It is very hard to install the nice visual effects in Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10/Compiz+Beryl on Compaq EVO N600C due to the driver issues related to ATI Radeon cards.
I tried a few times, all ended up getting x server dead. Now I’d like to record what I’ve done right along the way.
After successful installation, modify the original /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:
To the following file:
Press Ctrl-Alt-BackSpace to reload the xserver. (or give the command:
# sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart) Then glxinfo gives the right output for “direct rendering”. It seems that something called Envy can do the trick, I haven’t tried it yet. More information can be found here. Evy can be downloaded here.
If go to System->Preferences->Appearance-> Special Effects, and click the highest level, there is a box saying Desktop Effects can not be enabled.
When I tried to ” sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager”, it tells me that the file is not found. Go to System->Admin->Software Sources. On the first tab check universe is ticked. Then it installs fine.
To solve the “Desktop Effects” problem, one needs to solve the compiz driver problem.
compiz wouldn’t start untill /usr/bin/compiz modified and lines starting from 228 in function check_texture_size()
are commented out.
#if [ $VRES -gt $TEXTURE_LIMIT ] || [ $HRES -gt $TEXTURE_LIMIT ];
# verbose “Failed.\n”
# return 1;
I then installed all related packages:
This does not solve the problem though. The XGL service seems to be running now due to installing the missing packages. I tried to install it by “sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl”, it gave me a crash.
Finally, I found a note on the Beryl website, saying that we should add one line in the Device section of the xorg.conf file.
The final file is here:
It works not bad, but you can see artifacts on the screen. I’ll try to figure it out next time.
It is completely working now. Having all the effects I wanted, and the system is quite stable. I even applied some Mac themes to it. Excellent system indeed. On this laptop, it would be extremely hard to install Vista as it is a Pentium III CPU with 512M memory. The video card is not very good, but Compiz-Beryl works amazingly well on it. If I hadn’t had my new real Mac, I’d be using this system on all my machines.
What about Windows-only programs I need to run? There are very good virtualization packages, such as “Virtualbox”, “CrossOver”. The first one is totally free. The second one is non-free, but you don’t have to install Windows, everything is integrated in the hosting system, very cool.
It took me two days (not full time, of course) to get everything up and running, compared to Mac, it is still a bit too much. For those who desperately look for hacked versions of Mac OS X Leopard, installing free Linux can be a good alternative.
Oh, this laptop is known for the clicking noise from the HDD. It is related to Head Parking of the HDD. It’s acpi power save which do this “clicks”. Did the following :
hdparm -S 4 /dev/sda
hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda
to stop it, you can do
hdparm -S 0 /dev/sda
hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda
This command disable totally hard disk spin down.
To do this permanent, I did:
and in /etc/hdparm.conf file add:
hdparm -q -m16 -q -W0 -q -d1 -S 20 -B 255 /dev/sda