Linux Tips « verdure
Linux Tips
Monday, September 12th, 2011

With a recent computer upgrade with a new Sandybridge i5-2500K processesor, we’ve found that the default Ubuntu Natty kernel and drivers have some bugs that are addressed in Oneiric. Particularly: X crashing after a few minutes when using the onboard graphics, and failing to boot after attempting to install the nvidia drivers for a discrete gpu, no matter if attempting to use the drivers in the package manager or from nvidia’s site.

When using the onboard (Intel HD Graphics 3000), you can use RandR to get dual monitors working. Run xrandr -q at the command line to see what monitors are detected and their names. Once you find a command that works at the command line manually, you can add it to your .xinitrc:
xrandr --output HDMI1 --mode 1600x1200 --output HDMI2 --mode 1920x1200 --left-of HDMI1 &
exec startxfce4

I am using the Xubuntu flavor of Ubuntu, which uses the xfce window manager instead of gnome. It offers a light weight interface, but crucially supports desktop switching by using the scroll wheel over the desktop. With xfce I’ve lost the ability to use the gnome-applets (there is a xfce applet wrapper program, but I had no luck with it, using current or older versions of the gnome applets). So I’m still looking for a decent timer app.

With Xubuntu, gdm has been replaced by lightdm, so to stop X server, switch to a terminal, login, and type
sudo service stop lightdm

Apps I miss and have installed since upgrading:

  • gedit – text editor
  • gkrellm – system monitor, including temperature sensors. Put coretemp in /etc/modules in order to have the CPU temperatures available
  • exiale – music player that supports internet radio stations, which I couldn’t find a way to play from within the default gmusicbrowser. I really prefer the winamp clone audacious’ interface, but I keep finding bugs that bother me enough to stop using it.
  • gimp-ufraw – adds support for CR2 Canon photos in the gimp. Gives the user much better control than dfraw.
  • f-spot – image viewer. Has the ability to move through a folder of pictures, and supports CR2. Suggestions of a better program would be welcome.
  • 64 bit flash – add ppa:sevenmachines/flash to your repositories, then install flashplugin64-installer
  • pulse audio manager – If you have trouble with your sound, you will most likely need this to figure out where you sounds are incorrectly being sent to.
  • virtualbox – VMs for when Windows must be used. They’ve improved since I last upgraded. Sound through the VM works now.
  • wine – emulator for windows programs. To use the development version, add ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa to your repositories.

We’re using Samba on our fileserver. This works pretty nicely with Windows clients, but has been a long time pain trying to work with a linux cifs client. I finally found that I can get the permissions we need (rw for a group all users are in) by disabling the CIFS Unix Extensions, and then telling the mount to pretend which user, group, file and directory settings to use. I would still love to see a way to save password information that didn’t involve a clear text password sitting in an environment variable, fstab, or a file sitting somewhere.
//192.168.1.3/ServerShareName /media/localMountPoint cifs noauto,rw,user=myUserName,nounix,uid=myUserName,gid=myGroupName,file_mode=0770,dir_mode=0770 0 0

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