Monday, May 14, 2012

Ubuntu Precise Pangolin

I installed Ubuntu Precise Pangolin (amd64) on a separate partition today. The installation went well, with the usual black screen problem.

The amd64 build felt speedier for most applications compared to the i386 build..

I was unimpressed with Unity and so I proceeded to get back the Gnome 2 look and feel by following the instructions here.

Make sure that sources are up to date:
$ sudo apt-get update

Install the gnome fallback:
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
Logout, select Gnome Classic using the gear icon, and then login.

I replaced lightdm with the more awesome gdm:
$ sudo apt-get install gdm
$ sudo apt-get purge lightdm

Install aptitude, gdebi (so faciliate future .deb installations) and synaptic
$ sudo apt-get install aptitude gdebi synaptic

Remove the annoying global app-menu
$ sudo apt-get purge appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt indicator-appmenu

Remove Unity (Woots!)
$ sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-music unity-lens-applications unity-greeter unity-common unity-asset-pool unity-2d-launcher unity-2d libunity-misc4 libunity-2d-private0 gir1.2-unity-4.0

Remove the semi-invisible overlay scrollbar
$ sudo apt-get purge liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 overlay-scrollbar appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt indicator-appmenu

Remove compiz (I dislike special effects)
$ sudo apt-get remove compiz compiz-plugins-main-default libcompizconfig0

Install gconf so we can change the min,max,close buttons to the right:
$ sudo apt-get install gconf-editor
Run gconf-editor in terminal and look for the path  /apps/metacity/general in the tree.
Change the value of button_layout to ":minimize,maximize,close"

Following advice from here, I proceeded to install the cool weather indicator and multiload indicator.
sudo apt-get install indicator-weather indicator-multiload

Now, restart your computer.
Note: I did not install gnome-shell.
I proceeded to make more tweaks:

I installed my favorite Gnome-Do.
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-do
After install, you can start it from Applications -> Accessories -> Gnome Do
It should load on start up and it can be activated via super+space.

I brought back the Alt+F2 shortcut for the run dialog:
Bring up Keyboard window -> Shortcuts (tab).
Look for System -> "Show the run command prompt".
Change the value to Alt+F2.

I installed mscorefonts.
Bring up Synaptic Package Manager. Look for ttf-mscorefonts-installer.
Also installed Mac Fonts (e.g. Lucida Grande)

I also installed the awesome zsh and Google Chrome, and nautilus-open-terminal.

Finally, as my screen is 2 pixels off, I brought up Display and changed the resolution from 1368x768 to 1366x768.

Current problems:
1. xrandr gives me "xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default"
2. Can't connect to external monitor.
Solved: [source]
The trick is to use "acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor" during the boot phase.
This works:
$ sudo sed "s/\(GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=\)\"\"/\1\"acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor\"/" /etc/default/grub -i 
$ sudo update-grub
# reboot now

War Story Update:
On a second attempt at configuring Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise) using the above steps, I ran into some problems due to failing to remove compiz completely. The menu bar for windows disappeared and key bindings such appeared to be misconfigured. I then removed compiz via the Ubuntu Software Center and all things were OK after that.

Ubuntu: failed to get i915 symbols, graphics turbo disabled

As it happened, I have been getting the "failed to get i915 symbols, graphics turbo disabled" error on my Ubuntu laptop for the past 2 years. I have finally got around to browsing the related thread on the Ubuntu forums and eliminating the error message.

Apparently, doing the first suggested actions prevented the computer from booting in Linux:

$ sudo su -
$ echo "softdep intel_ips pre: i915" > /etc/modprobe.d/intel-ips-dep-i915.conf

So, I did the second suggested action instead (which worked):

$ gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
Add "blacklist intel_ips"

I am not sure what are the side effects of blacklisting, but I doubt it will have any difference compared to the original "fail+disabled" scenario.