"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Linux Mint (on the EEEPC): fixing some post-installation issues

The installation (upgrade) of Linux Mint 12 on my EEEPC left the system with some little problem to be solved together with many applications that had to be reinstalled. Not all of these problems are Mint-specific since one, at least, hat its solution reported on a Ubuntu forum. And I'm not also sure if these problems appears after upgrading from Ubuntu to Mint 12 or after a fresh installation too. By the way all have been solved with a couple of shell commands. I spent more time looking for solutions than executing them, so I hope it might be useful to have them all in the same page.

Missing Windows boot option

The first thing I noticed once I rebooted the EEEPC just after installing Linux Mint was that the Windows boot opting was missing from the Grub boot menu. After a brief looking for it in the 'net I did find on Mint forum a couple of commands to solve it:
sudo os-prober
sudo update-grub

Errors “404” while updating

The first time I tried to update software sources I received a lot of “404” file not found errors all regarding lines like this
deb http://it.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ lisa main restricted
after looking up on the 'net again I found on Linux Mint forum a post that suggested manually removing such lines form the sources file list. I so backed up the original sources file
sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.back
I removed all “Ubuntu – Lisa” lines, then I updated with
sudo apt-get update

Missing word spelling in Libre Office

As soon I started writing my post about Mint installation I noticed that all I was writing had the wrong spelling red-underline marks, all but the few technical words I added to Libre Office custom dictionary. After a brief search on the 'net I discovered that the problem was because of some missing dependency in Libre Office package. I then tried, as suggested, by installing “aspell” spelling utility first
sudo apt-get install aspell aspell-it aspell-en 
since nothing happened I tried also installing “hunspell” utility
sudo apt-get install hunspell hunspell-en-us
but nothing happened too. At last I discovered that, in order to see the spelling working, I had also to delete (or rename) the existing Libre Office configuration folder in my home directory.
mv .libreoffice/ .libreoffice_old
I eventually restarted Libre Office and the spelling was working again.

Fixing touch-pad drag-and-drop

The last problem I noticed in my newly installed Linux Mint was that dragging windows using the EEEPC touch-pad, with the usual double-tap-and-drag gesture, was almost impossible. The feature had not been disabled but the time required between the double-tap and the start of the dragging action was too short to be comfortable. The problem isn't Mint-specific but depends on a change in touch-pad default configuration in latest Ubuntu releases. By the way this can be easily fixed, as reported on this Launchpad page, with the synclient command.
synclient SingleTapTimeout=360
synclient FastTaps=1
or in a more definitive way by editing the “51-synaptics-quirks.conf” file placed in “/usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/”
sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/51-synaptics-quirks.conf
and adding this text at the end
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Option "SHMConfig" "on"
Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "TapButton2" "2"
Option "TapButton3" "3"
Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "TapAndDragGesture" "1"
Option "SingleTapTimeout" "320"
Option "FastTaps" "1"


  1. Thanks for the advice here about Mint. I spent a week or so trialling other distros a while back, but the LXDE, XFCE and KDE desktop environments in Fedora, Mint and the various Ubuntu flavours didn't do much for me. How does your netbook go with Gnome3? I was leaning towards Lubuntu or Mint with LXDE for the low resource consumption, to make it easier for my little eeepc 1005p to cope. In the next couple of days i think i'll give Unity another go, but after reading your blog maybe Mint with Gnome could be worth a try.

    1. Thank for visiting Thalass!

      I'm quite satisfied with Linux Mint (and Gnome 3) on the EEEPC 900 even if sometimes it lacks a little of responsiveness. I don't make a great use of desktop on the small EEEPC screen I just call a handful of applications. Mint is good enough at this even if not as good as it was the old NBR interface.

  2. very good job for us !! merci