Upgrading ubuntu 10.04 to grub 2

Yes – it has been a while between posts! My kogan netbook has been serving the purpose it was intended for, meaning I haven’t come across anything I have felt I need to share in this blog. Upgrading ubuntu along the way has been happy and cheery with no issues, so no need to blog…

But there have been three or four comments over the months regarding the touchpad not working with newer versions of ubuntu. Whilst ubuntu 9.10 came with grub 2 by default, upgrading from 9.04 (grub 1.5) to 9.10 and then up to 10.04 meant grub stayed at 1.5, so even though I am running 10.04, I am still on grub 1.5, and the “i8042_nomux” fix seems to still work.

When 9.10 was released, Tom provided this blog with a solution for making the kogan netbook’s touchpad work in 9.10. I had figured this would work for 10.04 too, so to be sure, I think its time to upgrade my kogan netbook to 10.04, just to make sure the touchpad still works.

Upgrading to grub 2 is straight forward using apt-get:

sudo apt-get install grub2

During the upgrade I was asked if i wanted to chainload grub 2 from my existing grub legacy setup. It was highly recommended, so I went with it. It also asked me if I wanted to keep the “i8042_nomux” parameter, which I also agreed to do – I want my touchpad!

Grub 2 was installed, and after a reboot all was still well with the touchpad. However, because I agreed to chainload grub 2, grub 1.5 is still installed on my Master Boot Record (MBR) – not grub 2. This can be easily rectified with the following command:

sudo upgrade-from-grub-legacy

During this grub upgrade, I was asked if I wanted to keep my locally modified version of /etc/default/grub, and figuring this was modified for the “i8042_nomux” parameter, I agreed. I then had to choose where to install grub too, and I chose /dev/sda.

After a quick reboot, using grub 2 to boot, my touchpad still worked. success!! I now know that under ubuntu 10.04 with grub2, the touchpad on the kogan netbook works.

Now to help the people who can’t get the touchpad working. Short of doing a fresh install with 10.04 on my machine to try and replicate the issue (I don’t have the time, sorry), I thought I would try and work out what makes the touchpad work under grub 2.

Based on Tom’s info, i checked out my grub config:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

And it looks like:

# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'

# Uncomment if you don't want GRUB to pass "root=UUID=xxx" parameter to Linux

# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entries

# Uncomment to get a beep at grub start
#GRUB_INIT_TUNE="480 440 1"

I believe the important part is this line:


So I decided to comment the line out by adding a “#” to the front, run “sudo update-grub” to update my grub config and rebooted. When ubuntu came back, my touchpad was fixed in the center of the screen – stuck and broken. Reversing what I had just done (remove the “#”, run “sudo update-grub”, reboot) and the touchpad was back in motion.

If your kogan agora’s touchpad is not working, I have the following advice to offer. Edit your grub config:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

and type the following line – I say type because if you copy and paste, the wrong quotes may be used:


If there any other occurences of i8042.nomux remove them (just i8042.nomux) and then update your grub config:

sudo update-grub

Now reboot, and fingers crossed your touchpad will dance with your finger. If this fails, please comment below with your specifics (i.e fresh ubuntu 10.04 install, upgraded from grub 1.5, upgraded from 9.10, etc) and I will try and help.


ubuntu 9.10 (karmic koala) beta on the kogan agora

In a bid to resurrect my kogan agora pro netbook to a usable state, I decided to upgrade to the lastest version of ubuntu, karmic koala, which has just gone beta.

sudo update-manager -d

This will kick off the update manager, and provide you with a single button to upgrade to version 9.10. After 30 minutes or so, you should be rebooting into a new kernel, and the new ubuntu.

The usual suspects that needed attention in the past (read: the touchpad and wireless networking) were both still working, and had obviously remained configured from the previous version.

Whilst I say “working”, the wireless adapter is connecting to my home wireless access point however the signal is still low and not picking up neighbouring APs.


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“You have to set ‘SHMConfig’ ‘true’…” – even though you have created shmconfig.fdi

In previous blog entries (disabling the touchpad whilst typing and installing gsynaptics) I described how to enable SHMConfig in order to control the touchpad.

I had some feedback from at least two readers who could not enable SHMConfig, and when they tried to use gsynaptics or syndaemon, they were met with the error “You have to set ‘SHMConfig’ ‘true’ in xorg.conf or XF86Config“. The instructions provided in the post to enable SHMConfig using the /etc/hal/fdi/policy/shmconfig.fdi method did not appear to be working.

After a lot of troubleshooting work with Travis, we were able to determine why this was occuring, and how to resolve it.

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