Macbook Intel Core 2 Duo wireless using Ubuntu?

January 31st, 2007

It appears that the wireless chipset used in the Macbook Core 2 Duo is different from those used in the Core Duos… (which makes sense, as Apple just announced 802.11N support for Core 2 Duo based machines). So, how does one get wireless working under Ubuntu?

Well, the answer is to use ndiswrapper which lets one use wireless drivers desiged for Windows to operate under Linux. The first mistake is to use the version from the Ubuntu repository, at the time of this writing v1.22.  It turns out that v1.33 or higher is needed, so it’s best to go to the sourceforge site and get the latest version and compile yourself.

Next, where does one find a Windows driver that works with this chipset?  Well, doing a lspci command shows the chipset is an Atheros, and it turns out to be the same one used by DLink’s DWA-645.  So, simply go to DLink’s website and download the WinXP drivers for the DWA-645.

Following the installation directions at ndiswrapper.sourceforge.net worked great! I am now surfing wirelessly with Ubuntu on the MacBook!

Good Ubuntu notebook?

January 31st, 2007

So, what is a good notebook that can run Ubuntu well, supports Beryl 3D eyecandy, offers integrated web-cam, decent amount of RAM, larger SATA hard drive (120GB or more) and sports at least a 2Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo?

Well, you could go the traditional route and get a Dell or HP machine, but many of those systems contain ATI graphics which are a pain getting Beryl to work.  Some vendors offer an upgrade option to Nvidia. As for CPU, if planning to run any virtualization apps like VMware / Parallels / VirtualBox, you really want to get a CPU that supports virtualization. Currently, the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz is at the sweet spot, the cost for anything faster is unreasonable for the minor speed increase you get.

How about all of this for under $1200? No way you say?  Well, you can if you don’t mind finding a good used machine in your local newspaper or via craigslist.org. I just purchased a 1 month old white MacBook, 2.0Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 120GB drive, 1.5GB RAM, Mighty Mouse, Superdrive with all the original packaging, etc. for $1150.  No tax. New, this  setup would run $1700 ($1570+tax) at the local Apple store.

I’ve just finished doing a clean OS X install, partitioned the drive with Bootcamp, installed reFit, and installed Ubuntu 6.10 complete with 3D eyecandy using Beryl. The built-in Intel graphics chipset won’t claim any gaming performance records anytime soon, but works amazingly well for the 3D effects offered by Beryl. The other good thing is that there is a very active community working on drivers for webcam support, sleep/suspend, keyboard, etc.

So, do your homework and keep your eyes open for deals on slightly used machines. You might be surprised at what you can find.

Cheap 4GB Sandisk Memory Stick Pro Duo at Fry’s

December 3rd, 2006

Fry’s has a good deal through Dec 5th on memory sticks… $79 after a $20 rebate.

Perfect for use on my Sony PSP… ;-)  Now I’m not dreading those long airplane flights any longer.

Parallels Upgrade and Ubuntu Edgy Eft

November 24th, 2006

Parallels build 1848 has been running WinXP and various Linux installs flawlessly… I’ve been meaning to upgrade to build 1970 as there have been many improvements. Finally, the long holiday weekend presented the perfect opportunity to upgrade.

Ran the uninstaller from the original 1848 build distro, restarted my machine, installed the new 1970 build, restarted the machine again, and everything went without a hitch!  I then booted up a VM instance of WinXP, reinstalled the Parallels tools and that’s it!  Everything is working great; and the networking and overall speed of the virtual instances appear to be a bit snappier.

One thing with Ubuntu Edgy Eft is that the boot splash screens don’t appear like they used to in Ubuntu Dapper.  Turns out to be a simple fix. /boot/grub/menu.lst has to be edited:

line 19: update the timeout to 10

line 23: uncomment the color options

line 85: add boot options “splash vga=792 acpi=off clock=pit”

line 113: add boot options “splash vga=792 acpi=off clock=pit”

All should then be good to go!

Not sure what version of Flash Player you are running?

November 15th, 2006

Simply point your browser here.

Updating CentOS to PHP 5.1.4

November 12th, 2006

Hard to believe most distributions aren’t using PHP 5 by default these days. Anyway, to update CentOS to use the latest and greatest:

yum remove php-domxml
yum --enablerepo=centosplus upgrade php*

Unfortunately, the above steps didn’t quite get me to the version I needed. In PHP I need to use SimpleXML for a project I’m working on, and the 5.0.4 version didn’t have the version of SimpleXML that I needed.

So, I had to manually wget and install the rpm from http://dev.centos.org/centos/4/testing/i386/RPMS/php-5.1.4-1.centos.i386.rpm. This also worked fine on a Fedora Core 4 system I had to update.

Netbeans + Edgy + Beryl + AIGLX = indigestion…

October 26th, 2006

OK, well it turns out that Java Swing based apps by default, aren’t that happy. Just installed RC2 of the Netbeans Java IDE and an empty white window appears.

Turns out there is a simple fix. Make sure your shell has “export AWT_TOOLKIT=MToolkit” defined and then it works fine.

Now isn’t that nice?

Fedora Core 6 looking good!

October 23rd, 2006

Installed the i386 DVD release of Fedora Core 6 (available a bit ahead of schedule via bit torrent) into a Parallels virtual machine… looking pretty good!  I really like the new logo and overall, things are more polished then in Core 5.

Also, under preferences, it’s easy to enable enhanced desktop graphics (AIGLX)… unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to try that out since I was running it virtualized.  I still feel, however, that Ubuntu Edgy 6.10 still works best for me… I’m not a big fan of .rpm based distros.

ATI drivers and Parallels challenges with Edgy

October 23rd, 2006

Well, things appear to work well IF you are able to get things compiled. Shell script problems when attempting to run the ATI 8.29.6 driver installation shell script and also errors when running the parallels-config shell script.

Turns out, Edgy has /bin/sh linked to “dash” instead of “bash”… this causes all sorts of script errors to occur. A band-aid fix is to link (using “ln -s”) sh to “bash” and then try running the scripts. Worked like a champ.

An Edgy Beryl with Apple Mighty Mouse

October 22nd, 2006

Well, my new Edgy install is running great! After upgrading, I next went and installed Beryl to get back some nice eye candy. All is working well. Had to install Nvidia’s 9xxx series beta drivers to get everything working.

Now, I’d like to “squeeze” a bit more functionality from my Mighty Mouse, which is not so mighty under Linux as it is under OS X. I still don’t have horizontal scrolling working, but at now have the squeeze buttons that invoke the scale function under Beryl (similar to expose under OS X). To implement, define your mouse as follows in your xorg.conf file:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier     "MightyMouse"
Driver         "mouse"
Option         "Protocol" "evdev"
Option         "Buttons" "8"
Option         "Dev Name" "Mitsumi Electric Apple Optical USB Mouse"
Option         "ZAxisMapping" "5 6 7 8"
EndSection

Next, update your xmodmap as follows:

xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 8 4 5 6 7"

Then, using beryl-manager, go into the settings area for the “Scale” plugin, and under the “Mouse” tab enter the number “8” as the button number for the “Initiate Window Picker” section.

Now, login and out of X, and open a few windows. Squeeze the mouse and the scale (aka expose) effect should happen. Sweet!