Saturday, January 28, 2012

AMD Catalyst 12.1 Driver on HP Pavilion dv6t-6100 CTO Quad (LM720AV) Hybrid Radeon with Linux Mint 12 / Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric

I found a way to fully use the powerful AMD/ATI Radeon 6770M Hybrid Graphics Card inside HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition in Linux Mint 12 / Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric. Thanks to the comment by Linux Hybrid Graphics blog!

Right now, I have configured by AMD hybrid graphics laptop to use the Radeon card when on AC power (and get dramatically improved 3D rendering performance), and use the Intel built-in card when on battery power. I'm not sure if I will actually ever need the 3D since I almost never do 3D gaming on Linux, I mainly work as programmer. But the functionality is there and ready. :-)

Here's my steps to get it to work:
  1. First, if you use vgaswitcheroo to switch off the dedicated Radeon graphics card, disable the command in /etc/rc.local by commenting it :
    #echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch
  2. Install additional prerequisite packages:
    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic dkms
  3. On 64-bit systems, create a symlink from /usr/lib64 to /usr/lib :
    sudo ln -svT lib /usr/lib64
  4. Follow the steps in Installing Catalyst Manually from AMD/ATI Website.
    In AMD/ATI Catalyst Linux Driver download page, make sure to download new AMD Catalyst Linux Driver version 12.1 (aka 8.930) or newer
  5. Use the Intel i915 VAAPI driver to get hardware accelerated decoding when playing videos using VLC, to install:
    sudo apt-get install i965-va-driver
  6. If you mess up the system, follow instructions in ATI driver re-install fail.
After reboot, your laptop should work just fine.
I have several minor issues (not a blocker by any means):
  • I still experience video tearing, even after I do:
    sudo aticonfig --sync-video=on
    and turned VSync sldier to Always On in AMD Catalyst Center.
    Maybe it's because I need to do this configuration on the Intel card?
  • KDE 4.8.0 multi-monitor setup is acting weird on the Radeon card only. It does detect multiple monitors, and can configure the resolution, position, etc. but doesn't detect that it is using multiple monitors, i.e. maximizing/full-screen-ing windows make it fill the whole desktop, not just one screen.
    This is a bit annoying as I watch movies a lot on a 32" HDMI LCD TV but still want to browse or do other stuff on the laptop while watching.

    KDE 4.8 multi-monitor setup works flawlessly when the Intel card is active.
I'll give an update when I've got more news on them...

Find tips to optimize your Ubuntu 11.10 in Ubuntu Unleashed 2012 Edition: Covering 11.10 and 12.04 (7th Edition) !

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Fix GNOME 3 Shell Screen Blanking / Monitor Turned Off in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric / Linux Mint 12

In my AMD/ATI Radeon-powered HP dv6t Quad Edition notebook, sometimes the screen is blank or the LCD monitor turned off and it cannot turn itself on again.
This did not happen in GNOME 2 / Ubuntu 10.04 Natty / Linux Mint 11, and happens only after I upgraded to GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell / Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric / Linux Mint 12.
To solve this problem when the screen is blank:
  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+F1 (to go to the console).
  2. Close the laptop lid.
  3. Reopen the laptop lid.
  4. You should be able to see the Linux console. Enter your username and password to login.
  5. Type:export DISPLAY=:0
    xset dpms force on
    ( Note : if you type "xset q" right after the "export" command, you'll notice that "Monitor is Off", which is both strange and scary )
  6. Press Ctrl+F7 to go back to your desktop.
Note that you may need to change your Power Settings, so that it will do nothing when the laptop lid is closed.
You may also want to configure your Screen Settings to disable turning off the screen.
I have not yet found a more permanent, properly working solution. So right now the above is a temporary hack that works.
You can learn more about Ubuntu and Linux Mint in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Fix Error: bash: warning: setlocale: LC_CTYPE: cannot change locale (id_ID.UTF-8) in Ubuntu 11.04 / Linux Mint 12

If you get error/warning message similar to this when press Tab for bash command autocompletion :

bash: warning: setlocale: LC_CTYPE: cannot change locale (id_ID.UTF-8)

Solution is:
  1. Install the required locale. In my case this is the "id" :

    sudo apt-get install language-pack-id

  2. Reconfigure locales:

    sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Now bash Tab completion should work just fine. :-)

You can learn more about Ubuntu and Linux Mint in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Restore Notebook Synaptics/Touchpad Not Working in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric / Linux Mint 12 Lisa

Sometimes the desktop in several Linux distributions freezes for no apparent reason; active windows can still be used, and the mouse pointer can be moved around, but clicking is impossible. Furthermore, your touchpad can no longer be controlled; the ‘Touchpad’ tab disappears from the System / Preferences / Mouse menu. Even if mouse functionality eventually returns, the touchpad remains uncontrollable. This extremely annoying bug occurs randomly and may last for a couple of seconds, or until you restart your X server.

I am facing this problem on a HP Pavilion dv6 Quad Core Edition on Linux Mint 12 Lisa 64-bit.

If you check your system’s log after such an event (/var/log/messages) you will notice a few entries similar to these:

Sep  9 09:38:15 umbra kernel: [ 4939.006198] psmouse.c: DualPoint TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 lost sync at byte 1
Sep  9 09:38:15 umbra kernel: [ 4939.012220] psmouse.c: DualPoint TouchPad at isa0060/serio1/input0 - driver resynched.

Basically this indicates an IRQ conflict between your mouse and your touchpad. This is a Linux kernel bug (I am currently using 2.6.28) and as such it affects most distributions. An easy way to recover both mouse and touchpad functionality without having to restart your X server is restarting the mouse driver. Run the following commands on a terminal window:

sudo rmmod psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse

If there is no terminal window open, you can use one of the following:

  • In Gnome or KDE, press Alt + F2, type gnome-terminal and press Enter
  • Press Control + Alt + F1, login with your username and password, type the commands, then press Control + Alt + F7 to get back to X

Hopefully a future kernel release will fix this problem for good.

You can learn more about Ubuntu in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !


Monday, October 17, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) Linux distro Released

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future." - Victor Hugo

The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce Ubuntu 11.10, code-named "Oneiric Ocelot". 11.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

For PC users, Ubuntu 11.10 supports laptops, desktops and netbooks with a unified look and feel based on an updated version of the desktop shell called "Unity", which introduces specialized "Lenses". Finding and installing software using the Ubuntu Software Centre is now easier thanks to improvements in speed, search functionality enhancements, and usability improvements. Aside from updates on the performance side, it's also more aesthetically appealing.

Ubuntu Server 11.10 has made it much easier to provision, deploy, host, manage, and orchestrate enterprise data centre infrastructure  services with the introduction of "Orchestra".  The Juju technical preview allows service developers to describe the deployment and  scaling requirements of their applications, in order to simplify  and enhance the dialogue between developers and operations teams. For those working on the ARM architecture, a technical preview is  also provided for the ARM server.

Read more about the new features of Ubuntu 11.10 in the following press releases:

Standard maintenance updates will be provided for Ubuntu 11.10 for  18 months, through April 2013.

Thanks to the efforts of the global translation community, Ubuntu is now available in 38 languages.  For a list of available languages  and detailed translation statistics for these and other languages, see:

Ubuntu 11.10 is the base for the newest 11.10 iterations of Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and our newest addition  to this release cycle, Lubuntu!

Ubuntu Studio:

Ubuntu 11.10 is also now available on two new ARM community-supported ports.
AC100 (Toshiba Tegra 2 Netbook):
(Freescale i.MX53 QuickStart):

To get Ubuntu 11.10

In order to download Ubuntu 11.10, visit:

Users of Ubuntu 11.04 will be offered an automatic upgrade to 11.10 via Update Manager. For further information about upgrading, see:

As always, upgrades to the latest version of Ubuntu are entirely free of charge.

We recommend that all users read the release notes, which document caveats, workarounds for known issues, as well as more in-depth notes on the release itself. They are available at:

Find out what's new in this release with a graphical overview:

If you have a question, or if you think you may have found a bug but aren't sure, you can try asking in any of the following places:

 #ubuntu on

Help Shape Ubuntu

If you would like to help shape Ubuntu, take a look at the list of ways you can participate at:

About Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a full-featured Linux distribution for desktops, laptops, netbooks and servers, with a fast and easy installation and regular releases.  A tightly-integrated selection of excellent applications is included, and an incredible variety of add-on software is just a  few clicks away.

Professional services including support are available from Canonical and hundreds of other companies around the world.  For more information about support, visit:

Kate Stewart,
on behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team

More Information

You can learn more about Ubuntu in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How to Fix Adjust Screen Backlight of HP dv6t Quad Core Edition with ATI/AMD Radeon HD in Ubuntu/Linux Mint 11.04

If you're looking to fix LCD screen backlight adjustment controls in HP dv6t Quad Core Edition notebook with Intel Core i7 2630QM and powered by ATI/AMD Radeon HD 6770M Switchable/Hybrid Graphics Card, here's the tutorial for you.

For a few problems, I have posted solutions on how to run Ubuntu / Linux Mint 11.04 on HP dv6t Quad Core Edition with ATI/AMD Radeon HD 6770M Switchable Graphics Card.
To fix adjusting monitor/screen backlight functionality with Fn/action keys, follow these steps:
1. Add the Kamal PPA repository that contains patched Linux kernel and gnome-power-manager :
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kamalmostafa/linux-kamal-mjgbacklight
2. Upgrade your packages (especially linux-* and gnome-power-manager packages)
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
3. Edit the GRUB2 boot parameters in /etc/default/grub to add acpi_vendor=backlight , as follows:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="splash acpi_backlight=vendor"
4. Update GRUB configuration:
sudo update-grub
Reboot Ubuntu / Linux and you should have LCD monitor screen backlight adjustment fully working!
I am now very happy with this HP dv6t Quad notebook! Very powerful, good battery life, cool-looking, and runs Linux quite flawlessly :-)
Find tips to optimize your Ubuntu 11.04 in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !

How to Run Ubuntu / Linux Mint 11.04 on HP dv6t Quad Core Edition with ATI/AMD Radeon HD 6770M Switchable Graphics


I just upgraded my notebook to a HP dv6t Quad Core Edition (September 2011) with Intel Core i7 2630QM and powered by ATI/AMD Radeon HD 6770M Switchable/Hybrid Graphics Card.

Running Ubuntu / Linux Mint 11.04 64-bit on it has a few problems like:

  • cannot boot Live CD / Live USB installer
  • crash / kernel panic during boot / stack trace regarding radeon module
  • cannot control screen backlight
  • screen is blank (completely dark black)
  • CPU / VGA / graphics / notebook fans are always on
  • power usage is high / sucking up battery / battery life is short
Fortunately, there are solutions and I will post how to solve them in this article series.

First of all please check your BIOS (press F10 during boot) to see if there's a switch for Switchable Graphics to Fixed/Dynamic. Or check if you have BIOS version F.1A or later.

If so then the switch feature should be there.

If not then I suggest upgrading to the latest BIOS from HP website. Please contact HP for further information as I cannot provide support on this.

Which mode should you pick? In my experience either Fixed or Dynamic works fine, what matters most is blacklisting radeon kernel module/driver.

To launch the Ubuntu 11.04 / Linux Mint 11 (Katya) Live CD / Live USB installer properly, at the GRUB2 boot choices screen press "e" or <Tab> (if you use unetbootin) to edit the GRUB2 boot command as follows:

  • remove : splash quiet
  • add (before "--") : radeon.modeset=0 rdblacklist=radeon xdriver=i915
I haven't tested which exact switches actually make the difference. If installer still hangs / crashes / blank screen, go to the BIOS and switch from Fixed to Dynamic and vice versa, then try again.

If you already installed Ubuntu / Linux Mint, follow these steps to blacklist radeon kernel module driver:
  1. Boot using Recovery choice (when prompted by GRUB2), or use Live CD / Live USB installer
  2. As root, create file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-radeon.conf with the following contents:blacklist radeon
  3. Save the file and reboot.
Now you should be able to boot into Linux GUI / GNOME / X Server properly with the Intel Graphics card driver.

However even though you are using Intel graphics, the AMD/ATI Radeon HD 6770M graphics card is still powered on, consuming precious battery life.

To power off ATI Radeon HD card, as root, edit the file /etc/rc.local and append (before "exit 0") :

echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

Save the file and reboot. Now you should have better battery life.
To check the Intel / ATI switchable graphics power state you can use:

$ sudo cat /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch
1:DIS: :Off:0000:01:00.0

The "1:DIS: :Off" means the discrete graphics (ATI Radeon HD) is powered off, so it's deactivated and not consuming any power.

Right now pretty much everything (except the ATI Radeon HD graphics card, which I'm not interested in activating right now) is working on my notebook/laptop.

Next what we can also fix screen / backlight display brightness setting not working. Watch this space for updates. :-) UPDATE: Solution found!

Find tips to optimize your Ubuntu 11.04 in Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) !