Ubuntu 11.10 On An Asus UL30Vt

Installing Ubuntu Linux on my Asus laptop required a few tweaks to get things working correctly.  Previously, I had used Ubuntu 9 and 10 and did not have nVidia driver support.  With 11, jockey-gtk (the Additional Drivers tool) told me that I could use the nVidia drivers, so after I installed them from that tool, the product said that the drivers were installed but not activated.  I tried a number of things, but was unable to get my 3D card to work; the Intel card worked fine and lsmod showed the nVidia card set up, but my Xorg.conf file change didn’t result in the nVidia card working correctly.  What ended up fixing it was upgrading my BIOS firmware to the latest version.  After doing that, the driver worked fine, and now I have 3D support.  The battery life is pretty crappy—far worse than in Windows—but at least my video card works now.  In addition, I can do Unity in 3D.

My quick thought on Unity is that I like it.  I like the fact that it uses the Windows key to pop up a gnome-do style box.  That’s a rather convenient feature.  It also doesn’t really get in the way for me, which is vital for a menu.  Fancy-looking menus which get in the way aren’t progress…

In addition, when updating from 11.04 to 11.10, my touchpad stopped working.  When I ran xinput list in a console, it showed the “ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad” as active and on id=12, but it just didn’t work.  It turns out that Mark Pointing has the correct answer for me:  the touchpad was renamed in 11.10, but one of the script files was not updated to match this change.  Specifically, change /etc/acpi/asus-touchpad.sh from

XINPUTNUM=`xinput list | grep 'SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad' | sed -n -e's/.*id=\([0-9]\+\).*/\1/p'


XINPUTNUM=`xinput list | grep 'ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad' | sed -n -e's/.*id=\([0-9]\+\).*/\1/p'`

Note that there are some apostrophes in there, but the entire line is bracketed by backticks (`, which shares its key with ~ on the US keyboard, and is above the tab key).  After changing that line and restarting X, my touchpad worked just fine.

Another helpful hint from that thread comes from martincasco and Emily Strickland.  Install dconf-tools:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Then, after that, run dconf-editor.  This does require a mouse, unfortunately, so get a USB mouse to tide you over (or make the shell script change first).  In the configuration editor, go to org –> gnome –> settings-daemon –> peripherals –> touchpad.  In here, touchpad-enabled may be unchecked.  If it is, check it.  In addition, you can also change the touchpad to use two-finger scrolling (which I’ve really gotten accustomed to) and turn on tap-to-click, another thing I like in Asus touchpads.  Horizontal scrolling is another setting I’ve turned on.

4 thoughts on “Ubuntu 11.10 On An Asus UL30Vt

  1. Thiago says:

    Thank you very most for this post. It was very useful for me. Do you happen to know if there is a way to turn the nvidia driver on/off on Ubuntu 11.10, in orther to save battery?

    • I didn’t try, but while looking into the topic, I did find that other people were able to. Even with this, you probably still won’t get the same battery life as in Windows, but it does turn off the card. Also, this method will allow you to turn it off and on at will. You do need to restart X after making the change, so it’s not nearly as convenient as a toggle, but it should work.

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t have any ideas. I thought I remembered my wireless connection working out of the box. Back on Ubuntu 9, I needed to install KNetworkManager because the default NetworkManager didn’t have an option for changing some wireless settings, but by 11, I didn’t need that anymore.

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