Thrice's the charm

I have finally took the time to upgrade my Girlfriend’s laptop (Dell Inspiron 6400) to Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04) from Gusty Gibbon. It took me a while to get around to it as I never seemed to be able to get to her place with any decent amount of time to allow me to do it.

The reason why I needed to upgrade, other than being bleeding edge, is so that I could finally sort out a bunch of problems I introduced in my attempts to get the ATI drivers to work normally.

Initially, I tried the automatic upgrade feature of the updates-manager, just for the hell of it, although I pretty much expected it not to fix my current issues. It worked flawlessly. Indeed, from my previous attempts at distro-upgrade, I expected the thing to horribly b0rk out but I was pleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, the problems that I was having were not resolved by the upgrade so I went to plan 2. A complete reinstallation with my new shiny RW CD I just burned.

Once again, everything worked amazingly well and within 30 minutes I had a fresh warking installation. I am especially happy that they finally decided to include an option on the CD boot for Installing directly and I didn’t have to get into the live environment before I could do it.

Now I had to see if setting up the laptop would be problematic. Fortunately it wasn’t. This time I also went for the smart method and just used EnvyNG to download and install the ATI drivers which worked (again) flawlessly and quickly.

Fortunately, other than setting up the language and reinstalling the previous software, I did not have to do any extra configuration on my gf profile. This is the bonus you get when you have the /home directory in a different partition as all the program settings are kept there. It wasn’t so easy with my own (second) profile since when I tried to recreate the user, for some reason, the system would not let me use a directory that already existed on the system. That meant that I had to use a different dir for the user and move my necessary program settings there (.mozila for firefox, .purple for pidgin etc. It always annoys me when programs do not have the same config directory as their name…). This wasn’t such a big issue to tell the truth as my previous profile was quite b0rked from previous experimentations.

I was also happy to see that Laptop Suspension actually worked now. Unfortunately Hibernation still does not. It just starts the procedure and then returns you to the locked user screen. Maybe it’s some x11 setting I need to find…

Last issue for the day was Firefox refusal to play flash sound while another program (like amarok) was using the sound channel. Fortunately a little googling led me to the quick solution.

Well, that’s all for today. The setup was quite painless so I don’t have much to rant about. The next days will show how true that is. Hopefully, by the time the next version arrives I will not need any more reinstallations and the auto-upgrade feature should be enough. Of course, that depens on how much I experiment again. 😀

My 3Dyssey

I have finally managed to make the display drivers on my girlfriend’s laptop (Dell Inspiron 6400) work with the propriertary ATI drivers.

It took me about a week and a lot of research but I finally managed to make it work. To make a long story short, the problem was that before I tried to install the propriertary drivers, I had installed the xserver-xgl package as it is necessary to have 3d acceleration with Ubuntu’s restricted drivers. Unfortunately, as the propriertary drivers can finally work with AIGLX, XGL is not needed anymore. Also unfortunately, this is not mentioned anywhere and not are you warned about it at all. As a result, I didn’t even think of that this might be the cause.

Furthemore, the ATI installation wiki, does not even mention this in the verification section either. I have now added it just to save other the same frustration I went through.

Hopefully, once I uninstalled the xserver-xgl driver, ATI became the default renderer. Unfortunately since compiz is used to work with XGL, it refused to activate. Fortunately the envy script is setup to configure compiz to use AIGLX so all I needed to do to fix this was run the script and have it reinstall the ATI drivers.

Finally I have normal 2D and 3D Capabilities. I especially hated not being able to see a fullscreen movie.

Lesson for the future learned: Ignore manual installations and just run the goddamn Envy

Now, all I need to do is figure out why power management is not working :-/