Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fixing the 1-bit mouse cursor

I finally fixed a little problem that has bothered me for ages. My mouse cursor, which should have been properly alpha blended and multi-colored ended up as ugly 1-bit misshape directly after login, switching themes didn't help and I had for a long time really no idea what was wrong with it and it never was big enough of a problem to really search hard for a solution.

Anyway, with the old broken PC replaced and a new one in place, along with the 1-bit cursor, it was clear that this wasn't a glitch in the graphics driver or Xorg config, but a glitch in my $HOME directory. After a quick replacement of .gnome, .gconf and everything else Gnome related it was clear that Gnome wasn't to blame, which left only one thing, good old .Xdefaults and suprise, suprise, what do we find:

Xcursor.core: true
Xcursor.theme: core

Those entries have been there for ages and as far as I remember where originally created back when Xcursor stuff was brand new and cousing trouble for me. As long as the cursor however was designed for 1-bit that entry wasn't a problem, the problem manifested itself only because Ubuntu's cursor themes are all designed with alpha blending in mind and thus look rather ugly when brute force converted with to 1-bit black&white. With those entries removed the cursor is back to its full color glory and one long running problem finally solved.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Something broke...

Day One

Three kernel panics already and the day has just started. Looks like something is seriously wrong with my computer, since it used to run fine before.

45 minutes of memcheck'ing later, still no hint on what is wrong. Nothing suspicious in dmesg or other logs.

Kernel panics continue. I now cleaned up some older Nvidia drivers, just in case any of them was causing trouble... no success.

Now did an explicit downgrade from Nvidia 173 to 96, but that didn't help either. Thing continues to crash every hour or two.

Day Two

Next day, just a single kernel panic the whole day, still clueless on the cause. Switching to console didn't work at one point, only resulted in graphic mess, might be related or not.

Day Three

One Kernel Panic so far, this one was interesting, since it crashes a second after I unmounted a disk, with the umount command segfaulting before the crash. Rest of the day was crash free.

Day Four

A very crash happy day so far, one crash with garbled graphics on the screen, two random crashes, one crash while booting. Now playing around with lm-sensors and cpuburn to see if I can produce the crashes somehow. Now downgraded the kernel, maybe that will help or maybe not. I now disabled swap. Side note: Wacom tablet no longer works under Ubuntu 8.10 with an old 2.6.24 kernel, movement is registered, put pressing down isn't.

Everything to no avail, the thing continues to crash and quite rapidly.

Next step: try "acpi=off apm=on apm=power-off irqpoll" as boot parameter.

Day Five

The boot parameter had no effect, two crashes already, one right when switching the computer on this morning while booting. Now trying if: apt-get remove acpid acpi --purge will do anything.

Day Six

Crashes are getting worse and worse, now the thing will only survive for minutes at a time. After running memcheck again for 1:30h it showed finally errors, however it shows errors in *both* RAM modules, removing one or the other still gives errors. So it might not be the RAM thats bad, but the mobo or whatever. No idea. I know reseted BIOS to "Save default". No success.

This PC is screwed, now preparing to move stuff to another box.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Two hours with Ubuntu 8.10

After around four hours downloading and upgrading to Ubuntu 8.10, now, after two hours actually using it, it is time for making a quick list of issues I had and didn't had:
  • Downloading and upgrading itself went quite well, my root filesystem needed a little cleanup to have enough storage to manage the upgrade, but after that everything went smooth.
  • The keycodes for my MSNE4k keyboard have been shuffled around again, so my custom Xmodmap broke pretty badly and needed readjustment, that took a while. The zoom-slider on the keyboard still doesn't work under Xorg.
  • Xorg now uses HAL for input devices and allows hotpluggin, which is pretty cool, but also causes a ton of issues, such as that my SpaceNavigator device now gets registered as mouse, which is of course isn't very useful and makes it impossible to use it as intented, my mouse button mappings got screwed up well and the eraser of the Wacom graphic tablet no longer works and of course my Xbox360 gamepad no longer works either, since it gets mapped to mouse movement in Xorg. To sum it up: device hotpluggin screws things up a lot.
  • Youtube videos don't have sound and freeze the whole browser soon after, something wrong with the Flash plugin.
  • trackerd is wasting CPU like crazy again.
  • The KDE4 Krita version still doesn't work.
  • the nvidia-96-kernel-source package doesn't compile and thus no OpenGL on a Geforce2MX (Ubuntu actually gave a warning about this before upgrading)
  • the Wiimote driver CWiid doesn't work properly, the mouse cursor is limited to a rectangle smaller then the screen, likely related to the Hal stuff as well
Thats all for now, more issues as soon as they come in.

Workarounds and Fixes:

I solved the Youtube/Flash problem by cleaning up an old flash plugin from ~/ and doing an:

apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound

Which seems to have fixed the issue.

To make the SpaceNavigator no longer work as mouse one can do:

xinput set-int-prop "3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator" "Device Enabled" 32 0

Which will simply disable it or one can be a little more drastic and do a:

hal-device -r '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_46d_c626_noserial_if0_logicaldev_input'

Which will unregister the device from Hal and in turn from Xorg and finally one could also write a custom .fdi script and tell Hal to not mess around with the SpaceNavigator in the first place, however I haven't tried that, so no example.

Another way is to disable the whole autodetection alltogether, its the most drastic solution, but also seems to be the most simple and effective one, havn't actually tried it myself yet:

Section "ServerFlags"
Option "AutoAddDevices" "False"