Ubuntu 9.10 On A Macbook 5,1 (2008 aluminum unibody)

November 26, 2009

Here’s what I did to get Ubuntu 9.10 running as a dual boot alongside the default OS X installation.  They are a little different from what is detailed on the Ubuntu help site because 9.10 uses a new version of Grub that is not currently compatible with rEFIt version 0.13:

  1. Make a backup of any critical files on your computer.  If something goes wrong, you may have to reinstall OS X.
  2. In OS X, run the Bootcamp Utility (in Finder -> Applications -> Utilities) to create a new partition for windows.  I made mine 70GB.  This took several minutes of nervous waiting while it set up the partition.
  3. Reboot to the Ubuntu 9.10 CD.  Hold the Option key when starting up in order to get the option to boot to the CD.
  4. Start Ubuntu in the LiveCD mode (something like “Start Ubuntu without making any changes to this computer”).
  5. Once Ubuntu is started in LiveCD mode, open the gparted partitioning program in System -> Administration -> GParted
  6. Delete the new windows partition and apply the changes.  You will now have a bunch of unused space at the end of your disk.
  7. Close GParted.
  8. Double click the “Install Ubuntu 9.10” icon on the desktop.
  9. Continue through the installation wizard until you get to the Partitioning step.  Choose the “install to the largest continuous free space” option.
  10. Continue to the final “Ready To Install” step.  Click the Advanced button.  Check the “Install Grub boot loader” checkbox, and select /dev/sda as the Grub installation location.
  11. Install, and reboot.
  12. To boot into Ubuntu, press the Option key while starting up to enable the Bootcamp chooser.  Ubuntu will be the “Windows” option on the right.

Skype On Linux With A QuickCam 9000

September 25, 2009

With my new job I’m doing mostly Java and experimenting with Erlang and Ruby.  One of the many benefits is that I’m no longer tied to windows with .NET development.  I inherited an upgrade machine this week so I decided to try running Linux full time.  I chose Ubuntu 9.04.

One of the tools my team uses for communication is Skype.  Skype 2.1 Beta for Linux seems to work very smoothly.  Installation was easy, I just download the version for Ubuntu from the Skype website (even though it was compiled for 8.04) onto my desktop, right-clicked the .deb file and choose “Open with GDebi Package Installer.”  It had to install a few dependencies, none of which seem to conflict with anything already installed.

The only hiccup was I couldn’t get Skype to receive sound from the Logitech QuickCam 9000 usb webcam I have plugged in (my only microphone).  Taking some hints from this forum post, here is what I did to solve it:

  1. Install the Pulse Audio Manager package:  $>sudo apt-get install paman
  2. Run the Pulse Audio Dev Chooser (which puts a headphone icon in the system tray):  $>padevchooser
  3. Left-click the padevchooser icon and go to “Volume…” then select the Input Devices tab.
  4. Mute any other microphone devices and adjust the input volume for the webcam device.
  5. Close the Volume window, and go back to the Dev Chooser Icon, this time clicking “Manager…”
  6. In the Devices tab, find the input device that belongs to the Quick Cam 9000, select it, then click the Properties button.
  7. From the properties window, select the value of the Name property and copy it to the clipboard (in my case it was “alsa_input.usb_device_46d_990_9692CEE7_if2_sound_card_0_alsa_capture_0”).
  8. Finally, go back to the Dev Chooser Icon and click “Default Source” –> “Other…”.  Paste in the device name from your clipboard, say okay, and restart Skype.  Hopefully it works!

Otherwise, the sound and video quality is very good and I haven’t had any crashes.  I can receive screen sharing from other platforms, but sharing my screen is still not supported.