Weblog of Nazly Ahmed

Nazly Ahmed

Nazly Ahmed

Web Developer. PHP Addict. Wordpress Hacker. FOSS Enthusiast. (Micro)Blogger. Photo Hobbyist. Cricket Fanatic. Husband. Dad.

After giving up my IBM Thinkpad laptop sometime back, I got used to working on Desktops for a while. But it didn't help me a great deal in organizing things when shifting my work from home to office and vice versa. So again I started hunting for a laptop that will fulfill all my needs. Finally I settled with an ASUS X51R notebook that comes with a Dual Core 2Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, 256MB ATI VGA Card, 120GB Hard disk, DVD Writer, Wireless etc.. It turned out to be good deal at the end so I went for it.

I loaded my OS of choice Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron on this and everything went very smoothly except that I couldn't get the wireless working. By running lspci the wireless card was shown as Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter which is an Atheros AR5007EG wireless card. The proprietary driver for Atheros was installed by Hardy but when I ran iwconfig this is what I got.

lo        no wireless extensions.
eth0      no wireless extensions.

Few google searches resulted me about madwifi. Madwifi is a team of volunteer developers working on Linux kernel drivers for Wireless LAN devices with Atheros chipsets. I got madwifi installed and got my wireless card working. Here is how I did it.

First I disabled both proprietary drivers in System -> Administration -> Hardware drivers.

Then in the command prompt I did the following

Get this version of madwifi

wget -c <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Untar the file

tar xvf madwifi-ng-r2756+ar5007.tar.gz

Move inside the directory

cd madwifi-ng-r2756+ar5007

You might need build-essential if you haven't compiled anything before

sudo apt-get update && sudo aptitude install build-essential

Building madwifi and installing the modules

sudo make install
sudo modprobe ath_pci
sudo modprobe wlan_scan_sta

Loading module at boot

sudo gedit /etc/modules

Enter the line below in the last line of the file and save.


Thats it. I restarted the machine and ran iwconfig again to check

lo        no wireless extensions.
eth0      no wireless extensions.
wifi0     no wireless extensions.
ath0      IEEE 802.11g  ESSID:""  Nickname:""
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.437 GHz  Access Point: Not-Associated   
          Bit Rate:0 kb/s   Tx-Power:17 dBm   Sensitivity=1/1  
          Retry:off   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=0/70  Signal level=0 dBm  Noise level=0 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0

As you can see its now showing that the wireless card is working properly. Thanks to madwifi.

When it came to my graphic card I had to use the ATI propriety driver to make full use of it. Since Hardy comes with compiz out of the box I managed to get the 3D desktop working without much hassle.

To get compiz working in Hardy there are two things to be done.

1. Goto System -> Preferences – Appearance and click Visual Effects tab. Then tick Extra to get the effects working.

2. Install the Compiz Settings Manager.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

After installing you can goto System -> Preferences – Advanced Desktop Effects Settings to add/configure/remove effects related to compiz.

I also enabled Emerald themes to get out of the standard Gnome look. Here is how got emerald working.

sudo apt-get install emerald

Now if you goto System -> Preferences – Emerald Theme Manager you can configure an Emerald theme of your choice. By default it doesn't come with any themes so you need to download themes from Gnome-Look.

However you need to tell compiz to use Emerald as its Window Decorator. To do that goto System -> Preferences – Advanced Desktop Effects Settings and under Effects category click on the Window Decoration icon which will take you to its settings. In the 'Command' field delete whatever is in there and add this value to that field

emerald --replace.

Have fun..

I found a nice Emerald theme which kinda reflects the one used by Matt Farrell in the movie Die Hard 4.0. Here are few screeshots of my desktop.

3D desktop with compiz on Hardy

Desktop 3D Cube

Desktop with new look theme

New notebook new theme

Posted on 21st June 2008 10:01:19