Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

pHreaK and I would like to wish all our readers a happy holiday. Thanks for reading and contributing to the site. Without your support this site would be nothing.

For any new readers who are thinking about installing Ubuntu on their new Dell Inspiron 1501s and have found this site, welcome. Check out the new user guides for help setting up Ubuntu and the general users guides for learning how to setup and tweak some of the best programs open source has to offer.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dell's Inspiron 1501 Service Manual

This is a direct link to Dell's Documentation Website

Inside you'll find complete guides for the:
Optical Drive
Hard Drive
Memory Module
Hinge Cover
Display Assembly
Palm Rest
Coin-Cell Battery
Processor Thermal-Cooling Assembly
Processor Module
ExpressCard/Hard-Drive Bay Assembly
System Board
Battery Latch Assembly
Flashing the BIOS
Pin Assignments for I/O Connectors

I was sent this a long time ago, It's about time I posted it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Transparencies and Opacity in Compiz-Fusion

Another cool tweak for your menus. This adds a bit of transparency to your menus, drop down menus, tooltips, notifications and a few other small things. It gives them a clean look with just a hint of transparency.

In CompizConfig Settings Manager, under General Options, in the Opacity settings:


Select edit and copy this into the pop up window:
((type=Menu | PopupMenu | DropdownMenu | Tooltip | Notification | Combo | Dnd | name=sun-awt-X11-XWindowPeer) | (type=Normal & override_redirect=1)) & !(name=sun-awt-X11-XFramePeer | name=sun-awt-X11-XDialogPeer | name=gnome-screensaver)

I set the Opacity window values at 96-98, giving it a nice clean look. You can set it to whatever you like. I think everyone should check this tweak out, it really pretties up the desktop.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Speed Up Gnome's Menus

This a simple 3 step tweak that really speeds up your gnome menus. It just removes the built in delay.

Step 1: Create A Text File
In a terminal type:
sudo gedit ~/.gtkrc-2.0

Screenshot-red@red-desktop: ~

Step 2: Write The Text File
In the text file that is created paste:
gtk-menu-popup-delay = 0"| tee -a .gtkrc-2.0

Screenshot-*.gtkrc-2.0 (-home-red) - gedit

Now save and close

Step 3: Log out
When you log back in you should see a significant speed increase in you Gnome menus.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Friday, December 14, 2007

I stumbled across a pretty useful website the other day at It has a bunch of precompiled .deb files, making it easy to check out of some the newest and most exciting open source software.

Screenshot-GetDeb - Software you want - Mozilla Firefox-2

What's a .deb?
A .deb file is the Ubuntu equivalent of an Windows .exe. It' s Ubuntu's way of standardizing package installation and securing system stability. The .deb files have all the necessary information and dependencies to make installation and removal painless. Compiling software is still a viable method of program installation in Ubuntu it just doesn't have dependency and uninstallation information built in. Deb's maintain system stability. With a standardized method of installation and removal, you don't have to worry about the old Linux problem of dependency hell. When installing a .deb Ubuntu's package manager apt will be able to monitor all dependencies. Nothing can be installed without satisfying those dependencies and dependencies will not be removed when installing programs if they are needed by other programs.

Installing a .deb
Installing a .deb works very much like installing an .exe on windows. A window will pop up telling you what you are installing and a couple of mouse clicks starts the automated installation.


What's on
On you can get the latest bleeding edge releases of programs that wouldn't be available in the Ubuntu repositories until another distro release. As well as, .debs for smaller open source projects. Not every project is Ubuntu specific or has the time to compile a deb for Ubuntu users. If program A is only released as a tarball, most users would be able to install it with a little help. But satisfying the dependencies, removal and system stability all could be theoretically compromised. Thanks to these smaller projects get the ease of installation and system stability of having a .deb.

Advantages to using
The current Ubuntu official packages update policy is limited to critical bug fixes, meaning after each release there will be no regular bug fixes or improvement updates. This is a good practice for stability purposes specially if you are planning to do an enterprise level support but for you the user it means that until the next release you will not be able to get the latest and greatest software versions for your system.

Experienced users and developers will be able to compile and install from the source but unskilled users which would like to try the latest versions will be complaining about how hard it is to compile software packages, especially those which depend on several development libraries.
This policy is also a limitation for the emerging applications which will not be available on the official repositories and consequently not getting the proper recognition, something that they can get by being easily available to the end users.

Disadvantages to using

Installing .debs from 3rd parties (not officially from Ubuntu) always runs a risk. This Ubuntu forums post illustrates it. When installing a .deb, you give the installer root privileges, it has full access to install and remove anything on your computer. It needs root access to install and satisfy dependences, but if used maliciously it could install key loggers, spyware, viruses or simply delete your system files. This is why it is important to know and trust any site you download a .deb file from. is a trustworthy site and used by hundreds of Ubuntu users, but a warning needed to be issued.

I hope you enjoy getdeb!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Birthday pHreaksYcle

Today is an important day in the Ubuntu community. It's Ubuntu1501's editor pHreaksYcle's birthday. So everyone wish him a happy birthday!

pHreaksYcle done an excellent job since joining the team, thanks to him all the articles have been edited. He also is finishing up his second article and turning into quite the Ubuntu power user.

Leave some love after the break for the pHreak. Hopefully he'll have edited this article before most of you read this.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Installing Wine in Gutsy Gibbon

Wine is a software application which aims to allow Unix-like computer operating systems on the x86 architecture to execute programs that were originally written for Microsoft Windows.

There are two methods to installing Wine in Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

1. Install Wine from Ubuntu's own repository, older but offically supported version.
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install wine

2. Add Wine's own repository and download the lastest bleeding edge version.
In a terminal type:
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq.list

Add Wine's repository key.
Ina terminal type:
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Update your sources.
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get update

Download Wine
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install wine

Once installed (either method) you can configure Wine by running:

Ken pointed out, that you can change the wine color scheme to match Ubuntu.

Ina terminal type:
gedit ~/.wine/user.reg

Replace the [Control Panel\\Colors] section with

[Control Panel\\Colors] 1176981676
"ActiveBorder"="239 235 231"
"ActiveTitle"="203 133 61"
"AppWorkSpace"="198 198 191"
"Background"="93 77 52"
"ButtonAlternativeFace"="200 0 0"
"ButtonDkShadow"="85 85 82"
"ButtonFace"="239 235 231"
"ButtonHilight"="255 255 255"
"ButtonLight"="255 255 255"
"ButtonShadow"="198 198 191"
"ButtonText"="0 0 0"
"GradientActiveTitle"="239 235 231"
"GradientInactiveTitle"="239 235 231"
"GrayText"="198 198 191"
"Hilight"="246 200 129"
"HilightText"="0 0 0"
"InactiveBorder"="239 235 231"
"InactiveTitle"="239 235 231"
"InactiveTitleText"="255 255 255"
"InfoText"="0 0 0"
"InfoWindow"="255 255 166"
"Menu"="239 235 231"
"MenuBar"="239 235 231"
"MenuHilight"="246 200 129"
"MenuText"="0 0 0"
"Scrollbar"="239 235 231"
"TitleText"="255 255 255"
"Window"="255 255 255"
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0"
"WindowText"="0 0 0"

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Overview of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon on the Dell 1501

Everything you need to get Ubuntu 7.10 running on your Dell Inspiron 1501.

Gutsy installs with no problems. There is a problem with GRUB, the resolution settings are wrong and this causes a 2 -3 minute lag in booting. Once done, Gutsy takes less than 25 seconds to load. You can find the guide on how to fix it here.

Two Methods:
1. The Restricted Driver Manager can install the the firmware for the Broadcom 43xx card in the Dell 1501. You can find the guide .

2. You can use ndiswrapper to install the driver. For the guide and maybe why you'd want to do it yourself, check out this article.

ATI Proprietary Driver
Two Methods:
1. The Restricted Driver Manager can install the the driver for ATI graphics card in the Dell 1501. ATI's 8.37.6 fglrx driver is automatically installed, configured and 3D enabled. You can find the guide here.

2. You can install the newest ATI driver that uses AIGLX yourself. You can find that guide here.

Compiz-Fusion is enabled by default, so you don't have to install anything. If you used ATI Propiety Driver method 1, use need to setup Xgl using this guide to get Compiz-Fusion working. If you used ATI Propiety Driver method 2, Compiz works after a logout/reboot.

Media Codecs
Gutsy makes codec installation easy, no more automatix or struggling with adding repos. mp3, DVD, avi, aac, mpeg, wmv, asf, mov, flv, mp4, flash codecs are installed when you try to play them. If you like to add all the major codecs and make playback easy, check out my codec cheatsheet. The only thing not enabled in Ubuntu is reading encrypted DVDs. To add DVD playback to Ubuntu follow this guide.

Works out of the box. In order to do any of these guides you're going to need to plug in your Dell Inspiron 1501. Don't be cheap, go out and buy an Ethernet cable.

Brightness & Volume
Works with BIOS 1.70, use this guide for rolling back you BIOS.

Suspend & Hibernate
Doesn't work if you install the Proprietary ATI Driver (either method). A bug in ATI's driver causes this. No fixes have been found yet. If you use the MESA driver that is installed by default suspend and hibernate will work.

Video Out
Works out of the box, Gutsy's Screens and Resolutions (System>Administration>Screens and Resolutions) makes using multiple monitors a breeze. Configuration doesn't require editing your xorg.conf file.

Works, you just need to follow this guide to set it up.

Card Reader
Works out of the box.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Conexant Modem Driver for Gutsy

If you upgraded an Ubuntu 7.04 installation to Ubuntu 7.10, your modem will no longer work. You need to install the new deb. If you have the older version of the Conexant Modem driver, please uninstall it before installing the new one.

You can find the driver here. This is only for the 32bit version of Ubuntu. 64 bit users will need to go here. There is no deb for the 64bit driver so installation is a bit of a chore.

After installing the modem driver, you might get a pop-up window telling you that the Volume Control has quit unexpectedly and asks you to reload (or not reload) the panel. Click on Reload. Afterwards, the sound icon on the top right corner of the screen changes to "mute", but sound should be OK. A logout/login or GDM restart clears the issue. This issue happens because the modem driver lays down its own set of sound codecs and unloads the snd-hda-intel module during the installation process.

Step 1 - Install the Package


Step 2 - Reolad

Step 3 - Check the Restricted Driver Manager
System>Administration>Restricted Driver Manager

Thanks go to Alex Kriegisch for pointing this out.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Installing VirtualBox with USB Support

VirtualBox by InnoTek is a commercial and proprietary (with a limited GPL version) x86 virtualizer for Linux. It works fast and I like it more than VMware. For more info, check out it's wiki page. This guide will show you how to install both versions, the Open Source (OSE) and the Personal Use & Evaluation License (PUEL).

The Open Source Edition
This version of Virtualbox is released under the GPL. It does not have USB support and Virtual Remote Desktop support. It is the free as in freedom version and the easier of the two to setup. If you don't need USB or remote desktop support this method may be the one for you.

Download Virtualbox & Dependencies
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose virtualbox-ose-source

Prepare the source for kernel
In at terminal type:
sudo m-a prepare

Then install
In a terminal type:
sudo m-a auto-install virtualbox-ose

Add yourself as a virtual box user
In a terminal type:
sudo adduser username vboxusers
You must replace userame with your user name!

Personal Use & Evaluation License Version
The PUEL version has both USB support and Virtual Remote Desktop support. It is proprietary, but is available as a free download. It's my preferred version of VirtualBox.

Step 1: Download and Install VirtualBox

You can download the PUEL version of Virtualbox from Innotek website here.
Once your download is complete double click the .deb file and install VirtualBox.

Step 2: Setup User groups & USB support
Add yourself as a virtual box user
In a terminal type:
sudo adduser username vboxusers
You must replace userame with your user name!

Add USB support to you fstab file
In a terminal type:
sudo gedit /etc/fstab

And paste this line to the end of your fstab
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=1001,devmode=664 0 0

Enable USB
In a terminal type:
sudo gedit /etc/init.d/

You need to look for this section:
# Magic to make /proc/bus/usb work
#mkdir -p /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs
#domount usbfs "" /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs -obusmode=0700,devmode=0600,listmode=0644
#ln -s .usbfs/devices /dev/bus/usb/devices
#mount --rbind /dev/bus/usb /proc/bus/usb

And delete all the # shown, it should look exactly like this.

#Magic to make /proc/bus/usb work

mkdir -p /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs
domount usbfs "" /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs -obusmode=0700,devmode=0600,listmode=0644
ln -s .usbfs/devices /dev/bus/usb/devices
mount --rbind /dev/bus/usb /proc/bus/usb

Find your vboxusers number
In a terminal type:
sudo gedit /etc/group

Look for this, the number following it is your vboxusers number

Next you have to add a line to your /etc/fstab to allow usb mounting
In a terminal type:
sudo gedit /etc/fstab

Add this line:
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid= enter
vboxusers number HERE,devmode=664 0 0

Allow access to /proc/bus/usb/
in a teminal type:
sudo chown -R root:vboxusers /proc/bus/usb

Once you Log out or reboot, you can start VirtualBox (Applications>System Tools>Innotek VirtualBox)

Step 3 - Configuring VirtualBox
When you first run VirtualBox there is a wizard that automates setting up your virtual machine. Follow the steps, it's incredibility easy.

Once you have setup up your VM you should configure a couple of things in Settings.

First enable IO APIC

Then enable USB, and add the USB devices to your VirtualBox with the green USB icon. Deivces must be plugged in for this to work. Use the green and red USB icons to add and remove USB devices.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Installing the Newest ATI Driver with AIGLX

ATI's fglx video driver an be installed in two different ways in Ubuntu.

The first method installs the driver using Ubuntu's default fglx driver that is maintained in the officially supported restricted repository. It is as simple as selecting a box in the Restricted Driver Manager or synaptic and Ubuntu configures everything. This method gives you a stable driver with bug fixes. The only draw back is that you don't get the newest drivers. ATI releases a new driver just about every month and lately the ATI fglx driver has seen a major overhaul. The only way to install the newest fglx driver is to use the second method.

The other method involves you downloading and compiling the driver yourself. This method gives you the newest driver but doesn't give you any bug fixes or automatic configuration. What it will give you is a chance to use ATI Catalyst 7.11 driver which uses AIGLX. AIGLX allows you to run hardware accelerated rendering over the GLX protocol, eliminating the need to use XGL for hardware acceleration. AIGLX support is built into xorg and allows for a faster, less buggy Compiz Fusion experience. There is a great HowTo written on the Unofficial ATI Linux Driver Wiki, I couldn't have written a better guide.

...or You Could Use Envy
Envy will download the newest ATI fglx driver and automatically install and configure it for you. It does all the steps that are outlined in the Unofficial ATI Linux Driver Guide. It incredible easy and safe.

Step 1
Download Envy

Step 2
Uninstall any previous ATI fglx drivers you have installed. If you installed fglx driver via the Restricted Driver Manager all you need to do is go to System->Administration->Restricted Driver Manager and unselect the enable box.
You will have to reboot for the changes to take effect.

To test if you have properly uninstalled the old ATI driver
In a terminal type:

You should see something similar to this:
OpenGL vendor string: Mesa project:
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa GLX Indirect
OpenGL version string: 1.4 (2.1 Mesa 7.0.1)
(You do not want to see any mention of the ATI driver only mesa)

You also need to uninstall xserver-xgl
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get remove xserver-xgl

Step 3 - Install Envy
Double click the .deb package you downloaded to install Envyinstalling_envy

Step 4 - Use Envy To Install Driver
To start Envy Go to Applications->System Tools->Envy.
Select the Install ATI Driver Option.
You will have to reboot for the changes to take effect.

Step 5 - Confirm it Works
In a terminal type:

You should see this output:
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon Xpress Series
OpenGL version string: 2.1.7059 Release

Go to the Restricted Drivers Manager (System->Administration->Restricted Driver Manager). You should see the ATI driver in use but the enable box unselected.


Congrats You're done!

* Note Suspend & Hibernate still do not work on the Dell 1501, even with the newer ATI drivers.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Backlight & Brightness Fix

The brightness controls (Fn+the up and down arrows) don't seem to be working for many people in Gutsy. There is a very easy fix for this, use BIOS 1.70.

You Can Find BIOS Version 1.70 on Dell's Driver Website Here

The bad news is that it is a Windows process, meaning you have to do it in Windows. The good news is that it a completely automated process and impossible to mess up. All you have to remember is that you need to have your Inspiron plugged in when you update the BIOS. If your not plugged in, you'll brick your laptop.

There are other ways to update your BIOS, but I don't feel comfortable writing a guide or recommending them to my readers. So many things can go wrong, especially when updating via the DOS command line.
edited by pHreaksYcle