Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Ubuntu Linux on a Packard Bell OneTwo

This post is a record of me getting Ubuntu Linux (Release 10.10 - Maverick) running on our new Packard Bell OneTwo all-in-one touch screen PC.   I will update it as I make progress fixing the bits that have caused problems.

Installation was pretty easy - I booted of an Ubuntu 10.10 USB memory stick, and selected manual disk partitioning.
I kept the Windows 7 partition (/dev/sda1) unchanged, and did not touch the other two windows partitions (/dev/sda2 and /dev/sda3).   I deleted the blank 'Data' partition (/dev/sda4) and created a new swap partition (/dev/sda5) and ext4 root partition (/dev/sda6).
Installation went without problem and the machine now dual boots Ubuntu and Windows 7.

Note that I did have a funny happening yesterday when the machine completely refused to boot after I had been using windows.  I fixed this by booting off the USB memory stick and re-installing grub as described in a previous post - This has not happened again.

Worked out of the box.

Ubuntu did not detect the correct screen size initially - it used a normal aspect ratio rather than wide screen, so only the centre of the screen was used, and the touch screen calibration was way out - this is because it thinks it has two displays (I don't know where the second is - there is no VGA or s-video connector on the back).
This was fixed by going to the System->Preferences->Monitor menu and un-checking the "Same image in all monitors" option.
You can then drag the main screen (labelled "Laptop") away from the second (labelled "Unknown") and set the laptop resolution to 1600x900 resolution.

This makes the screen the correct size, but every now and then it flickers twice within less than a second - it seems that the screen backlight dims momentarily before coming back to full brightness.  This seems to be associated with disk activity - I don't know what causes this - it does not do it in Windows - Any suggestions for fixing it would be appreciated!.

Touch Screen
I was impressed that the touch screen worked 'out of the box' once I had fixed the monitor resolution issue.
Update 01/01/2011 - I decided to do a clean install of Ubuntu 10.10, just in case I had mangled it installing different testing packages going through bugs on launchpad.   Having done the install and updating all packages using update manager, the touch screen is working perfectly - pressing the screen is the same as moving the mouse to the location and left click - Success!!!! (I hope!)  - Ok, I'll give it a couple of days to make sure it doesn't beak before I say success.

Unfortunately there are problems with it.   It seems that once you have done a 'drag' using the touch screen, x-windows thinks the mouse button is still pressed - moving the real mouse changes the shape of the drag region, and worse still, the real mouse button stops working.   Sometimes the keyboard stops working too (both mouse and keyboard are wireless, using a USB receiver)

Investigations so far:
sudo apt-get install input-utils
provides a program called 'lsinput'.  Doing
sudo lsinput
lists the touch screen as:

   bustype : BUS_USB
   vendor  : 0x408
   product : 0x3001
   version : 272
   name    : "PixArt Imaging Inc. Optical Touc"
   phys    : "usb-0000:00:1a.2-1/input0"
   uniq    : ""
   bits ev : EV_SYN EV_KEY EV_ABS EV_MSC
Installing multi-touch utilities by doing:
sudo apt-get install utouch libutouch-grail-dev utouch-grail-tools
sudo apt-get install mtdev-tools
bzr branch lp:~utouch-team/utouch/mtview
cd mtview
Provides amongst other things a utility called mtview.  Running that lets you draw pretty patterns on the screen using multi touch - it certainly seems capable of detecting and tracking two fingers at once.
Given this I think the touch screen is basically working, and it is the interface to x-windows that is the problem.
I'll have to work out how x-windows drivers work to fix this though....

I will update this section as I investigate further.

Web Cam
Not tested.
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