A Lynx Conquered My Notebook

Since the first time I know Linux 10 years ago I have tried several Linux distro. The first Linux distro that I used was Mandrake (the former of Mandriva), and then followed by openSuse, SimplyMepis, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, and the last was Linux Mint, up to last week. From those distros only PCLinuxOS 2007, Linux Mint 4, 6, and 8 that I used daily on my notebook. I am happy with the performance of both distros, especially Linux Mint. It’s very user friendly.

But, last week I decided to install a new distro version. I tried the live cd of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Kubuntu. Live distro that I tried for first time was Ubuntu 10.04, and I already faced have a problem. The live distro could not boot properly, it showed a blank screen. Then, I tried with Kubuntu and Linux Mint, all of them had the same problem. An obvious result because all of the distros are based on Ubuntu. After google-ing for several hours, I found out from a forum that the cause was “nouveau”, an open-source driver for NVidia. According to the website I need to disable the driver by adding an option command into the grub command.

nouveau.modeset=0

So, the grub command became:

/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-21-generic root=UUID=2b69f855-de8b-461b-8f8b-02e3bf7d1142 ro nouveau.modeset=0  quiet splash

By using this command, I was able to boot into the live distro, not only Ubuntu, but also Kubuntu and Linux Mint.

Linux Mint 9 Isadora looked similar to its previous version, but I was impressed with the Ubuntu and Kubuntu. I read some reviews for Ubuntu and Kubuntu, looked like Ubuntu received a lot of praises, but Kubuntu received some negative critics. So, it was decided to install Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit Lucid Lynx into my Sony Vaio VPCCW26FG.

The Ubuntu installation was very smooth, I didn’t get any trouble when installing it. After installation I rebooted to my new OS by disabling the “nouveau” driver in the grub command. And, then I amended the “/etc/default/grub” to disable “nouveau” driver, so I don’t need to amend the grub command every time I boot. In the file I put:

# Disable Nouveau driver
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=”nouveau.modeset=0″

And then I ran the command below from terminal:

sudo update-grub

I restarted the OS and I could access Lucid Lynx successfully without needed to amend the grub command.

Unlike my previous Linux Mint, Lucid Lynx is able to detect my wireless, so I just need to connect to my wireless modem and typed the password. For addition, I needed to change the wireless setting in my Network Manager to connect automatically every time I log in.

Everything works fine in my new OS, except my NVidia GeForce GT 330m. In order to settle this, I followed instruction from the forum. I downloaded NVidia driver from NVidia website, and then I ran the command below to go to command line and disable the Gnome.

sudo service gdm stop

And, then install the downloaded NVidia driver. After the installation I added 2 lines into “Device” section in “/etc/xorg.conf”:

Option         “ConnectedMonitor” “DFP-0”
Option         “CustomEDID” “DFP-0: /proc/acpi/video/NGFX/LCD/EDID”

After this step I rebooted the OS and, foila, my screen resolution became “1600×900”.

Mission completed ! 😀
Now time for restoring my favorite applications.

Special thanks to “TheRawGod” from “ubuntuforum.org”.

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Linux Mint 8 on Vaio VPCCW26FG

Once upon a time I got a brand new Sony Vaio VPCCW26FG, due to hardware problem with my previous notebook. It’s quite elegant, maybe because it has a white color. It came with Windows 7. I tried Windows 7 for a few weeks. I can say Windows 7 is far much better than Windows Vista. It’s boot speed is amazing, less than a minute I can start an application already. It’s display also a mouth drooling appearance. It’s task bar only shows the running application’s icon, where we can see the mini application version by hovering the mouse over it. But, there are two things that obviously I don’t like from Windows 7. Firstly, the main menu system (the menu that shown after click the Start Menu) is too pack. When I select to an application folder, it only shows the content of the folder. I still like the Windows XP menu system. Secondly, most of the applications that come with this notebook are trial version only. I can’t complain, actually, it’s just typical Windows environment. Every notebook that bundle with it always come with trial version applications. Just can’t complain…

Anyway, whatever how good a Windows Operating System is, I still wanted to use Linux on my Vaio. I still chose Linux Mint over other Linux distro, because I had faith with this distro. I installed the distro while I kept the Windows 7 on my system, so it was a dual-boot system. The installation went very smoothly and fast. Then, I started encounter problems, when I was configuring the system. There are two major problems that I encountered:

  1. The wireless was not working either.
  2. NVidia driver was not working properly, the screen just shown a blank screen after I installed the NVidia driver and restarted the system.

Fixing Wireless Hardware

Vaio VPCCW26FG is using Intel network device 422c. I found out from Ubuntu forum that this problem could be fix by installing backported kernel. I followed the instruction and it fixed the problem. My Linux Mint was able to detect the wireless hardware. The kernel version that I used is 2.6.31-19-generic. Read this thread to get more information.

I think this problem was rather easy to fix.

Installing NVidia Driver

Fixing this problem was more difficult than the wireless problem. I spent a few days to find the solution in the Internet. Eventually I found the solution in Ubuntu forum as well. In order to fix this problem I needed to extract the display edid from running Windows in the notebook by using special program. But, somehow the programs that mentioned in the forum thread was not working properly with Windows 7. In the end I was using the edid that provided in the forum thread. The edid had to be put in /etc/X11 folder. After that, I installed the NVidia driver, and amended xorg.conf to include the edid.

Below is my xorg.conf file content:

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier     “Layout0”
Screen      0  “Screen0” 0 0
InputDevice    “Keyboard0” “CoreKeyboard”
InputDevice    “Mouse0” “CorePointer”
EndSection

Section “Module”
Load           “dbe”
Load           “extmod”
Load           “type1”
Load           “freetype”
Load           “glx”
EndSection

Section “ServerFlags”
Option         “Xinerama” “0”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier     “Mouse0”
Driver         “mouse”
Option         “Protocol” “auto”
Option         “Device” “/dev/psaux”
Option         “Emulate3Buttons” “no”
Option         “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier     “Keyboard0”
Driver         “kbd”
EndSection

Section “Monitor”
Identifier     “Monitor0”
VendorName     “Unknown”
ModelName      “Nvidia Default Flat Panel”
HorizSync       29.0 – 47.0
VertRefresh     0.0 – 61.0
Option         “DPMS”
EndSection

Section “Device”
Identifier     “Device0”
Driver         “nvidia”
VendorName     “NVIDIA Corporation”
BoardName      “GeForce GT 330M”
EndSection

Section “Screen”
Identifier     “Screen0”
Device         “Device0”
Monitor        “Monitor0”
DefaultDepth    24
Option         “TwinView” “0”
Option         “metamodes” “nvidia-auto-select +0+0”
Option         “ConnectedMonitor” “DFP-0,DFP-1,CRT”
Option         “CustomEDID” “DFP-0:/etc/X11/sony_VAIO_CW_1600_900.bin”
SubSection     “Display”
Depth       24
EndSubSection
EndSection

For more detail information and to get the edid, please read this thread.

For anyone who encounter the same problems with me, you have to fix the wireless problem first before fix the NVidia driver. Because installing NVidia driver will modify your Linux kernel.