Archive for category Ubuntu

Enable ctrl+alt+backspace in Jaunty

I don’t know why it’s disabled by default and I use it quite often because I’m always playing around and installing things so it’s incredibly irritating to me that you can’t just press ctrl+alt+backspace to restart x.

To enable it you can do it through editing the xorg.conf file:

1. Open a terminal and type sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

2. Add this section to the file:
Section "ServerFlags"
Option "DontZap" "false"

3. Save and restart.

4. Yay.


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ATI big desktop in Jaunty Jackalope

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the fight to get dual screens working properly with the ATI graphics card wasn’t as difficult as it has been in the past. The restricted hardware manager didn’t lock up on me after activating the ATI driver, but I still couldn’t get big desktop to work.

When trying to set up big desktop through aticonfig in the terminal I got Error: Options, e.g. --dtop and --desktop-setup, are not supported when RandR 1.2 is enabled. I had no idea what that meant but I did a quick google search and found that someone had reported a bug with the same problem. Another person posted something that fixed it for me.

  1. Login to a tty (ctrl+alt F1) and type sudo killall gdm.
  2. Type sudo nano (or gedit, whichever you prefer) /etc/ati/amdpcsdb to edit the file.
      a) Go to the [AMDPCSROOT/SYSTEM/DDX] section and add EnableRandR12=Sfalse.
  3. Type this into a terminal, sudo nano (or gedit) /etc/X11/xorg.conf, to open the xorg.conf file.
  4. Under the “Device” section add these options on separate lines: Option "EnableRandR12" "false" and Option "DesktopSetup" "horizontal".
  5. Now just restart your computer and it should be good to go.

xorg.conf file:

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “aticonfig Layout”
Screen 0 “Default Screen” 0 0

Section “Files”

Section “Module”
Load “glx”

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “Configured Monitor”

Section “Device”
Identifier “Configured Video Device”
Driver “fglrx”
Option “EnableRandR12” “false”
Option “DesktopSetup” “horizontal”
BusID “PCI:1:0:0”

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “Configured Video Device”
Monitor “Configured Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24

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Copying a VirtualBox virtual machine onto another host computer

I came across VirtualBox awhile back and it’s going to be the perfect program for us here since a good chunk of us use Ubuntu but at times need to test things in Windows or use specific programs that are only accessible in Windows.  It takes longer just to restart the computer into Windows than it does to test or use the program we need most of the time, so this will save us some time and be way more convenient.

Before I pushed this out on the next image I needed to find a way to copy the virtual machine I created so that my co-workers could use the same base image file and just configure it the way they want from there.  I found this blog that is my source for this information but it’s slightly different since he is using the Windows version of VirtualBox.

To copy the image to another computer:

  1. Close VirtualBox if it’s running.
  2. Go to your home folder and enable show hidden files through the View menu.
  3. Find the .VirtualBox folder, go to the HardDisks folder and copy the .vdi file you want to use.  In my case  I burned the file to a DVD because we have so many people who will be needing to save this in their home directory.
  4. Now go to the other host computer you want to use that .vdi file on and open VirtualBox if you’ve never opened it on the new host machine before.  This will create the .VirtualBox folder.  Then paste it in the same place (user’s home directory -> show hidden files -> .VirtualBox -> HardDisks).  You might need to create the HardDisks folder yourself.
  5. Edit the permissions of the file in order for it to work.  All I did was right-click on it after moving the file over and give read & write permissions to the owner, which should have your username there.  You can change the permissions to the group and others sections if needed later, but that wasn’t necessary for me.

Once you’ve copied the disk image you need to create a new machine and register that hard disk with VirtualBox on the target host machine:

  1. From the VirtualBox window click the New button.  This will open the New Virtual Machine Wizard.
  2. VM Name and OS Type – Give it a name and pick the type & version of the virtual machine OS.
  3. Memory – Just leave it as the default.  You can change it later if you notice any problems.
  4. Virtual Hard Disk – This is where you select the hard disk you copied in to the home directory earlier.  So click on existing and when the Virtual Media Manager window comes up choose to Add.  It should take you to the correct folder so just select the image file and click open, then select.
  5. You’re done, it’ll take you back to the main window with the new virtual machine you just created based off the existing image file.

If you notice things running slowly you can shut down the machine, go to settings, and change the base memory allocation.  It’ll be screaming at you in red or orange text if you’ve allocated too much.

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Resizing a VirtualBox virtual disk

I’m in the process of putting together a VirtualBox virtual machine for me and my co-workers to use so we can access our Outlook email accounts without rebooting into Windows and so that the web developers can test the pages they work on in IE.

Things were going well with VirtualBox until I realized I didn’t make the size of the disk large enough. I had it set at 5GB, thinking that’d be enough for what we need it for, but apparently not.  So I wanted to figure out how to resize the disk without having to go through creating an entirely new one and having to sit through the installation process all over again. I found this post in the VirtualBox forum about it and followed those directions and elaborating on them with some lovely screenshots.

  1. The first thing you want to do is create a new disk like you would if you were starting over.  File -> Virtual Media Manage -> under Hard Disks click new.  I’ll avoid explaining that process since I’m assuming you already know it if you’re looking to resize it.
  2. Download System Rescue CD.
  3. The next thing you want to do is set it so that the new disk you created is attached to your current virtual machine and change it so the System Rescue CD iso file is mounted.  See the screenshots below:
    For the CD click the little button next to the drop down list.
    Click the add button, and go to wherever you saved the .iso file.
    Press select and you’re done with this part.
  4. Now start the virtual machine and boot it to the CD you mounted.  You have to hit enter a couple times, but once you’re prompted type in startx and hit enter.
  5. When the terminal pops up type in gparted and hit enter.
  6. Right-click on your ntfs partition and click copy, then select the 2nd disk you created and paste over it.
    gparted 2nd HD
    paste old over new
  7. When it prompts you for the size of the disk make sure to pull the arrow all the way over to the right so that the free space following says zero and click paste.resize
  8. Once you tell it to apply the changes it will take awhile so I suggest getting up and going to do something else.  I left work and came back in today to finish this up.  I have no idea how long it took.
  9. When it is finished you need to tell it to use the new disk as the boot partition.  To do that right-click on it and go to manage flags and check the boot box then close it.
  10. Now all you have to do is close out gparted and shut down the virtual machine and change some of the settings from step 3.

After shutting it down what you want to do is go back to step 3 to make your larger HD the primary master, remove (and delete to get that hard drive space back) the old one, and change it back so that you are using the CD drive and not booting off the rescue CD anymore.  I wanted my space back since I wasn’t going to be using that smaller one.

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Intrepid Ibex and dual screens

After some requests from people on staff I decided, with a bit of reluctance, to upgrade from 8.04 to 8.10.  My hesitance was based off the problems I had getting our dual screens set up in past upgrades because ATI and Nvidia didn’t get along with Ubuntu very well.  The only problem I had with this installation was that I told it not to change the menu.lst file so it kept booting into the wrong kernel – I had a noob moment.  Once I figured out what I did it took me maybe 10 minutes to get the dual screens working.  I imagine it’ll go the same way when I upgrade our ATI machines.

Oh, there was one other issue I had.  I originally tried activating the restricted driver through the hardware manager but every time I tried it locked up and never enabled it so I gave up on that.  I dug around online and found Envyng.  It’s a pretty cool little tool for Nvidia and ATI graphic cards that installs the drivers for you.

To install Envyng open Synaptic and install the envyng-gtk and envyng-core packages.Synaptic

Then open a terminal type envyng -t to bring up a menu.

Press 1 to bring up the Nvidia driver select menu.  It shows you what driver you should install by the plus signs in the compatible and recommended columns.  Type the number for your drive and hit enter.
drive select

That’s all you have to do to install your driver.  I tried enabling the dual screen option using nvidia settings but I couldn’t find the setting in there anywhere so I just manually edited the xorg.conf file to get it to work.  Here are the related sections of that file:

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier    "Default Layout"
Screen      0   "Default Screen" 0 0

Section "Module"
Load        "glx"
Disable     "dri2"

Section "ServerFlags"
Option        "Xinerama" "0"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier    "Generic Monitor"
# Powersaving auto-off features
Option        "DPMS"

Section "Device"
Identifier    "nVidia Corporation NV18 [GeForce4 MX 4000]"
Driver        "nvidia"
Option        "NoLogo" "True"

Section "Screen"
Identifier    "Default Screen"
Monitor       "Generic Monitor"
Device        "nVidia Corporation NV18 [GeForce4 MX 4000]"
DefaultDepth    24
Option        "TwinView" "1"
Option        "TwinViewOrientation" "RightOf"
Option  "MetaModes" "1280x1024,1280x1024;1024x768,1024x768"
Option    "AddARGBGLXVisuals"    "True"

SubSection    "Display"
Depth    24
Modes    "1280x1024" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600"

I’m going to try the same thing on the ATI machines that we have and the only difference I think will be that I won’t have to edit the xorg.conf file myself.  All I should have to do is type aticonfig --dtop=horizontal into the terminal and reset the machine.  The xorg.conf file related to ATI can be seen in this post.

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Ubuntu 8.04, ATI, & Big Desktop

First off, we got some new computers at work that have the ATI Radeon 2400 HD Pro video cards. I wish I would have done some research when I had the specs for the new machines because I would have found out that ATI cards don’t get along with Ubuntu, that may have saved me all this time I’ve spent fighting with them.

I cannot even begin to think of how much time I spent trying to get them to work in Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy). It kept telling me there was no hardware that required the restricted drivers, but this graphics card does. I tried editing the xorg.conf file based on what I was finding online and what we had on our old machines, nothing worked. I spent hours and hours looking around online but things other people said worked never did for me. I made sure I had the correct drivers installed, checked that multiple times, it was all what it should have been. I tried doing it the easy way too, by using aticonfig. But every time I tried using that it nuked the xorg.conf file and never recreated it.

Then 8.04 (Hardy) came along. I was hoping it would somehow make things magically work or, you know, at least make things a little easier. It took me about 10 minutes after installing it to get the dual monitors working properly, aticonfig actually worked in 8.04. After spending a lot of time searching around online I found this website that I used to compare the appropriate sections of the xorg.conf file to. I think I had to add a couple things although I can’t remember what. Anyway, using a combination of aticonfig and that website I got it working perfectly. I felt like an idiot though because I forgot I had to adjust the resolution so that it added the two monitors together. Once I did that it worked like a charm. So for anybody who is having issues here’s the xorg.conf file.

Update: So I had to reinstall Hardy because the panel disappeared and I couldn’t get it to come back. This time to get Big Desktop working all I did was enable to restricted driver and type

aticonfig --dtop=horizontal

and it worked perfectly after I restarted the session. I didn’t have to adjust the resolution this time or edit the xorg.conf.

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Default Layout”
Screen 0 “aticonfig-Screen[0]” 0 0

Section “Files”

Section “Module”
Load “glx”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Generic Keyboard”
Driver “kbd”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
Option “XkbLayout” “us”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Configured Mouse”
Driver “mouse”
Option “CorePointer”

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “aticonfig-Monitor[0]”
Option “VendorName” “ATI Proprietary Driver”
Option “ModelName” “Generic Autodetecting Monitor”
Option “DPMS” “true”

Section “Device”
Identifier “aticonfig-Device[0]”
Driver “fglrx”
Option “DesktopSetup” “horizontal”
Option “OverlayOnCRTC2” “1”
BusID “PCI:1:0:0”

Section “Screen”
Identifier “aticonfig-Screen[0]”
Device “aticonfig-Device[0]”
Monitor “aticonfig-Monitor[0]”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24

If you are using 7.10 and having problems with an ATI card then I suggest trying out 8.04, it definitely made things easier for me.

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