Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hard time installing Ubuntu 7.10

While I can easily install Ubuntu 7.10 on my Thinkpad R52 laptop and got it to work out of the box. I had hard time installing it on my Desktop PC. There are many difficulties I came across which I short-note them here for future references and for those who might have the same problem.

The Black Screen after GRUB Issue

I am not sure how could this happened. But when I chose to boot into Ubuntu (generic) from GRUB boot menu, for the first time. My screen goes blank and nothing happened.

I tried to diagnose the problem by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F1 right after you GRUB disappeared. This will let you see the boot sequences in text mode.

It amazed me since It finally brought me to login screen at that moment. I tried to login but got some message like GTK+ failed and a permission denied message indicating that it cannot create the ~/username/.gnome2/accels directory.

could not create gnome accelerators directory `/home/m3rlinez/.gnome2/accels': Permission denied

So I quit and change the session type of Fail-Safe Command line mode and login again.

There was a big white rectangle appeared on the right of my screen and I could use it as a terminal. I type the following command to remove some directories of gnome.

This command will permanently delete the directories passed as parameter and their contents. Use this at your own risk.

rm -rf .gnome .gnome2 .gconf .gconfd

After that I typed exit and logged in again. I could then get to the desktop.

The Cannot Start Firefox Issue

When I tried to start Firefox, there was a tab indicating "Starting Firefox Web Browser" appeared at my task bar for some seconds before it finally disappeared and nothing happened.

I tried to run Firefox from terminal to see if there might be some sorts of error message output to the terminal. But there was not.

Some guys at Ubuntu forums suggested the readers to run Firefox using strace utility. I then use the following command to start Firefox.

strace firefox

The strace program really gives me some clues on why Firefox failed to started. There is something like a permission problem at the end of strace output. So, I tried to run Firefox using sudo firefox command. And it worked!

Finally, I changed the Firefox folder and theif contents permissions to 777. I could then start Firefox as a normal user. Firefox folder is located at /usr/lib/firefox. A little weird place for Windows user like me :(

cd /usr/lib
chmod -R 777 firefox

The Thai Keyboard Issue

This is easy. Go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard and add a new Thai Keyboard layout. After that you need to configure the layout switching method, click the Layout Options tab and expand the Group Shift/Lock behavior mode node then tick the Alf-Shift changes group.

The ATi Graphics Display Driver Issue

WARNING: The following instructions are OUTDATED. You can find clear and concise instructions on this page:

I heard from many sources that ATi graphics hardware is hard to use with Linux OS. I have ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT which works fine with Windows Vista. Unfortunately, It did not work well with my Ubuntu.

After logged into X-session for the first time. The screen resolution was set to certain size which was not native resolution of my LG 19'' 1440 x 900 model. I cannot enable the Desktop Effects too. There was a little dialog that suggested me to enable the Restricted Driver from ATi. So I enabled it and reboot.

When I booted into Ubuntu again, my screen got messed up to a resolution like 800 x 600. And there is a message box indicating that I am using a Low Graphics Mode. I tried to change the resolution to my native resolution (1440 x 900) but it does not work. So I clicked the cancel button and logged into X-session using the Low Graphics Mode.

To undo the changes made by Restricted Driver, I loaded up the terminal and type this command to revert the video drivers back to auto-detected one again.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

I followed the instructions on the screen, leave every choices as default, and reboot. Everything goes back to normal with Restricted Driver disabled. But, still, I cannot enable the Desktop Effects.

So I went googling and found many suggestions. I finally goes to official ATi website to download a drivers for my graphics card. After made some selections about my system, the website brought me to a page the let my download the ATi Catalyst Drivers for Linux. So I downloaded it. Its name is

I started the installer using sh ./ command. I then restarted the X-server by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace key combination. You can simply reboot the machine at this point too but it would takes more time. I finally now got the screen resolution to my native LCD resolution at 1440 x 900. But, again, I still cannot enable the Desktop Effects.

The last step is to install the xserver-xgl package.

sudo aptitude install xserver-xgl command

Here is a short description of what the package does, taken from

Xgl provides a GL-based X server, performing its drawing through a GL stack. In combination with a GL-based compositing manager, this allows for high-speed transformations of windows.

After the installation, I rebooted the machine again. And I can now finally enable the Desktop Effects :) You can also install the Custom Desktop Effects config tool using this command

sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager

So, that is anothor story of ATi with Ubuntu Linux of mine. Hope this helps.

My desktop

Another great window management tool


chatsiri said...

ho!,Good howto install ubuntu.I using 22'inc monitor can't set graphic mode,but can using default graphic mode T_T.

.:: m3rLinEz ::. said...

Mine is 19' :)