Setting up the mobile workstation

Post to myself so I don’t forget how and what I installed

In July, 3 days before my holidays kicked off, my worklaptop got stolen. Meanwhile I have a new one. An Asus N76V which contains an i7, 8gb ram and a nice geforce 630m 2gb ram videocard for occasional gaming. This all works nice and smooth under Windows7. But for working I prefer Linux of course!
And there the fun starts:
As OS I choose a freshly downloaded Ubuntu Desktop 64bit version 12.04 LTS + installed all available updates (it were only 383 updates I had to execute). I was a bit surprised that the WiFi worked out of the box, in previous version of Ubuntu I always had to modprobe another driver then the default one.
As everything seemed to work fine I decided to see if grub got the dual boot right. It didn’t. Dualboot with EFI not working. Launching windows from grub fails. No harm done here, I can launch windows if I let the BIOS start the Windows Boot Manager.

So next using Ubuntu’s software center it’s pretty easy to install most of the stuff you need.
Besides the default installed Firefox I also installed Chromium. Chrome seems to be faster then Firefox lately. Although I prefer Firefox with Firebug for developing stuff, I use Chrome for just browsing.
To visually see what hardware is detected in Ubuntu I choose sysinfo which a UI interface that shows all the different components of your machine. For viewing video I installed VLC.

To improve working with Ubuntu I also installed couple other tools.
synsapse, a launcher app, like unities dash but more clever, ctrl+space brings up a popup where you start typing the appname or filename you need and it’s almost instantly found.
guake terminal, a application that opens a terminal as overlay from the top of your screen by pressing a hotkey
zsh, another shell, then then default bash, which is more customizable
7-zip, I prefer 7-zip over Ubuntu’s default Archive Viewer.
Adobe Reader, for being able to read PDF the way they are supposed to be read
dropbox, for sharing files
gimp, for occasionally editing family pictures or slicing site images ( not my favorite thing)

Other must have developer things:
subversion, git, git-svn, gitg (just for having visual view on branches in git repositories), meld (diff viewer), filezilla, virtualbox, postgres with postgis and pgadmin

eclipse and oracle jdk7, jdk6. All 3 of these I installed manually. JDKs are no longer in the Ubuntu repositories. And Eclipse in the Ubuntu repositories is to outdated, I prefer the latest and greatest version.

After all this was done, I thought I was done, but suddenly I noticed Unity was stuck in 2D mode. That had to be fixed. I installed the latest NVIDIA drivers for the Gefore GT 630M but that didn’t make it any better, on the contrary. The highest possible resolution after that was 640×400. instead of 1920×1080. It was time to do some internet searching. To test the wired internet connection I connected a cable and noticed that the Wired Connection was not detected. And so one more issue to fix popped up, but that’s for after the gfx.
Thanks to the working wireless I found out that the Gefore isn’t very well supported in Linux. And that thanks to it being an Optimus enabled card. Optimus is, as I understood, a technology to save power which enables the GPU only for GPU intensive applications. I read that even the Linux NVidia driver is not good at it. And indeed, all graphics seem to be processed on the i7 processor instead of in the GPU. Luckily there is internet and a group of smart people who created something to get it to work! And that tool is called bumblebee. (the downside, you have to manually activate it for an application). After installing bumblebee drivers, unity even went into 3D mode instead of 2D
At the moment I have both latest NVIDIA through the ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates channel.
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

And the bumblebee from the bumblebee repository ( see here for installation details )

Thanks to bumblebee all graphics stuff is working fine now.

For the Wired Internet Connection, I found out that my network card is to new and the drivers are not yet ratified for being included in the kernel package. Some manual work required here. (And after Linux kernel updates this has to be done again)

install drivers for the Atheros AR8161 Ethernet controller
(taken from )
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic linux-headers-`uname -r`
wget -O- | tar -xj
cd compat-wireless-2012-07-03-pc
./scripts/driver-select alx
sudo make install
sudo modprobe alx

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