Monthly Archives: November 2013

Upgrade Lubuntu 13.04 to 13.10 on Eee 701

Lubuntu is the perfect distribution for your Eee 701. Now the time has come to upgrade to 13.10, and since I have had a few problems with that before I was a bit reluctant to upgrade my Eee 701, especially since it just has a 4GB SSD.

Since I installed 13.04 on the Eee, the available disk space has disappeared. It turns out, the kernel has been upgraded several times, but the old versions have not been discarded. You just need the latest version (the one you are running, check with uname -a). If you have more linux-images than needed, purge them. Do the same with linux-headers-packages.

$ dpkg -l | grep linux-image
$ uname -a
$ sudo apt-get purge linux-image-3.8.0-XX
$ dpkg -l | grep linux-headers
$ sudo apt-get purge linux-headers-3.8.0-XX

When it was time for upgrade, I had 1.6 GB (df -h) available on /. To play safe I formatted an SD card (1GB should be enough) and mounted it on /var/cache/apt (where all downloaded packages go during upgrade).

$ sudo apt-get clean
$ sudo mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdb1
$ mount /dev/sdb1 /var/cache/apt

I updated using the normal GUI upgrade program. During upgrade, the peak disk usage (just before cleaning) was less than 550MB on the SD card /var/cache/apt and my /-device was down to 700MB available (so my 1.6GB available in the first place should have been just enough).

The computer restarted nicely. The fact that the SD card was not immediately mounted on /var/cache/apt caused no problems. After upgrade I just had 1.1Gb available on / though. After again purging unused linux-image I was up at 1.2Gb. I wonder where the extra 400Mb went; I found Firefox, and I doubt it was installed in 13.04… removing it saves about 60Mb.

So, the conclusion is that upgrading Lubuntu from 13.04 to 13.10 on your Eee 701 should be just fine, if you have about 1.5Gb available space on /, and if you feel you have about 400MB to spare on the upgrade. A permanent SD card or mini-usb-memory that can host /home, /var, /tmp and/or /usr is of course nice.

Turn off VR when using a tripod

I have found that (when using my Nikon Coolpix P7000) pictures get sharper when I turn off VR (Vibration Reduction), for long exposure times and when using a tripod.

orchide-2

orchide-1

Both pictures are 10 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 100, 200mm with my Nikon P7000. The orchide is lit up only by a candle. The left one is the sharpest of three attempts, with VR turned on. The right one is the first attempt with VR turned off. Obviously a tripod was used.

Upgrading Qnap TS109 from Squeeze to Wheezy

Update: new instructions for upgrading Wheezy to Jessie

Now that Wheezy has been out for a while I thought it is stable enough even for my old QNAP TS109. A great source of information for Debian on Qnaps is Martin Michlmeyr, so I decided to upgrade from squeeze to wheezy using Debain standard instructions.

Package Checking
I did not have any packages on hold, but over the years I have installed quite many packages I dont need. So I spent some time listing and removing packages:

$ sudo dpkg -l
$ sudo apt-get purge SOMEPACKAGES

I thought, faster to delete them now, than to upgrade them a little later.

/etc/apt/sources.list
First real upgrade-related step is fixing /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://ftp.se.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main
deb-src http://ftp.se.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main non-free

I have just replaced ‘squeeze’ for ‘wheezy’ four times.

update upgrade
Now the point of no return:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

This presented me with a few challenges.

???????????????????????????Configuring linux-base?????????????????????????????
? Boot loader configuration check needed                                     ?
?                                                                            ?
? The boot loader configuration for this system was not recognized. These    ?
? settings in the configuration may need to be updated:                      ?
?                                                                            ?
?  * The root device ID passed as a kernel parameter;                        ?
?  * The boot device ID used to install and update the boot loader.          ?
?                                                                            ?
?                                                                            ?
? You should generally identify these devices by UUID or label. However,     ?
? on MIPS systems the root device must be identified by name.                ?
?                                                                            ?
?                                                                            ?
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
?                                 <  OK  >                                   ?
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

What is an ARM user gonna do about it? You can safely ignore this (if you are upgrading Debian on a QNAP – probably not if you are upgrading Ubuntu on your laptop!). This is supposed to be grub/lilo-related, and not relevant.

In the end of apt-get upgrade I got these messages, ensuring my system will boot properly even after upgrade. You should probably see something like this too, or consider to find out how to do it manually.

Processing triggers for initramfs-tools ...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-5-orion5x
flash-kernel: installing version 2.6.32-5-orion5x
Generating kernel u-boot image... done.
Flashing kernel... done.
Flashing initramfs... done.

Sudo was a little challenge:

Configuration file `/etc/sudoers'
 ==> File on system created by you or by a script.
 ==> File also in package provided by package maintainer.
   What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
    Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
    N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
      D     : show the differences between the versions
      Z     : start a shell to examine the situation
 The default action is to keep your current version.
*** sudoers (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? D

The “diff” told me that it intended to delete my sudo line related to me; the new way is to add people to the group (/etc/group) named sudo. So I added myself to the sudo group and bravely answered ‘Y’ to the question above.

Immediately, sudo did not work, as I was no longer in the sudoers file… However, a little logout/login fixed that, and the group works all fine.

After apt-get upgrade had completed I decided to reboot my system, before proceeding. For the first time ever it came up with another IP-address than usual. Obviously the dhcp-client did not bother to ask for the same address anymore, and the dhcp-server did not bother to hand out the same address either. So, a few nervous minutes before I found my QNAP on another IP.

apt-get dist-upgrade
Now that the system rebooted properly it was time for the final upgrade step:

$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

This procedure mostly works on it own, occationally asking something.

I answered Yes to this question (after reading the diff, not remembering having edited this file)

Configuration file `/etc/default/rcS'
 ==> File on system created by you or by a script.
 ==> File also in package provided by package maintainer.
   What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
    Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
    N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
      D     : show the differences between the versions
      Z     : start a shell to examine the situation
 The default action is to keep your current version.
*** rcS (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? y

The dist-upgrade once again replaced the kernel…

Processing triggers for initramfs-tools ...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-3.2.0-4-orion5x
flash-kernel: installing version 3.2.0-4-orion5x
Generating kernel u-boot image... done.
Flashing kernel... done.
Flashing initramfs... done.

…so I made a final reboot. Everything seems just fine.

Raspberry Pi findings

I have had the opportunity to play around a bit with a Raspberry Pi lately. Here follows a few findings that perhaps can be helpful to someone.

Composite Video
The Raspberry Pi supports Composite Video. I failed to make the installer display anything at all using Composite Video, for Rasbian and Noobs. With Noobs, I know that it started and did something (becuase the SD card partitions were changed), but I dont know exactly what. With Rasbian, I dont know if I just failed to produce a bootable SD card.

Raspbmc worked perfectly over Composite Video though! So even if Raspbmc was not my first choice, it ended up being what I first played on with.

HDMI Video
I tried the Raspberry Pi Thin Client Project. Works perfectly on HDMI->DVI@1600×1200. So I guess most DVI displays can work fine with an HDMI->DVI-cable.

Raspbmc

  • You can disable XMBC editing startup conditions in /etc/init/xbmc.conf
  • Raspbmc comes with a firewall setting that blocks incoming traffic from outside its own subnet. You can fix this with iptables -F, or for more persistant change, edit /etc/???
  • Static IP is easiest configured via XBMC… /etc/network/interfaces does not seem to work properly, but perhaps my mistake

Raspberry Pi Think Client Project
Where I work, the Citrix Receiver (12.2.3) that comes with RPi-TC, does not work. Applications crashes (The X Request 62.0 caused error:…) quickly. However, I installed 13.0 from Citrix, and opened the Citrix Applications via the web browser – that works fine. But wfcmgr seems missing from 13.0 – I havnt found out what replaces it.

RPi-TC is slow – at the point of being unusuable for anything real. Except for the Citrix client and Remoted desktop client – those work quite fine, and that was the point anyway! Iceweasel is slow. I thought about installing Chromium, but no immediate success with that. Perhaps it is my memory card that is slow.

Noobs / Raspbian
When creating a memory card for Noobs in Linux:

  • fdisk: create one big partition with partition type “c”
  • mkfs.vfat: no need to use any arguments/flags except /dev/mmcblk0p1 (or whatever is your memory card)

With an HDMI cable Noobs and Raspbian works well. Now that I have seen Noobs that is what I recommend anyone to try first. And Raspbian seems fine.

For use as a desktop computer, the Raspberry Pi is in need of an accelerated X server – which will come, perhaps not in the form of an X server at all, but Wayland/Weston. You can try Weston in the latest/current Raspbian, but you can only run a terminal application (unless I have failed to understand something here). It looks very promising, but not useful for anything real at the moment. There is an fb-turbo-Xserver that is now standard, and it is a bit better than the old fb-Xserver that I used when this post was originally written.

16 GB Max RAM in 13″ MacBook Pro (Early 2011)

I can confirm that it was possible to upgrade a Mac Book Pro (Early 2011) to 16GB of RAM (2x8GB DDR3 PC10600 SODIMM).

According to Apple this model only supports 8GB of RAM.

My model is the one with a 2.3GHz i5 CPU.

Ubuntu 13.10 and GeForce 8200

Update 2015-04-24: Installing 15.04 from scratch worked perfectly.
Update 2014-11-02: Upgrading from 14.04 to 14.10 worked perfectly.
Update 2014-04-27: Upgrading from 13.10 to 14.04 worked perfectly.

As I have written before, Ubuntu has been a little tricky with a GeForce 8200. How about 13.10?

Well, the Live CD (which is a Live DVD, because it does not fit on a CD anymore) works just fine, using the Nouveau driver. That is good news.

I upgraded my 13.04 to 13.10 – upgrade was fine, but X (or whatever it is in 13.10) did not start. I had to do:

  $ sudo apt-get purge nvidia-173
  $ sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

That took me to the login window, but after that, black display. At this point I tried a few things, but decided to make a clean install of 13.10 instead.

The clean install went fine. After logging in the first time I logged out again, closed down lightdm and restored my home directory from backup (using rsync). To my surprise, after startig lightdm logging in did not work – just as after my upgrade. It turns out that after deleting ~/cache and ~/.config/xfce4 I could log in again! So, my clean reinstall was probably never needed… I will not know.

Finally, I can mention that to enable Ubuntu One in Xubuntu 13.10, the only thing I did was install ubuntu-one-control-panel-qt. Since I had restored my old home directory, both my Ubuntu One settings and my Ubuntu One files were already there, and it worked perfectly.