Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fix the cursor issue in GTK and Compiz

NOTE: Canonical has fixed this issue with the release of 10.10

By now most Lucid users know of the issue when using compiz in Gnome in Lucid Lynx that the selected Cursor Theme does not show properly. Well I researched the issue and found the way to fix it. Though the total process is extensive it does work.

Before anything else make sure the theme you wish to use is located in "/usr/share/icons/" this may not be absolutely necessary but I since you're setting a system default its best to do so.

Step One - Set the System Default Cursor Theme:

To change the cursors edit as root the index.theme file using the following command "gksu gedit usr/share/icons/default/index.theme"
Change the line "Inherits=themename" by changing the current theme name to the name of your desired icon theme. Logout and login again and your new cursor is in use.

Step Two - Set gconf to use the desired theme:

Use the command "gconf-editor" then navigate to desktop >> gnome >> peripherals >> mouse and then edit the line cursor_theme and using the actual folder name of your cursor theme.

Step Three - Set Compiz to use the desired cursor theme:

Open up the CompizConfig Settings Manager in the control center and under General Options set Default Icon to the desired Icon Theme.

That's it, a bit of a PIA but it works and if you change your Cursor settings you will have to adjust all this as well, unfortunately.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Using The Cricket A600 Wireless Broadband Internet Device In Ubuntu

NOTE: This entry is deprecated with the release of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. It now autodetects the device and all you have to do in the Network Manager is tell it that its a Cricket Device. None of the steps below are needed if you use Ubuntu 10.10

None of the material here is mine except a few comments here and there. What I did do was glean the various posts and comments to bring it all together into a comprehensive and complete tutorial for the Cricket A600

The Cricket A600 is an extremely powerful mobile CDMA modem device that provides affordable, high-speed mobile broadband Internet service. This USB modem is a versatile device to take advantage of Cricket's unlimited broadband access plan whether online at home or around town. The problem, Cricket doesn't support Linux and in general will try and dissuade Linux users from purchasing any of their broadband access devices. The other issue, getting it to work. You must provision the device on a Windows or Macintosh computer before it will work in Linux. Believe it or not, one of the Local Cricket stores here in Houston did that for me since I did not have access to a Windows system that I could provision it on.

The usual disclaimer and notices:

This Tutorial is based on how others and myself got this device working and accessible in Ubuntu. I am running this in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) with no issues and am very happy with the results. I can even watch streaming video. With that said I make no guarantee on your results. All things NOT being equal in Wireless Broadband access there is no way to determine the results you will get but I have the following as tested by speedtest.net

Download: 1.74 Mb/s
Upload: 0.42 Mb/s
Ping: 120 ms

A 5 MB MP3 takes 24 sec Average
A 35 MB Video Clip 3 Min Average
A 800 MB Movie 61 Min Average

Before you purchase this device make sure you are in Cricket's coverage area. They have recently expanded their service and cover a great deal more than before but they still don't cover everywhere. So before you attempt to follow this document make sure you can actually make use of the device

This tutorial will explain how to setup the Cricket Wireless A600 3g Modem for Ubuntu

Credits for this article go here; and here;

You will need to get the drivers and software required for the A600 device.

Download the source file.
Download the data file.

Extract the contents to your preferred directory using the following command:

tar xzvf usb-modeswitch-1.1.2.tar.bz2 and then cd into the directory of the extracted files.

32 bit Users – Install usb_modeswitch with the following command:

sudo make install

64 bit Users need to recompile modeswitch to work on the 64bit platform. Run the following commands in a terminal to do so:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

sudo apt-get install libusb-dev

rm usb_modeswitch


sudo make install

Now add the data files by going back to the directory ou downloaded them to and run:

tar xzvf usb-modeswitch-data-20100707.tar.bz2

Then cd into that directory and run:

sudo make install

Lucid Lynx users can also get the usb-modeswitch and usb-modeswitch-data files from the repository and I suggest you do, so that when updates become available you will get them. However, you will still need flip-flop.sh, so here is the complete text of that file.

sleep 10
usb_modeswitch -v 0x1f28 -p 0x0020 -R 1

You may need to make flipflop.sh executable by running the following command:

chmod +x flipflop.sh

Now plug in the A600 to an open USB port, wait a moment for it to be detected and for usb-modeswitch to do it's magic. Your device should now show up in network-manager. You may need to restart your computer for it to work.

You will now be able to select "Cricket Communications connection" in the Network Manager. It takes about 30 seconds to connect when you select it. Also bear in mind a strong signal doesn't necessarily relate to a strong connection. Like any cell phone device there are a great number of factors that can cause issues with your signal.

If you experience issues getting connected open flipflop.sh in your favorite text editor and adjust the sleep time from 10 to 20, or even 30 some systems need a longer time.

This tutorial was updated to coincide with a newer version of USB mode-switch.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Living up to the Lucid Lynx Hype

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx has a lot of hype. Usually I find the hype in anything, less than true.
However, not in this case. For once Canonical got it right and made good on making a better Ubuntu.

First Ubuntu 10.04 is a LTS (Long Term Support) release and they usually make the extra effort because of that. It shows with Lucid. Keeping in mind the next LTS isn't until the 12.04 release which is in two years. Previously canonical didn't get to radical with an LTS release. This time, well radical is putting it mildy.

Big pluses: More hardware support, astounding graphics and sound has improved. Updated software with new featues (including my favorite system monitor gkrellm)

Major problem: Firefox is flakey (I had to make Google Chrome ny default browser.) I should state this is not Canonical's fault entirely, as Mozilla made some severe changes with 3.6 and I had same issue with 3.6 in Karmic and had to revert back to 3.5 to have a stable copy of Firefox.

For the record I want it to be said despite the Firefox issue I am very impressed with the Lynx. It definitely boots faster and is a lot more responsive and smoother than the Koala was.

This was the first time I have ever done an online upgrade where something didn't blow up almost immediately. Canonical went to a lot of trouble to make this proccess a lot better. In the past a lot of software was removed. This time however only a couple of programs were removed and it was not an issue getting them reinstalled. However, I still had to go in and remove unwanted packages. Even so it wasn't all that bad. For once I will recommend the online update for those who don't want the hassle of retweaking their setup.

Yes its definitely worth the upgrade. Yes I highly recommend doing so, even using the online update though a fresh install is probably faster as it took me nearly 4 hours to get through the complete proccess.

The thing I like the most: usplash is finally deprecated. I have never been a fan of usplash and with plymouth now taking over the boot splash procedure I think were finally going to see some really neat boot splash screens.

I have been playing with Lucid now working with it and its really very pleasent. None of the little glitches from Karmic seem to be present and so far only Firefox has given me any real problems, but I wasn't surprised by them. Since I am finding Google Chrome to run a bit better than Firefox ever did I am not to upset.

The only other thing I had a problem with was getting the GDM greeter to look like I wanted, the run gnome-control-center at the login screen trick like we did in Karmic, well doesn't work. So I found a neat little program called python-gdm2setup. To get it, do the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gdm2setup/gdm2setup
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get-install python-gdm2setup

to use: gksu gdm2setup

The only thing it doesn't do is change the cursor, gonna ask them to add that ability though.

Ubuntu users are going to find themselves using a vastly improved and more friendly (to both the casual and power user) desktop that stands out beyond just your typical Linux system. Thoughs new to Linux will gain access to many new features they never had before.

10.04 is not the MS killer Linux system but 10.10 just very well maybe.