Ubuntu 11.04 Laptop Freeze & Mouse Issues

I’m running Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwahl) on a Toshiba Portege laptop and a few problems when the laptop is running on the battery.

  • The system freezes / locks up and the Toshiba fan goes into high speed mode
  • The mouse doesn’t work (although the trackpad does)
  • The screen eventually shifts to the lowest brightness and the brightness cannot be increased
  • Executing the dpkg -s laptop-mode-tools command shows that I’m running version 1.57-1 . For the time being, I’d rather sacrifice the battery saving features provided by the laptop-mode and disable it entirely. To do this, I edited the /etc/laptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf file to disable the tools.

    ENABLE_LAPTOP_MODE_TOOLS=0

    The change should take effect immediately.

    Updated: June 23, 2011

    In the month since I made the change described above I continue to have the system freezes although they don’t seem as frequent and I also have periodic issues with the mouse that are resolved by using the touchpad.

    Access Windows Directories from ubuntu

    Want to access your remote windows (SMB) directories or shares from Ubuntu Linux? Everything you need to know is nicely summarized on on the ubuntu.com Mount Windows Shares page.

    In short:

    $ sudo apt-get install smbfs
    $ sudo update-rc.d -f umountnfs.sh remove
    $ sudo update-rc.d umountnfs.sh stop 15 0 6 .

    Create a file in your home directory called .smbcredentials and insert the values associated with the remote directory or share that you want to access:

    username=<username>
    password=<password>

    Edit the /etc/fstab and add the following line to the end, inserting the info for the share you want to mount and the location for it to be mounted.

    //<smbserver>/<smbshare> /media/<smbshare> smbfs iocharset=utf8,credentials=/home/<username>/.smbcredentials,uid=$UID 0 0″ >> /etc/fstab

    Execute the following commands:

    $ sudo chown root .smbcredentials
    $ sudo chmod 600 .smbcredentials
    $ sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.bak
    $ UID=`grep $USERNAME /etc/passwd | cut -d: -f3`
    $ GID=`grep ^$USERNAME /etc/group | cut -d: -f3`
    $ sudo mkdir /media/<smbshare>
    $ sudo mount -a

    Disable ubuntu 11.04 Unity Global Menu

    One of the biggest changes in ubuntu 11.04 is the switch to the Unity interface. Unity uses the Mac-style global menu where the menu items for the active application are along the top of the screen instead of the top of the application window.

    I’m a longtime user of OS X, Windows and XWindows and prefer to have the menu closer to the application I’m using. In other words, I prefer the XWindows / Microsoft Windows-style menus tied to the application.

    The global menu can be disabled for specific applications as described here but I’d like it to be completely disabled.

    To change Unity’s configuration to use application windows, execute the following command:

    $ sudo dpkg -r indicator-appmenu

    Reboot ubuntu and you’ll be back to Windows-style application menus.

    Installing Java JDK on ubuntu 10.10 or 11.04

    Installing the Java JDK from the command line is so much easier than Oracle’s web package based install.

    For ubuntu 10.10, here are the commands:

    $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sun-java-community-team/sun-java6
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jdk

    With ubuntu 11.04 I had to execute these commands:

    $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/java
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jdk

    Set the JAVA_HOME environment variables in your /etc/profile or .bashrc file.

    JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun
    export JAVA_HOME