Hibernating my MacBook under Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

No matter what they say, hibernating Linux laptops has always been a problem. I managed to get my MacBook to suspend to RAM quite reliably without much of a hassle. It suspends when I close the lid, and it resumes when I open the lid back. I even configured it to suspend when battery is critically low. This way, and due to the really low power consumption while suspended, I can safely forget my laptop on and unplugged for extended periods of time, and the worst that can happen is that I will have to resume it. A huge difference from the nasty surprise of finding it off and losing all the information not saved to disk.

However hibernating to disk is a whole different business. I never managed it to work, and that was an itch I wanted to scratch. Finally I managed, with the following recipe.


First, make sure that you have enough swap space available in disk. In Linux you generally create a swap partition when installing the OS. The old adage states that one should make the swap partition twice as big as the RAM memory of the computer. With modern computers this is both unnecessary (because the big RAM makes sure you'll never run out of it, and if you do, you are screwed anyway) and wasteful (if you have a 4GB RAM, it means that you dump 8GB of disk space). However, if you intend to hibernate your computer, all the information in the RAM memory has to be copied to the hard disk, so you sure need at least as much swap as RAM (but not twice).

Second, you need to use the correct tool. I use Xfce as desktop environment under Ubuntu, and the Exit menu presents me with six options: "Switch user", "Log out", "Restart", "Shut down", "Suspend" and "Hibernate". I think that the latter two make use of the tools in the acpi-support package. The suspend action seems to work OK, but the hibernate one doesn't (for me). It runs the command /etc/acpi/hibernate.sh, and it gives me problems. Thankfully I found some utilities that work reliably, namely pm-utils.

The pm-suspend command seems to work as correctly as the "Suspend" button in the Exit menu of Xfce. The pm-hibernate, on the other hand, works perfectly, unlike the "Hibernate" button. The drawback is that only root can run it. My solution is to put a launcher button in the Xfce task bar, that will run "gksudo pm-hibernate". This way I am asked for my password and, if sudo is correctly set up, pm-hibernate will run.

More info

Sometimes it is very interesting to run some commands at suspension/hibernation moment, or at resuming/thawing. One such command is hdparm, with which you can fix the long known load/unload cycle problem (you can google about it). Another one is one to fix a problem that apparently appears on MacBooks: the touchpad is lost when the computer wakes up back. The keyboard works, and USB mice work, but the touchpad doesn't. This problem can be fixed by reloading the appletouch kernel module:

# modprobe -r appletouch && modprobe appletouch

You can fix both issues above by creating a file named, e.g., 99-macbook_fix, in /etc/pm/sleep.d/, and making it executable. Then write in it the following:


if [ $1 = 'thaw' ]; then
# The appletouch module has to be reloaded after hibernating
# (not after suspending, though), because otherwise the touchpad
# remains frozen upon awakening.
modprobe -r appletouch
modprobe appletouch

# Correct the load/unload cycles problem
/sbin/hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda

if [ $i = 'resume' ]; then
# Correct the load/unload cycles problem
/sbin/hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda

Compiz Fusion under Debian Lenny on my home desktop

I recently wrote (actually, my last post, 12 days ago), a howto of sorts with my experience installing Compiz Fusion on my laptop. Yesterday I came back from my vacations, and repeated the feat with my destop computer at home.

The setup is quite different:

CPU: AMD Athlon 2800+
Graphics: nVidia FX 5700 (256MB)

And the effort is also quite different: it took me much less! Partially, this was because of my previous exprerience, but mainly the reason is that the graphics card here is nVidia. Yes, let the world know that ATI cards suck on Linux.

The problem is that ATI cards need XGL to have Compiz running, but nVidia cards make use of AIGLX natively, so the installation has only two steps: (1) installing the nVidia driver, and (2) installing the Compiz Fusion packages.

Installing the latest nVidia driver

As with the ATI card in my laptop, I decided to use the proprietary drivers from the nVidia site. The choice-making interface is so similar, actually, to that of ATI. I had to go Graphics Driver->GeForce FX series->Linux x86->Go!, and download this installer.

BIG WARNING: before actually installing anything, remove a previous installation of the nVidia drivers, if you installed them "the Debian way". For that, do:

% aptitude purge nvidia-glx

I have a friend who did not do so and... Ok, ok, it happened to me. If you do not do the above, everything seems to work fine, but everytime you reboot the X server will crash, and you might get incredibly annoyed by that.

To perform the installation, simply run, as root:

% sh path-to-file/NVIDIA-Linux-x86-100.14.11-pkg1.run

Then, just modify your xorg.conf file to contain the following:

Section "ServerLayout"
  Identifier     "Default Layout"
  Screen       "Default Screen" 0 0
  InputDevice    "Generic Keyboard"
  InputDevice    "Configured Mouse"
  Option         "AIGLX" "true"


Section "Extensions"
  Option         "RENDER" "true"
  Option         "Composite" "Enable"
  Option         "DAMAGE" "true"

Installing Compiz Fusion packages

The procedure is exactly the same covered in my previous post. In short:

1) Add the Shame repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/shames/debian-sid/desktopfx/unstable/ ./

2) Get the signature for the repo:

% gpg --keyserver pgpkeys.mit.edu --recv-key 11F6E468
% gpg -a --export 11F6E468

3) Update and install:

% aptitude update
% aptitude install compiz-fusion-all --a

Any time you want to run Compiz, just execute:

% compiz --replace -c emerald

Shorter than the ATI thing, uh?

Compiz Fusion under Debian Lenny on my laptop

I have a previous post with what I've done to my laptop, and in that post it's not mentioned, but I managed (quite a while ago) to make Beryl work under Ubuntu Dapper Drake. Dapper is getting older, but I am not having good experiences installing Edgy and Feisty on the laptop. I have managed to install Debian Etch with no problem, but the wireless driver was not working properly (for me, a showstopper) until Lenny.

So now I have a Debian Lenny partition, plus three other: the original WinXP, the Ubuntu Dapper I am still using as "main" OS, and a Fedora 7 I installed just because it came in a DVD with a magazine I bought for a train trip I had not brought any reading material with me :^)

Since I am on vacation, and I have plenty of time (although I don't want to spend all of it on my comp), I decided to give Compiz Fusion a try, mostly after seeing what it its capable of.

First things first, the specs of my laptop are:

Fujitsu-Siemes Amilo PI1536
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2x2.0GHz
RAM: 2x1Gb
HD: 120Gb SATA
Display: 15.4 WXGA
Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 (128Mb dedicated/512Mb shared)

The only relevant parts above are that it has an ATI graphics card (which, under Linux, sucks), and that it has Core 2 CPUs, which are amd64-capable (which is both great, for performance, and sucks, for drivers and software compatibilities). So, my second step was:

Installation of ATI drivers

If you want to take the best out of your ATI card, you have to tell your X.org graphics server to use the fglrx driver, and not the default vesa one. You can install this driver from the official Debian repositories, but for me those packages (fglrx-driver and related ones) didn't do it.

So, I googled a bit, and followed the most widespread recommendation: to install the latest non-free (sigh) driver from the ATI site. For that, I chose the options: Linux x86_64 -> Mobility Radeon -> Mobility Radeon X1400 -> Go, reaching this page, and downloading this 38MB binary (for the record, the 32bit version of the drivers is exactly the same .run file).

Next, I followed the remaining information in this excelent thread in linuxquestions.org. Namely, I downloaded the needed packages (the code is copy-paste-able):

% aptitude install module-assistant build-essential dh-make debhelper debconf libstdc++5 linux-headers-$(uname -r) ia32-libs

Beware that the ia32-libs packages is not mentioned in the linuxquestions.org thread (assuming that you already have it installed), but it is required.

Next, run the ATI binary inside a dedicated directory (I did it as root, but it is not compulsory):

% mkdir /root/fglrx
% cd /root/fglrx
% mv wherever-I-downloaded-it/ati-driver-installer-8.32.5-x86.x86_64.run .
% chmod +x ati-driver-installer-8.32.5-x86.x86_64.run
% ./ati-driver-installer-8.32.5-x86.x86_64.run --buildpkg Debian/lenny
% rm or mv the .run file wherever you want

This generates a bunch of .debs in the /root/fglrx dir. Next, install them, and compile the driver (for this, you do need to be root):

% dpkg -i fglrx-*.deb
% cd /usr/src
% m-a prepare
% m-a a-i fglrx

The linuxquestion.org thread mentions modifying the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file in two ways. First, disable compositing, adding:

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Disable"

to it, and then running:

% aticonfig --initial
% aticonfig --overlay-type=Xv

For me, both were superfluous, because I made a copy of my Ubuntu xorg.conf, and them made minimal changes (if at all). However, the first change (disabling compositing) was straightforward wrong. If I want to use Compiz Fusion, I need to have it. Relevant excerpts from my xorg.conf:

Section "Module"
  Load  "i2c"
  Load  "bitmap"
  Load  "ddc"
  Load  "dri"
  Load  "extmod"
  Load  "freetype"
  Load  "glx"
  Load  "int10"
  Load  "type1"
  Load  "vbe"


Section "Device"
  Identifier  "aticonfig-Device[0]"
  Driver      "fglrx"
  Option      "VideoOverlay" "on"
  Option      "OpenGLOverlay" "off"


Section "Screen"
  Identifier "aticonfig-Screen[0]"
  Device     "aticonfig-Device[0]"
  Monitor    "aticonfig-Monitor[0]"
  DefaultDepth     24
  SubSection "Display"
    Viewport   0 0
    Depth     24
    Modes    "1280x800" "800x600" "640x480"


Section "DRI"
  Mode         0666

Section "Extensions"
  Option "Composite" "1"

After all this fuss, and to ensure you have it all running OK, try to insert the module as root:

% modprobe fglrx

Then, make sure it loads everytime you reboot (include it in /etc/modules if necessary, but it shouldn't be).

Next, reload the X server, and check that now it is running the fglrx driver, by doing the following (as user is fine):

% fglrxinfo

It should display something like the following:

display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Mobility Radeon X1400
OpenGL version string: 2.0.6650 (8.39.4)

If, instead, it says something about mesa3d, it didn't work.

Now, the second step is...

Installing Xgl

With the standard X.org server we have a problem. We can load the fglrx driver, but we can not activate compositing (see last three lines of my xorg.conf file above). If we activate compositing in the xorg.conf file, the ATI driver will not be loaded (don't ask me why, it just seems to happen). If we deactivate compositing, the ATI driver gets loaded, but without compositing, we can not use Compiz.

The solution is to install Xgl which is an X server (or, I think, a kind of layer that runs on top of the X.org server) that allows for the above trick. There seem to be two "ways" of getting proper compositing: Xgl and AIGLX. The general agreement on the net seems to be that the latter is "better", but only the former seems to work with ATI cards (read the "AIGLX with AMD (ex-ATI) Proprietary Drivers" section in the AIGLX Wikipedia article, because it hits the problem dead-on). With Xgl I can make use of the fglrx driver and have compositing at the same time.

We are lucky here, because there are Debian repositories for Xgl. I found out about them in this howto in tuxmachines.org. Most of the info there is mostly... ehem... useless (for me), but reading it I found a repo for Xgl. I just have to add the following line to my /etc/apt/sources.list (beware that the original mention in the tuxmachines.org page says "binary-i386", and I had to change it to "binary-amd64"):

deb http://www5.autistici.org/debian-xgl/debian/ binary-amd64/

I then had to do aptitude update, and I (of course) got an error telling me that some signatures couldn't be verified (read my own article about secure APT and/or the wonderful Debian wiki to know more). I think the key is 11F6E468, and it corresponds to Francesco Cecconi (mantainer of the repo). It is downloadable from pgpkeys.mit.edu (follow instructions on my previous post, or the ones in the Debian wiki). If you want, do not skip reading the parent page of the repository.

After the keys are OK, it's just a matter of doing (as root):

% aptitude update
% aptitude install xgl

Now you are done installing, but will have to actually use Xgl. This gave me some headaches, not because I didn't know where to put things, but because I didn't know exactly what to put. I read, and followed, the instructions in freedesktop.org, and (after all, the blog seems to be useful for someone: myself) a previous post of my own.

I am using GDM, so my final setup was the following: first generate a suitable entry in the GDM menu, by creating a file named /usr/share/xsessions/xfce4-xgl.desktop (or whatever, but in the same dir, and ending in ".desktop"), and putting the following inside:

[Desktop Entry]

The string after "Name=" is the one that will appear in the GDM menu, and the one after "Exec=" what will be executed when selecting that entry.

Next, we have to create the string we promise above (/usr/local/bin/startxgl_xfce), and put the following inside:

# Start the Xgl server:
Xgl -fullscreen :0 -ac -accel glx:pbuffer -accel xv:pbuffer -fp /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc & sleep 5 && DISPLAY=:0
# Start Xfce:
exec xfce4-session

As you can see, I am telling Xgl to load a font (with -fp) that was giving me headaches, because the server would die saying that the font was missing when I didn't include that option. Your mileage may vary.

Now, everytime we select the entry labeled "Xfce-Xgl" in the GDM menu, we will have the Xgl server running.

Installing Compiz Fusion packages

I think the aforementioned autistici.org repo has compiz packages, as well as the default Debian Lenny repos. But net consensus seems to be that they are not the way to go. Everyone praises two repositories: Treviño's and Shame's. I chose the latter, adding the following line to my /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/shames/debian-sid/desktopfx/unstable/ ./

I think I went through the same chores as above for key verification, Shame's key being A42A6CF5.

After that, I installed the following package (it installs all of the needed packages):

% aptitude install compiz-fusion-all

After that, and inside my "Xfce-Xgl" session, I just did the following, as some googling revealed:

% compiz --replace

But... it didn't work :^( It complained in the following manner:

Fatal: Failed test: texture_from_pixmap support
Checks indicate that it's impossible to start compiz on your system.

I found a lot of pages, threads and howtos in the net stumbling upon this same problem (for example, this one at ubuntuforums.org), but none with the answer. Really. None. The most enlightening tips where the use of the -v, -h and --help switches for compiz. The first one requests verbose output, the second one help about "short" options, and the third one help about the "long" options. With the latter I discovered the --force-fglrx switch, which saved the day! Yes, I now use the following command to start Compiz:

% compiz --replace -c emerald --force-fglrx

I have two things to say at that point. First: this Compiz Fusion is visually astonishing! It is full of great ideas, and has a lot of settings to play with. The second thing is not so nice: some glitches are present. For example, my Konsole windows get transparent background for no reason, and the refresh is horrible (when text reaches the bottom on the terminal, it starts to overwrite itself. One must hide and un-hide the window for proper refreshing, which is unacceptable). The latter also affects other windows, which, all in all, makes it unsuitable for much comfort.

However, Compiz Fusion is new, hot and experimental. I love playing with it, but right now it can not be relied upon. On the bright side, in the three days from my installation, the packages have been updated three times! I suppose some aptitude upgrade cycles will fix the issues eventually.

And that's it, dear reader.

Comentario en enriquedans.com

Transcribo el texto de un comentario que he mandado al blog de Enrique Dans, y que por algún motivo no ha salido correctamente (lo voy a enlazar desde allí, para ver si sale así):

¡Cuánta ignorancia junta, Dios mío!

Dice #15:

"Para alabar a Beryl tiene uno que probarlo, no poner un video del youtube… Beryl esta verde, verde, verdisimo… "

Mentira. Yo llevo tiempo usando Beryl, y ha madurado mucho en muy poco tiempo. En mis ordenadores "de trabajo" no lo uso, porque soy más bien de los que tienen escritorios espartanos: Xfce con un solo panel abajo y un fondo de escritorio sin iconos. Y sin efectos 3D ni transparencias.

Ahora bien, cuando puse Beryl por primera vez, me funcionó de maravilla, y podía hacer un montón de cosas que no sé si Aero puede hacer (igual sí). Por ejemplo: Alt+Rueda del ratón sobre una ventana y cambio su transparencia de 0% hasta casi 100% (y puedo ver lo de debajo). Puedo ver dos o tres vídeos diferentes a la vez, con diferente nivel de transparencia, y ver los de abajo a través de los de arriba. Y eso mientras pongo un efecto de lluvia sobre todo el escritorio. Y eso mientras roto el cubo, o pongo las ventanas con los vídeos en una arista del cubo...

Y todo esto antes de que Vista saliera al mercado, y con ordenadores en los que Vista no funcionaría, porque "su alta tecnología requiere mejor hardware".

¿Para qué sirve esto? Para nada. Igual que Aero. Simplemente mola, y si lo quiero usar, puedo hacerlo. Yo, la verdad, no lo uso, pero para gustos los colores.

Pero el escritorio Linux no se acaba en Beryl. Hace años que en funcionalidad el escritorio Linux (GNOME, KDE, Xfce... incluso Fluxbox y similares) ha sobrepasado ampliamente a cualquier Windows, incluido el Vista. Desde escritorios múltiples, hasta shortcuts de teclado ultrapersonalizables, colocación de ventanas automática más inteligente (al abrirse una aplicación), lista de tareas más eficiente, paneles configurables, "gadgets" (como los han rebautizado los sinvergüenzas de Redmond) como relojes y monitores gráficos de uso de CPU, red o I/O de disco etc. sobre el escritorio.

Por no mencionar la brutal capacidad de personalización de la interfaz, cambiando la decoración de las ventanas, el estilo de los botones, menús, listas, etc, la fuente de letra para los títulos de las ventanas, los menús, los iconos...

Leo en #37:

"Luego tengo que hacerles una aplicación cliente, sin que tenga que tirar más lineas de código que un tonto, y los dos únicos lenguages que tengo disponibles (no hay Visual Basic) son C y Java."

Pero bueno, chaval, ¿estás diciendo que no usas Linux porque no hay lenguajes de programación? Si quieres aplicaciones para cálculo masivo tienes Fortran y C. Si quieres scripts rápidos, eficientes, y fáciles de coj*nes de hacer, tienes shell, Perl, Python, Ruby y otros. Si quieres aplicaciones gráficas fáciles hace tiempo que tienes Tcl/Tk, y más moderno GTK+ y Qt. Tanto Tk como GTK (Qt no sé) tienen una integración con Perl , Python y C que asombra por su simplicidad.

Me gustaría ver que programa "simple" de VB u otra basura similar es capaz de hacer lo que dos líneas de Perl o shell, con sed y awk. Para que te hagas una idea, Google usa Perl para pattern matching cuando te da los resultados de una búsqueda. Sobre máquinas Linux, claro.

Date una vuelta por la Wikipedia, y su lista de lenguajes de programación por categorías, y verás la de lenguajes diferentes que hay, y haz la cuenta de cuantos se pueden usar en Windows y cuantos en Linux.

Luego dice #44:

"Eso de que quien usa Windows es porque quiere no es verdad. Yo llevo años intentando emplear Linux y no hay manera. Hace siete años lo probé por primera vez con una distro de Mandrake y me volví tonto."

Quizá no sea justo culpar a Mandrake de esto último...

Es laudable tu intención de usar Linux, y lamentable que no lo hayas conseguido, pero creo que tu negativa experiencia no es necesariamente generalizable.

Yo llevo 9 años usando Linux. Empecé con Slackware, donde uno se hacía todo "a mano". ¡Qué tiempos! Era complicado a veces, pero aprendí muchísimo. Luego, cuando probé Mandrake, me gusto mucho, porque era tan fácil que hasta daba un poco de vergüenza.

Con el tiempo, volví a distros más "técnicas", y ahora uso Debian (que es como el "Ubuntu para frikis"), porque me permite más flexibilidad que las distros "para tontos" (con todos los respetos), y me es mucho más fácil controlar lo que hace el ordenador, que con distros que se creen más listas que yo, y me "facilitan" el hacer las cosas como creen que quiero hacerlas, y no como quiero hacerlas.

"Desde entonces lo he vuelto a intentar varias veces y siempre me he topado con un muro de piedra: la conexión a internet.

JAMÁS he logrado conseguir conectarme a internet con una distribución de Linux. Ni cuando usaba un módem RTB, ni usando un módem ADSL, ni ahora con un router wifi.

Pues debes de ser el único, macho. Yo tuve problemas con el v.90/92, cuando intente conectarme con un winmódem interno. Pensé que Linux era una castaña, hasta que me compré un módem externo, y vi que era IGUAL de fácil de configurar que en Windows (y más fiable).

Cuando me pasé al ADSL (en realidad tengo cable, con Euskaltel), no tuve NINGÚN problema con Linux. Lo configuré en un tris. Y cuando me puse WiFi, me compré yo mismo el router (con lo cual me ahorré unos eurillos, respecto a pedirlo a Euskaltel), y me lo instalé sin problema en el de sobremesa (con cable). El portátil que conecto por WiFi no me ha dado ningún problema para conectar en modo abierto, y tampoco con encriptación WEP. Cierto es que para WPA tuve que hacer alguna cosilla, y que en Windows es más sencillo, pero solo marginalmente más sencillo.

Como comentario final, añadir que Vista no hace más que reinventar la rueda, reimplementando mil cosas que ya existían en Mac y en Linux (y generalmente, mucho mejor hechas), y cambiándoles el nombre, para que parezca que las han inventado ellos (como muestra un botón: los infames "gadgets", que son el último S.O. del mercado, libre o no, que los implementa, y lo venden como que fueran los inventores).

Xgl with Xfce

I previously posted about running Xgl under GNOME. Well, it seems that the Xgl/Beryl duo can be run smoothly under any other desktop environment, e.g. Xfce.

To attain that (after you have GNOME/Xgl running), just create two files:


Xgl -fullscreen :1 -ac -accel glx:pbuffer -accel xv:pbuffer & sleep 2 && DISPLAY=:1
# Start Xfce
exec xfce4-session



[Desktop Entry]

The latter inserts a "Xfce-Xgl" entry in the GDM xsession list, which will call the former. That one actually startx Xgl and opens Xfce. Nice, uh?