Ubuntu: Problem with international Keyboard Layouts

I was very close to dumping Ubuntu. This has so far been the best Desktop Linux distribution I ever worked with, and I really liked the ease of use. But one day, something broke. It didn’t allow me to switch between keyboard layouts any more! As I often have to compose texts in German, this is a big deal, and quite a problem. I was exploring the various forums for months! I found quite a few people who had the same problem, but nobody with a solution that actually worked for me.

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Installing X.org on Ubuntu

Time for checking out a new distribution – there has been a lot of noise about Ubuntu, so I gave it a try. So far I like it a lot – it is Gnome-based (vs. my KDE-based Suse 9.2 system), and Gnome definitely got much better! Many of my favorite tools (Gimp, Eclipse, Firefox) are Gnome-based, so I like the idea of running them in their native environment.

As I use the system on my IBM Thinkpad R52, I ran into the same problem I ran with Suse: The 1400×1050 screen could not be driven out of the box, and in order to fix this (as I already found out for Suse), I had to recompile X. Here are my notes on doing that.

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Bushido – the Soul of Japan (Book Review)

Almost two weeks ago, I suddenly ran out of reading material in Japan, and I knew that I had long train and bus rides ahead of me. What better reason to pick up one of the many famous books that cover the cultural background of Japan? I picked Bushido, written by Inazo Nitobe in 1905 (originally published in English, not a translation). Having already read another book from the same time (The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura in 1906), I had high hopes and wasn’t disappointed.

Bushido is sometimes translated as “chivalry”, but it’s much more than that, it’s an ethical system that transcents Japan to this day. Nitobe covers the Samurai code, the role of women, Suicide and many other fascinating topics.

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1400×1050 with Intel Mobile 915GM

As I posted previously, I got a new laptop and am in the process of setting it with Linux. Installing Linux is easy – to make it take full advantage of the existing hardware is tricky. My current challenge is to have the Graphics subsystem use the full 1400×1050 resolution of the screen. I will update this post as I go along to document my progress.

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