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Thursday, April 29, 2010

A thing (release) of Ubuntu Lucid is a mac forever (not, there is more)

Google chromium in action

Openoffice 3.2

Firefox 3.6

File browser

Plain background

I liked the following in Ubuntu Lucid  Lynx
  • Beautiful adium theme in empathy messenger
  • Empathy messenger, mail and gwibber integration
  • Firefox 3.6 (debian still has 3.5.x in testing)
  • Chromium browser (no chromium browser in debian repos)
  • Ubuntu software center (no such s/w center yet in debian)
  • Beautiful ambiance theme and backgrounds 
  • Font quality(this is far superior in ubuntu than in debian)
  • Speed (faster than windows, still not so fast as debian)
  • Fast boot
  • LTS support 
  • Huge amount of packages in repository
  • Fast mirrors all across globe for installing/fetching software
  • Excellent integration with nvidia graphics card (though nouveau is not stable and only nvidia driver works)
  • Amazing pulseaudio integration, sound is pretty good now
  • Ease of installation
  • ext4 support
  • hardened kernel
  • Openoffice 3.2 is amazing in Ubuntu (feels very good and better than before)
I don't feel better at the following
  • Titlebar button placement and sure I changed it
  • Lots of unncessary services running in the background unlike debian
  • Speed (poor compared to debian, sheer speed of debian is really stunning to see)
  • Mono installed by default (and I uninstalled mono-runtime, though I don't have hate or love to mono and infact have windows 7 in my system)
  • Gwibber did not work in 64 bit
  • Flashplayer installation pulled 32 bit libs and I installed 64 bit flash player manually
still exploring ...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Running programs from RAM in linux

Do you think your RAM is under utilized?
Do you think when you copy a big file your hard disk is being grinded, your linux fills RAM and does not allow to run you any useful thing?
Do you think running from live USB or live CD is better than installed system since it utilizes RAM?

If so

Here is a probable solution for running programs from RAM. Install your favorite OS inside virtualbox or VMWare and allocate them 1 to 2 GB RAM. Now even when your harddisk is used by your host OS when copying big files, your guest OS running inside virtualbox or VMWare will continue to be snappy and fast. This is because the RAM dedicated to it can't be reclaimed by your host OS

Does it sound geeky? If not then, congrats, you are there for a treat with your (powerful) computer. Your guest OS running virtually is a probable answer to RAM greed from linux kernel

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Debian with a 1000 Hz kernel feels like debian running on steroids

Today morning I tried live CD of Fedora 13 Beta and I felt it is very very fast.

I was thinking why my installed debian is not so fast as Fedora 13 though I have a kernel compiled for core2 but with 300 HZ frequency. To check if debian also will get such feel of speed, I recompiled my kernel with 1000 HZ frequency.

Now it feels as fast as Fedora, thanks Fedora!!

To tell, it feels like debian on steroids

My kernel configuration can be downloaded from here


Monday, April 12, 2010

Installing and running nvidia inside Ubuntu Lucid

Recent Ubuntu Lucid uses nouveau driver for nvidia cards. The driver is a reverse engineered graphics driver and it still has some bugs (like making the screen freeze with a display corruption, after which nothing except reboot works)

This is how I started Ubuntu in vesa mode and installed nvidia proprietary driver

1. Boot in vesa mode instead of nouveau

To start Ubuntu in vesa mode instead of nouveau, add the following to boot menu

nouveau.blacklist=true xvesa

If the above combination did not work try

nouveau.blacklist=true rdblacklist=nouveau

even if the above two failed and you want to give another try, use the following boot param

nouveau.blacklist=true rdblacklist=nouveau xvesa

You can also try nomodeset along with any of  the above combinations if nouveau is arrogant and loading to irk you. It may work

2a. Easy Way to enable nvidia drivers in Ubuntu

2a.1 Install nvidia proprietary drivers from Ubuntu repositories

Enable universe and multiverse repository inside synaptic. Then reload and close synaptic

Goto System --> Administration --> Hardware drivers --> Choose the recommended nvidia proprietary driver and enable it

If this did not work properly, go the following command line way

2b. Command Line Way to nvidia drivers

2b.1 Command line way to install nvidia proprietary drivers

Now from command line

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings nvidia-common nvidia-current-modaliases

3a Easy Way to restart X server to enable nvidia

3a.1 Enable Ctrl + Alt + Backspace and restart X server

Goto System --> Preferences --> Keyboard --> Layouts --> Options --> Expand Key sequence to kill X server --> Check Ctrl + Alt + Backspace

And restart X by pressing Control, Alt and Backspace simultaneously

Give your login credentials and your nvidia card driver should be in full swing when you login back

If this does not work for you, try the command line way below

3b Command Line Way to restart X server to enable nvidia

3b.1 Stop GDM

Press Ctrl + Alt + F1 and stop gdm by using sudo service gdm stop

3b.2 Insert nvidia kernel module

Ubuntu has changed the module name from nvidia to nvidia-current, due to which I struggled for half an hour, until I went into dkms directory to figure out the actual name of the module. From the command line in virtual console 1 use the following command to insert nvidia driver into kernel

sudo modprobe nvidia-current

Please use nvidia kernel driver instead of nvidia-current as Ubuntu Lucid release changed it back to nvidia from nvidia-current

sudo modprobe nvidia

3b.3 Configure X server using nvidia-xconfig

I tried again and without calling nvidia-xconfig, nvidia drivers are not working! {May work for you though :) }

sudo nvidia-xconfig

3b.4 Start GDM

From the command line in virtual console 1

sudo service gdm start

and you should be inside gdm with nvidia driver in full swing. If you followed this guide and running with nvidia driver, then a Congrats to you

Here are two screenshots showing nvidia-settings

glxgears is away until after installing mesa-utils

Running prerelease 64bit flashplayer in Ubuntu Lucid

By default Ubuntu Lucid offers to install 32 bit flash player in a 64 bit system. This is fine, but it installs all the 32 bit compatible libraries along with it. Below screenshot shows the offered 32 bit libs by ubuntu for installing flashplayer

The prerelease version of 64 bit flash player is fine and does not require 32 bit libraries to run in linux. Here is the URL for downloading 64bit flashplayer from Adobe site


To install it, we need to extract the .so and copy it into /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Step by step

1. Extract flashplugin from the downloaded tarball

tar xvzf libflashplayer-

2. Copy into plugins folder to install it

sudo cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Below you can see both the above commands one by one in action

After this restart firefox and you can see 64bit flash player in action

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Changed appearance to feel reading metallic

Changed appearance with a metallic parchment like background, amber and golden text.

Reading blogs should feel like reading antique metallic plates or parchments. If not feel free to comment, I will revert back

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reclaiming the reserved space from a big ext3/ext4 partition

When we have a 500 GB or 1 TB partition and it is formatted in ext3 or ext4, filesystem reserves 5 percent space by default

This is not a problem when the partition size is small, but 5 percent of a 500 GB partition is 25 GB and 5 percent of 1 TB is 50 GB

Fortunately we can reclaim the reserved space of an ext3/ext4 partition using tune2fs

We need to have root privileges to configure reserved space using tune2fs

General format for configuring reserved space using tune2fs is as follows

sudo tune2fs -m <new percentage> /dev/sd<X><N>


<new percentage> --> is the new reserved space we want to assign
<X> --> which hard disk
<N> --> is the partition number

To enumerate and check the partition name use

sudo fdisk -l

For example I have an ext3 partition of size 877.5 GB in first hard disk and it's name is sda6 as listed by fdisk

Screenshot showing sda6 free and available before reclaiming reserved space, which are different. Actual available is 811.3 but free is 855.8, which means around 44 GB is reserved

I use

sudo tune2fs -m 0 /dev/sda6

will set the reserved space to 0 percentage, here is the screenshot showing how I did that

After reclaiming reserved space, the free and available are equal, which you can see in following screenshot

 tune2fs works only with ext3/ext4 partitions.

I learned about reclaiming reserved space from arch wiki which can be browsed at


Caution: Any tune2fs parameters are extremely dangerous on mounted partitions,
but setting reserved space using tune2fs works fine on mounted partitions. It is safe to do any tune2fs only on partitions which are not mounted, mostly from a livecd session

Friday, April 2, 2010

Debian squeeze kernel compilation

I followed various links and googled to compile kernel in debian. Here I tried to document whatever I found into a nice document, which is available for download as a pdf

For viewing in google document use


Use the updated document


For downloading as PDF use the following link



Use the updated document


After doing the kernel compilation, do an update-grub as root to regenerate the correct boot options for the new kernel

To view the images in PDF properly, ZOOM more than 250 percentage