Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

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Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:34 pm

I'm considering buying a laptop from System76. These come with Ubuntu 12.10 64bit, and I want to convert to Linuxmint 13 KDE. Before I shell out my money, I want to make sure that there is nothing about this laptop's hardware which will cause problems after I convert.

Do any of you see anything about the following configuration which would prevent it from working under Linuxmint 13 KDE?

Thank you very much in advance.

64-bit Processor
Intel Core i7-3740QM (2.70GHz 6MB L3 cache) or i7-3840QM (2.80GHz 8MB L3 Cache)
(in both cases, 4 cores plus hyperthreading)

Memory
16 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 8 GB

Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 4000

Display
15.6" 1080p Full High Definition LED Backlit Display, 95% NTSC Color Gamut (1920 x 1080)

Disk
750 GB 7200 RPM SATA II

Optical drive
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive

WiFi
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby xenopeek on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:48 am

As both the graphics and the wifi are by Intel, you should be fine. If you are going to run Linux Mint 13 (Ubuntu 12.04 based, instead of the 12.10 this laptop ships with) you may have to upgrade to a newer kernel or newer graphics driver, but other than that it should be fine. As I investigated an issue for my HD3000 (but that was related to combination with my motherboard) I did most of those things, so you can see my steps here should you need it: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=113043

Having a look on their wiki, here are the steps to restore a System76 laptop to factory defaults: http://knowledge76.com/index.php/Restoring_Your_System. At the end you can see they have a tool, "System76 Driver", that you can download to install any drivers for your system that aren't available for Ubuntu. With this laptop being listed as having all key devices from Intel, you should have no need for this but good to know it is there.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:51 am

Thank you very much, Vincent, for this very useful and helpful information!

I'll now be purchasing this laptop, and I'm confident that I won't have any show-stopping problems.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby xenopeek on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:52 am

Word to the wise; install Linux Mint alongside Ubuntu at first. So if you have any troubles, you can still boot back into Ubuntu and try to fix it from there or go on the forums and ask for support.

Edit: Ivy bridge (HD4000) can have issues with less recent kernels. The solution noted by other users is to upgrade to at least kernel 3.4.3 (viewtopic.php?f=191&t=102158).
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:59 pm

Thank you. I'll take your advice.

I'm somewhat new to Linuxmint, and I want to make sure I know how to upgrade the kernel to version 3.4.3, if necessary.

Is this something I can do in apt/aptitude/synaptics without reconfiguration? Or do I need to add one or more repositories before updating? Or can I somehow make a copy of the kernel from the Ubuntu 12.10 distro that comes with the machine? Or what?

I'm sure this is discussed elsewhere, so all I need is a pointer to docs or an existing discussion. Thanks.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby xenopeek on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:20 pm

You can download the kernel you want and install it in a few steps. It's detailed here, but if you need help on that go ahead and post a question when the time comes: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/MainlineBuilds

Linux Mint 13 is based on Ubuntu 12.04, which has release name "precise" in the repository. Ubuntu 12.10 is "quantal" and 13.04 is "raring". On the list of kernels you can find through above link, it is best to pick a kernel that matches your release (as it has been tested with that) but you are not limited to it and can go for a kernel from another release if that has the kernel version you want. Your old kernel will still be there, so when a new kernel isn't working out you can easily boot from the old kernel (you can do so by holding down the shift key during boot, getting the GRUB boot menu to show and then select to run a previous version).
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:51 pm

Thanks. So if indeed my release is 3.4.3, is it correct that I should get the "amd" files from the 3.4.3-quantal subdirectory, given that I'm ordering a 64-bit machine?

And I believe I can tell what my release is by doing "uname -a" and looking at the kernel name, correct? Or I guess I could look in /boot/grub/grub.cfg, too.

And I already know how to install "deb" bundles, and I've updated kernels via aptitude before, so this should be trivially easy.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby xenopeek on Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:29 am

Yes, the amd64 name denotes 64 bit architecture. i386, i486, i586 and i686 names denote 32 bit architecture. Perhaps try it first with the default kernel, it may work fine for you.

And yes, uname -a will give you the kernel name. Highlighted in red for my system, with the major release number underlined.
Linux maya 3.4.0-030400-generic #201205210521 SMP Mon May 21 09:22:02 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:31 am

Yep. Got it. Thank you again!
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:25 pm

Hi again. Well, I got my laptop and configured it as discussed. I set up a dual boot (original Gnome and new Linuxmint 13 Kubuntu), and I installed the 3.4.3 kernel. Nearly everything is working great ...

... except for one thing that I'm stuck on: I have an "ETPS/2 Elantech" touchpad on that device. Sadly, neither Kubuntu nor Gnome offer any way to disable it, which I desperately want to do. Nor is there any option in the Mouse settings to auto-disable it when there's a mouse connected.

Can anyone suggest how to totally disable this touchpad under Kubuntu? I'm guessing that I need to trash its device drivers or something.

Thanks in advance, and thanks again to Vincent for your valuable and totally correct instructions.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:11 pm

I think I figured out how to disable the touchpad:

xinput set-int-prop 13 296 8 1

After issuing that command, the touchpad is suitably unresponsive.

I got the info here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1333961

Steps to figure it out:

1. run xinput (no arguments)

This shows that my ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad is device ID 13.

2. run xinput list-props 13 (using the ID obtained above)

This shows all the properties of the touchpad.

In my case, I found this entry among all the others:

Synaptics Off (296): 0

This means that property number 296 represents the "Off" state for the touch pad, and this property is not set; i.e., the touchpad is on.

3. run xinput set-int-prop 13 296 8 1

This means set property 296 of device 13 to 1, which turns the touchpad off. The "8" tells us that the "1" is an 8-bit integer.

This did the trick.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby drcasper on Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:17 am

Will HD 4000 work with LMDE, 3d acceleration and all the good stuff compiz offers? :)
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby xenopeek on Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:23 pm

drcasper wrote:Will HD 4000 work with LMDE, 3d acceleration and all the good stuff compiz offers? :)

That's off-topic, so perhaps make a new topic to get the right people to see and answer that question :) I suspect it will work, as long as you can upgrade to kernel 3.4 or preferably 3.5.
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Re: Verify laptop configuration for Linuxmint 13 KDE

Postby HippoMan on Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:16 pm

With regard to that touchpad, I discovered that the ID's and numeric attribute values sometimes change, so I can't always count on being able to use this exact command to disable it:

xinput set-int-prop 13 296 8 1

Therefore, I wrote a program that I set up to run as part of my KDE autostart sequence which figures out these numeric attribute values and issues the appropriate xinput command. This is a ruby program, but of course this can also be written in other scripting languages ...

Code: Select all
#!/usr/bin/ruby

$program = File.basename($0)
$xinput  = '/usr/bin/xinput'

id   = nil
prop = nil

IO.popen($xinput, 'r') {
  |f|
  f.readlines.each {
    |line|
    line.chomp!
    unless line =~ /\bETPS\/2\b.*id=(\d+)\b/
      next
    end
    id = $1
    break
  }
}

if id.nil?
  puts "#{$program}: unable to get ID of touchpad"
  return 1
end

IO.popen("#{$xinput} list-props #{id}") {
  |f|
  f.readlines.each {
    |line|
    unless line =~ /\bSynaptics\s+Off\b.*\((\d+)\)/i
      next
    end
    prop = $1
    break
  }
}

if prop.nil?
  puts "#{$program}: unable to get 'Off' property for ID '#{id}' of touchpad"
  return 1
end

cmd = [ $xinput, 'set-int-prop', id, prop, '8', '1' ]

Kernel.exec(*cmd)

# shouldn't get here
return 1

__END__
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