Installed Kubuntu on AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core

Since my previous machine heated too much and crashed all the time, my employer (KDAB) got me a new HP Pavillion t3350 machine, with a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 (M) 3800+ 2.0 GHz CPU - very nice :)

The support for the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset (and the SATA harddisk, apparently) is a bit new in Linux - the last version of Mandriva didn't really have a recent-enough kernel for it (although it had some backported patches it seems)... I didn't get it to work. So I decided it was time to try another distro - for the first time in my life, being loyal to my former employer up to now :) - and this is how I installed KUbuntu 6.06 beta2.

The installation went fine and the system booted nicely (for a change Smiling, thanks to the 2.6.15 kernel handling SATA just fine. X didn't start up, probably because the driver for the video card (ATI Radeon X1300 Pro) was set to "ati" in /etc/x11/xorg.conf (but this is a too recent ATI card it seems...). X -configure selected "vga", worked but with a horrible resolution obviously. Manually setting it to "vesa" got me a bit further, but after that I downloaded the binary drivers from ATI. Of course they are for xorg-6.9 and kunbuntu has 7.0 now, so export X_VERSION=x690_64a was necessary, but after that the driver could install itself - and after some setup (/usr/X11R6/lib in /etc/, apt-get install libstdc++5, moving the ati files around), the driver worked fine. Oh I also had to tweak xorg.conf as indicated on this blog to avoid a crash. Somehow this is all much more fiddling than most people expect, I hope the next version of things will support this rather new hardware better out of the box.

Impressive choice of resolutions now, especially after copying the HorizSync, VertRefresh and DisplaySize values from my former configuration of the Monitor in Mandriva - where I think I was able to select the exact monitor type in a list.
So after all this - and after discovering a bad RAM module in memtest, which explained the occasional lockups - the system finally works!

I'm learning the debian commands for administration (apt-get, dpkg-query etc.) and I keep stumbling on things that are not installed by default (devel libs of course, but also essential things like gcc or openntpd). In both Mandriva and Kubuntu, I'm really missing a "install me all the devel libs for all the libs I have installed" command... Instead I have to keep hitting missing devel libs, and installing them one by one, but of course I keep a list of all the devel libs I needed for kde, for any version of Mandriva or now Kubuntu that I installed. Next time (new machine or reinstall of linux) it's just a matter of urpmi `cat thelist` or apt-get install `cat thelist`...

Well - back to KDE hacking, on that fast machine :)

I just wish the "Install Bitmap [font]" thing in konsole worked, somehow it fails with a strange "Could not install console8x16.pcf.gz into fonts:/Personal". Ah well, I guess I'll need to compile kde3 on that machine, not just kde4 :)

PS: first blog!


backspace works in zsh in a normal konsole, but is broken when doing su or when ssh'ing into the kunbuntu machine. The fix is:

bindkey '^?' backward-delete-char

Strange that otherwise it gets bound to delete-char in those case (but not in a normal terminal), no idea why.
Thanks to the guys on #zsh for their help.

By dfaure at Wed, 05/03/2006 - 12:01

I also had the same Konsole font issue with 5.10 and some Dapper Alpha version, so you're not alone. :-)

"In both Mandriva and Kubuntu, I'm really missing a "install me all the devel libs for all the libs I have installed" command..."
OK, this is slightly off-topic, but YaST in SuSE had this for quite some time: "Install all matching -devel packages". Naturally you could use this to install the -devel packages for KDE-only, or for everything.
Too bad most of the -devel packages are missing from the released ISOs, you must be online to get them (but I know this is not an issue for anyone having permanent connection).
I like Kubuntu, especially that it knows my Promise PATA port without patching the kernel (as opposed to SuSE), and use it on several machines, but it is not that nice for me as SuSE. I hope SuSE 10.1 will not have the annoying bugs that are in the RCs though. ;-)
One thing I did not like in Kubuntu/Ubuntu is the way of reporting bugs and wishes. Especially wishes, they request so much formality, I just gave up to do it properly (of course my "bug report" was canceled as invalid). But in some cases they react fast and even accepted a kernel patch I suggested (something SuSE doesn't want to do even though I already reported for the last version and kept updating the patch to the current release). :-)

Ok, enough of comparsion, it is really OT now. Anyway, nothing is perfect, not even KDE.

PS: Congratulation for your first blog. ;-)

By amantia at Wed, 05/03/2006 - 16:46

I wrote a fairy long comment, but it got lost. So shortly:
- I also had the Konsole font issue with Kubuntu 5.10 and 6.06
- SUSE's YaST has an "Install all matching -devel packages" option. A plus for SUSE.
- The devel packages are not on the released ISO images (but available through ftp/YaST). A minus for SUSE.
- Kubuntu supports my Promise PATA IDE port by default, a plus for Kubuntu.
- SUSE doesn't, and does not want to apply a patch that I adapted to the SUSE kernel since the last stable release. A minus for SUSE.
- Kubuntu applied the kernel patch I submitted to enable the second soundcard on ASUS motherboard (SUSE got it already when it appeared on the linux kernel list, so I wonder why they don't get the PATA patch...). A plus for Kubuntu.
- I dislike Ubuntu/Kubuntu's bug reporting interface and especially reporting wishes. My wish report was canceled and I was redirected to a page about how to request new features. It is quite a big job to do, so I just gave up. :-0. A minus for Kubuntu. SUSE uses bugzilla and it's easy to work with (but they don't have the email/bugzilla interface KDE has). A plus for SUSE.
- Kubuntus/Debian's philosophy and update method requires lot of bandwith and long download times. SUSE's delta rpm and delta iso method is invaluable for me (the wish was about this). Might not be an issue for most. But in general I like how apt-get works.

So Kubuntu is good (I use on some PCs), but I still like SUSE more. Maybe you may want to try out next time your machine fails. ;-)

By amantia at Wed, 05/03/2006 - 17:35

As soon as I posted my second comment, my previous one appeared (I rebooted the machine meantime, so this is why it is strange). I wanted to post a comment that "sorry for the double post" as soon as my second comment appeared form the same (aKregator) window I wrote the second comment, but I realized I was logged out sometime between posting the comment and clicking on "reply". I really don't understand this, must be from the Sun. ;-)

By amantia at Wed, 05/03/2006 - 17:41

While still using and preferring SUSE for various reasons, there is one area where Debian-based distributions shine: package management. It's extremely easy to script something that does a nightly check for missing security updates and sending a mail if there are any (very useful on a server). It *can* be done on recent SUSEs too, but is a lot more complex.

The main advantage of Debian systems however is post-installation of packages with updates. On Apt-based systems you get the right version. On SUSE and almost all other systems you first install the shipped version and THEN need to check for updates to apply them. Why it can't do that for you automatically is beyond me.

And welcome to the world of blogging!


By Martijn Klingens at Fri, 05/05/2006 - 08:16

Have you considered syndicating your blog to

Thanks for taking up blogging... it is a great publicity tool for KDE because it gives the lay public an insight into what the developers are up to!

By vladc at Wed, 05/03/2006 - 17:38

This was a first test, I think I'll get a blog on first, and then syndicate it on

By dfaure at Thu, 05/04/2006 - 08:34

Easy way to install Fglrx drivers in Dapper...

By rezza at Fri, 05/05/2006 - 08:37