Middle Mouse Scrolling in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

For this release, Ubuntu switched away from hal/udev  and went back to the old xorg configuration (I like this much better). There have been improvements and changes to the xorg.conf since we last used it (8.10 wow that’s been a long time!)  so now instead of putting everything in one giant /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and risking a single typo from breaking your x-server, we can put files in xorg.conf.d . This splits up configuration files so they can be more easily organised.

Here are the steps to get the middle-mouse scrolling again in Ubuntu 10.04, the Lucid Lynx. This should work for just about every thinkpad, and this same procedure will work in any Linux operating system using the xorg.conf.d method (if the /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/ folder doesn’t exist, then your distro is probably not using this method).

Begin by opening a terminal, and editing/creating the configuration file:
sudo gedit /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf

Now, paste in the following contents:
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
MatchProduct "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false"
Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "EmulateWheelTimeout" "200"
EndSection

you’ll probably want to delete and re-type all of those quotation marks, I don’t trust wordpress’ “code” tags to keep those straight. Then you’re ready to save and close the file. A quick restart of X (reboot your computer, or ctrl-alt-backspace if you enabled that in System > Preferences > Keyboard > Layouts > Options > Key Sequence to Kill the X Server > check the box. )

The line “EmulateWheelTimeout” is not absolutely necessary, but it does help prevent things from being randomly pasted everywhere whenever you try to scroll (for some reason people think it is funny to automatically map middlemouse to “paste”).

Sources: http://www.eastwoodzhao.com/thinkpad-middle-button-scroll-ubuntu-linux-10-04-lucid-lynx/
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Input_device_configuration
http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_configure_the_TrackPoint#xorg.conf.d
http://blog.aliencam.net/articles/ubuntu-9-04-setup-guide/ (yes, I just cited myself.)

–aliencam

Wacom CPL Config in Karmic

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

to stylus > tool buttons > then set “button 2” to “right” and “button 3” to middle.

The wacom control panel setup in Ubuntu 9.10 is, of course, different from what it was in 9.04, moving closer to what it was in 8.10…

anyway, wacomcpl is a very useful tool for changing settings and recalibrating your wacom tablet, and the “touch” is miscalibrated by default with a karmic install, so this is necessary to get much use of “touch”.

start by installing wacomcpl:
sudo apt-get install wacom-tool

now, create the wacom configuration file:

sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/wacom.fdi

and paste in the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!-- -*- SGML -*- -->
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
<device>
<match key="input.x11_driver" contains="wacom">
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="stylus">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">stylus</merge>
</match>
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="eraser">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">eraser</merge>
</match>
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="touch">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">touch</merge>
</match>
</match>
</device>
</deviceinfo>

save and close, reboot your computer, and run wacomcpl by hitting alt-f2 and entering “wacomcpl”. From here you can change settings or calibrate as you wish.

Now, I like the button on the side of the stylus to be right-click, so go to stylus > tool buttons > then set “button 2” to “right” and “button 3” to middle.

sorry if this isn’t as coherent, wrote this entry really quick as a response to a comment. let me know if anything needs clarification, or if it doesn’t work.

Raw Configuration Logs 1

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

I was very disappointed in my post release schedule for the previous version of Ubuntu (9.04 Jaunty). I didn’t get most of my posts done until 3 or 4 months after the OS had been out… I vow not to do that again. Part of the way I’m going to do this is to post my raw daily configuration logs. Seasoned linux users, and even some novices, should be able to follow these if they really need to get something done, but now nobody will have to wait for me to get my act together and write a real post.

Here is what I have done as of 3:00PM on Saturday, Oct 31, 2009 (approaching 24 hours after I started the install).

_________________________________________________________________________
Programs Installed:

bootchart
sysv-rc-conf
seahorse-plugins
flashplugin-installer
vlc
mozilla-plugin-vlc
ubuntu-restricted-extras
ttf-droid

GNOME DO ——
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
install the key (hightlight, right-click, use fireGPG to import the key)
—————

________________________________________________________________________
Configurations:

CTRL-ALT-Backspace: ————–

Select “System”->”Preferences”->”Keyboard”
Select the “Layouts” tab and click on the “Layout Options” button.
Select “Key sequence to kill the X server” and enable “Control + Alt + Backspace”.
———————————-

Gnome-Do: ———————–
open do (win-space), click arrow key in top right> preferences
General > check “start Gnome Do at Login” and “Hide Window on First Launch (quiet mode)”.
Appearence > Theme > select “mini”
Plugins > select (addtionally to the defaults) “files and folders”
———————————

_______________________________________________________________________
Customizations:

system>preferences>appearence>interface check “show icons in menus”

system>preferences>appearence>fonts select “best contrast” rendering

system>preferences>appearence>fonts >details change “resolution: 96” to “72 dpi”

right-click on panel >properties>size> change 24px to 19 px.

WINDOW PICKER: ——————-

sudo apt-get install window-picker-applet maximus
startup applicatoins: “maximus -m”
add “window picker” to panel
right-click window picker (the lines on the left) preferences, uncheck “show windows from all workspaces”.
in “startup applications, edit “maximus” and change the command to be “maximus -m”

————————————-
remove bottom panel remove menu bar, add main menu, trash bin, cpu frequency monitor, workspace switcher, remove firefox and help shortcut icons

MIDDLE MOUSE SCROLLING:—————————
sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi
paste in and remove the spaces after the < : < match key="info.product" string="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint">
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheel" type="string">true< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton" type="string">2< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.YAxisMapping" type="string">4 5< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.ZAxsisMapping" type="string"> 4 5< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.XAxisMapping" type="string">6 7< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.Emulate3Buttons" type="string">true< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelTimeout" type="string">200< /merge>
< /match>

————————————————-

________________________________________________________________________
Firefox:
EXTENSIONS:————————————————–

firegpg
adblock plus (select the default filter)

CUSTOMIZATIONS:———————————————-
about:config broswer.search.openintab > true
middemouse.paste > false

right-click, uncheck “bookmarks tookbar”

________________________________________________________________________
Restored Items:

encryption keys (just drag into seahorse program)

FSPOT RESTORE:———————————————
restore “photos” folder
overwrite the ~/.config/fspot folder (that has the fspot.db in it)
———————————————————–

________________________________________________________________________
To Do:

investigate AppArmor Firefox (ubuntu technichal overview)
try: http://tpctl.sourceforge.net/configure-trackpoint.html

Installing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 14 Comments »

I just installed the newest version of Ubuntu, Karmic Koala. The website said that an install should only be about 20 minutes, so I wanted to time it. I started at 3:52, and by 4:00, the installation was “configuring apt” with the option to “skip” (I did not skip until 7 minutes later, after it had been “downloading language packs” for 5 minutes ( I only want english) :P. The installation had completed by 4:10, and I was browsing the internet by 4:12.

Computer: Thinkpad x61 Tablet with Multi-Touch (7764).

Works OOTB:
Audio
Volume keys
Tablet buttons (the “lock” button, arrow keys, and power button)
All applicable FN key combinations
“Back” and “Forward” web browsing buttons
Tablet with stylus
Tablet with touch (!) (needs to be calibrated at the edges)
Wifi
Ethernet
Bluetooth
Suspend/Hibernate (Hibernate is a little slow still, but much faster than it was in 9.04)
…and most everything else

Doesn’t Works OOTB:
Middle-mouse-scrolling (ugh.)

Anyway, it is great to have a nice clean computer to use, and I really like the new boot screens (they should have put that as the default desktop background).

Ubuntu Setup Guide Part IX.Shortcut keys

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

This is a really short section, and should be put in the “customizing Gnome’s Look & Feel” area.

The Gnome “Keyboard Shortcuts” editor does not always work, for example, you cannot set any Super+___ shortcut keys using that, so unfortunately, we must once again use the Compiz Commands Plugin.

Open “compiz control settings manager” (if you don’t already have it installed do: sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager)

click the “Commands” plugin (it should be at the very top) and enable it if it is not already enabled.

Now in the “Commands” tab, enter whatever command you want to launch (pick any unused number, it does not matter which)

Now, switch to the “Key Bindings” tab. Here is where you will record what key combination you want to launch the command. Click the word “Disabled” then check the “Enabled” checkbox on the window that comes up. Once you click “Grab Key Combination,” the next key combination you press will be recorded.

The combinations that I have set both launch an open terminal window, but since I have two different terminal profiles (one with a transparent background, and another with green text on black background for high-contrast), I want one shortcut to launch each profile.

In the “Key Bindings” I have “XF86Launch1” (ThinkVantage button) as “Command 0” and “Super_L+Tab” (windows key+ tab) as “Command 2”.

In “Command” I have Command 0 set to:
gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Terminal
(the word “Terminal” being the name of my high-contrast terminal profile)
and Command 1 is set to:
gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Transparent
(“Transparent” is the name of my transparent profile)

That’s all, as soon as you close out of CompizConfig the settings should take place.


Setting the Windows (Super) Key to open the Main Menu:

If you want the Windows (or Super) key to open the main menu, you can set it up, but the problem with this is once the shortcut key is set, you can’t use any other shortcuts with the Super key (I use it for lots of things already, so when I realized this, I had to disable it).

For this one, you actually have to use the gnome “Keyboard Shortcuts” editor (correct me if I’m wrong please). So, first (and only!) step is to open that up (System> Preferences> (Input>) Keyboard Shortcuts)
Under the “Desktop” header, find “Show the Panel’s Main Menu” click on the “Alt+F1” on the right, then hit the Super key.

Unfortunately, this removes the alt-f1 shortcut that many people are used to… I don’t know how to have both set at the same time.

–aliencam

UPDATE: 08.29.2009 I have moved this into the “customizing Gnome’s Look and feel” post in the full setup guide.

Ubuntu Setup Guide VIII. Wacom Tablet Config & Rotation

Posted in Linux by aliencam | 7 Comments »

The tablet on the X61t is amazing. Unfortunately, not everything works out of the box. This guide goes through setting up most of the tablet-related things on the x61t.

what doesn’t work:  wacom cpl and all of it’s configurations, screen rotation, touch (kind of works, but it needs the wacomcpl configurations that don’t work), the “eraser” button, the rotation hotkey,

First thing you need to do is make sure you have wacom-tools and xserver-xorg-input-wacom installed:

sudo apt-get install wacom-tools xserver-xorg-input-wacom

Now, we run into a roadblock.  Ubuntu 9.04 does something strange with the names of each device, so if you go and try to use any of the utilities that were just installed (wacomcpl and xset wacom being just a few of what is included in the above), it can’t find the actual input devices.  In order to remedy this, we need to install a short script from the Ubuntu forums.

Open a root text editor (alt-f2 then enter “gksu gedit”, or type that into a terminal) and paste in the following content:

# wacom-names script by Roger E. Critchlow, Jr. (4-12-09)
# modified by gali98/Favux (4-14-09)
#
# Obtained/shortened by aliencam (aliencam.net) from:
# http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=7068115#post7068115
#
#! /bin/sh
## find any wacom devices
for udi in `hal-find-by-property --key input.x11_driver --string wacom`
do
type=`hal-get-property --udi $udi --key input.x11_options.Type`
## rewrite the names that the Xserver will use
hal-set-property --udi $udi --key info.product --string $type
done

Now save it in /etc/init.d/ as “wacom-names”

Close gedit, and in a terminal, enter:

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/wacom-names

now you must make sure the file is at /etc/init.d/wacom-names before you do the next step, otherwise you’ll have problems booting, and could run into some other fun issues. Do this by actually going to the file explorer  (Places > Computer > Filesystem)  and looking for the file “wacom-names” in /etc/init.d.   (or type find /etc/init.d/wacom-names into a terminal and make sure it returns “/etc/init.d/wacom-tools” )

One more check, and “ls -l /etc/init.d/wacom-names” in a terminal should return “-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 508 2009-06-27 00:50 /etc/init.d/wacom-names”    (with a different date and time of course)

Now, back in the terminal, the following line sets the script to run after HAL, but before X, meaning that before X even sees the devices, they are correctly named:
sudo update-rc.d wacom-names start 27 2 3 4 5 .

then it should return something similar to:

update-rc.d: warning: /etc/init.d/wacom-names missing LSB information
update-rc.d: see <http://wiki.debian.org/LSBInitScripts>
Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/wacom-names ...
/etc/rc2.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names
/etc/rc3.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names
/etc/rc4.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names
/etc/rc5.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names

the “Missing LSB information” line is nothing to worry about for these purposes.  LSB Information is a line in the file that is supposed to say what the dependencies for the file are, making sure that it is executed in the correct order. We added it to run in S27 in levels 2, 3, 4, and 5, so it should be fine. I wonder though if this will slow down boot time (this will be analyzed and addressed if necessary in one of the next sections) (UPDATE: it does not seem to adversely affect boot times.)

After restarting the computer, test this by entering “xsetwacom list” into a terminal, it should list the available wacom devices now. You can then use the “wacomcpl” (wacom control panel) to configure the tablet devices.

One thing I noticed was that after enabling the script, kerneloops reports a kernel bug every reboot and every time I resume from suspend/hibernate. It doesn’t seem to cause any real problems, but I would like to find out what is going wrong and how to fix it.

REMOVAL:
if you need to remove this script from startup, simply enter this command into the terminal:
sudo update-rc.d -f wacom-names remove

then delete the actual file with this command:
sudo rm /etc/init.d/wacom-names

SOURCES for wacom-names guide:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=7068115#post7068115
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/X61T

Once you have the devices renamed properly configure touch by pressing alt-F2, and entering “wacomcpl”. You then need to click the “touch” device in the list, and select “Calibrate”. Then press the center of the pink selected box (first in the top left corner, then the bottom right) and it will recalibrate the touch device.

You also probably want to set the button on the stylus to be right-click, and the back button to be middle. To do this, in wacomcpl go to the “stylus” device, click “tool buttons”, and change “Button 2” to “right”. Then hit “Okay” and close wacomcpl.


Keeping Configuration After Reboot

Now, if you have a problem loosing the calibration every time you restart the computer (I do), the following steps will save your configuration between reboots.

first, you need to edit the .xinitrc file in your home directory. Open a terminal and enter:
gedit ~/.xinitrc

Now, put a # before the line “. /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc” Save, and close. Now, you need to set this file to run on startup. Open System > Preferences > Startup Applications, and create a “New” entry.

Name it something you will remember, I chose “Wacom Config”
The command should be:
sh /home/$USERNAME/.xinitrc
and for a comment, I put “Sets wacom tablet configuration on boot.”

Now, just configure your wacom tablet settings as normal with wacomcpl (see above) and the settings will be saved.

UPDATE: (July 26, 2009) A recent update fixed the problem that was making this necessary.  If you did this fix and all of the sudden your configuration stopped working, just go into the System> Preferences > Startup Applications  and disable or delete the .xinitrc launcher that was created (the wacom configuration setting).


Screen Rotation Script

Screen rotation is one of the things I am most asked about with the X61t. Unfortunately, you can’t use the standard display control panel to rotate the screen because then the tablet input will not be rotated. Fortunately, this is a very easy fix once you have applied the wacom-names script (detailed above in this guide.)

This particular script rotates the screen clockwise 90 degrees every time you run it, so if you want the screen to be facing the right, you will have to run it three times, left is just once, inverted is twice, and four times to get it back to normal. I chose not to do an automatic rotation script because those use CPU cycles, and significantly decrease battery life. If you want automatic screen rotation see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/X61T#Setup%20Automatic%20Screen%20Rotation

First, create a new file for the rotate script in your home directory:
gedit ~/.rotate

Now, paste the following content into the empty rotate file, then save and close gedit:

#Screen Rotation Script by aliencam (http://aliencam.net)
#This script will only work if your Xserver has the correct tablet device names
#follow the guide on http://blog.aliencam.net/articles/ubuntu-9-04-setup-guide/
#! /bin/sh

orientation=`xrandr -q | grep “LVDS”| awk ‘{print $4}’ | sed ‘s/[^A-Za-z]//g’`
if [ “$orientation” = “normal” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation right
xsetwacom set stylus rotate CW

else
if [ “$orientation” = “right” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation inverted
xsetwacom set stylus rotate 3
else
if [ “$orientation” = “inverted” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation left
xsetwacom set stylus rotate CCW
else
if [ “$orientation” = “left” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation normal
xsetwacom set stylus rotate

else
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation normal
xsetwacom set stylus rotate
fi
fi
fi

fi

If you want the code formatted correctly (wordpress removes all my tabs and whitespace!) download the file here: http://cameronkopas.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/rotate.txt into your home directory, and rename it from “rotate.txt” to “.rotate” (the “.” before the filename makes it a hidden file)

Now, we have to  make the file executable:

chmod +x ~/.rotate

At this point, you are ready to run the script. You can execute it by clicking on it in your home folder, but since we made it hidden it is more likely that you want to set a shortcut to execute the file. In the past, I have had a button on the panel at the top that I could click to rotate the screen, but now I realize that it would be much better (and space-conserving) to simply use the rotate screen button on the tablet itself.

If you still want to have a button on the panel, right click on an empty space, select “Add to panel” (you might have to move something to get empty space) then add a “Custom Application Launcher”, making the command “/home/$USERNAME/.rotate”

To set one of the tablet hardware buttons to be a shortcut key, you first have to find out it’s keycode. To do this, open a terminal and launch the program “xev”

Then move your mouse over to close the window that it spawns, but don’t close it yet. When your mouse is in position, press the tablet rotate button and you should get something like the following:
KeyPress event, serial 32, synthetic NO, window 0x4a00001,
root 0xaa, subw 0x0, time 1510919, (164,-20), root:(611,29),
state 0x0, keycode 199 (keysym 0x0, NoSymbol), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XFilterEvent returns: False

In there you can see “keycode 199” remember this or write it down, then you can close the box that xev spawned. (if yours does not show a keycode, type the command “setkeycodes 6c 199”. see Here for the rest of the tablet buttons, and Here for other keys entirely.

At this point, you need to create an xmodmap file in your home directory, and set your computer to use that xmodmap file:
touch ~/.Xmodmap
xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap

Now, edit the file by entering “gedit ~/.Xmodmap” into a terminal to include the keys you want to map in the following format:
keycode < keycode> = < keysym>

So in my case, I want to map keycode 199 to the keysum XF86LaunchB (I’m saving LaunchA for later)
keycode 199 = XF86LaunchB

then save and close the file. You will have to restart X (haven’t gotten to setting that hotkey yet) so for now, logout and log back in, or restart the computer. You will then be asked which Xmodmap file you want to load, select the one you just created, press “load”, “do not ask me this again”, and then “okay”.

xmodmap

Now to actually set that key to launch the rotate script, you should already have compiz config settings manager installed (sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager if you don’t already). Open that in System > Preferences > (Display >) Compiz Config Settings Manager.

Within CompizConfig, click on “Commands” (should be top left) then go to the “Key Bindings” tab. Click on the word “Disabled” next to “Run Command 1” (I’m saving command 0 for later) then check the “Enabled” box. Now you need to click on “Grab Key Combination” and press the rotate screen button (it should then read XF86LaunchB). Now you can hit okay and go to the “Commands” tab.

In “Command Line 1” enter the command for the rotate script:
/home/$USERNAME/.rotate

Now check the “enable commands” box over in the left column, hit back, close compizconfig, and have fun with your new calibrated tablet with ondemand screen rotation!!!

SOURCES for rotation and hotkeys:
rotation script framework: http://wiki.control-d.com/index.php?title=Ubuntu_Intrepid_Ibex_(8.10)_on_a_Toshiba_Protege_M400#Rotating_the_screen
Tablet Hardware Buttons: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Tablet_Hardware_Buttons
Thinkpad Special Keys: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_get_special_keys_to_work#Gnome.2Fmetacity

Ubuntu Setup Guide II. Update and Repository Setup

Posted in Guides, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

Enabling Repositories


Before updating or installing any programs, you should enable more repositories. By default, you will only get security updates, recommended updates, and updates of proprietary drivers / nonfree software in the repositories. With this it is most likely that an update will not break anything new, but you will have older versions of everything.

In order to do this, go to System > Administration > Software Sources, then enter your password and go to the “Updates” tab.

Check both the “Pre-Released Updates” and the “Unsupported Updates” boxes. Pre-released updates means updates that will go into the next 6-month ubuntu release, but did not make the cut for this one, and unsupported updates are updates that are not widely tested for stability yet. Neither are necessary, but I like both of them.

Now, go to the “Third-Party Software” tab and enable both of the repositories there. These “partner repositories” enable the use of non-free software, like flash, mp3 codecs, dvd codecs, and similar. I would say these are necessary unless you want to keep your computer 100% open source (in which case I applaud you for being much more intense than I could stand to be right now).

Then, go to the “statistics” tab, and choose whether or not you want to submit statistical data to Ubuntu. I like to do this because it lets them know how many people are updating, and installing which programs from the repositories. Essentially it helps programs you like to use in the popularity contest of “default” programs.

Another optional step is to choose a different server. This can sometimes get your updates much faster, because you won’t be downloading from the same server as everyone else in the world. To do this, go back to the “Ubuntu Software” tab, and on the “Download From:” dropdown menu, choose “other” and then click “choose best server.” It will now run a series of tests to choose which server you are able to connect to and get the fastest speeds. When it finishes, it will automatically select the best choice, click “choose server,” then “close” and “close” again (the update button never works for me).

Now open up a terminal (Applications> Accessories > Terminal) and type sudo apt-get update, then sudo apt-get upgrade.

Fixing Update-Manager Behavior


I don’t like how update-manager behaves in this new version. What happens now is that once per day the update-manager window will open completely, but if you close it, you won’t see it until a week later unless you restart the computer. I prefer it to show an icon in the taskbar telling me that I need to update, and never pop up the update window.

Here are the steps to get back the old update-manager behavior (from the Release Notes):

Open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and enter the following:


gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch false

Now you will have an icon in the taskbar if you have available updates.

Restricted Extras


By default, Ubuntu can’t have certain things installed like MP3 codecs, flash player, MS fonts, and Java. You probably will want to install all of these, and thankfully if you have enabled the repositories above, there are two packages that handle most of this.
open a terminal and enter:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras linux-restricted-modules

enter “y” when it asks you if you want to install all the packages, then let it run.

During installation you should be prompted (in the terminal window) to setup Java, When this happens, scroll down to the bottom with either page-down or the down arrow key, then arrow to the right to get to “ok”. Hit enter, then move the selection left to “Yes” and hit enter again.

You now should be able to do these things.

OpenSolaris (2008.05) on the Lenovo X61Tablet

Posted in Linux, Review by aliencam | 5 Comments »

I just installed OpenSolaris version 2008.05 (not the newest, the cd was given out at the ASULUG Installfest by an OpenSolaris rep) because I wanted to see how I like it. I am looking for another, lighter opperating system to supplement Ubuntu, and this is one of the first ones I have tried (SimplyMEPIS was my first test, but the newest version didn’t agree with me). Anyway, here is my first impression:

again, this is OpenSolaris 2008.05, NOT the newest version, 2008.11. I did not realize this was the old one until I had started installing it already.

I like Gnome, this is an improvement from that java desktop environment that I tried awhile back. I really did not like Solaris 10 when I tried that, mostly because of the desktop environment.

On the thinkpad x61t out of the box:

wifi works
the the trackpoint (mouse) works fine (no middle-mouse scroll, but not even ubuntu has that down OOTB)
sound DOES NOT work
tablet DOES NOT work.

the dock, with the CD drive, does work.
brightness adjustment does not work
none of the FN keys work (brightness, hibernate, sleep, lock, wireless radio)
bluetooth and wifi are stuck on (I don’t want Bluetooth on but I do want wifi…)
anything using the videocard seems to crash it.

I am currently updating the current version before I go through the upgrade process to 2008.11 version. Upgrading is not straightforward in this version, but it will be in the next version.

here are my problems with the OS itself:

device driver manager doesn’t open (I think that means there aren’t any device drivers found)
changing the visual effects settings to normal or high crashes the computer.
and I would also like to point out that the download for the updates is extremely slow, and it’s not on my end. (on ASU’s network I regularly get download speeds of 2MB/s and higher.)
random things take forever to open, or never open at all. (maybe this is due to the
hard resets, or because I’m running updates, or the hard resets during the update downloads).
Choosing a screensaver also just crashed the computer (it looks like anything that uses the videocard crashes this thing)
and when I brought the computer back up from crashing AGAIN, I couldn’t get wifi to work without toggling the wireless radio power switch on the laptop. (there aren’t any network managers that can do anything while the automagic network selector is running, and I don’t have any clue how to do anything with that)

Anyway, I’m going to bed and letting the update run overnight, hopefully I’ll wake up to a better functioning operating system. (OOTB version 2008.05 is unusable in my opinion.)

UPDATE: unfortunately, when I was playing around with the screensavers that crashed my computer, I somehow enabled one, and since that screensaver crashes my computer, I can’t open the screensaver selection menu to change/remove it, and none of the updates installed. This is just a mess, I’m going to try to download the 2008.11 version and install that.

Some [Linux] Housekeeping

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 4 Comments »

hRecent updates have broken functionality of both the fingerprint reader and screen brightness adjustment on my laptop  (Thinkpad X61 Tablet with Ubuntu 8.10).

Fingerprint Reader:


The problem with the fingerprint was that a recent security update had overwritten the /etc/pam.d/*-auth  files (it allerted me to this beforehand, but to prevent issues with the update I allowed it to totally overwrite my files).  If this happened to you, all you need to do is run the script to edit the /etc/pam.d/common-auth file to allow the fingerprint reader to be a method of authentication.

run the following command:

sudo '/usr/lib/pam-thinkfinger/pam-thinkfinger-enable'

nothing should return, but when you restart the authentication daemon (I don’t remember the command offhand, so I just restarted the computer) the fingerprint reader should work again.

Fixing ACPI Brightness Adjustment


After updating to the 2.6.27-11 kernel, brightness controls would not work for me or any of my friends with the Thinkpad X61 laptop.  There is not an update released yet to fix this, and it has been marked as  “low priority”. The low priority kind of makes me upset since sometimes I can’t even see my laptop screen because of it’s low screen brightness, and other times I get half of the battery life I’m used to since the brightness is all the way up.

Anyway, the fix I found for this was on the issue’s bug report.

In order to do this, you need to edit the /etc/modprobe.d/options file and add the line “options thinkpad_acpi brightness_enable=1”. There are many ways to do this, but my preferred is the following:

in a terminal, type:
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/options

then arrow down to the bottom, and then type:
# set to get brightness controlls working in 2.6.27.11 kernel
options thinkpad_acpi brightness_enable=1

exit by pressing ctrl-x then enter to save and overwrite the file. Now you can reboot and the brightness control should work just fine.

If you have any questions or the problems are not fixed by these then leave a comment.

–aliencam

Updating Linuxwacom (drivers and utilities) in Ubnutu Intrepid

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | 15 Comments »

If you have a tablet with a multitouch capable screen in Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10, then you have probably noticed some problems with the touch function.  Of course, if you don’t have the tablet set up at all yet, you’ll want to follow my guide to setting up the tablet in Ubuntu Intrepid first.  I had pretty much given up on well-calibrated touch support in this version, but yesterday “Drew” commented on my middle mouse scrolling setup guide and I followed his intensedebate profile over to his blog, http://geedew.com/blog.  Over there he has a guide on updating wacom-tools to the newest version.  You can read his post at this link or just continue reading here.

If you want to see which version of wacom-tools came with your instalation, or which version youmost recently installed with a package.  In a terminal run:

dpkg -p wacom-tools  | grep Version

and it should return:

Version: 1:0.8.1.4-0ubuntu3

However, if you have tried updating linuxwacom on your instalation of linux previously, that command is essentially useless as it just says what version the package manager most recently installed. (even after updating linuxwacom using this guide, that command will still give the same output).  The new version has much better touch support, allows you to calibrate the touch driver, and allows you to disable touch from the wacom control pannel.  (command is wacomcpl)

First step is to download the newest version of the software here (should be the one at the top of the list) and unzip it.  Open a terminal and change the directory to the new unzipped file. Uou can type “cd” and then drag the file into the terminal window and press enter to do this, or if it is on your desktop, use the command:

cd ~/Desktop/linuxwacom-0.8.2

changing the version number if you have to. Now run the uninstall and install scripts as sudo to update your linuxwacom utilities.

sudo ./prebuilt/uninstall

sudo ./prebuilt/install

save and close your work, and restart X with ctrl-alt-backspace, or restart the computer.

and that should be all to update those. If you get any errors on the uninstall or install commands, try re-downloading the file (that happened to me the first time).

Now, to recalibrate or disable/enable touch, hit alt-f2 (or go into a terminal) and enter “wacomcpl”
This will let you change options related to the tablet’s drivers. To recalibrate, go to “touch” on the left, then “calibrate” and poke the middle of the pink box with your finger.

works great now! Thanks for the heads up Drew.

-aliencam

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