Pixelbook

Spent a big chunk of today preparing for, and attempting to upgrade my Pixelbook to Gallium OS.

I imaged it, then made a file backup of my home directory, before installing the OS, overwriting my Ubuntu, then restoring the home directory backup into the newly installed OS and then chowning the directory to me.

As a habit, I then imaged the laptop at this state.

I prepared a semi-automated script to install apps that I had installed on my Ubuntu, which included things like virt-manager, virtualbox, google-chrome and the like.

However, I soon found out that VirtualBox 6.1 seems to crash the mouse driver on reboot and the mouse pointer no longer moves and Gallium doesn’t even seem to see a pointer device when you check the mouse and touchpad option. I had to revert back to the image just after the file copy.

There is always the option of installing VirtualBox 6.0 from the Ubuntu repositories rather than the Oracle repositories, which uses a different installation setup. Maybe that will result in a different outcome.

Eventually, I restored back to my original Ubuntu installation so I can retry again tomorrow.

EDIT: Retried again the next day, and found out the sound wasn’t working, even on the live disk. Better find out what’s the deal with that…

EDIT2: Found out that my Pixelbook model doesn’t have working sound drivers on GalliumOS. I guess I will have to wait until that is fixed before using that. I guess I’m staying on Ubuntu. In the meantime, I’m going to see if I can compile a later version of the kernel to see if I can somehow get VirtualBox working better.

Pixelbooks and Ubuntu 20.04

After using my Pixelbook Eve on Ubuntu Eoan (19.10), my Ubuntu has started notifying me for an upgrade to 20.04 LTS. So, based on my past experiences of Ubuntu upgrades and how they always break things, I went through the process of backing up my files and making a Clonezilla image of my Pixelbook before even starting to do anything.

Then I went through the upgrade. It went through without any problems, but when it went to reboot afterwards, I was black screened after the Ubuntu splash screen.

I suspect it’s because my Pixelbook contains some tweaks via this GitHub repo, and that is still using a 4.x kernel. Last update was in 2019, so maybe it’s out of date.

Before restoring my old image back on, I installed GalliumOS which is an Ubuntu-based distro specifically aimed at ChromeOS devices. Then made a backup image of that before restoring the old image back on.

I might try installing Ubuntu 20.04 from clean and see if that has any better Pixelbook support than the older versions of Ubuntu, and make it so I don’t need to use the hacks. Bear in mind the hacks used the ChromeOS kernel, and I couldn’t do some things like use ufw or gufw. Using GalliumOS should fix that since I wouldn’t be using tweaks.

However, there’s still an annoying quirk GalliumOS has on my Pixelbook and that’s the jumpiness of the mouse pointer — touch the touchpad and the pointer jumps to that part of the screen, as if the touchpad was a representation of the screen, not a touchpad. It’s a quirk that can be gotten used to, but it is still annoying.

New Ubuntu Quirks

So, I install Ubuntu 17 clean on my laptop after the issues I had with drivers and immediately found out that gksu was not installed.

Installed that and tried to

gksudo nautilus

That failed and found out that Wayland had replaced the default of Xorg. Found an old Xauthority file from my backups and copied that back, which allowed me to get the popup window back for my gksu, but I couldn’t click it to enter the password :(

Then I found this article:

https://www.linuxuprising.com/2018/04/gksu-removed-from-ubuntu-heres.html

Which tells me I need to use the admin:/// file prefix instead to open something up as admin. Guess I’ll give it a go later.

Upgrading Ubuntu (fun! ¬_¬)

Spent several hours trying to upgrade my Ubuntu installation from 15 up to the latest 17. The upgrade didn’t fail, but I did see a few error messages, and now I have applications failing to start for various reasons, including the settings applet; and when I install or use my nvidia drivers, ubuntu doesn’t start up properly until I do


apt-get purge nvidia*

But removing all the nvidia stuff causes it to fallback to nouveau which for the most part works, but not exactly good for any linux gaming.

Looks like it’s going to be a full-reinstall job to make sure everything is clean :(

Goodbye Apple, goodbye Microsoft… hello Linux

Not often I quote from a publication from Ireland, but this was quite an intriguing read. Someone who went from Windows to Mac to Linux (Mint)

Linux is everywhere – and will free your computer from corporate clutches

It was 2002, I was up against a deadline and a bullying software bubble popped up in Windows every few minutes. Unless I paid to upgrade my virus scanner – now! – terrible things would happen.

We’ve all had that right?

In a moment of clarity I realised that the virus scanner – and its developer’s aggressive business model – was more of a pest than any virus I’d encountered. Microsoft’s operating system was full of this kind of nonsense, so, ignoring snorts of derision from tech friends, I switched to the Apple universe.

It was a great choice: a system that just worked, designed by a team that clearly put a lot of thought into stability and usability. Eventually the iPhone came along, and I was sucked in farther, marvelling at the simple elegance of life on Planet Apple and giving little thought to the consequences.

Then the dream developed cracks. My MacBook is 10 years old and technically fine, particularly since I replaced my knackered old hard drive with a fast new solid-state drive. So why the hourly demands to update my Apple operating system, an insistence that reminded of the Windows virus scanner of old?

Apple is no different to Microsoft it seems.

I don’t want to upgrade. My machine isn’t up to it, and I’m just fine as I am. But, like Microsoft, Apple has ways of making you upgrade. Why? Because, as a listed company, it has quarterly sales targets to meet. And users of older MacBooks like me are fair game.

I looked at the price of a replacement MacBook but laughed at the idea of a midrange laptop giving me small change from €1,200. Two years after I de-Googled my life(iti.ms/2ASlrdY) I began my Apple prison break.

He eventually went for Linux Mint, which for a casual user is fine. I use Fedora and Ubuntu (and a really old version of Ubuntu since my workplace VPN doesn’t seem to work properly with anything above Ubuntu 14 – their way of forcing me onto either a Windows or Mac machine)

Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/goodbye-apple-goodbye-microsoft-hello-linux-1.3295781

How To Install Steam on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS – OMG! Ubuntu!

Steam was one of the many things that broke with Ubuntu 16.04 because of numerous changes in package names and dependencies. Fortunately, here’s a guide to fix that. Now, back to my Dungeon Defenders :D

Source: How To Install Steam on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS – OMG! Ubuntu!

 

Tinkering

Looks like my weekend is going to be filled with tinkering again. ^_^;

I need to reinstall windows on my laptop as I think there must be some graphics conflict somewhere and it’s lagging when it gets taxed (didn’t normally). Most commonly, it happens when I’m playing Final Fantasy XIV, but has lagged a bit on Alice: Madness Returns and Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. I figured it might be my connection, since FFXIV is an MMORPG, so I switched from my WiFi to my 4G connection via tethering and it still lags. I then switched from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11, amd still nothing. I even downgraded my Nvidia driver to a REALLY old version (since Nvidia ran into a huge bug with one of their drivers, if you recall), so I’m planning to run my Clonezilla backup tonight (which should take a few hours since I’m also backing up my Ubuntu install), and then run my Windows install then then boot-repair to get grub back (凸(>皿<)凸 Microsoft)

And then, I have to go through the process of installing drivers and updating Windows, though I will probably skip updating Windows since I only use it as a gaming environment. And downloading my Steam games again. Including the Heavensward expansion, Final Fantasy XIV is probably about 20-30GB. With the spikes and dips in download speed on my 4G, it’s going to take about 3 hours.

Ubuntu Founder Pledges No Back Doors in Linux

Whilst I totally respect Mark for coming out and saying this, that’s not to say that in future, Canonical could be bullied into implementing a back door, or Ubuntu cracked by some untoward government agency….

VIDEO: Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, discusses what might be coming in Ubuntu 16.10 later this year and why security is something he will never compromise.

Source: Ubuntu Founder Pledges No Back Doors in Linux

 

Magic happens with the Ubuntu tablet – TechRepublic

Jack Wallen reviews the bq Aquaris M10 tablet and he’s impressed. If you’ve been on the fence about Ubuntu Touch, this might just assuage those unpleasant feelings.

Source: Magic happens with the Ubuntu tablet – TechRepublic

Canonical tried to do this with their last attempt to crowdsource their Ubuntu phone, but it didn’t make enough money. This one looks pretty good too. Now I wonder if I could run Android apps on there too. :D

So… my office made me use a Macbook Pro…

AND I HATED IT.

It won’t boot ISOs unless you hdiutil it, which is an Apple propriety tool, or the ISO has been EFI enabled already, and since it’s not open source, I can’t even do that beforehand.

The Macbook won’t work with a known good HDMI cable (which I use with a Desktop PC), unless it’s Apple branded – which Apple being Apple, isn’t the least bit surprising…

I’ve tripped over their power supply more than once, and putting it at the plug end make it bulky and ugly.

My first course of action with regards to the setup? Trash MacOS and install Ubuntu. Of course, Apple make things endlessly difficult — I had to hdiutil the Ubuntu ISO to make it bootable, then install Ubuntu. After which, the Macbook wouldn’t boot.

Thanks to the install guide at Linux Mint:

http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1643

I found out I had to fiddle with the efibootmgr tool to change the boot order, and it works fine now. But then I had to figure out how to right-click on a no-button mouse touchpad. The hack is found on the Debian site (look at the mouseeemu post at the bottom). So now I have a clickable touchpad, with right-click being “ctrl+click”

https://wiki.debian.org/MacBook#Touchpad_for_the_new_2008_unibody_Macbook_and_Macbook_Pro

 

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