Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Graphics Driver Headaches

Nothing like computer problems when you’re trying to wrap up your dissertation to really make your day…

Quick tl;dr version: I’ve had a lot of problems with NVIDIA Linux drivers 337.x and even more with 340.24, at least on dual Quadro K600 cards driving four displays using basemosaic. No such problems under 331, but Debian didn’t package the 331 update that supports the current xorg-server ABI. I took their 331.79 package and updated it with the upstream 331.89 version, which fixes a few bugs, adds two PCI IDs, and adds support for the newer xorg-server ABI. Here are the source package, as well as the build results from my i386 and amd64 jessie cowbuilders. Use at your own risk, but they work great for me so far. You’ll have to pin the versions otherwise it’ll try to upgrade after you install them.

The standard disclaimers (no warranty, not responsible for problems, crashes, nasal demons, etc) apply: use at your own risk.

After the jump: deb packages, source packages, source debdiff, problem description, process, and lessons learned.

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Drat – SparkleShare unofficial PPA includes breaking update

The SparkleShare unofficial PPA contains a python-gobject update that breaks a number of things, including software center/update manager, gedit plugins, etc. On the page for this PPA it does now mention that it’s not recommended for Ubuntu Precise 12.04 – but it’s a bit too late for me to avoid issues.

What’s more, ppa-purge ppa:rebuntu16/sparkleshare+unofficial doesn’t seem to work – it tries to remove most of the packages installed on my system. Same result when trying to force versions with Synaptic. Thus, I unfortunately had to write my own little tool, using python-apt. It asks for no confirmation, and the only test is that it worked on my machine. Consider this fair warning. The script is here.

Run the script to apply the changes, then edit your sources.list or sources.list.d to remove this source, sudo apt-get update, and check in Synaptic to make sure you didn’t miss anything (which would now show up in the Status panel under “Installed (local or obsolete)”).

If anybody wants to help make this an improved replacement for ppa-purge, please let me know and I’ll fork it into a real GitHub repo instead of just a Gist.

Recommended PPA + Third Party Repositories

I’ve been setting up a number of new Ubuntu installs recently, and so I thought it would be useful to record somewhere the Personal Package Archive (PPA) and third-party repositories I frequently use. You can add any of these with sudo add-apt-repository or by pasting them into the add repository dialog in Software Sources.  I have all these enabled on Lucid successfully, but no guarantees that they will all successfully coexist without breaking things on your system, Lucid or otherwise.

  • General Software
    • ppa:chromium-daily/stable – the Chromium stable channel. If you prefer the Google Chrome version, try:
    • deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main – The Google Stable channel. For the key, look at ubuntu-tweak.com/source/google-chrome/
    • ppa:sevenmachines/flash – 64-bit Adobe Flash, install package “flashplugin64-installer”
    • ppa:libreoffice – Updates to LibreOffice, the future of OpenOffice.  Still incredibly slow, but sometimes it’s all you can use.
    • ppa:ubuntu-wine – The latest Wine stable and dev releases.
    • ppa:lucid-bleed – If you want lots of backports to Lucid, this is the repo to enable.
    • ppa:maco.m/ruby – Updated version of rubygems
  • Graphics (XOrg, drivers) Improvements
  • Programming-related
    • ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports – Backports of newer Qt versions including Qt Creator.
    • deb http://streaming.stat.iastate.edu/CRAN/bin/linux/ubuntu/ lucid/ – Updates for R from the ISU CRAN mirror.  If you’re not using Lucid, change the release codename in this line
    • ppa:pyside – PySide is the LGPL replacement for PyQt that works pretty well. It’s under plenty of development so the PPA is useful.
    • ppa:git-core – Updates to the Git version control suite.
  • VR-Related – Of course I had to plug some of the PPA’s I maintain for the lab. Help maintaining these is always welcome!
    • ppa:isu-vrac/osg – Updated versions of OpenSceneGraph.
    • ppa:isu-vrac/vr-software – VR Juggler and its dependencies.

Enabling the hardware power button in Ubuntu Server 11.04 (Natty)

Just a quick note for my reference and for Google: If you want your Ubuntu Server machine to respond to the power button, you have to install acpid first.  Once installed, it will run by default (and start up during the install process), so the power button should be functional from then on.  This should also create the /etc/acpi directory and scripts that folks mention when discussing Linux power management.

Credit where credit is due: figured it out from this bug report resolved as INVALID with this workaround which, while old, still applies to the latest Ubuntu release.

Setting a “Task Manager” keyboard shortcut in GNOME

If you’re much of a Windows user, you’re probably aware that Ctrl-Shift-Esc will quickly open the task manager there, which is a handy thing to be able to access quickly – take care of an out-of-control app, see what’s pulling so much CPU power, etc. On GNOME (for instance, Ubuntu Linux), the System Monitor does the same task, but there’s no equally quick way to open it by default. You can add the system monitoring applet to your panel which will give you one-click access, but if you’re like me, you find yourself reaching for Ctrl-Shift-Esc first anyway.

Without further ado, how to make Ctrl-Shift-Esc do the same thing! (This is on Ubuntu Lucid, but should be pretty similar on most GNOME desktops.)

  1. Open the Keyboard Shortcuts control panel. For me, it’s in System, Preferences. (This is a per-user setting.)
  2. You might want to collapse all the existing groups so you can see where your new item will be added.
  3. Click “Add”, and enter:
    • Name: System Monitor
    • Command: gnome-system-monitorCustom Shortcut Window
  4. Click on the newly-added entry, and press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to record the new shortcut.Keyboard Shortcuts Window
  5. Close the control panel and try it out!

VR Juggler 3.0 packages updated for Ubuntu Natty

Just a quick heads-up: I’ve updated the VR Juggler Ubuntu/Debian packages I maintain on Gitorious and that are built in this PPA repository. There is now a Ubuntu 11.04 (“Natty”) build of VR Juggler 3.0 and its dependencies alongside the other distributions. The instructions I previously posted on installing VR Juggler on Ubuntu from packages is still accurate and now applies to those of you using the latest Ubuntu release.

There were only minor changes from the Maverick packages. Most notably, the Audiere plugin for Sonix is gone because Audiere is no longer being packaged or distributed by Ubuntu or Debian. (If someone would like to pick up where they left off I’d be happy to collaborate!)  Also, I temporarily disabled the VRPN Gadgeteer driver until I get a chance to make an updated, nice package of a recent version of VRPN. I’m almost done with one – just have to test it. When that’s done, I’ll push a new build with this driver re-enabled.

If they work, or don’t work, for you, let me know! You’re welcome to help maintain these packages – many hands make light work. Their source is over on that gitorious link above, and there’s docs in the gitorious wiki, though they’re sparse – happy to help clarify if you’re interested.  I’d also be interested in trying some alternate build service together with/instead of the Launchpad PPA’s – the openSUSE Build Service looks promising but I haven’t had the time to really look into it. So, there’s a side project for you 🙂