Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trial Run of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

Over the past few weeks I've been running Fedora 9 on my laptop, in my experience, F9 does not perform well on my system. I haven't tried it on any of my desktop hardware, so I can't pass judgment past using it on the Dell XPS m1330. Maybe there are too many brand new technologies in this release?

I was about to roll back to Fedora 8, which performed well on the hardware, when I thought, why not give Ubuntu Hardy Heron a try.

In the Linux realm, I have always chosen Red Hat or other RPM based distributions over the others. So this is slightly unfamiliar territory for me, being Debian based.

Power Savings
Since this is a laptop, I wanted to get max performance when on AC power and max battery when off of AC power. I did so by following these steps.

I also modified /etc/X11/xorg.conf from

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Driver "nvidia"
Option "NoLogo" "True"


Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Driver "nvidia"
Option "NoLogo" "True"
Option "OnDemandVBlankInterrupts" "True"

And added a new script to Sessions (System -> Preferences -> Sessions) called "Nvidia Power Settings" with the following code:

while true; do
if on_ac_power; then
nice /usr/bin/nvidia-settings -q all > /dev/null
sleep 25;

The following are the steps I took to get Ubuntu to play an off the shelf copy of Pink Floyd the Wall DVD (which would not play with the default install of Ubuntu 8.04). The DVD is apparently of the encrypted variety.

Useful links:

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install vlc libdvdcss2 ubuntu-restricted-extras w32codecs

I ran into an issue with the default policy for the Firestarter firewall where it wouldn't allow traffic on my VPN connection. Using this page as a reference I was able to get VPN traffic to pass through the firewall. Here are the settings that I used in /etc/firestarter/user-pre:

iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s IP_OF_VPN_GATEWAY -p esp
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s IP_OF_VPN_GATEWAY -p udp -m multiport -sports isakmp,10000
iptables -A INPUT -i tun0 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -o tun0 -j ACCEPT

This Ubuntu forum post covers the steps to configure nVidia notebook GPUs for maximum performance while on AC and max power savings while on battery.

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