Ubuntu 13.10 notes

Reinstalling Ubuntu on my laptop, a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13".

Creating a bootable USB stick:

  • On another Ubuntu machine, use "Disks" from the menu to remove old partition, create a new one, and format a 1 GB stick
  • Use unetbootin to write the latest ISO from http://www.ubuntu.com/download to the stick

For some reason the driver support for this laptop is not that great. Wifi, bluetooth, screen brightness control do not work with standard Ubuntu. Amazingly the touch-screen does work - but I don't use it much. The wifi driver is an absolute must, since the machine does not have an Ethernet port.

Wifi driver fix:

git clone https://github.com/lwfinger/rtl8723au.git
cd rtl8723au/
sudo make install
sudo modprobe 8723au

Screen brightness fix:

  • Add the acpi_backlight=vendor to your grub default command line in /etc/default/grub, i.e. GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_backlight=vendor"
  • sudo update-grub
  • blacklist the ideapad_laptop by adding "blacklist ideapad_laptop" to your /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf file.
  • sudo reboot

Useful packages and random tweaks:

  • git
  • build-essential
  • synaptic
  • indicator-multiload
  • flashplugin-installer
  • Firefox plugins: Tab Mix Plus (Why isn't multi-row tabs standard on Firefox?? I NEED about 8 rows of tabs!)
  • geany (simple text editor)
  • Privacy: from the menu "Privacy" then on the second tab turn OFF "record file and application usage"
  • filelight (see where all the diskspace went!)
  • vlc
  • stellarium (star map)

External sources

NTP to keep the system clock on time

  • sudo apt-get install ntp
  • add time1.mikes.fi and time2.mikes.fi to list of servers to /etc/ntp.conf
  • sudo service ntp restart
  • check that it is working: watch -n 2 ntpq -np

Reasons to still have a Virtualbox Win-7 install:

  • PADS schematic and PCB design - but I am trying to learn Kicad now
  • Wireless USB-stick based transfer of GPS data from my Garmin devices (I think this is doable in linux, I just haven't had the time to learn)
  • QuickRoute for plotting orienteering maps/GPS-data (I'ts a .NET application, so maybe would run under mono?)
  • Mechanical CAD applications. FreeCAD is on the way to become usable for serious stuff - but not yet...
  • NI Multisim for SPICE simulations. Is there a good alternative for linux?

2 thoughts on “Ubuntu 13.10 notes”

  1. the main menu of Comsol (and by googling I found many other applications also) does not work. The fix is:
    $ export UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0
    $ comsol

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