MSI Wind: Ubuntu

(late 2008 timeframe?) I’m running ubuntu 8.10 booted off a live CD and then System/Administration/”Create a USB startup disk” on a usb flashdrive. I let it do it’s casper thing so that changes are sticky — using 256M for the casper file. I saved a copy of the casper file so that i don’t have to re-create the flash drive. From time to time (i guess) the filesystem runs out of space and bad things happen, in that case just restore the saved casper file.

Promiscuous mode: the Ralink won’t do promiscuous mode.

I was pleasantly surprised when I plugged in a Dlink DWL-122 (which i use on my Tivo) and it “just worked”, and it even worked in promiscuous mode — but that is 802.11b only so it’s only useful for testing.

I got ettercap to do some penetration testing. For some reason i couldn’t find it in Synaptic package manager(?). I had to do something on the command line (from memory: “sudo aptget -install ettercap”) and that worked.

Speaking of penetration testing, I downloaded a distro called BackTrack and installed that to a usb flashdrive. It booted up okay on wind but then i can’t remember what happened. It ran well on my other Toshiba laptop with an Intel prowireless 3945ABG (promiscuous).

a few details, to get my ralink wireless going with Ubuntu 8.10: First get dkms (sudo apt-get install dkms), then install the package (unfortunately, I can’t remember where I got it! It looks like it was on launchpad):

rt2860-source_1.8.0.0-0ubuntu1~ppa2_all.deb

Then afterwards, a little gizmo appears and you can click on it an configure wireless security and whatnot. [more unfortunate news: as of Dec 2009 upon trying Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala, the above package fails to build/install -- i haven't tried to figure out why]

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

(perhaps mid-2010 timeframe?) After a hiatus, i wanted to give a newer release a try. It loaded up fine and looked really slick. I downloaded the .iso, and used the pendrivelinux.com universal-usb-installer. They also have info there about how to create an (any-sized) casper-rw partition (hint use the newer gparted’s label function, just label it casper-rw. note: a file named casper-rw is used first, then it looks for a partition, so you can have both on one device).

It even loads wireless drivers! so everything (camera?) just works, right out of the box! Unfortunately, the wireless was unreliable coming out of suspend. And this being a laptop that was unacceptable. Here is a thread, I had no luck (p.s. there is a file called /etc/default/acpi-something where you can tell it to unload drivers; but i had no luck).

So, i gave up, in favor of Lucid Lynx (see below) which turned out to be reliable coming out of suspend.

Much later (in July 2011) I did find a fix for the problem; I noticed when the problem occurred — and it occurred every time i reconnected to another access point, or came out of suspend — in dmesg there were errors thrown by rt2x00pci. There is a whole mess of rtxxxxyyy drivers that seem to conflicet with the rt2860sta driver; in 10.04 (where everything works) there are none of these rtxxxxyyy drivers even loaded(?), so on a whim i simply renamed the rt2800pci.ko (not the rt2x00pci one!) driver, it is in /lib/modules/2.6.35-…./kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00/ folder. It is probably the case that I don’t need any of these extra rt2xxxyy drivers, just the rt2860sta one.

With this, miraculously, everything seems fine. This may have been the trouble with natty narwhal, too??

Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS Lucid Lynx

Everything seems to work, including wireless suspend/unsuspend.

Fooling around with powertop. (sudo apt-get install powertop). reports around 12W usage. If i force the hard drive to spin down (sudo hdparm -Y /dev/sda ), and let the screen dim, and otherwise idle it drops to 10.3W

Other fooling around with ClamAV, and “offline” anti-virus scanner. Couldn’t get it to detect my cache of known viri, trojans, etc. (from Domenic’s infection). So give up on that for now.

From what i recall; i installed this onto the hard drive so now i can dual-boot windows or Ubuntu. IIRC it uses GRUB (not GRUB2). The latest update I did May 30 2011 or so took me to kernel 2.6.32.32

Ralink troubles with WPA AES encryption

Somewhere along the line my rt2860sta wireless driver stopped working with WPA whenever AES was involved — so TKIP worked ok, but it would fail to connect to routers where WPA or WPA2 Personal TKIP+AES or AES was selected.

on 6/1/2011 I finally broke down and fixed it by (what else?) downloading and building a driver :-(

searching these instructions, saw this blog entry that sounded juicy:

This fixes everything (can now connect to ztinet, and e.g. hillsidespot as well as my own ddwrt router.
got this file 2010_07_16_RT2860_Linux_STA_v2.4.0.0.tar.bz2.tar.bz2
from here ralinktech.com (here is a local copy, and here is a copy with the changes below already done, and compiled for a couple of newer kernels) Oddly, I had to change extension from bz2 to gz in order for the archive tool to extract files. Then on pretty straightforward:

  1. edit the file ./os/linux/config.mk ensure these two say yes: HAS_WPA_SUPPLICANT=y   HAS_NATIVE_WPA_SUPPLICANT_SUPPORT=y
  2. edit the file ./common/cmm_wpa.c. Use the find command to locate MIX_CIPHER_NOTUSE. Replace this entire linewith this code WPA_MIX_PAIR_CIPHER FlexibleCipher = WPA_TKIPAES_WPA2_TKIPAES;
  3. then just do a sudo make, sudo make install (does that really need sudo?). It threw some warnings about framing size exceeded or something.
  4. backup the file /lib/modules/2.6.whatever/kernel/drivers/staging/rt2860/rt2860sta.ko
  5. copy ./os/linux/rt2860sta.ko to /lib/modules/2.6.whatever/kernel/drivers/staging/rt2860
  6. reboot

(the blog has lots of stuff that should let you pull out the existing driver and replace it without rebooting but none of that seemed to work for me).

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

As mentioned above in 10.10, a fresh install yields problems with the wireless, particularly when coming out of suspend. The problems seem to be coming from rt2800pci.ko — so i simply got rid of it (renamed it. its in /lib/modules/2.6.so.forth/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00 folder).  And eventually i got rid of the entire rt2x00 folder. The only problem seems to be when it resumes from suspend, it (sometimes?) won’t connect to the wireless on the first try; it times out and then gets it on the 2nd try, so that is no big deal…. plus a whole bunch of drivers that would otherwise load up (do a lsmod | grep rt), now there is just the rt2860sta one.

SSD: since i also installed the Kingston cheapie V100 64G SSD, I made some of the tweaks listed here. notably, i added discard and noatime to fstab option; and i  changed the “swappiness” (cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness revealed it was 60, by default). Maybe i should get rid of swap all together? I think i have 1G of ram. (Oops. Ubuntu won’t let me do it, even with sudo. Hmmm). To change it, edit the file /etc/syscntl.conf (or something, i’m going from memory), and edit or add the line vm.swappiness=x. I set it to 10.

11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

I tried this and regretted it. It had wireless troubles with the rt2x00 drivers. And if i simple renamed them, the wireless card doesn’t work at all — the staging/rt2860sta.ko is gone entirely. I assume if i was smart enough, i could build that driver (which should be no problem) and somehow figure out how to get it loaded up.

It’s a shame, because otherwise 11.10 seems to work really well on the netbook…. but alas I just reverted (i ended up doing a clean install) back to 11.04 and deleted the /lib/modules/…/wireless/rt2x00/ directory.

Oh and by the way; apparently Canonical FORCES the so-called unity desktop. I don’t like it, and i restore the old gnome look; i think i used these instructions http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/12/how-to-make-ubuntu-11-10-look-and-feel-like-gnome-2/ which mainly involves just doing a

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

And logging in gnome classic (instead of ubuntu); by clicking on the “gear” at the login screen. It still looks klunky for some reason. I noticed on my production netbook w/11.04 there is something called “gnome panel 2.32.1″ that i can right-click on and and change their behaivor; e.g. to auto-hide the task bar at top and bottom.

12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)

August 2012 I installed this from CD (32b desktop) onto my now out-of-service dual core atom desktop. Everything installed fine and my alfa (AWUS036H) usb wireless worked fine, just plug it in.

I also tried it (booted from an sd card) on my msi wind netbook and it seems like everything (including the ralink wireless) works fine; so I’ll have to decide if i want to upgrade or not. At the same time, by the way, i was testing out Backtrack 5R3 booted from usb and that was all fine, too.

The unity desktop can be replaced as mentioned above (be sure that ‘multiverse’ is selected in the ubuntu software center, first).

2 thoughts on “MSI Wind: Ubuntu”

  1. I installed ubuntu 11.10 into a vmware player virtual machine.
    wanted to install XAMPP to test some php code…
    so did this:
    http://freshtutorial.com/install-xamp-ubuntu/

    notes — to stop the (apparently running by default) apache server do:
    sudo apache2ctl stop

    and to start xampp do:

    /opt/lampp/lampp start (no sudo?)

    (if you don’t stop apache first, there will be a port 80 conflict).

    the default root for xammp is
    /opt/lampp/htdocs/
    i just put a symb link there called ed over to a folder in my home directory, e.g. i then access my test files by pointing browser to http://localhost/ed/

  2. I set up a fresh ubuntu 12.04 64 bit, under VMware Player 4.0.2…
    It all worked pretty well, the vm is about 6Gbytes configured with xampp. I wonder if since the main thing i wanted to do was load up xampp and use apach/php/mysql, that 32b ubuntu might have been a better choice(?). Here was the sequence:

    1) sudo apt-get install mysql-client-core-5.5 (this is suggested if you try and execute command mysql)

    2) sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback (multiverse must be enabled in software center, but already was)

    3) did software updates , then reboot

    4) get xampp 1.8.0; unpack into /opt
    since xampp is 32b only; had to sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
    sudo /opt/lampp/lampp start
    for test purposes; loaded up the scripts and data for ADOT2009
    was getting “ERROR 1148 (42000): The used command is not allowed with this MySQL version” whenever I tried to do the LOAD FILE (e.g. in notes.sql). To solve this problem, add the command line –local-infile=1 to the mysql command, e.g.
    mysql -h 127.0.0.1 -u root -D asdm3 –local-infile=1

    5a) sudo apt-get install mysql-navigator (but don't really need)

    5) sudo apt-get install mysql-workbench (this is oracle's fancy replacement for mysql-query-browser / mysql-admin; the "gui bundle" which is EOL)
    according to http://askubuntu.com/questions/138537/how-to-install-mysql-gui-tools-in-12-04 you can still run the generic tar file executables, just download and run them using the –update-paths. I did this and mysql-admin worked fine; but query browser doesn’t do anything after logging in.

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