Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 on ASUS R2H

With Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" just released the other day, thought I would upgrade the recent 12.04 installation. Instead of doing a fresh install, I've decided for an upgrade - never done one before and wanted to see how well it works.

I wouldn't recommend it though, for two reasons: one cause I first had to upgrade to 12.10 (~700 MB download) and then again to 13.04 (another 700MB) - much larger than downloading the full 13.04 ISO - and second cause the wi-fi network was quite slow at around 50 KB/s and took ages to download and seemed like hogging the wi-fi channel for my laptop to use at the same time (seen similar with the original install when downloading updates). One advantage on the other hand is that it kept what I had, like apps and screen resolution / calibration.

Some parts of the UI seem a little more responsive (like dragging the on-screen keyboard around), but the I guess visual effects (fading, zooming) make it slower. Other things like starting programs seem slower as well - the file manager starts after a few seconds after being clicked with a gray window for another couple of seconds, then you get your files. VNC connection seems slower as well.

Cue Ubutu Software Center > Unity Tweak Tool.

CompizConfig Settings Manager is still there - disabling animations and fading windows locks up the UI for a good few seconds, but it will come back eventually.

One thing I didn't cover in previous post was the on-board keyboard, which comes very handy when you use the unit away from your desk. Search for OnBoard Settings:

Another thing I didn't cover was how to enable hibernation. Press the Power hardware button and will be presented with the lock / standby / hibernate / shutdown dialog.

And this is all for now...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ubuntu 12.04.2 on ASUS R2H

Today we're going to install Ubuntu 12.04.2 Desktop on the ASUS-R2H UMPC. Why not latest 12.10? I've already done that and somehow it seems slower - feel free to install that if you want, should be fairly close to the one below.
* * *

Screen resolution is quite low (640x480) and windows are not fitting entirely. If you have an external monitor connect it through the VGA port, otherwise you use ALT + left mouse to move a window around say to get to the buttons at the bottom (best to connect an external mouse and keyboard).

You can increase the resolution to 800x480 by going into System Settings (left) > Displays, and in there uncheck Mirror displays box, select Laptop (left) and change the resolution from the drop-down (now 800x480 becomes available, filling up the screen).

If you prefer to continue the installation remotely, once you connect to the local network (wi-fi or wired) enable Desktop Sharing and use a VNC client for remote control - I've used TightVNC from my Windows laptop.

Start installation with the shortcut on the desktop. I won't cover all steps, they are quite easy to follow and you can find a lot of step-by-step tutorials on the net covering it all in detail. Checking the box to Download updates while installing makes it download a lot of things during installation and at times it will hog the wi-fi network...

What I will cover though is the partition creation part - I already had the disk split into a Windows 8 partition (will replace with Ubuntu) and a personal data partition (that i'd like to keep). In my previous attempt, I chose the Install Ubuntu alongside Windows 8 which didn't work out very well for me, as it removed all partitions (again, remember to back up your disk! see note at the start) - maybe because it couldn't find any un-allocated disk space. So what I'll do is go with the manual option, remove the recovery and Windows 8 partition and manually create a swap and system partitions for Ubuntu (just as well it might work to use the manual step to remove the two and then come back and choose the first option, haven't tried it though).

Remove first two partitions
Create new partitions (swap + system)
Click Install now to continue with the installation, that will take a while... Once done it will ask you to restart - remove the USB stick and restart.

* * *

Now installed, login and change resolution, maybe enable Desktop Sharing, just like you did when in the installer (see above). Finish installing updates (around 139) through the Update Manager (left) - that will take a while...

UI performance:
  • install MyUnity and CompizConfig Settings Manager (Ubuntu Software Center)
  • disable window animations, fading and other effects...

Touch screen works, but the cursor is off:
  • install xinput-calibrator (Ubuntu Software Center)
  • Run application from Dash Home (search for calibrate)
  • Copy the on-screen output and save to persist settings:
    copy the snippet below into '/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf'...
  • Select text (existing terminal window) > right click > Copy
  • Right-click (existing terminal window) > Open Terminal
  • sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
  • sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf
  • Right click > Paste > Save

Webcam works, but the image is upside down. Haven't tried this fix just yet:

Bluetooth seems to work out of the box.

Fingerprint reader:
  • install Fingerprint GUI
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fingerprint/fingerprint-gui
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install libbsapi policykit-1-fingerprint-gui fingerprint-gui
  • logout and log back in
  • run Fingerprint GUI to enroll / verify your fingerprint(s)