Archive for the ‘hardware with linux’ Category

AMD video problems in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve had some issues with graphics in Oneiric Ocelot since the Alpha pre-releases.

There were issues with the AMD proprietary driver (“fglrx”) for both my 5770 and 5870 graphics cards and, since I would always prefer to use free software, I decided to revert to the free Radeon driver that does have some 3D support now.

The problem is that, even after removing the proprietary AMD driver, some residual issues still persist that stop the radeon driver from working properly.

The trick is to reinstall a few components after removing all the fglrx packages.  Then remove the xorg.conf file.

That was enough for me, I now have my dual monitor setup back in action with the compiz wobbly-windows effect that I like.

In a terminal, try these commands one-by-one and then reboot.

sudo apt-get remove --purge fglrx fglrx_* fglrx-amdcccle* fglrx-dev* xorg-driver-fglrx
sudo apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-radeon
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-ati
sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri xserver-xorg-core
sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup


The free software radeon drivers wins over the proprietary AMD software.

For more help with getting AMD cards working try reading this excellent guide for Natty.

Free graphics card by earning bitcoins

February 12, 2011 15 comments

Well, here’s the plan.

I’ve just bought a Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 5770 for AUD$127 from in Ultimo, Sydney yesterday.

This is a good quality graphics card that is below the current 6000 series cards in terms of performance but cheap at the price.

What I plan to do is earn enough money from it to cover the cost within 2 months!

How is that to be achieved? By “GPU mining”.

With the advent of OpenCL support, the newer graphics cards can be instructed to use the onboard graphics chip (known as the “GPU”) to focus on intensive mathematical tasks and free up the main system CPU to do other things.  The GPU is designed for this sort of work so it’s an ideal way to get the most out of the hardware you have purchased.

Ok, here’s where the money comes in.  Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency that is managed by a network of connected computers on the internet that talk to each other at a peer level to manage the transfer of bitcoins from one party to another.  The transfer is anonymous in that you know the identifier of the party you are dealing with but not who they are. There are businesses that are accepting bitcoins as a form of payment. The computers in the bitcoin network belong to any individual that is interested in partaking in the bitcoin economy.

My computer is now one of them.

Every now and again, one of the nodes (i.e. computers) in the network creates some new bitcoins (50 at a time to be precise).  The more processing power you have, the more likely you are to create a block of 50. By adding this graphics card, I have increased my processing power for bitcoin generation by about 150 times and should create 50 within 8 days on average according to the bitcoin calculator. I am processing at 155 Mhash/sec now.

There are markets to swap bitcoins for USD through paypal transactions which at time of writing show that 1 bitcoin is near to USD$1.  I will earn USD$50 per week on that basis which will pay for the card in under a month but I’m being conservative by aiming for 2 months. There has been a significant rise in the relative value of a bitcoin in the past 6 months which is a critical factor in this plan.

In order to get things running on Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit “Maverick Meerkat”, I had to download and install the proprietary version of the ATI driver (10.11 is the best for performance currently) for my card.  It chose the radeon driver by default which does not provide the OpenCL support required. Also, I chose ATI since their performance for mining is far, far better than Nvidia’s.

It was necessary to also get the ATI Stream SDK 2.1 from here.  This provides the OpenCL libraries.

I also downloaded this to get the correct ICD files installed under /etc/OpenCL/vendors

This how-to for Maverick Meerkat and also this link were invaluable in getting to this point.

Having achieved that little success, now we need to get the bitcoin software and also the Diablo GPU miner software.

You should ensure that the bitcoin server is running rather than the actual user interface (see below).

In a terminal window, run the following

sudo gedit ~/.bitcoin/bitcoin.conf

and put in any values for rpcuser and rpcpassword



Then you need to run the bitcoin server with

bitcoind -server

Now finally you need to run the Diablo miner making sure that it knows where the ATI Stream SDK OpenCL library is. (find it with sudo find / -name and using the path to where you downloaded the miner along with the username and password you put into the bitcoin.conf earlier.

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/Downloads/ati-stream-sdk-v2.1-lnx64/lib/x86_64/

./ -u myself -p somethingsecret -w 64 -f 10

This should then show the current processing in terms of khash/sec.  Mine is between 150,000 and 160,000.

Now to sit back and see if I improve on my free 0.05 bitcoins in the next 8 days (UPDATE: First 50 bitcoins arrived this morning, 27/02/11 4:14:49 AM, after about 15 days of processing)

Oh, and if you do manage to get some coins and fancy giving them away, my bitcoin wallet is 1Cfdc5DHMABv27eyQ9xcrnuynQmx9dRXTg

Using a USB modem for wireless 3G internet with Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Many of these devices contain their own software to work with Windows.
If you use them with a Windows machine, they act like a USB flash key containing the software and will install the necessary drivers.
Once this is done, they switch into a different mode of operation and act like a modem from then on.
This is not required in Ubuntu so we just need to make sure the modem skips that first stage. It’s a very simple fix actually but will involve getting an internet connection through another means first i.e. home internet, wifi at a cafe, a friend’s place etc

Open a Terminal window (under the Applications menu, Accessories).
Type the following to install what you need

sudo apt-get install usb-modeswitch

This will ask you for your password in order to install the software.
Once it is completed, you can just insert the USB modem again and connect using the Network Manager applet near the top right hand corner of the screen.
From here it depends on the internet provider that the USB modem relates to but it should get you a good deal closer to getting it working.

Inexpensive 802.11n Wifi USB with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

June 18, 2010 6 comments

UPDATE: it may be possible to get this working with two simple lines. Tested as working under Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”.

In a terminal window try the following and then reinsert the USB wireless N adapter.

cd /lib/firmware
ln -s RTL8192SE RTL8192SU



I bought this relatively cheap USB wireless N adapter online but it did not work when initially inserted using Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

Now I cannot determine the speed as my Wireless Access point is actually on Wireless g (54Mbps) but this is what I did to get it working.

From the CD that came with the adapter, I copied off the file containing the Linux driver and then copied only the firmware to the appropriate location for Ubuntu to be able to utilise it.

(Assuming the CD is visible at /media/WLAN_6.58/)

Open a terminal window (from the Applications menu, Accessories), then type each line as shown below followed by Enter key each time.

mkdir ~/tmpwifidriver

cd ~/tmpwifidriver

cp /media/WLAN_6.58/USB-11N_RTL8191\&8188/Linux/rtl8192su_linux_2.6.0002.0708.2009.tar.gz ~/tmpwifidriver/

tar xvf rtl8192su_linux_2.6.0002.0708.2009.tar.gz

sudo cp -r ./rtl8192su_linux_2.6.0002.0708.2009/firmware/RTL8192SU/ /lib/firmware/

Just delete the temporary folder now to cleanup

rm -rf /home/tony/tmpwifidriver/

Then just insert the wifi USB adapter and click on the icon for Network Manager in the top right of the screen.  You should be able to see any nearby wireless hotspots.

For the record, my wifi adapter looks like this when queried with lsusb

Bus 001 Device 010: ID 0bda:8172 Realtek Semiconductor Corp.

A bargain for only $16!!