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Updated: Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 5 on a Dell Latitude D600

Update: 9/13/07

Desktop Effects stopped working for me today after running the latest Gutsy updates.

Attempts to turn Desktop Effects on were met with an error message indicating Desktop Effects could not be enabled.

Running compiz from the command line gave me the following output:

Checking for Xgl: not present.
Blacklisted 'ati' driver is in use
aborting and using fallback: /usr/bin/metacity

I found the fix here:

Bug #139384 is not in Ubuntu

I am happy again!

Ignorance being bliss, earlier I had written the following:

It's true.

Even a long-time Windows guy can learn to appreciate the true joys of open-source and free software.

Now, I am not a rich man. I am running on a laptop that is close to four years old. Be that as it may, I am also not content to leave well enough alone. Yes, I am a tweaker. And l like a pretty operating system. I like Vista better than XP. And I really like Mac OS X.

So, when I installed Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 5), I had to see what the desktop effects were.

On a Dell Latitude D600 with a 1400x1050 display, the effects were... disappointing. At first. In fact, they didn't work.

Let me first say the Ubuntu installer did detect the correct display resolution and 24-bit color depth. This is an improvement over 6.10, which detected the correct resolution but only 16-bit color.

So, off the bat, I was really pleased. It took me a while to learn what and how to edit to fix the issues in the past. So not having to edit the xorg.conf file immediately was a nice plus.

Until it was time to try the Desktop Effects.

Lucky for me, because of the wonders of the intarweb, I was able to find a lot of different advice on things to try to get 3D (and therefore the Compiz-Beryl Ubuntu Desktop Effects) working. I know that on a newer chipset the benefits are even more fluid and dramatic, but I'm pretty happy with what I got the old laptop to do.

My config is not flawless, but it does use the open source drivers. There is a pretty detailed explanation of how to use the proprietary ATI drivers, but it didn't work on my laptop. This didn't shock me because the instructions were written for 7.04, which I am clearly not using.

Anything that did not work was stricken from my config files. For example, setting the AGP hardware speed turned out to be detrimental. Setting the write speed killed my display entirely. Out those options went.

I edited the following files like 50 times:



I added this file because otherwise I would have had to reduce my color depth to 16-bit:


Don't try any of the changes I made unless you feel comfortable with editing text files as root. And certainly don't make any changes without first backing up your original configuration files and without knowing how to revert to those files when something goes wrong. Trust me. The display going black is one thing. The display turning off is alarming.


Bug 80940
HOWTO: ATI Mobility XGL/Compiz Radeon
D600 xorg.conf
beryl + ubuntu edgy on dell latitude d600

And God bless Google.


Also of note? I set the Synaptics trackpad to be the CorePointer, relegating the mouse to "SendCoreEvents." This works wonderfully with external USB mice, yet allows the mouse preferences to actually affect the behavior of the trackpad. The default Ubuntu config still doesn't get this right, even starting with a fresh reformat and the newest installer.

No other changes were required to enable tap-to-click. Tap-and-scroll still doesn't work like it does in other operating systems, but the scrolling zones are enabled, which I can learn to love.

Overall? This is my favorite Ubuntu to date.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 31, 2007 8:44 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Wow! My Condolences and Sympathy to Anyone Affected by the 35W Bridge Collapse.

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