Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) 64bit on a SONY VAIO AW11Z

First of all, I have to say I’m really happy the way it turned out, at the moment I’m having no problems at all running a 64bit version of Ubuntu, but damn, the road here was horrible.


It all began when I tried upgrading to the 185 version of the Nvidia drivers (hoping it would solve rare and intermittent but extremely annoying Compiz failures) on Ubuntu 9.04 using the server kernel mod which allows you to make use of 4GB RAM using a 32bit system. It failed miserably and no matter how I tried I couldn’t get Compiz working after rescuing the system.

In other words, looking at the situation from a positive point of view: A perfect moment to try the new 64bit version of Ubuntu had presented itself.

Nvidia Drivers

The installation was easier than ever if you can believe that and all the hardware was working out of the box, everything except the proprietary Nvidia drivers which I easily installed through Synaptic, and lo and behold! The 185 version was there precompiled and everything so I got what I originally wanted anyway and Compiz hasn’t crashed yet.

WxRuby (Wx Widgets)

Everything except Wxruby worked straight away, after installing the gem and the wxwidgets library I got the following when trying to run the pico editor:

/var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/wxruby-2.0.0-x86_64-linux/lib/wxruby2.so: /var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/wxruby-2.0.0-x86_64-linux/lib/wxruby2.so: symbol _ZN13wxAuiNotebook7SetFontERK6wxFont, version WXU_2.8.5 not defined in file libwx_gtk2u_aui-2.8.so.0 with link time reference - /var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/wxruby-2.0.0-x86_64-linux/lib/wxruby2.so (LoadError)
from /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/rubygems/custom_require.rb:31:in `require’
from /var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/wxruby-2.0.0-x86_64-linux/lib/wx.rb:12
from /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/rubygems/custom_require.rb:36:in `gem_original_require’
from /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/rubygems/custom_require.rb:36:in `require’
from editor.rb:5

I decided to compile myself, in order to do that I needed a whole slew of stuff, most of it is detailed here. But more is needed, much more. At first I got an error that I was lacking gl.h so I installed all OpenGL dev libs I could find and that took care of it, after that I needed to install libgtkextra-x11 and finally success, I now have a working wxruby so that I can edit my picolisp code in peace!


I’ve uploaded the gem so you don’t have to go through the same mess as me: wxruby-201-x86_64-linux.gem.

Touch pad and annoying alerts

Amazing, there is no way to completely turn off the touch pad in the mouse settings, well here is one way to do it, go to System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications -> New/Add. Paste this into the command field: synclient TouchpadOff=1.

Neither does there seem to be a way to right click the shut down button to disable the annoying alert box that will take 60 seconds to disappear. This is how you turn it off (not as root, as yourself): gconftool-2 -s ‘/apps/indicator-session/suppress_logout_restart_shutdown’ –type bool true.

And finally to disable the annoying status updates Ted’s line still works: sudo mv /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Notifications.service /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Notifications.service.disabled.

Amazing that there are no easily accessible controls for this, what a complete failure.

Eclipse

I had problems getting the 64bit version of Eclipse to work, buttons were not responding to clicks and so on. After I searched a bit I found the solution on some forum, I now launch Eclipse through this bash script, problem solved:

export GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=true
cd /home/henrik/eclipse
./eclipse
Video Thumbnails

Various video thumbnails failed to show and I found the solution here. Here is how you fix it:
apt-get remove totem
apt-get install totem-xine

Finally clear out the ~/.thumbnails/fail folder.

Flash Player

There were problems with the flash player but here is a script that takes care of that now that Adobe has released a Flash player version for 64 bit Linux.

VirtualBox

I just installed a Win XP 32 bit in VirtualBox as per the instructions here. Worked without a glitch, a relief.

Sound

Sound works like a charm, even Skype though the mic level is a bit low despite being maxed out.

Annoying security policy prompts

Default security policies wouldn’t allow me to log out when I was logged in as administrator in for instance a terminal. I got something like “System security policy prevents you from logging out when there are other users logged in”. Extremely annoying when you just want to shut down ASAP.

My /usr/share/polkit-1/actions/org.freedesktop.consolekit.policy file now looks like this and I don’t get that crap anymore:

<policyconfig>

  <action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.stop">
    <description>Stop the system</description>
    <message>System policy prevents stopping the system</message>
    <defaults>
      <allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
      <allow_active>yes</allow_active>
    </defaults>
  </action>

  <action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.stop-multiple-users">
    <description>Stop the system when multiple users are logged in</description>
    <message>System policy prevents stopping the system when other users are logged in</message>
    <defaults>
      <allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
      <allow_active>yes</allow_active>
    </defaults>
  </action>

  <action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart">
    <description>Restart the system</description>
    <message>System policy prevents restarting the system</message>
    <defaults>
      <allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
      <allow_active>yes</allow_active>
    </defaults>
  </action>

  <action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart-multiple-users">
    <description>Restart the system when multiple users are logged in</description>
    <message>System policy prevents restarting the system when other users are logged in</message>
    <defaults>
      <allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
      <allow_active>yes</allow_active>
    </defaults>
  </action>

</policyconfig>
Dual Screens

I just tried using two screens by way of the HDMI cable, worked without a single little hiccup. However when trying to save the Nvidia settings panel complained that my Xorg file couldn’t be parsed.

So I did as root:
rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf
nvidia-xconfig
nvidia-settings -> Save to xorg file

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