Category Archives: installation

Upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10 on Acer netbook

I tried to upgrade my Acer Aspire One (AOA150) from Natty to Oneiric, but failed. So, I did a fresh install instead.

Upgrade experience: All seemed fine at first, but somehow the screen went black during the upgrade process and would not come back at all. There seemed to be some activity, so perhaps the upgrade was proceeding fine, but I had no way to tell. So I forced the computer to shut down, downloaded Ubuntu to a USB stick and started a fresh install.

Fresh install: Proceeded without a hitch. Obviously, everything on the computer was wiped out. This would have been a disaster on my main computer, but for the netbook it is fine because there is nothing personal on it, anyway. Only copying the music back onto it will take a bit of time.

Things to do after install: A couple of things to make it work the way I want it to…

Installing Google Chrome (not Chromium):
Download chrome installer, then…
sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_i386.deb
sudo apt-get -f install

…the latter to resolve some dependency issues with the browser.

Installed skype from the software centre, but microphone wouldn’t work. Sound recorder could record fine, however.
To fix this, I installed pavucontrol, and changed the input to 10 on one side and 90 on the other (after unlocking the left and right channels).
This is explained here:

Most built-in mics are mono. The default setting on the Input Control is to lock the R&L channel together. By reading the mono mic as stereo, PulseAudio cancels the input. Click on the middle button on the upper right of the control panel to unlock the R&L channel. Move either the left or right channel to 10 leaving the other channel about 90.

Autologin to 2D:
When setting Ubuntu to automatically login as a user, it defaults to Unity (normal, i.e. with compiz and “3D”). To speed things up, I want it to autologin to Unity-2D. Here’s how:
In the file /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, change
user-session=ubuntu to user-session=ubuntu-2d
.. as explained here:…/how-to-default-to-unity-2d-on-auto-login

Luckily the netbook is hooked up to the network by wire, otherwise connecting to wifi would require a password (very annoying when wanting to use autologin). I set wireless to NOT connect automatically.

Final note: I like that in the touchpad settings I can now set it to two finger-scrolling.


Since it is always a bit of a headache getting the partitions right when upgrading, I am noting down here my partition setup for future reference – though it might change. I’m dual-booting with Ubuntu and Windows 7.

Partitions 500 GB hard disk /dev/sda (Master Boot Record)

  • DellUtility /dev/sda1 (41 MB, Hidden W95 FAT16 (LBA) (0x1e))
  • RECOVERY /dev/sda2 (16 GB, HPFS/NTFS (0×07))
  • OS (Win7) /dev/sda3 (107 GB, HPFS/NTFS (0×07))
  • 377 GB Extended /dev/sda4 (W95 Ext d (LBA) (0x0f))
    • Stuff /dev/sda5 mounted at /media/Stuff (268 GB, HPFS/NTFS (0×07))
    • 10 GB Filesystem /dev/sda6 mounted at /home (10 GB, Linux Ext4 (0×83))
    • 8.2 GB Swap Space /dev/sda7 (8.2 GB, Linux swap (0×82))
    • 90 GB Filesystem /dev/sda8 mounted at / (90 GB, Linux Ext4 (0×83))

Lucid Lynx

am a bit late, but have now installed Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx 64-bit (on a dell Studio 1747).

The installation went without a hitch, here are the major things I had to do afterwards. Actually, nothing major, mind you.

Wireless network: install required wired network, and then activating the Broadcom STA proprietary wireless driver ( > System > Administration > Hardware drivers)

Sound: No sound would play through the headphones. Solved by adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
options snd-hda-intel model=dell-m6
See also:

…other issues and notes later.

Hardy Heron / Ubuntu 8.04 install

I have just upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04, and thus there are some new things to blog about.

I could not actually upgrade, as I got this error every time I tried:
Could not calculate the upgrade
A unresolvable [sic] problem occurred while calculating the upgrade.

So, guessing that it may be caused by “unofficial software packages not provided by Ubuntu” I uninstalled/disabled the following:
BlueMarine, easyTAG, Firefox add-ons, flashplugin-nonfree, Flock, Gnomad, GQview, gstreamer plugins bad, ugly and ffmpeg, gxine, libdvdread3, LightZone, MPlayer, multiverse sources, NVidia restricted drivers, Picasa, pysdm, Skype, Sun Java, VLC
Still, every time I tried upgrading the same error popped up.

So, instead I did a fresh install of Ubuntu, which went well. I don’t find the partitioning part well done for someone who’d like to keep his existing Windows installation. I chose manual configuration, deleted the existing Ubuntu (7.10) partition, and chose to reformat it as ext3 as root partition… all the while not being sure whether I was doing the right thing…

To-do list

Now that I’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 7.04, here’s a note to myself of things I can think of now that I still need to do:

  • Keep windows in /boot/grub/menu.lst
  • Every time there is a kernel upgrade (or after upgrading to Feisty), the menu.lst file gets changed. That file lists what operating systems choices GRUB lists upon bootup. I dual-boot between Ubuntu and WinXP. After every upgrade, however, WinXP gets deleted from the list. I have learnt to backup the old menu.lst and restore the appropriate lines of code to it afterwards, but it is annoying. So I have to find out how to tell Ubuntu to keep that choice there when upgrading.

  • Does linux keep all the old kernels around? (i.e. there are more and more options in GRUB) Can I get rid of old ones and save disk space?
  • Wireless networking
  • Before the Feisty upgrade NetworkManager has given me all sorts of headaches when trying to connect to wireless networks. Need to investigate situation now and see what needs to be done…

  • Have DVD’s autorun in VLC player instead of gXine.
  • Move the home folde to a different partition… maybe
  • Get rid of the icons for my different partitions on the desktop
  • I can access them through the > Places menu. However, do show icons for inserted media such as CDs or USB sticks. Also, I want to make the “DellUtility” Partition, that presumably is factory installed from Dell, totally disappear from view.

  • Install beagle, tracker, … desktop search?
  • Experiment with desktop effects?

…I’m sure there will be more.

Upgraded to Feisty

I have just upgraded to Feisty Fawn (i.e. Ubuntu 7.04) and it all went so smoothly there is nothing to write home about. I’m almost disappointed ;-)
I took an hour of letting the upgrade tool do its work.

The only small annoyance that I have noticed so far is that it changes menu.lst the way it always does when you do a kernel upgrade. It takes Windows off the list, which is quite annoying for a dual-booter like me. More in another post.

Editing /boot/grub/menu.lst to change the GRUB boot menu

UPDATE (April 2010): The information in this post is outdated! Most linux distributions, including Ubuntu, are moving to GRUB 2. Because the contents of this post is about the previous version of GRUB, it is fast becoming obsolete. More about GRUB 2 here:

I have an Ubuntu/WinXP dual-boot machine. The GRUB bootloader menu allows me to boot into several Ubuntu options or into WinXP. Unless I have to fix something (which I hope I won’t have to), I only ever choose the main Ubuntu option or WinXP. These options are, however, at either ends of the list. I’d prefer them to be next to each other for quick access.

Here’s a helpful reference. And here’s what I did:

The GRUB boot menu configuration is in the file

1. backup
sudo cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst-backup

2. edit
sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

3. Move the paragraph with the WinXP options up the list.

4. Change default to 1 (was 0)
default 1

5. comment out the lines about “Other operating systems

So now I have the following options when booting:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic
  • Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic (recovery mode)
  • Ubuntu, memtest86+

…and the second option is automatically selected and boots-up after 10 seconds if I don’t do anything.

Here is the contents of the resulting file (showing only the uncommented lines)

default 1

timeout 10

title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root (hd0,1)
chainloader +1

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/sda5 ro quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.17-10-generic

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic (recovery mode)
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/sda5 ro single
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.17-10-generic

title Ubuntu, memtest86+
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin

I should emphasize the importance of the first step, i.e. backing up the original file. I’d like to quote a comment on a relevant website here for future reference:

TuxGirl wrote: As a side note, I think it’s important to mention that, if you do manage to completely mess up your grub.conf [or] file to the point that your machine won’t boot, you can fix it by booting into a livecd (like the Ubuntu livecd or Knoppix or DSL or *something*), and then copying your backup grub.conf [or] over while in there. In fact, this method is great whenever you do something to your system that makes it temporarily unusable.

Ubuntu installation

There is very little to say about installing Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Etch on my Dell Precision M70 laptop: everything seems to “just work” …so far
I have yet to check whether all the hardware is recognised and configured correctly (e.g. graphics-card, wireless, etc.).

Partitions: chose “use largest unallocated space on disk for partitioning” (similar wording?) for partitioning. I had already pre-partitioned the hard drive with an NTFS-partition containing WinXP, a FAT-partition for my documents and files, and free space for linux.