Jaunty Adventures – Part 1: What The Beep

I have been messing around with my old Thinkpad X60 (short story: Wii Tennis casualty, Ebay, LCD, DIY) to take the opportunity to see if I could switch to Ubuntu for my personal work.

I kept the old XP partition (part nostalgia, part just-in-case) and carved out a new partition using GParted from the free space left after purging out my data from XP. After a not-so-quick defrag, GParted run without a glitch but was 12am really a good time to start laptop surgery? Probably not. But I digress.

Fast forward 2 hours later (the Ubuntu install itself didn’t take long), I was looking at a spanking new install of “Jaunty”.

For the most part, the install was similar to my previous install. Audio, video, wireless worked right out of the box but the default trackpoint settings was terribly slow. I am pretty certain this wasn’t a problem when I was playing with Hardy Heron on the same laptop. I messed around with the Mouse settings a little but it had no effect at all. WTH? I decide to leave the good fight for another day and shut the laptop down… which promptly brought me my next WTH? moment. For some reason, Jaunty shuts down with a freaking beep through the PC speakers. At 2am in the morning, it gave me a pretty good scare.

Why is Jaunty using the PC speaker in this day and age? And for a simple shutdown? Completely annoyed, I started up the laptop again to try to turn it off via System > Preferences > Sound. No dice. WTH? After some furious googling for the issue, I chose to disable the pcspkr module in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf (not /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist) hoping to cut off the PC speakers completely. Still no dice. Half-a-dozen reboots with the corresponding beeps later, I surrendered and went to bed, with echoes of the beeps ringing in my ears…

A fresh day but not so fresh brain later (try sleeping 3 hours and then going to work), I gave it another stab. I am telling ya, this beep was taunting me. I decided to take a more drastic option. Kill the pcspkr module.

$> sudo rmmod pcspkr
$> ERROR: Module pcspkr does not exist in /proc/modules

Ah ha! Let’s take a look at the modules.

$> sudo cat /proc/modules

Hmmm snd_pcsp looks suspect. Could it be? I added “disable snd_pcsp” to blacklist.conf and 2 reboots later to be sure. Silence. BWAHAHA…. Take that PC Beep! Girl Geekery wins again.

That left the trackpoint settings to fix. I got it sort of working after much mucking around. But still not quite perfect. I will write it up once I get it working.

I drew up a to-do list before I can use this install on a regular basis. At least I knocked one out.

  • Turn off super annoying shutdown beeps
  • Fix trackpoint settings
  • Get hot keys working (display brightness, volume control, display off)
  • Verify that sleep / hibernate works properly (or fix it)
  • Set battery charging thresholds

Update: I am not alone. I like how someone called it “the most annoying sound known to man”… Indeed.