Ubuntu 14.04 on Dell Ultrabook 6430u

I inherited a Dell ultrabook 6430u from a departing colleague. I would not have chosen this system because the display is somewhat, well, crappy (terrible viewing angles), but I'm making the best of it.

This is the first PC I've used that does not have nvidia video in a long time. It is nice to not install the special driver,
but the Intel video quality seems not great. I see a lot of tearing in the display.

I created an encrypted LVM with the Ubuntu installer. We'll see how stable that is. It gobbled up the whole disk, put
the /home folder in one giant partition. It was a very tough exercise to make smaller logical volumes so I could segregate /home. That's not a new problem, not different from RedHat based systems. The problem here was that the setting to turn on a encrypted drive switched to LVM and the one giant disk

1. R CRAN configure:


$ cat cran.list
deb http://rweb.quant.ku.edu/cran/bin/linux/ubuntu trusty/

Run the securty key as described in the CRAN instructions.

2. Prevent accidental file erasure. This was default at one time.
For all users, in all shells, I want "rm" to work like "rm -i" so it asks
for permission to destroy files. I tried putting this in /etc/bash.bashrc, but changes there were
ignored in login shells. Then tried /etc/profile. That does only work for login shells. Really? I have to make the
same change in 2 files to make all shells work properly? Silly


# alert for rm, cp, mv
alias rm='rm -i'
alias cp='cp -i'
alias mv='mv -i'

other ones to consider inserting

# color and with classfication
alias ls='ls -F --color=auto'
alias ll='ls -alF'

# grep
alias grep='grep --color=auto'
alias fgrep='fgrep --color=auto'
alias egrep='egrep --color=auto'

3. OMG. vi arrow keys don't work. Why do they leave this as default?
It must kill ever new user who tries to be a good Unix person with vi
and it works in none of the virtual terminals that Ubuntu supplies.

In the folder /etc/vim/vimrc.local

# cat vimrc.local
set nocompatible

4. don't erase /tmp upon reboot

edit /etc/default/rcS


5. touchpad too sensitive. jumpy, erratic. I tested this a long
time, found some relief in synclient settings, but also needed
to patch the driver. The patch was released June, 2014,
maybe will find into synaptics upstream. Maybe a person
should try the synclient settings first, then try that.
To customize the synclient settins, put the synclient
defaults in a file in


Its the only file in there on my system.
In the old OS, there was a template file for that in
/usr/share, but I'm not finding that today.

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
# This option is recommend on all Linux systems using evdev, but cannot be
# enabled by default. See the following link for details:
# http://who-t.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-ignore-configuration-errors.html
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad ignore duplicates"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchOS "Linux"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/mouse*"
Option "Ignore" "on"

# This option enables the bottom right corner to be a right button on
# non-synaptics clickpads.
# This option is only interpreted by clickpads.
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Default clickpad buttons"
MatchDriver "synaptics"
Option "SoftButtonAreas" "50% 0 82% 0 0 0 0 0"
# To disable the bottom edge area so the buttons only work as buttons,
# not for movement, set the AreaBottomEdge
# Option "AreaBottomEdge" "82%"

# This option disables software buttons on Apple touchpads.
# This option is only interpreted by clickpads.
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Disable clickpad buttons on Apple touchpads"
MatchProduct "Apple|bcm5974"
MatchDriver "synaptics"
Option "SoftButtonAreas" "0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0"

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "TapButton2" "3"
Option "TapButton3" "2"
Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "PalmDetect" "1"
Option "VertEdgeScroll" "1"
Option "CornerCoasting" "1"
Option "RightEdge" "1600"
Option "FingerHigh" "20"
Option "FingerLow" "15"
Option "VertHysteresis" "50"
Option "HorizHysteresis" "50"
Option "PalmMinWidth" "10"
Option "PalmMinZ" "30"


About pauljohn

Paul E. Johnson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas. He is an avid Linux User, an adequate system administrator and C programmer, and humility is one of his greatest strengths.
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