It looks like after 10 years and uncounted major versions WordPress may have fixed that problem where the theming engine tries to find a legacy file that hasn’t been there for years, causing page loads to hang for up to five minutes.

My Latest Ubuntu Install

I like to try out different operating systems.

With the announcement that the Windows 10 technical preview includes a key logger among other evil user monitoring mechanisms, I decided to give the latest version of Ubuntu on my desktop PC, a Falcon Tiki.

Ubuntu is based on Debian. For some info on why I chose Ubuntu over Debian check out this article.

Install Ubuntu

A basic install of Ubuntu is pretty simple and involves these steps:

  1. Download Ubuntu.
  2. Make a bootable USB stick using the downloaded image.
  3. Plug in the USB stick and restart your computer.

Most computers are configured to look for bootloaders on USB devices, but if yours isn’t you should press Delete or F2 at startup to look in the Boot section of the BIOS settings.

The Ubuntu installer is a breeze through. You should select the option for encryption because disk I/O is fast enough these days with the inclusion of hardware encryption accelerators on most iSeries CPUs that you won’t notice a significant hit in performance (~30% at the most).

Of course, as with any Linux distribution, after you finish the basic install it’s time to install all the things that make Linux work like a normal operating system should.

Yes, there are open source drivers for most things, but they’re usually trash. If you’re willing to give up a good 40% of your GPU performance you should install the binary GPU driver from the manufacturer rather than sticking with Nouveau.

If you have a Broadcom wireless chipset (wifi, bluetooth) you’ll find that you also need to install their proprietary binary drivers to get those devices working.

Fortunately Ubuntu provides a relatively easy way of doing this.

I say this because it’s still not obvious how you should do it.

During the initial install Ubuntu tells you there is 3rd party software available you can install that allows you to play MP3s and some other things, but it doesn’t even hint that you need proprietary drivers to get the most of (and even to use some of) your hardware.

To set up these drivers you go to:

Gear icon (top right of the display) > System Settings > Software & updates

While you’re there you can configure a few additional useful settings, so we’ll do them all at once.

Of course because it’s Linux the assumption is “Oh no Canonical, I don’t want all the possible selection of software I could have. I only want some.” Derp.

On the Ubuntu Software tab, check all of the boxes in the “Downloadable from the Internet” section, because we want all the things.

Next go to the Other Software tab and check all boxes. Same reason, see above.

Next go to the Updates tab and check the boxes for security updates, recommended updates and backports.

Backports are software that is updated for a newer version of your distro, but they’ve been made available to previous versions for some urgent reason such as the existing version for your distro causing your computer to burst into flames, so those are always good things to have.

After you’re done checking all these boxes, close and re-open the Software & Updates box to force a re-scan of the software repositories.

Install Proprietary Drivers

Lastly, the magic tab: The Additional Drivers tab. Go there. Do not go there before you re-open the dialogue because you have to re-scan repositories before the proprietary drivers you need will appear in the Additional Drivers tab.

Screenshot from 2014-10-06 10:12:02You can see in the screen shot here that I’m using the NVIDIA driver for my GTX Titan.

I also have the Broadcom driver enabled for my wireless adapter.

When you select these options and click Apply Changes a progress bar will appear and stay there for about ten minutes.

What it doesn’t tell you and doesn’t give you the option to display (unless you start the software updater from the terminal and watch the terminal output) is that it’s downloading the drivers, extracting them, installing them, then attempting to load them.

When the progress bar is finished you’ll need to either restart the  window manager/display server manually (which would be retarded since Ubuntu reboots in about 10 seconds) or reboot to implement the new driver. Of course Ubuntu doesn’t tell you this and would be perfectly happy to let you go on using the shitty built-in driver for all eternity or until you get a kernel update that requires a reboot, so you’ll have to do this without being prompted.

After rebooting you can begin installing all the other software you need to actually be productive since Ubuntu is totally altruistic and only installs software that is totally open source and not at all proprietary cough cough amazon icon on taskbar.

Razer Mice

remove-amazonNext up, if you want to control your Razer mouse you’ll need to install Michael Büsch’s Razer Device Configuration tool.

I won’t go into details since the install instructions are included in the package archive, but I will tell you that you have to install the Pyside module for Python and that for some reason you can’t just install the python-pyside package, you have to specifically install the version for Python 3, which is called python3-pyside.

sudo apt-get install python3-pyside

One would think the package would be configured so that apt knows which version of Python you have as your system Python and could work that out for you, but I guess that’s too much to ask for in 2014. Maybe I should submit a patch.

You’ll notice the utility doesn’t include any method to remap the buttons or the additional functions of the scroll wheel because fuck good-enoughme, RIGHT? There’s probably a complicated work-around you could do since Razer mice basically emulate a second keyboard for their additional buttons, but I don’t have the patience for that shit.

For your information here are the keys emulated by the mouse:

  • Click wheel lean left/right = page down/page up
  • Numbered keys = Numpad (1-9 = 1-9; 10 = 0; 11 and 12 = “-” and “=” respectively)
  • Wheel press = Shift+Insert (really??)

I don’t know what the two buttons behind the scroll wheel do. They don’t seem to have any key output so they may be internally proprietary.

Now is probably a good time to introduce a few other things you should install that you’ll probably need later when you try to do something a normal operating system would do only to have it fail silently or present a cryptic error message that would otherwise have you spending days on forums begging for help from Mountain Dew-guzzling pasty fat men who would rather fap to loli porn than type a one-line answer that could save you hours of frustration.

This article describes how to add repositories for and install all that software, so I won’t go into it, and anyhow it’s written better than I would write it. Go there and do that.

You might say to yourself “oh I don’t need some of this stuff so I’ll just skip installing that.” No. No… You don’t want to do that. Trust me. You will need those things at some point. You will.

Except for Chrome. Fuck Chrome.

Once all of that shit is done reboot again.

Lastly, start Bleachbit as superuser and clean all the things (including free space wipe). This could take anywhere from half an hour to 4 hours or more depending on how many megabitz your computer has.

This is the part where the summary goes that I’m too lazy to type, so fuck off.

Anyone can write a web log