Does Ubuntu Linux kill / shorten hard disk life?

Posted on in Categories Ask nixCraft, File system, Hardware, Linux, Linux laptop, Ubuntu Linux last updated November 18, 2007

I got lots of emails asking about Ubuntu Linux and hard disk issue. Does it really shorten hard disk life?


Unfortunately, some news and blogs reported news wrongly. Ubuntu doesn’t touch your hard drive power management settings by default. In almost all cases, it’s more likely to be your BIOS or the firmware on your hard drive (source).

Check out this official bug report for more information. On a related note, always consider backing up hard disk / data on regular basis.

Quick tip: Play mp3 in loop using mplayer movie player

Posted on in Categories Linux, Linux desktop, Linux laptop, UNIX, Windows last updated October 11, 2007

mplayer is a movie player for Linux and other platforms. It plays most MPEG/VOB, AVI, ASF/WMA/WMV, RM, QT/MOV/MP4, Ogg/OGM, MKV, VIVO, FLI, NuppelVideo, yuv4mpeg, FILM and RoQ files, supported by many native and binary codecs. You can watch Video CD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even WMV movies, too.

If you just need to play mp3 in loop use -loop option. It loops movie playback times. Add 0 numbers to play it forever:
mplayer -loop 0 /presentation/foss/bit/08/background.soft.welcome.mp3

Quick tip: Tell what hardware is connected via USB to my Linux desktop

Posted on in Categories Howto, Linux, Linux desktop, Linux laptop, Linux portables, Troubleshooting, Ubuntu Linux last updated July 6, 2007

USB devices are quite common these days. I’ve digital cam, Pen drive, external hard disk, mouse and other stuff. So how do I tell what hardware is connected via USB to my Linux desktop?

lsusb is a utility for displaying information about USB buses in the system and the devices connected to them. To make use of all the features of this program, you need to have a Linux kernel which supports the /proc/bus/usb interface.

-v command option is very informative. It tells lsusb to be verbose and display detailed information about the devices shown. This includes configuration descriptors for the device’s current speed. Class descriptors will be shown, when available, for USB device classes including hub, audio, HID, communications, and chipcard.

lsusb command Examples

lsusb -t
lsusb -v

Howto save power on Linux Laptop computers – tips and howtos from Intel

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Debian Linux, Gentoo Linux, GNU/Open source, Howto, Linux laptop, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Tips last updated May 13, 2007

Intel has created a new website dedicated to saving power with Linux on Intel hardware. From the site:

Getting your computer to use the least amount of power can be problematic. This site provides information on reducing power usage, tips, and tricks for Intel-based computers running Linux.

You can download use PowerTOP, which is a Linux tool that finds the software component(s) that make your laptop use more power than necessary while it is idle. As of Linux kernel version 2.6.21, the kernel no longer has a fixed 1000Hz timer tick. This will (in theory) give a huge power savings because the CPU stays in low power mode for longer periods of time during system idle.

As a first step, Intel is releasing PowerTOP, a tool that helps you find what software is using the most power. By fixing (or closing) these applications or processes, you can immediately see the power savings in the tool. You’ll also see the estimated time left for battery power if you are running a laptop. The Tips&Tricks page has fixes for a lot of the issues that are already found. Join our mailing list to participate in this effort to get Linux to use less power.

Saving power with Linux on Intel hardware

Dell laptop set native widescreen resolutions such as 1280×800 under Ubuntu Linux

Posted on in Categories Howto, Linux desktop, Linux laptop, Tips, Troubleshooting, Ubuntu Linux last updated April 20, 2007

If you want to use the highest possible resolution on new Ubuntu Linux you need to apply a special patch called 915resolution. I’m using Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop with 15.4″ Wide Screen XGA TFT display (1280×800 res.) and my os is Ubuntu Linux 7.04.

Some Intel integrated graphic cards, such as those in most laptops, will require additional work to get them running at their native resolutions such as 1400×1050. These card include the Intel 845G, 855G, and 865G, as well as the 915G, 915GM and 945G.

The problem is that the driver for these cards (“i810”) is designed to query the card for a list of supported resolutions. This list is stored in the video BIOS of the card, and if the vendor was too lazy to include all possible resolutions or if the resolution you want to use is esoteric, then the driver will not be able to use it.

The 915resolution package (resolution modification tool for Intel graphic chipset) gives you the possibility to change the list reported by the card so that the driver will then be able to change the resolution. This is done by replacing a resolution entry in the chip’s list that you don’t want (e.g. 640×480), with the desired resolution.

How do I install 915resolution package under Ubuntu feisty?

You need to add 915resolution package using apt-get or GUI package manager. Make sure you have universe repo enabled. If not click on
System > Administration > Software source > Enable required repo.

Next type the command:
$ sudo apt-get install 915resolution

Next try either rebooting or logging out and logging back in to restart the X server. Now I’ve 1280×800 screen resolution In most cases this should set the resolution. You can also set resolution manually by visiting System > Preferences > Screen Resolution menu.

Further readings