Perusal, Synthesis, Bliss

April 24, 2015: installation of Kubuntu 15.04 on LDLC computer Saturne SG4-I3-8-S9H7


I have more or less followed the same procedure as for my installation of Ubuntu 14.04. So I have downloaded Kubuntu 15.04 and put it on a USB key. Then

Plasma desktop 5.2: first feelings

The environment is similar to the KDE 4 of Ubuntu 14.04. Some configuration updates seem to have occurred without problem (e.g. KWallet, Kontact). Curiously I have not been compelled to install the libdvdcss library to read DVDs with VLC, it is probably installed by default in some way.
But there are some regressions compared to KDE4:
Update one week later: I have updated to Plasma 5.3, following the instructions given here. There is a new CPU and network monitor widget, but hardly usable in a panel because far too large; indeed these widgets have probably primarily designed for the desktop where is generally much more size.
Update two weeks later: I have obtained crash of Plasma from time to time. To restart Plasma, type in a terminal:
$ plasmashell

Unicode problems in Konsole

Unicode characters do not appear correctly in Konsole; I had to change “US-ASCII” in “UTF-8” for the default character encoding in the configuration dialog (Settings->Edit current profile->Advanced); then they can be displayed correctly:
$ unicode 2297
UTF-8: e2 8a 97  UTF-16BE: 2297  Decimal: ⊗
Category: Sm (Symbol, Math)
Bidi: ON (Other Neutrals)
But even after that, interrogation marks are displayed instead of unicode characters for the key combinations I have defined in my ~/.XCompose file, whereas it works perfectly in other applications, including xterm (note however that using ‘im-config‘ as explained at the end of the previous page is necessary). The only possible conclusion is that Konsole modifies in some way the UTF8 sequence given by the X server. Let us see how; for that we will use the utilities ‘od‘ and ‘unicode‘:
$ echo -n a|od
0000000 0061
Indeed the hexadecimal address for ‘a‘ in the ASCII encoding is 61 (type ‘man ascii‘). Now, when I use the XCompose key to get the unicode character ⊗ (see above), I get:
$ echo -n �|od
0000000 bfef 00bd
Let us try to see which character it is (“efbfbd”, taking into account byte order). For that, we can use unicode:
$ echo -n ⊗|od
0000000 8ae2 0097
$ unicode --fromcp utf-8 -x e28a97
UTF-8: e2 8a 97  UTF-16BE: 2297  Decimal: ⊗
Category: Sm (Symbol, Math)
Bidi: ON (Other Neutrals)
For the special character given above:
$ unicode --fromcp utf-8 -x efbfbd
UTF-8: ef bf bd  UTF-16BE: fffd  Decimal: �
Category: So (Symbol, Other)
Bidi: ON (Other Neutrals)
This is indeed the precise unicode character representing a “video inverted exclamation mark”, called the replacement character. So, no surprise here. In some way Konsole does not accept the “character stream” coming from the X server. After extensive research I finally found someone having encountered the same problem here. For the time being, the workaround will be to copy/paste the unicode characters from another application.

Baloo search engine

It is activated by default. Several hours after the installation, it seems that indexing is finished:
$ ls -l ~/.local/share/baloo/file/
total 6.4G
-rw-r--r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 128M 2015-04-24 22:20 fileMap.sqlite3
-rw-r--r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  32K 2015-04-25 10:48 fileMap.sqlite3-shm
-rw-r--r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 1.1M 2015-04-25 10:48 fileMap.sqlite3-wal
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia    0 2015-04-25 10:48 flintlock
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia   28 2014-04-25 09:32 iamchert
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  66K 2015-04-25 10:48 position.baseA
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  66K 2015-04-25 10:48 position.baseB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 4.1G 2015-04-25 10:48 position.DB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  26K 2015-04-25 10:48 postlist.baseA
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  26K 2015-04-25 10:48 postlist.baseB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 1.6G 2015-04-25 10:48 postlist.DB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  258 2015-04-25 10:48 record.baseA
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  258 2015-04-25 10:48 record.baseB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia  15M 2015-04-25 10:48 record.DB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 9.3K 2015-04-25 10:48 termlist.baseA
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 9.3K 2015-04-25 10:48 termlist.baseB
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jscordia jscordia 589M 2015-04-25 10:48 termlist.DB
If indeed it is the case, it is a great improvement compared to the situation of Kubuntu 14.04.

Printer and scanner Canon MF4330d

The scanner works out of the box as in previous releases: just install and run the ‘skanlite‘ program.
For the printer, I have installed the Canon drivers version 2.90 (available here):
$ wajig install cndrvcups-common_2.90-1_amd64.deb
$ wajig install cndrvcups-ufr2-uk_2.90-1_amd64.deb
The printer is automatically detected in the Plasma control center:
And the just installed drivers are detected and recommended when clicking on “Next”:
Clicking one more time on “Next”, printing a test page works perfectly. libxml2:i386 is already installed, so there is no errors as it was the case in Kubuntu 14.04 (but this may be due to the fact I have already installed many packages on my machine, these ones possibly having installed libxml2:i386 as a dependence).

Error when trying to install a package

$ wajig install abe 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree 
Reading state information... Done
You might want to run ’apt-get -f install’ to correct these:
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
abe : Depends: abe-data (= 1.1+dfsg-1) but it is not going to be installed
kde-l10n-engb : Breaks: kde-config-telepathy-accounts (< 15.04) but 0.9.0-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
kde-l10n-fr : Breaks: kde-config-telepathy-accounts (< 15.04) but 0.9.0-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
E: Unmet dependencies. Try ’apt-get -f install’ with no packages (or specify a solution).
An easy solution has been found here: start the Muon Package Manager, then go in the “by status” “stacked widget”, click on “Broken”, and remove the broken pages. After that everything should work fine.

Hard drive load cycle count

I already discussed about the problem of the increase of hard drive load cycle count here. It is well explained on Wikipedia:
Some laptop drives and "green power" desktop drives are programmed to unload the heads whenever there has not been any activity for a very short period of time, such as about five seconds.[31][32] Many Linux installations write to the file system a few times a minute in the background.[33] As a result, there may be 100 or more load cycles per hour, and the load cycle rating may be exceeded in less than a year.[34]
I have found that with regard to my hard drive there is no problem with my Kubuntu 15.04 installation, except sometimes after sleep to RAM and wake up operation (perhaps some, perhaps all sleep/wake up operations, I have not checked rigorously). The solution I have found is to do:
$ hdparm -B 254 /dev/sdb
 setting Advanced Power Management level to 0xfe (254)
 APM_level      = 254
The hard drive model is a Samsung/Seagate Momentus ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB (1TB):
$ sudo hdparm -i /dev/sdb
 Model=ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB, FwRev=2AR10001, SerialNo=S2TPJ9GC401022
 Config={ Fixed }
 RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=0, SectSize=0, ECCbytes=4
 BuffType=unknown, BuffSize=8192kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=off
 CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=1953525168
 IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:120,w/IORDY:120}, tDMA={min:120,rec:120}
 PIO modes:  pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4 
 DMA modes:  mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 
 UDMA modes: udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 udma5 *udma6 
 AdvancedPM=yes: disabled (255) WriteCache=enabled
 Drive conforms to: unknown:  ATA/ATAPI-0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7
 * signifies the current active mode
With this setting, the load cycle count remains almost constant (except after a reboot or a wake up, of course). At this time, I have the following count:
$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdb|grep -i load_cy
225 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       5078
Setting instead a level of 1, the load cycle count increases very quickly (and the hard drive even stops turning after a some seconds of inactivity: this is certainly not what I want). Interestingly, I first tried a level of 255, but it did not have any effect:
$ sudo hdparm -B 255 /dev/sdb
 setting Advanced Power Management level to disabled                                          
 APM_level      = off
This is in confirmance with what I reported here: the maximum level is not always the most suitable one. To make the setting permanent, I have uncommented the line “apm = 255” in /etc/hdparm.conf, and put 254 instead of 255. But it does not work, after an hibernate on RAM and wake up, we have:
$ sudo hdparm -B /dev/sdb
APM_level = off
So the problem reappears. The solution with systemd is found here: put a file named for instance ‘hdparm_set‘ in /lib/systemd/system-sleep:
hdparm -B254 /dev/sdb
And make it executable:
$ chmod +x /lib/systemd/system-sleep/hdparm_set


Integrated graphic card

As in Kubuntu 14.04, the Intel integrated GPU works out of the box, and shows similar performance (see my previous account). I have not tried to configure the NVidia GEForce GT650M chipset. After a reboot, I got the following popup appearing:
As I have not the time and need to configure the NVIDIA card, I have simply accepted the proposed configuration (“Nouveau” driver).


It is no more possible to do:
$ restart cron
Instead, we have to do (see here):
$ systemctl restart cron
I have looked over ‘man systemd‘ and ‘man systemctl‘ only briefly.

Howtos in English

The howtos are no more available in recent Ubuntu releases: here. Fortunately, it is still possible to download and install an old package of Ubuntu 12.04: here:
$ wajig install doc-linux-html
This package contains the following directories:
with the two index pages:
But there are more recent versions on the Linux Documentation project webpage, It may interesting to read the last versions. Most HOWTOS are many years old, but yet some are general and may be very interesting, as these ones:
So you may keep a bookmark or two for these pages in your preferred web browser. The main page for the Linux Documentation Project is here.

Qarte (software to download emissions from the ARTE+7 website)

I have followed the instructions given here:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vincent-vandevyvre/vvv
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo install qarte

Cinnamon, Gnome 3, Mate

By curiosity I have installed these desktop environments to give them a try. This has not broken the Plasma configuration, and everything works fine after a reboot, in particular the session manager has not be changed (e.g. for gdm) and the auto-login feature I use for Plasma still works.

Reading Blurays in Linux

Blurays are really not made to be read, according to this page: here. Today this is possible to read them in Linux, but the protections used to protect them prevent to read them on any device. This does not motivate me to buy them and read them. And this motivates me to download illegal copies on the web. Let the “majors” sell blu-rays at lower price and without protection, and I shall buy blu-rays.