Sunday, December 21, 2008

install Ubuntu 8.10 on AD Notebook (low performance notebook)

AD notebooks is very low cost low performance notebook in Sri Lanka similar product can find in this link called 'twinhead', which have the same configuration given bellow.
AMD LX-800
8″ TFT Screen @ 800×480 resolution (working for 1024×600 also)
0.9kg
4-in-1 Card Reader
Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
512MM RAM
1.8″ 20GB HDD
LAN Slot RJ-45
USB Port x2, VGA Port x1
Polymer Battery
Dimension: 225×161x35mm (updated on 27 Mar 2008, previously reported as 250×188x36)

Ubuntu Installation HowTo:

You can install using Ubuntu live cd with external optical driver with normal steps. Since this is a very low performance notebook, it need some workout to make Ubuntu usable.

1. Display(Xserver) configuration:
go to single user mode(maintanance mode) and edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Bellow is my configuration



Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Boardname "vesa"
Busid "PCI:0:1:1"
Driver "geode"
Screen 0
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
Vendorname "Generic LCD Display"
Modelname "LCD Panel 1024x600"
HorizSync 31.5 - 37.9
VertRefresh 50.0 - 70.0
DisplaySize 195 113
modeline "1024x600@60" 48.96 1024 1064 1168 1312 600 601 604 622 -HSync -VSync
Gamma 1.0
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "Configured Video Device"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
Defaultdepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Virtual 1024 600
Modes "1024x600@60" "800x600@60"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
screen 0 "Default Screen" 0 0
EndSection
Section "Module"
Load "glx"
Load "GLcore"
Load "v4l"
EndSection
Section "ServerFlags"
EndSection


then insert vga=0x317 kernel option to /boot/grub/menu.list


/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-9-generic root=/dev/dsa3 ro vga=0x318


now reboot the system and you will have 1024x600 display in 24bit color depth

2. Speed up the system:

  • Stop the unwanted services; For that you can install sysv-rc-conf and uncheck unwanted services from run levels. See this forum thread
    for more information

  • Reduce number of VTs starting; Go to /etc/event.d directory ant comment out all the lines in tty3, tty4, tty5, and tty6. This will only activate two VTs

  • Reducing access to the file-system; Edit /etc/fstab and add noatime option to root partition

/dev/sda3 / ext3 noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1

  • Set journal data writeback option to filesystem; Edit /etc/fstab and add data=writeback option to root partition

/dev/sda3 / ext3 noatime,errors=remount-ro,data=writeback 0 1

and add rootflags=data=writeback kernel parameter to /boot/grub/menu.lst


/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-9-generic root= dev/dsa3 ro vga=0x318 rootflags=data=writeback

then restart the notebook and boot to single user mood and unmount / partition and run following command

sudo tune2fs -o journal_data_writeback /dev/

then reboot again

  • Reducing swaping; Edit /etc/sysctl.conf and append following two lines to the file

vm.swappiness=20
vm.vfs_cache_pressure=50

  • Choosing a better I/O Scheduler for kernel; add elevator=cfq to /boot/grub/menu.lst kernel parameters

/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-9-generic root= dev/dsa3 ro vga=0x318 rootflags=data=writeback elevator=cfq

  • Configure nautilus with removing the desktop; Open gconf-editor and go to apps > nauilus > preferences, uncheck show_desktop option

  • Configure metacity with reducing resources; Open gconf-editor and go to apps > metacity > general, check reduced_resources option



Thats all for now, reboot the notebook, you will see significant performance improvement after doing all the changes given above. Not only for above notebook, this method is good for other low performance notebooks and old notebooks.



References:

http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=31275

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=107856

http://www.redhat.com/magazine/008jun05/features/schedulers/

http://www.twinhead.com.tw/

http://tldp.org/LDP/solrhe/Securing-Optimizing-Linux-RH-Edition-v1.3/chap6sec73.html



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