Home page of this blog

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Connecting to network before logging into gnome in Ubuntu Karmic 9.10

I always wondered how to get connected to wifi/network in Ubuntu even before logging into gnome. This is useful because in case of some problem in Ubuntu, we can atleast ssh to the box from another system if it is connected to network.

Today I accidently figured out how to do this in Ubuntu Karmic 9.10

The simple answer is using wicd

wicd is an alternative to network manager applet. If we install wicd ubuntu karmic offers to remove existing network manager. If we proceed, ubuntu offers our user to be added to netdev group. I checked my user to be added into netdev group and then clicked forward. Done, wicd got configured. Following screenshot shows the debconf option for adding user to netdev group

Now I logged out (of course, I still use Ctrl + Alt + Backspace) and logged back in, to see a small wicd applet in place of network manager applet. Clicked it and configured my wifi settings. To ensure we are connected to wifi router even before gnome logs in, we need to check "Automatically connect to this network"

After this I checked if I am connected to network by rebooting Ubuntu Karmic 9.10. When I went to virtual console before logging into gnome and pinged google, I was able to ping it.This is it, the easy way to connect to network before even logging into gnome

Here are the screenshots

Screenshot showing how to make wicd connect to network automatically

Screenshot showing how to configure WPA passphrase in wicd

New way to stop or start gdm/X server in Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 using service command

Today I was trying to install nvidia drivers manually on Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 (got installed using daily build of Ubuntu) as version 190.42 allowed controlling power options of nvidia card from nvidia settings.  see http://news.softpedia.com/news/Nvidia-190-42-Linux-Display-Driver-Has-Support-for-OpenGL-3-2-125389.shtml

First I removed nvidia drivers from Hardware Drivers (System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers)

After removing the drivers given by Ubuntu which were old (185.36), I gave Ctrl + Alt + F1 and tried to install nvidia drivers as mentioned in softpedia. But nvidia kept complaining my X is running and I bruteforced by killing X, gdm using killall. None of them worked as ubuntu somehow managed to respawn X/gdm again with login prompt sound.

Then after trying for another 2 hours by searching in /etc/init.d folder I figured out the new interesting way to start or stop X/gdm at will in Ubuntu Karmic 9.10

This is how it is to be done and it looks cool and very easy

To stop gdm from virtual console (after going to virtual console by giving Ctrl + Alt + F1)

sudo service gdm stop

To start after installing nvidia drivers or whatever we did in console, to start it is as simple as stopping

sudo service gdm start

Here are the screenshots of the new powermizer settings of 190.42 nvidia driver settings after I managed to stop gdm, install nvidia driver manually and start gdm. Wow, I love ubuntu

Caution: Don't ever stop gdm from gnome-terminal as gnome-terminal is inside running gdm/gnome and you will be abruptly seeing a blank window. Please use Ctrl + Alt + F1 to goto first virtual console or Ctrl + Alt + F2 to second virtual console, login using ur credentials into ubuntu and you are set to call sudo service gdm stop/start

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fedora 12 Beta, nouveau graphics driver and screen corruption

I tested the fedora 12 x64 Beta. I was very happy, it ran very fast. After playing sometime, I opened firefox when the stupid display corruption occurred.

To the very new guys to fedora and nouveau, here is the summary. Nouveau is a open source driver for nvidia cards and Fedora 11 and Fedora 12 uses nouveau driver by default if you have nvidia cards in your system. The open source nouveau driver is very good, but somewhere in some scenario corrupts the screen display and hangs the system. Hope this bug gone and Fedora 12 rocks as usual when it releases

I could not take the screenshot of the corrupted screen as everything hung. I took photograph using my digicam and they are attached here. I will raise the bug in bugzilla soon (may be this weekend) which I already raised for Fedora 11 (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=505853)


If you want to read more about how I booted into Fedora 12 and used vesa driver instead of nouveau, you can have a look by clicking the following link


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

openSUSE 11.2 rc1 has a fast, optimized, premptive kernel

openSUSE 11.2 release candidate1 is very surprising. I think it is one of the fastest in linux world. openSUSE  has optimized their kernel very much for desktop needs and feels as fast as an arch linux kernel.

The live experience of openSUSE 11.2 RC1 feels super fast and very very snappy. How snappy? when I clicked dolphin, it was there in an instant. I clicked some icon, the program was running. It is so very fast. Even firefox 3.5 opens extremely fast and that too inside a KDE environment

It is very exciting, when openSUSE 11.2 releases, a linux with monstrous power, a beast unleashed awaits my machine

It is a preemptive kernel and can be verified by giving the following command when running openSUSE

uname -a

I saw the above when playing with KDE4.3 live cd of openSUSE 11.2 rc1. Ubuntu Karmic does not have a preemptive kernel like openSUSE 11.2

Upcoming Ubuntu Karmic x64 kernel frequency

If you thought that the generic kernel frequency of x64 (amd64) architecture in Ubuntu Karmic is 250 Hz then you are there for a surprise! It is just 100Hz (no no, I want 1000Hz without using a rt kernel). This might change with final build or release candidate build of Ubuntu Karmic

I am having upcoming Ubuntu Karmic 64 bit installed in my system (using its daily live CD)

I checked what is the kernel frequency by using grep on the kernel config file in /boot directory

cat /boot/config-2.6.31-14-generic | grep HZ

 It is still very very snappy with just 100Hz. I checked the kernel frequency in an IBM thinkpad which has 32 bit karmic, but it shows 250Hz (It is an irony that a 32 bit kernel has a 250Hz freq and a 64 bit kernel has 100Hz freq)

This might change with upcoming release candidate of karmic or  final build of karmic

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Downloading Ubuntu daily build livecd using zsync

zsync is a program with artistic license v2

zsync can be used to just download only the diff/partial/delta of a big file from a server instead of downloading the entire big file again. For this to work, server should provide a .zsync file which is also called control file (actually a diff file)

The real advantage of zsync is we don't need to download the entire blocks (chunks or bits) we already have in local,  again from server. This saves bandwidth as the difference (between the local file which is old and new file in server) which we download will be very small compared to a big download. Actually in the following example, I downloaded only around 100 MB instead of downloading 700 MB

In this example I will explain how I downloaded daily build of Ubuntu livecd using zsync. (from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/)

I already have a  64 bit ubuntu karmic live cd downloaded on 17/Oct/2009. Now I can download the daily build 18/Oct/2009 ubuntu karmic live cd again or just download the delta and rebuild the 18/Oct/2009 using zsync

The first thing I did was installed zsync

sudo apt-get install zsync

Then I went to http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/ and located the .zsync file. The .zsync file is also called the control file and it should be present on the server (The server should support .zsync for this to work)

I created a new directory called Oct18 and saved the new sha256sums for the 18/Oct build  inside it (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/SHA256SUMS)

Then, I copied the 17/Oct/2009 daily build karmic-desktop-amd64.iso to this new directory named Oct18

In command line (gnome-terminal) I went to the Oct18 directory gave

zsync http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/karmic-desktop-amd64.iso.zsync

The above command took care of calculating what missing portion of the iso it needed to download and started downloading the difference. zsync takes care not to overwrite the original file until it completely downloads all the missing portion and rebuilds the new file. It puts all the missing blocks inside a .part file and is quite powerful that it will continue from the last time where it left, if closed in the middle. Here is a screenshot of zsync in action

After downloading, I checked if zsync successfully downloaded 18/Oct livecd, using sha256sum command and SHA256SUMS (http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/SHA256SUMS) for 18/Oct livecd   (Ubuntu started providing sha256sums along with md5sums for ubuntu iso's and is considered the best hashing which can't be mimicked)

sha256sum karmic-desktop-amd64.iso | grep 36b3674b3542f03691365a27b6e6f98406c0f0842c047dacc2c5dca392355740

The  following screenshot shows that it was a success!!

Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 can boost volume above 100 percent

I downloaded daily build of Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 yesterday (17/Oct/2009). When I was playing with Ubuntu Live CD, I saw that it can boost sound above 100%

Below are those screenshots

In the following the tooltip shows 150% volume after increasing the output volume

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ubuntu Karmic has option for turning off bluetooth

I have Ubuntu Karmic in netbook (Lenovo Ideapad S10). After installing updates (update manager called it partial upgrade) I see a new option to turn off or turn on bluetooth from the bluetooth icon in top panel

Below screenshot shows bluetooth turn off option

Below screenshot shows bluetooth turn on option

I have Ubuntu Karmic in my netbook installed along with Arch Linux. I have shared my home directory between Arch Linux and Ubuntu Karmic so used a different user name (a yaksha my favorite character in Mahabharat who questions King Yudhistira) to avoid conflict!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

xPUD linux boots within 5 seconds inside VirtualBox

I ran xPUD which is just a 56 MB linux (with full fledged firefox 3.5.3 and flash plugin) in Sun Virtualbox and netbook.

I allocated 256 MB for xPUD in Virtualbox and xPUD booted within 5 seconds!! though this is a development build

You can watch the video uploaded by me in youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW9PAtZ193Q

Here are the screenshots of the beautiful xPUD running inside Sun Virtualbox

xPUD boot screen

xPUD first screen

xPUD has firefox 3.5.3

xPUD has flash plugin preloaded

xPUD playing youtube video

xPUD terminal showing kernel version

xPUD settings menu

xPUD file menu

xPUD website http://xpud.org/

xPUD poweroff options

xPUD release on distrowatch

When I ran from netbook (Lenovo Ideapad S10) it took 14 to 16 seconds to boot and after the latest snapshot build wifi works out of the box.

Here is the snapshot build along with broadcom wireless drivers done by penk (Chen, Ping-Hsun) ultra fast developer of xPUD (see comments 2,3,4 and 5)


It is 56MB and it's

MD5: 814c37c9a132a8a9bf924af8f776157f

Friday, October 2, 2009

Changed appearance of the blog for ease of reading

Changed the appearance to look non intrusive, mild black, blue and white.

The text font is chosen to be sans serif to decrease strain on eyes while reading. Since I read lots of books using computer, I felt this apperance may help a better feel and ease on eyes

Added search this blog gadget

Added search this blog gadget. Type in anything you want to search within my blogs with ease.

For example search Ubuntu to know all my blogs which mentions the word Ubuntu