved it up so that people don't blow away their previous installs and then wish they'd saved their debs.
The file system
Previously I recommended not to install using ext4 because there is a kernel process that is calling constantly and needing to check the disk if you do and will be one of many many processes that will screw up your power management. This issue seems to be fixed in the recommended kernel I list below. You can still read about the issue people were having on the ArchLinux Forums, home to tons of good information for eeepc owners. In particular, user lagagnon explains the issue as follows:
Just for fun it appears this issue did not get seem to be fixable by noatime so simply disabling journaling was not a fix. The only fix appeared to be in not using ext4. So we had to ask ourselves whether the speed in boot times is worth the random processor overruns, the overheating that seems to result, and the inability to use many commercial backup imaging programs? Thankfully this no longer seems to be an issue and the trade offs are no longer necessary if you use the kernel recommended further down below.
Originally Posted by lagagnon
Still, there are some situations where ext3 is better in Lucid than ext4, so you'll have to do some homework. I do not recommend reiserfs, because you will find yourself doing disk checks nearly every other day and it is an unsupported filesystem with a very limited future.
User Ceno reports that there is a way to use ext4 and disable journaling thus fixing the jbd2/sda1-8 bug, but it is a bit involved, so your mileage may vary! Personally I intend to stick with the kernel mentioned above and explained below, but for those who might be interested, here is that fixed:
Thanks for sharing this with us!
Originally Posted by Ceno
Everyone has their own preferences on this, but this is what I do:
I find that my system slows down dramatically when I partition the 16GB SSD (the slower one) as my /home so what I do now is partition /usr/share on the slower SSD and that not only saves me some space for applications it also frees up space for those configuration files and themes in /home. I get around the limitations of the User Folders for media (Music, Videos, Public, etc) with symbolic links.
I will continue to add more preinstall tips as they become available, so please feel free to share any you come across that you know work!
After the installation...
You now have Ubuntu Lucid Lynx installed—now what? You're just getting started! Read on to see how much more tweaking there is to do.
First things first. When booting up you might notice the speed of the boot, this is Plymouth and it makes the boot really really FAST! Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work and we have an ugly blinking cursor then suddenly a login screen. We don't get to see any animations or any indicators that the system is doing something. rayraven from the UbuntuForums has a possible fix:
Considering how fast things can boot on our eeepcs already I don't think we'll miss the few seconds it takes, and at least now we know that the system is booting! You'll need to reboot to see the changes take effect.
Originally Posted by rayraven
Reduce writes to your SSDs
These used to be tips that fell under the category of stuff "everyone knows" but as new people come in and the information gets bitrots as wikis get ignored in favor of forum posts (like this one,) people forget. So here they are all in one place because not everyone does know about these and because I notice a major reduction in heat with them enabled and a major speed up in Firefox using them.
From the EasyPeasy Wiki and Fedora-netbook HOWTO:
For each of your partitions (/, /usr/share, /data) add ",noatime" after "defaults".
sudo gedit /etc/fstab
For example (from desktop, not eeepc do not copy exactly):
Then add the following to the end of the file:
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=6079da5f-faef-4c8a-b5c1-2685cd47fa8a / ext3 noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1
# /home was on /dev/sda3 during installation
UUID=51a9de0a-fdfc-47f7-a96e-9b705edd2e8f /home ext3 defaults,noatime 0 2
Save the file and close the editor.
# reduce the number of writes
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
Now let's do something about the swap!
Scroll down to the end of the file and copy the following:
sudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf
Save this and close the editor. Now open Firefox.
# reduces the likelihood of the system using the swap partition as swap
vm.swappiness = 1
vm.vfs_cache_pressure = 50
In the URL bar enter the following and type enter:
Ignore the warning about voiding your warranty and hit the button with the text "I'll be careful, I promise!"
Right click and select New --> String --> Paste the following:
as the name and as the string value type in:
This will instead store the cache in RAM if you created the tmpfs entries in fstab as described above. You did didn't you? Other wise skip this last step altogether as it will slow down your browser! Only do this step if you've aded tmpfs to your fstab!
Now save the file close the editor and go on to the next step. Settings won't take effect until rebooting.
The broken theme support:
Some people like the new themes, because finally they're getting the dark themes they've always wanted in workable fashion! Except, the themes have this sense of being unfinished about them for some strange reason...
I couldn't imagine why it looks unfinished! Seriously, does this look finished to you? Unfortunately there's nothing we can do about it, since as far as Canonical is concerned everyone else needs to fix their programs to accommodate Ubuntu...what was that about tribalism again Mark?
Of course these issues are no big deal right? It's only a few apps that break this way, right? Not so much...
Obviously Ubuntu is perfect and all 337 people who took the time to join Launchpad and report this bug (not to mention how many duplicates are all nuts. Oh and pointing out these facts and the way so many bugs are being ignored so Shuttleworth can play retro skin designer is "pointless bashing" and totally not a reflection of anger at seeing bugs ignored for so long...
Then again this is the same guy who thinks that 'windicators' are a good idea, so I guess some stupidity is to be expected.
Hey Mark, here's a clue—this type of thing was tried by almost everyone back in the early days of GUI skinning and there's a reason why it didn't make it as a default theme anywhere, and that's because it sucks as a work environment! But hey if you really want to go back to 1998, it's your dime...
Those $#&% buttons...
If by this point you've found yourself suffering from disorientation due to muscle memory constantly having you mouse to the wrong location for the window buttons, maybe this would be a good time to change them back to the defaults?
You could also just get Ubuntu-Tweak and move them around to your heart's content...
gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string menu:minimize,maximize,close
Personally after some time I've gotten used to the window controls being on the left and use the "Black Fruit" emerald theme because it complements the default theme so well. Your mileage may vary.
Make the default themes more compact...
Okay, you've rebooted and hopefully everything has gone smoothly and you've logged into your desktop without issue. You should be seeing the new Ambiance and Radiance themes... Unfortunately these new themes are slightly larger than any of us would like to see on the small screens of our eepcs. Elwood, a blogger has a tip for us to make the theme look a bit more compact:
Personally I find that I like my icons smaller than this on my eeepc, so I've amended that slightly by copying the sizes from one of the older HumanCompact themes to this:
Originally Posted by Elwood
You'll need to run sudo when you open the gtkrc:
gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=16,16 : gtk-menu=16,16 : gtk-button=16,16 : gtk-small-toolbar=16,16 : gtk-large-toolbar=16,16 : gtk-dialog=32,32 : gtk-dnd=32,32"
sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-2.0/gtkrc
Find the line that says:
sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Radiance/gtk-2.0/gtkrc
change the line so it reads to:
gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=22,22:gtk-button=16,16"
and paste the above lines directly under the now blocked off lines of text. Save the theme and reboot to refresh the system and reload gnome-settings-daemon.
# gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=22,22:gtk-button=16,16"
If the above seems too daunting you could also try just downloading the "AmbianceCompact" theme from gnome-look.org, which can be found here. Of course if you're having troubles with the above then the rest of this guide will probably be a nightmare for you! Still I recommend doing something with your themes to make them more compact!
It really makes a difference!
Remove unused panel applets...
Here's another annoyance. Shuttleworth in his brilliance surpassing mortal men has decided to break the system tra^^^notification area because it was inconsistent by...wait for it--making it even more inconsistent!
Just to make things more fun, if you try removing items the way it worked in previous versions of Ubuntu you can end up "losing" items completely unrelated to the one you removed!
Thankfully there is a way to remove stuff selectively if you follow the advice given by Didius Falco...
You may have to log out to make things show up or go away the way you want them to.
Originally Posted by Didius Falco
NOTE: This does not fix the spacing issues or the random movement of icons which seems to happen once in a while.
make panels customizable again!
One of the better features in previous versions of Ubuntu was the ability to set your own panel backgrounds. Then mysteriously the feature disappeared around the release of Jaunty or Karmic. Thanks to stinkeye you can customize your panels again:
Thank you very much stinkeye! You have no idea how much I missed being able to do this!
Originally Posted by stinkeye
Now that we've gotten the GUI worked out a bit, let's move on to other things. We'll come back to making the mouse work as it did in previous versions of Ubuntu further on down...
Apparently there are all kinds of issues in Lucid still being worked out and fixed. Who knew? Now is the time to try to connect to your WiFi or plug in your ethernet cable. If using WiFi, you'll probably have to reconnect a few times by toggling the Fn + F2 key a few times if it doesn't connect right away. Keep enabling and disabling until you get somewhere, it'll happen eventually. (You're reading this somehow, aren't you?)
You'll notice there is a kernel updated listed in the update manager. When you install it WiFi becomes even more flaky. Oh joy! maybe we should try installing something else? I hear Red Hat Fedora works pretty good...LOL just kidding!
If you are doing this guide and reinstalling from a previous installation of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx you should have backed up your *.debs as recommended up above, otherwise you're going to be waiting quite a bit as Ubuntu downloads and installs updates...
Assuming that you have already copied the *.debs over to the proper directory or are prepared to download them all now, let's open Software Sources and add a repository which will fix our WiFi issues.
You will be asked for your password, enter it and the Software Sources applet will load, you want the tab that is named Updates.
You should see a screen like this one:
See how the Unsupported updates (lucid-backports) list box is checked? You need to check it also. Now click close and reload the repositories as instructed.
Once you've reloaded the repositories open the terminal and type in the following:
The above package is a metapackage pointing towards the latest version of the wireless modules for the PAE kernel. Installing it will automatically add the linux-image-generic-pae package, another metapackage which will install the latest version of the kernel with PAE support. You'll notice this kernel is intended for systems with more than 4GB RAM according to Synaptic, yet strangely enough this is the only default kernel that has good WiFi support for my eeepc and I only have the stock 1GB RAM installed.
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-wireless-lucid-generic-pae
Before rebooting the eeepc you should probably add the wireless card to the modules list, so you'll want to run the following commands:
At the end of the file add this:
sudo gedit /etc/modules
Save and reboot. Your wireless should be working again without issues.
It works. That's all I know. And much much easier than the older method endorsed by this guide, included below for completeness sake:
Again, please note that this is no longer the way I recommend to get WiFi working; it is only included for the sake of completeness.
Originally Posted by bornagainpenguin
Make the mouse work right again!
Restoring the previous handling of middle-clicking links in Firefox
Randomly upon the release of Karmic 9.10 Canonical developers decided to change the two finger middle click that had been the default for well over two years and three releases of Ubuntu. Worse they removed any way to revert the changes. The only solution for many people on Karmic was to drop in a replacement module compiled by people on the Italian eeepc forums and hope an update didn't break things. Thankfully there is an easier way on Lucid, using a PPA.
Just add Yuri Khan's PPA to your system in terminal:
Now update for the system to find the fixed gnome-settings-daemon...
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yurivkhan/proposed
Hit y to allow the update to download and install then reboot for the changes to take effect.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
Back? Now you need to change an entry in the gconf-editor. Get the run box by hitting Alt+F2, then type in "gconf-editor" no quotes and navigate your way to:
Then you will need to change the keys to your preferred handling:
Thank you very much! This has been a life saver on my eeepc!
Originally Posted by Yuri Khan
While we're configuring the mouse, now might be a good time to enable two finger scrolling again too.
On the Touchpad tab there will be an option to allow this click it and your mouse will function again like it had under the last several versions of Ubuntu.
Depending on your personal preferences you can also go to the General tab and enable the Locate Pointer option which will show the mouse position when the control key is pressed.
NOTICE: There have been reports of problems with this next tweak. I haven't had any issues with it on my eeepc 901L, but DavAlan reported having some trouble on his eeepc 900 after using this. Your mileage may vary...
The following may be removed in an update unless I hear confirmation that the errors caused by HAL being installed despite the --no-install-recommends flag being used were a one time thing. I am including it for now for completeness sake.
Originally Posted by DavAlan
Power savings? Kind of...
Originally Posted by bornagainpenguin
Previously I had posted here a list of scripts by Axx83 from the Ubuntu Forums, but many of them were reported to be less than useful in Lucid and I didn't even enable them at all in the last few installs I did. If you still want them or feel that they make more of a difference than I think feel free to post and explain why and what your results are. For now these are no longer included directly into this increasingly large post. You can still find the original posting here. Bear in mind they were originally written for Karmic and may behave wildly differently on Lucid.
Since the posting of this guide in its previous form, marx (Grigori Goronzy) has surfaced again with a new release of his application:
So now we know. I've installed the application and it works perfectly for me, triggering the WiFi, setting the powersaving mode automatically when the eeepc is taken off the power supply. If you're tied to Ubuntu this is an application you want installed!
Originally Posted by marx
Other power management options...
Since the last posting of this guide there have been updates to Fewt's Jupiter applet, which while no longer supported on Ubuntu is not explictedly hostile to it either. Packages and information can be found here. In case you were thinking of switching to Fedora, the good news is that Fedora is offcially listed as a supported distro by fewt! Just saying...
There is also a new one called entwjne written by eeeuser.com member Arvigeus. Unfortunately it is a command line only application for the time being, but people wishing to help speed development along can help by beta testing. See entwjne here.
BatteryStatus vs ye olde battstat
One of the more grievous removals in Lucid was the battstat applet which was more accurate an indicator on eeepcs than the default gnome-powermanager battery applet. In previous versions of Ubuntu this was only a few clicks away and could easily be added to your system tr^^^notification area. In Lucid Canonical decided to simply make it impossible to launch the applet despite it still being listed as present. If you were to open Synaptic and do a search for "battstat" (no quotes) you would discover it still listed in the information panel under the gnome-applets package.
Despite there being 192 people who went through the effort to create a Launchpad account, never mind the twelve duplicate threads on this issue this guy has decided it is unnecessary.
Thanks alot Mark. You're a brick, a real... $#&* brick, pal!
Thankfully there are still options available:
If you do not have an account at the UbuntuForums you will not be able to download the applet. Here's a mirror:
Originally Posted by perky
Otherwise if you really prefer to use the old battstat that was included with every previous version of Ubuntu you can try this dirty hack:
Originally Posted by bornagainpenguin
What I did was go to:
Then download these two files:
Ubuntu Lucid demands that you have a later version of gconf2 and libnotify1 installed, so you'll have to grab those too.
download this file:
download this file:
Now from within the terminal navigate to the directory where you downloaded these files and enter this command:
Do a restart and the battstat applet will be available again right where it used to be before developer stupidity caused Canonical to remove it from the distro. Just add it to the panel and disable the gnome powermanager battery icon in preferences.
Personally I prefer the older battstat applet, but am happy to see Perky's battery status applet being devloped and I have high hopes for it still being around even after Canonical manages to completely cripple battstat from working even with this typs of dirty hack.
NOTICE: Canoncial could invalidate this dirty hack at any time so if you are nervous you are best to just use Perky's applet.
Curb the heat by using the latest video drivers
Personally I'm still not convinced it is any one thing that causes the eeepc to no longer overheat, but a combination of little things that each reduce the heat bit by bit. Nevertheless I've been using this PPA also and have definitely seen improvements in both heat reduction and video playing.
To do this you need to add the repository:
Originally Posted by Vredley
Then you'll need to refresh and upgrade your packages:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
If for some reason the xserver-xorg-video-intel package gets held back, you can install it manually:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
This will pull in the missing packages holding you back and allow everything to install. To see things take effect, reboot the eeepc.
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel
A few tips for improving battery via passing along options to the kernel in Grub2. Fair warning: the acpi_osi option may not apply to all eeepcs, although they have been very helpful to many users with eeepc 1xxx models! Your mileage may vary.
I've also seen reports that elevator=noop is a good option to use instead of elevator=deadline.
Any text editor will work at reading the below files. nano, kate, gedit, etc. You will have to be root or use sudo before the commands.
$ sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
1. Change IO scheduler:
2. Use the integrated HPET timer (saves about 30 CPU wake ups per second)
3. Make sure the eeepc-laptop kernel module is loaded properly (does not load correctly with kernel 2.6.32):
$ lsmod | grep eee # if nothing is listed, it isn't loaded
How to load the above in grub2:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi_osi=Linux elevator=deadline hpet=force quiet"
I recommend changing the grub2 configuration to wait a few seconds while testing these tweaks to allow you to edit them out if they prevent booting. to do that simply make the following changes:
Where it says GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0 add a "#" in front of it to allow the count down to work again.
Then change the count down from ten seconds to something smaller, like three or two if you're fast enough to hit the keys before it starts. You can do that by changing the number here:
Save the file and as instructed above don't forget to update the configuration!
Reboot to see the changes.
Still to do and errata...
I'd like to add a small section on what can be removed for space saving reasons and lack of usefulness to the average user. Things to include here are fspot, brasero, tomboy etc. Usually I just use the guide here, but it is sadly out of date and much much care needs to be taken with this or users will find themselves without a network manager installed!
More tweaks and something on the benefits of using Nautilus Elementary:
I want to investigate adding Konstantinos Natsakis' repository as a possible solution to the theming issues mentioned above. Depends on whethe ror not it actually solves the problem.
I'd still like to explain how I set up my /data with symbolic links and hopefully have a better way to do it than I currently use. I had a thread open on UbuntuForums on the subject, and the guy responding was great about trying to help me figure things out, but unfortunately much of what was posted went waaaaay over my head. Maybe someone from the eeeuser.com forums can take it and run with it?
Would like to know if there is a good way to back up and restore a music collection and podcast directory like can be done in iTunes, but using Banshee or Rhythmbox? If there is it should definitely be added to the guide for those of us who distro hop!
Feel free to suggest items to add for future versions!
Hopefully this will be of use to someone. Considering it has taken me nearly an entire day to do, I certainly plan on using it myself in the future... Nice to have all the information in one place, you know?
EDIT -- added tip to customize panel backgrounds