February 5th, 2014
Yesterday I accidentally stumbled over the successor of MPlayer and mplayer2. mpv Video Player that is. One has to be aware of the differences between the projects but all in all I was very impressed with how it handled some of the video files I threw at it. It includes most of the improvements that mplayer2 introduced over the old and somewhat bloated Mplayer code and even brings VDPAU and VAAPI directly compiled in. However I did not compile for myself but users this https://launchpad.net/~mc3man/+archive/mpv-tests/ repository instead. It even includes the correct icon für Ubuntu’s Unity and brings a .desktop file as well.
Nice job so far!
November 17th, 2012
Read more about what’s new here. The new audio engine finally solves problems I was having with S/PDIF passthrough audio and enhances my overall user experience quite a bit.
The following information is taken from
Here’s in a nutshell how to compile it for Ubuntu 12.10!
First remove a possible conflicting version of xbmc from Ubuntu repositories:
sudo apt-get autoremove xbmc
Install git and fetch the source code:
sudo apt-get install git
git clone git://github.com/xbmc/xbmc.git
then install necessary dependencies
sudo apt-get install git-core build-essential gawk pmount libtool nasm yasm automake cmake gperf zip unzip bison libsdl-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libsdl-gfx1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libfribidi-dev liblzo2-dev libfreetype6-dev libsqlite3-dev libogg-dev libasound2-dev python-sqlite libglew-dev libcurl3 libcurl4-gnutls-dev libxrandr-dev libxrender-dev libmad0-dev libogg-dev libvorbisenc2 libsmbclient-dev libmysqlclient-dev libpcre3-dev libdbus-1-dev libhal-dev libhal-storage-dev libjasper-dev libfontconfig-dev libbz2-dev libboost-dev libenca-dev libxt-dev libxmu-dev libpng-dev libjpeg-dev libpulse-dev mesa-utils libcdio-dev libsamplerate-dev libmpeg3-dev libflac-dev libiso9660-dev libass-dev libssl-dev fp-compiler gdc libmpeg2-4-dev libmicrohttpd-dev libmodplug-dev libssh-dev gettext cvs python-dev libyajl-dev libboost-thread-dev libplist-dev libusb-dev libudev-dev libtinyxml-dev libcap-dev curl swig default-jre autopoint libltdl-dev libtag1-dev
install more dependencies
sudo apt-get build-dep xbmc
finally bootstrap, configure, compile and install
sudo make install
For further information on how to update, speedup things with ccache and more refer to the linked documents above.
May 12th, 2012
In order to optimize power consumption PowerTOP can be utilized in its recent version 2.0. Ubuntu 12.04 ships with 1.97 so if you want to benefit from the latest and greatest you’ll have to compile for yourself. However this is not a big deal.
extract file and enter dir
sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall
(install everything configure complains about, then rerun configure)
May 12th, 2012
After everything else works out of the box with a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 I realized that brightness control via FN key doesn’t. The problem seems to be somewhere located in the Nvidia driver for GT330M and can easily be solved by adding one line to the “Device” section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
gksu gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
to the “Device” section so it looks somewhat like this
Identifier "Default Device"
Option "NoLogo" "True"
Option "RegistryDwords" "EnableBrightnessControl=1"
save file and finally reboot or restart lightdm with
sudo service lightdm restart
and brightness control is back in your hands!
May 11th, 2012
Last week I posted about my connection problems with iwlwifi and network manager. For the duration of a week I have tested wicd as an alternative connection tool on two Intel machines and must say: no disconnections or any problems whatsoever so far! iwlwifi options can be set to N speed and no modifications other than stopping the LED from blinking are necessary.
May 6th, 2012
First install dconf-tools with
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
and change org > gnome > shell > overrides > button-layout to
May 5th, 2012
Wireless is traditionally troublesome on Linux. The other day I transferred a lot of data over my wifi. After iwlwifi is finally stable for Intel devices using wicd, ath9k for Atheros wasn’t. It nearly passed out a couple of times leaving me with unusable connection speed.
I’m still testing if the culprit is hardware encryption or maybe power saving. For now I disabled hardware encryption with
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf
options ath9k nohwcrypt=1
No further problems until now.
May 5th, 2012
Although the new Unity experience is a smooth and snappy one desktop wise, video playback is a little choppy and sluggish. Even when using GPU powered VDPAU compiz is using a lot more CPU than it should and playback all in all is not enjoyable for me. Unlike earlier releases tearing is not a problem though.
Installing Gnome Shell works much better for video. But the new 3.4 desktop feels not as good as 3.2 did. So not a real option either.
Fortunately there is xbmc with its great media center software. For the first time available from standard Ubuntu repositories. Using it from within either Unity or Gnome suffers from the underlying desktop environments. Choosing the xbmc session from lightdm however delivers what any media enthusiast would want. Playback is smooth, CPU is very low and I’m happy again.
May 4th, 2012
I have one laptop running over night sometimes. That requires a stable wifi connection which I found out Ubuntu 12.04 with iwlwifi could not offer. Often I returned to the desktop in the morning and network-manager disconnected hours ago without establishing a new connection. So no down and uploads since then. Manually trying to reconnect doesn’t work either. One either has to switch off and on wifi or unload and reload the iwlwifi module.
I experimented with iwlwifi options 11n_disable and swcrypto as some people on the net suggested but no luck. Wifi kept disconnecting unpredictably. Then I stumbled upon one bug addressing this misbehavior to network-manager suggesting to remove it and install wicd. That was what I did last week and had not one disconnection since then!
sudo apt-get install wicd
sudo apt-get remove --purge network-manager network-manager-gnome
Caution: you will lose your network indicator and wicd will not show anywhere in Unity. Doesn’t matter to me since I monitor my network along with other information with Conky.
April 15th, 2012
Although being in beta state Ubuntu 12.04 LTS runs great on my Acer 1810t already. There are just three annoyances I had to tinker with.
Fan always on and too loud (AC)
With an AC cable plugged in the fan is always on which is very audible in a quiet environment. This can be controlled using kernel module acerhdf which is loaded by default but lacks finetuning. So all you have to do is create a configuration file
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/acerhdf.conf
and paste in the appropriate settings
options acerhdf interval=5 fanon=65000 fanoff=60000 kernelmode=1
and here comes silence! Use temperature settings at your own risk. The example above turns the fan on at 65° C and off at 60° C.
Noisy harddisk spindowns
Second thing is hdparm settings when running on battery. Former apm (Advanced Power Management) default for the harddrive in Oneiric was 128. It is now 127 which allows the drive to spin down resulting in frequent spin downs and wakeups which are audible and annoying. This can be avoided by setting apm back to 128 when running on battery
sudo hdparm /etc/sda -B 128
In order to make apm settings permanent add this to /etc/hdparm.conf
apm = 254
apm_battery = 128
Constantly blinking wifi LED
Well, for the LED to stop blinking when active but rather be just on it needs just an option to Intel’s wifi module. This however is not iwlagn as in Oneiric but iwlwifi in Precise. So create a config file
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf
options iwlwifi led_mode=1
and reboot or unload module with
sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi
and reload with
sudo modprobe iwlwifi