Friday, 8 December 2017

Unity: I'm back and bionic

Ubuntu 18.04 daily ISO respun with unity

By now the future of Ubuntu without unity is a reality for anyone using the daily builds of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS otherwise know as Bionic Beaver. However as reported by OMG! UBUNTU! there is a growing Ubuntu community who would like to use the Unity 7 desktop by default. An initial proposal to create a new community Ubuntu flavour as Ubuntu Unity has been knocked back pending further clarification of development support not only for the unity packages but also for compiz, gtk, nux and all the other dependencies especially as some may be deprecated both now or maybe soon.

Whilst an Ubuntu Unity Remix may be the next step the project team have already built a PPA for the experimental packages for the Unity 7 desktop together with an updated ISO for testing. Currently this ISO is also available along with all the Bionic Beaver testing ISOs from the tester-wiki.

If you are interested in the project I recommend you look at their Ubuntu Community Hub.

Ubuntu 18.04 daily ISO with default GNOME

If you want to try but your hardware won't boot the testing ISO it is possible to use my '' script to respin it suitable for Intel Atom and Intel Apollo Lake devices.

Alternatively you can respin the current daily Bionic Beaver ISO and replace GNOME with Unity by adding their PPA. An example command is: -i bionic-desktop-amd64.iso -e gdm3 \
-r ppa:unity7maintainers/unity7-desktop -p ubuntu-unity-desktop

which creates the ISO 'linuxium-bionic-desktop-amd64.iso'. Likewise you can also add additional respin options for example '--apollo' to make a bootable ISO for Intel Apollo Lake devices. See my documentation for a complete explanation of the options and how they work.

Please donate if you find my ISO script useful using the following link

Friday, 1 December 2017

Linux on MINIX NEO Z83-4 and Z83-4 Pro

The final piece of the jigsaw is now in place for running Linux on the MINIX NEO Z83-4 and Z83-4 Pro devices with the mainline kernel now patched to support wifi, audio and bluetooth.

It has been an interesting kernel journey with:

v4.9 including the eMMC v5.0 driver required for accessing the internal storage
v4.11 including the HDMI audio driver.
v4.12 recognizing the BCM43455 wifi driver but suffered a regression with the release of v4.13
v4.13.2/v4.14 including a fix for BCM43455 wifi driver
v4.14 including a fix for the headphone audio driver
v4.15-rc1 now includes a fix for the bluetooth driver

However to run fully working Ubuntu on either device still requires additional steps. The Canonical v4.15-rc1 mainline build was built using a patched config using default settings and does not include the changes required for including Intel ASoC Audio Drivers or the Serial Device Bus with serial drivers.

So first it is necessary to create a new config and compile the kernel.

Then it is just respinning the official Ubuntu ISO using my '' script to add the compiled packages providing the latest kernel, the required UCM files and missing wifi firmware.

Unfortunately the most recent UCM file for the headphone audio driver isn't compatible so I've had to modify it specifically to work with these devices.

Also the wifi firmware file first needs to be extracted from the Windows installation where it is located at 'C:\Windows\System32\drivers\4345r6nvram.txt'.

Once everything is prepared the following respin command was used to create the Ubuntu ISO as shown above: -i ubuntu-17.04-desktop-amd64.iso -l "linux-headers-4.15.0-rc1-linuxium_4.15.0~rc1~linuxium_amd64.deb linux-image-4.15.0-rc1-linuxium_4.15.0~rc1~linuxium_amd64.deb" -f "" -c -f 4345r6nvram.txt -c "mv /usr/local/bin/4345r6nvram.txt /lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt" -f HdmiLpeAudio.conf -c "mv /usr/local/bin/HdmiLpeAudio.conf /usr/share/alsa/cards" -f MINIX-Z83-4-chtrt5645.conf -c "mv /usr/local/bin/MINIX-Z83-4-chtrt5645.conf /usr/share/alsa/ucm/chtrt5645/chtrt5645.conf" -f MINIX-Z83-4-chtrt5645-HiFi.conf -c "mv /usr/local/bin/MINIX-Z83-4-chtrt5645-HiFi.conf /usr/share/alsa/ucm/chtrt5645/HiFi.conf"

At this stage it is still very early in the release cycle and there is still work to be undertaken to simplify the respinning of ISOs for these devices.

However the key point is that the mainline kernel now supports MINIX NEO Z83-4 and Z83-4 Pro devices. Meaning over time as various distros and OS migrate to the v4.15 kernel and later versions they should work flawlessly on them.

Please donate if you find my work useful using the following link