Saturday, May 9, 2009

It’s nice to have Ubuntu Jaunty for my new laptop

My new laptop was finally arrived. Because of the recession, most laptops were selling in lower price than they’re expected in usual market. So, I got my new one in one third price of what I paid for the old one three years ago. Ever since I decided to quite my job to join CMU, I’ve gradually moved to open source and free softwares. As a result, I seldom boot into Windows system in these days. And finally, I decided to use Ubuntu as my main OS rather than Windows. Ironically, I used to use Windows as main OS and Linux as secondary or working environment while I worked for Unix company.

However, it was not as easy as Windows system to make my machine running. Thanks to new Jaunty, my work was reduced a lot. I wanted to record how I did to help others and myself.

1. Installation considerations
When I was working for the company, I used to divide a cluster of drives in logical partitions to make the system fast and extensible. Dividing consideration was usually i) which portion of system would need faster access, ii) which would be increasing most, iii) which would need to be replaced, iv) which parts would be simultaneously accessed, v) what’re the nature (OS core, DB, Log, File holder, etc), and so on.

So, the first thing to consider was dividing hard disk. To do that I asked myself, “what am I doing with laptop?” “What kinds of files that I’m going to hold with my laptop?” Well, most of the time, I make some program and write documents. From time to time, I watch movies, enjoy some music and collect some data. Usually with Ubuntu but sometimes with Windows.

Then I thought about what device I’m going to use with my laptop? Since I move mostly from Windows to Ubuntu, I need to support my Treo, iPod, as well as bluetooth mouse I use to use. Of course I need to take advantage of internal device of Dell Vostro 1330.

2. Installation
Most of installation is automated in Ubuntu just like Windows (or maybe simpler than Windows). The only thing I have to seriously consider during installation was partitioning. With the answers to my questions in mind, I decided to divide my hard drive into five parts.

a. Recovery (Dell allocated),
b. Windows OS, (shrink into half to share common and casual files)
c. Ubuntu 9.04, (at most 40G to hold only OS and open source software)
d. swap for Ubuntu (3G same as my laptop's memory)
e. Data (the rest for holding most of projects files and home folders under /home)

I divided Ubuntu into two / and /home to separate data from program because I didn’t want to be disturbed by the possible re-installation of Ubuntu in the future. So, I chose manual partitioning and first resize Windows partition. (Thanks to partman, I can safely resize Windows partition by just editing the size.) And created new partitions as I planned. It manual installation creating swap partition is necessary, and usually make same size as memory. (If needed, swap can be increased during operation using swap command like mkswap, swapon. However, unless I planned to use large program like Oracle DB, increase is seldom needed)

That’s all I need to do during installation.

3. Bluetooth
a. Microsoft Notebook Mouse 5000
Because of small touch pad, I really wanted to use mouse as soon as possible. Fortunately, I could see bluetooth symbol in the panel. That means I don’t have to worry about adding bluetooth stack into kernel. So, I was ready to pair my devices.

From Better than nothing
I first clicked bluetooth symbol and select “Setup new device.” After wizard dialog appeared, I moved into “Device Search” section by pressing “Forward.” Either I choose "Automatic” or "Use Fixed PIN Code" with 0000, in this section, pairing result said successful. However, the LED in MS Mouse was still blinking. Meaning MS Mouse was not paired, yet. I found answer in a corner of forum somewhere in launchpad. After some struggling, I found correct procedure.

First, I needed to install bluez-compat package with command;

sudo apt-get install bluez-compat

Then turn off and on MS Mouse. Again make mouse into pairing mode by pressing small button in bottom. When I saw LED blinking, type

hidd –search

then the LED of mouse was gone, means that you are finally paired. The mouse keep paired even after reboot or resumed.

b. The Treo755p.
The next challenge was smart phone, Palm Treo755p. I said challenge because I suffered enough last I tried with my desktop. However, this time, I was actually surprised to see that new gnome-pilot was supporting bluetooth. I used to follow guide like “Palm Bluetooth How-to to make my Treo to sync with Evolution. It was much easier now in Jaunty, Ubuntu 9.04. My procedure was simple.

First, pair palm and laptop. As before, just followed wizard after pressing bluetooth symbol in pannel. This time I needed to use “Fixed PIN code” and my PIN number to pair with Treo.

From Better than nothing
Next, I launched gnome_pilot by choosing the menu, System\Preference\Palm OS Device, and followed the wizard. Some errors came but ignored the message and follow the instruction, except selecting bluetooth as communication device. That’s it. Now I was able to sync with Evolution through bluetooth. I selected usual conduits to sync with contact, calendar, menu and todo data in Evolution.

c. iPod.
I chose Banshee to manage my music in iPod. It looked that Songbird was still unstable somehow, and Amarok asked me to install KDE libraries. After the installation, everything works fine, except album photos. It was not a big deal to me now, so I moved on to the next.

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