Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Enable “tray-icons” in Ubuntu 12.10

Okay, I sort of did this by accident. But, I was trying to enable Pidgin (an instant messenger) the ability to notify using the “tray-icon,” and I did this:

  1. run dconf-editor
  2. open com -> canonical -> unity -> panel
  3. set systray-whitelist to “[‘all’]”

Which did this (notice tray-icons):

Screenshot from 2013-02-11 14:24:35

 

I’m not sure this is what I wanted, but thought I’d share.

Upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04 to 12.10, Ubuntu 12.10 Review

This week I decided to upgrade to the latest release of Ubuntu, 12.10. I had thought about using 12.04 LTS until the next LTS came out, but I was getting a little tired of random Compiz crashing, and I was just generally curious. Here is my review of some of the differences, experiences, and new things I found in 12.10 that mattered to me.

Setup

I started the install on my  HP G42-415DX with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 Graphics and 8GB of RAM.

Install

After backing up my home folder, I decided not to upgrade, but to just install fresh by electing to erase my hard drive and start fresh. The install was rather quick over a USB live install of 12.10. Once the install was over it booted, rather quickly I might add, into the login shell. I noticed that I could no longer select 2D when logging in (which I expected).

No restricted drivers, everything worked out of the box hardware wise. I will say that this install was the best ever using Ubuntu.

Performance

The default video drivers performed perfect and I haven’t touched them. I did find Unity much slower than 12.04, but it seems to help to remove some of the lenses, but it’s still slower than 12.04. Other than that everything has performed pretty much the same. I did find the video to be much snappier and responsive, less static and flashes too. Dual displays worked great!

Visual Differences

Tabs were re-done to appear much nicer and buttons are smaller. The notification area has been made simpler, if there is only one user the user-switcher does not show up. The launcher works crisper and animations seem to be a lot better. In 12.04 I was always frustrated with it’s usability and notifications. In 12.10, when a notification is thrown, it properly pops out the icon so you notice.

Otherwise it’s pretty much the same. Unity has square highlights vs rounded highlights too.

Applications

Empathy got a good work-over and I feel it looks a lot better. Online accounts (which Empathy uses) is in the Settings panel. Gwibber does not work at all. The notification applet also always shows you as offline.

The best part is that ALT-TAB does not fold tabs in Chrome. This was really annoying in 12.04 as I had to ALT-TAB through each tab in Chrome.

Overall

If you are wondering if 12.10 is worth it, I would suggest it is. The removal of restricted drivers and more “just working” makes it a great release.  But, as always, your hardware setup will always change things. I’m glad I upgraded.

Howto Ubuntu 12.04 Open Source Radeon Drivers and Power Management

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You can check out my hardware profile here…

Okay, I’m not sure if I am like the rest of you, but sometimes I feel like giving up on Linux. Yesterday it was because I couldn’t get full screen video to play without being choppy and slow. Not to mention using Unity (which I like) in 3D with the fglrx proprietary drivers made my desktop choppy and slow as well.

Well, after telling myself, “Dammit! I hate having to go back to Windowz!” I did what a true Linux-er would do and started Googleing my way out of the problem. I landed on a page where a user said he preffered the open source Radeon driver over the fglrx drivers, and I thought, “what the hell.”

Installing the Driver/Removing fglrx

So, I finally found my way to this page, which gave a great how-to on removing the old fglrx drivers fully and installing the new open source Radeon drivers.

sudo apt-get remove --purge xorg-driver-fglrx fglrx*  
sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri fglrx-modaliases  
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

sudo apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg-core

Do a restart and notice how fast everything is! At least it was for me. Video could run full screen at 1080HD on my HD TV, YouTube the same and my UI was also faster and snappier!

Power Management

So, once I got this done I noticed my laptop getting hot and the fan acting like there was a fire nearby! So, I went, again, Googling for my solution.

I reached this page and found out that there is power management built into the driver, but they aren’t enabled by default.

I enabled the profile and auto power options in the terminal, on the fly, by:

echo profile > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
echo mid > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

Startup

So these changes do not stick around the next time you restart your computer or wake it from sleep mode. So, I ran into this page and found out how to make these changes stick:

Step 1: Create hook:

gksudo gedit /usr/lib/pm-utils/power.d/radeon-power_profile

Step 2: Fill file with in the desired setting:

#!/bin/sh

echo profile > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_method
echo auto > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile

exit 0

Step 3: Make it executable:

sudo chmod +x /usr/lib/pm-utils/power.d/radeon-power_profile

And now my laptop is not running as hot and the fan is not mondo-hyper all the time. And…. it performs, visually, at least as well as when I was on Windowz. Is that so much to ask for?

Speed issues in Google Chrome on Ubuntu 12.04

I’m not sure if at this point I’ve shared that I’ve made a move to Ubuntu, and I’ll admit it’s been alright so far. But, I still keep running into grandma-can’t-fix-that issues. The one I had this week was video issies with the speed of YouTube videos hiking up to 3-4 times the normal speed. Super annoying!

But, I was able to find a fix, here’s what I did:

Note: I am still having problems with this from time to time. This helps, but still creeps up!

It turns out the Chrome uses a built-in Flash plugin and another one, the one you probably have installed in Ubuntu. So, what you have to do is disable the built-in plugin to get things to work right.

Just browse to chrome://plugins/ and click Details on the right. From there, you’ll see two Flash files being used. Disable the one that is /opt/google/chrome.

And then, when you’ve fixed it, test it out on one of my favorite videos!