Lucid HOWTO

Posted on June 17, 2010

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I’ve finally had a chance to setup and test Lucid on my AAO zg5. I’m giving up on Crunchbang for the time being. I’m tired of hand editing menu entries and although the current alpha release has an XFCE4 version which has built-in automatic menu generation, it’s a little buggy. And when it comes down to it, I prefer Ubuntu to Debian. I ended up going with Lubuntu rather than Linux Mint LXDE CE.  Although I like the app selection for Linux Mint better, I’m kind of dissatisfied with the general feel of Mint. Bootup gives an error as it looks for a nonexistent uid 0.

Installing Lubuntu

My suggested install method for Lubuntu is to use either the alternate install CD or the mini iso and install a minimal command line system. (Use unetbootin or Ubuntu’s usb-creator to create a live usb drive.) There is a release iso but, it did not install libpam-gnome-keyring by default which causes some problems with having to type your keyring password all the time to connect to the network. Of course you could install libpam-gnome-keyring by hand if you want after installing the release iso. If you have an SSD, I recommend against creating a swap partition as that will increase the wear on your SSD (I switched out my SSD for a 60GB Samsung).

Strangely, despite the fact that the ath5k wireless module has been working at least since kernel version 2.6.33, it has problems in Lucid’s 2.6.32 kernel, even if you install the wireless modules that have been backported from both the 2.6.34 and 2.6.35 kernels. To get wireless working stably, we will install the backported kernel from Maverick.

After installing your minimal system, boot up and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubuntu-desktop/ppa
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/lucid-proposed.list

Enter the following, save and exit:

deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ lucid-proposed main

Now type:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install lubuntu-desktop
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade

No SSD

If you do not have an SSD, type:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

and look for the line that starts “GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT”. Edit this line to read:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”acerhdf.kernelmode=1 pciehp.pciehp_force=1 quiet splash”

These additional options enable acerhdf for better (not constantly on) fan management and hotplugging the right card reader. Type

sudo update-grub2

to update your grub configuration.

SSD

If you have an SSD, type:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

and add the following at the end:

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
none /var/tmp aufs noatime,br:/tmp=rw:/var/tmp=ro 0 0
none /var/log aufs noatime,br:/tmp=rw:/var/log=ro 0 0
none /var/cache aufs noatime,br:/tmp=rw:/var/cache=ro 0 0

This will mount /tmp as a ramdisk and then uses aufs to jointly mount /var/tmp, /var/log and /var/cache with /tmp. This will put all temporary files (including your logs) into the ramdisk and minimize wear on your SSD. If you want to keep your log files, omit the 3rd line.

Now type:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

and look for the line that starts “GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT”. Add “elevator=noop” to the list of options. The various ‘elevator’ kernel options specify the order in which access requests are made to a disk. This is important for traditional hard drives where the read/write head moves along the platter and sequential access according to the direction the read/write head is moving will improve performance. But with an SSD, there is no read/write head so that specifying a particular order for drive access can actually degrade performance. The ‘elevator=noop’ kernel option disables this, improving SSD speed. Along with necessary options from the previous section, it should now read:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”elevator=noop acerhdf.kernelmode=1 pciehp.pciehp_force=1 quiet splash”

Now type

sudo update-grub2

to update your grub configuration.

Firefox on an SSD

Firefox by default caches data to the hard drive. This is no good for an SSD but it can be fixed by telling Firefox to cache data in /tmp. To do so, open Firefox and type ‘about:config’ in the browser window. Click ‘I’ll be careful, I promise!’ and then create (or edit) the key ‘browser.cache.disk.parent_directory’ and give it the value ‘/tmp’.

Done!

Now type:

sudo reboot

to reboot into your new Lubuntu system.

Concluding remarks

From what I’ve seen, I’d say this is the best Ubuntu release ever. Wireless works stably once the backported kernel is installed, the wireless LED works, suspend works and it requires minimal tweaking to get the fan and right cardreader working properly.

As usual, please post if you have any questions or comments. I will update this as necessary.

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Posted in: HOWTO, Lucid