How To Install Ubuntu 8.04 (9.10) On The Asus M50Sv-A1

Almost all of the hardware on the Asus M50Sv-A1 works out of the box after Ubuntu’s installation is complete. There are none the less a few tweaks that are needed to be performed and few drivers that are needed to be installed. The screens brightness can’t be increased, the Nvidia driver is not installed, the webcam driver is not installed, the fingerprint reader driver is not installed, the email LED is non-functional, the microphone is not enabled by default, the hard drive has a firmware glitch, and the speakers don’t mute when the headphones are plugged in. This short installation tutorial is intended to save you the time and grief associated with searching for each particular solution on the internet.

Comments in green reflect the changes required in Ubuntu 9.10.

1. Screen Brightness

The ambient light sensor is the cause of the dim screen, we’ll have to turn it off. To fix this we will have to create a shell script that will be run on boot up that will turn of the ambient light sensor.

A) Open Terminal (Menu->Accessories), and type the following:
sudo nano brightness

B) Now paste the following in the Terminal window:
echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/asus-laptop/ls_switch
echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/asus_laptop/ls_switch

C) Hit Ctrl-O to save and then Ctrl-X to exit.

D) Now we will copy our new shell script to the appropriate directory, make it executable and add the following links by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo mv brightness /etc/init.d
and then
sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/brightness
and then
sudo update-rc.d brightness defaults 90

E) Reboot, and you will have regained control of your brightness level.

2. Nvidia Driver

This step is not required when installing Ubuntu 9.10.

Your screen resolution will be limited to 800×600 without the appropriate drivers. Thanks to Alberto Milone’s Envy the whole process is automated for you, with the only requirement being an internet connection.

A) First we’ll need to update Ubuntu’s repositories by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo apt-get update

B) Now we’ll need to install Envy by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo apt-get install envyng-gtk

C) Next we’ll need to execute Envy by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo envyng -g

D) Select Nvidia on the left side, now click on Install the Nvidia driver (Manual Selection of the Driver), select 169.12, and finally click Apply.

E) Once the installation is completed, reboot and you will once again have a crisp screen.

3. Webcam Driver

This step is not required when installing Ubuntu 9.10.

The webcam if attempted to be used will crash any application that is trying to access it by default. Thanks to the great tutorial by Bill Giannikos the process of installing your Asus uvc webcam driver is relatively easy.

A) First we’ll need to install the files needed to build the driver by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo apt-get install build-essential subversion linux-headers-`uname -r`

B) Now we will build the driver by typing the following commands in Terminal:
cd /usr/src
and then
sudo svn checkout svn://
and then
cd trunk
and then
sudo make
and then
sudo cp -a uvcvideo.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/ubuntu/media/usbvideo/

C) Reboot, and your webcam will now be working.

4. Fingerprint Reader Driver

The fingerprint reader is especially useful in Linux as you are asked for your password before completing any change within the operating system. None the less, I would still not recommend for you to install the fingerprint reader driver due to its’ unstable nature and poor quality. The guide provided by Karol Krizka solved the problem of installing this driver.

A) First we’ll need to add the driver source to our software repository by typing the following in Terminal to open the sources list:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

B) Now scroll to the end of the file and paste the following line there:
deb hardy main restricted universe multiverse

C) Hit Ctrl-O to save and then Ctrl-X to exit.

D) Update the source list by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo aptitude update

E) Install the fingerprint reader driver by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo aptitude install fprint-demo libpam-fprint libfprint

F) Enroll your fingerprint by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo fprint_demo

G) Click on Enroll and swipe your finger.

H) Now we will have to tell Ubuntu when to use your fingerprint by editing the fingerprint reader driver’s configuration file by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo nano /etc/pam.d/common-auth

I) Paste the following in the file at the end:
auth sufficient
auth required nullok_secure

J) Hit Ctrl-O to save and then Ctrl-X to exit.

H) Reboot, and you will be now scanning your finger instead of typing your password each time.

5. Email LED

Having a LED notifying you of incoming emails is quite handy, especially if you are not constantly by your computer. In this step I will provide you with instructions, showing you how to enable the email LED to work with the best Gmail notifier available – CheckGmail, a function that even Windows cannot even provide.

A) Follow the instructions provided by me in this tutorial to install CheckGmail:

B) Open the CheckGmail preferences and paste the following in the Command to execute on new mail field:
echo 1 > /sys/class/leds/asus:mail/brightness
echo 1 > /sys/class/leds/asus::mail/brightness

C) Now paste the following in the Command to execute for no mail field:
echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/asus:mail/brightness
echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/asus::mail/brightness

D) Without giving the right permissions CheckGmail will not be able to turn on the LED. To do this we must type the following in Terminal:
gksudo nautilus

E) Navigate to the following folder by pasting the following in Location field in the newly open File Browser:
Press Enter.

F) Right-click on the file brightness, and select Properties.

G) Select the Permissions tab.

H) Click on root in the drop-down menu besides Owner and select yourself.

I) Without rebooting you should have now have the email LED notifying you of incoming email.

6. Microphone

By default the microphone is not enabled in enabled in the Volume Control menu. This problem will require the least effort.

A) Right-click on the speaker in the task bar and select Open Volume Control.

B) Select Edit from the menu, and then select Preferences.

C) Click on the boxes besides Capture and Capture 1.

D) Now your microphone should be working.

A) Right-click on the speaker in the task bar and select Sound Preferences.

B) Select Input from the menu, and then select Microphone 2.

C) Uncheck the box beside Mute.

D) Your microphone should be working.

7. Hard drive

This step is not required when installing Ubuntu 9.10.

The Seagate Momentus 5400.4 250 Gb hard drive has a firmware bug that makes Ubuntu park it every minute or so; the same problem exists in Vista. This parking is considered a load cycle, of which your hard drive was designed to complete 600,000 of such cycles. Without this fix your hard drive can prematurely fail after only 8 months. Thanks to jakon on, we now have a fix that fully works with the Asus M50Sv-A1.

A) First we’ll have to adjust the hard drive’s power management settings by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo nano /etc/hdparm.conf

B) And by pasting the following three lines in the file:
/dev/sda {
apm = 254

C) Hit Ctrl-O to save and then Ctrl-X to exit.

D) Next we’ll have to tell the notebook to reactivate these settings after resuming from suspend mode by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo nano 30hdparm

E) And by pasting the following lines inside the file:

# Run hdparm like on boot to restore hdparm.conf settings -
# hds lose them when going to standby.

for x in /sys/bus/ide/devices/*/block* /sys/bus/scsi/devices/*/block*
# This check is required – x can contain
# literal ‘/sys/bus/ide/devices/*/block*’
# when the glob did not match anything.
if [ -e $x ]
drive=$(basename $(readlink $x))
DEVNAME=/dev/$drive /lib/udev/hdparm

case “$1″ in

exit $?

F) Hit Ctrl-O to save and then Ctrl-X to exit.

G) Finally we’ll have to install the file we just created by typing the following in Terminal:
sudo install 30hdparm /etc/pm/sleep.d/

H) Reboot and your hard drive should be working with Ubuntu as it should have from the start.

8. Speakers

This step is not required when installing Ubuntu 9.10.

With the thousands of different notebook sound configurations that are out there, it is no surprise to have yet another ALSA bug. Thanks to Petr Zemek (s3rvac), we now have the correct ALSA option switch that will cause the speakers to mute when the headphones are plugged in. Surprisingly after trying all the generic options, the same option that works for a Haier notebook works with the Asus M50.

A) First we’ll have to edit the ALSA configuration file via terminal:
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

B) Scroll down to the bottom and add this line:
options snd-hda-intel model=haier-w66

C) Hit Ctrl-O to save and then Ctrl-X to exit.

D) Reboot and your speakers will now automatically mute when you plug your headphones in.

This guide will now allow you to use your Asus M50Sv-A1 with the most secure and progressive operating system at the moment that thrives on the open source community which provides for a much more dynamic experience than anything else out there now. Due to the fact that the notebook is relatively new, not all of its’ features could be fully exploited. Really, only some non-essential hotkeys cannot be used, but these are features that most of us are willing to trade for the privilidge of being on the Linux platform. If you find any other tweaks that could enhance Ubuntu on the Asus M50Sv-A1, please post below.

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60 thoughts on “How To Install Ubuntu 8.04 (9.10) On The Asus M50Sv-A1

  1. Pingback: Lost Drive Blog » How To Install Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron On The Asus M50Sv-A1

  2. Pingback: Video X Drivers » How To Install Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron On The Asus M50Sv-A1

  3. Pingback: Six Sense Blog » Blog Archive » How To Install Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron On The Asus M50Sv-A1

  4. Pingback: Topic Drivers » How To Install Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron On The Asus M50Sv-A1

  5. hi, i have just bought m50sv-a1 (not have it yet, its being delivered), but could you tell me how this laptop works with linux if i mean for example the media touch-pad, bluetooth, wifi, hdmi, battery saving mode, etc?
    i mean if you noticed some lack of abilities of this asus using linux?

    great blog.

  6. Everything in Hardy works out of the box, minus the items I listed above and the following:

    -media touch-pad
    -FN+F4 (browser shortcut)
    -the four Asus hotkeys at the top
    -the WiFi switch in the front turns off the WiFi radio, but it cannot be turned back on

    I could not not test the HDMI output. The battery saving mode is configurable via Ubuntu’s Power Management menu. Bluetooth and WiFi work out of the box.

  7. Sorry Ailike, I don’t know of any Vista fixes. The problem is not as evident in Vista as it uses the hard drive more aggressively than Ubuntu, giving the hard drive little reason to park.

  8. I’m planning on buying this model & installing Ubuntu, but do you have the fixes for those other features? That would be great if you could get the fixes for the media touch-pad and whatnot.

  9. If you are going to put Linux on your M50, install Linux Mint. Mint is built on Ubuntu and offers more drivers and codecs, and a better interface. I tried searching for solutions to the other problems, but I had no luck. Mind you, the media touchpad you’ll never use, the same goes for the other hotkeys.

  10. hi

    i decided to install opensuse11, but that rather isn’t a problem, because your tips about m50sva1 works here as good as in ubuntu (for example brightness…).

    my question is about build-in speakers. the problem is that if i plug in a headphones, they are playing anyway. it is a really nice effect if i plug external speakers, because i have nice 4-speakers system then, but it would be nice if i could simply switch off the build-in speakers and listen to the music only using headphones, because otherwise it is very annoying for my homemates especially at night.

    do you have such a problem? or maybe you have an idea how to fix it? i found that in kmix i have two ‘front’ regulations, but they are both working either on the build-in and external speakers.

    i would be very pleased if you might help me


  11. I already have the M50sv-B1 and I do use the media touch pad in Windows. I would like to know it there is anyone who has found a fix for using it in ubuntu. It is very useful if you hook up a mouse and then just turn on the media keys and control your music with it.


  12. i just bought an ASUS M70S series, and virtually nothing works! i tried to install Hardy (64bit) and it’s been a long hard road to get anything to work. so far, webcam, wifi, and audio are not working.

  13. Pingback: » Running Mandriva Linux 2008.1 on Asus M50Sa notebook

  14. Hi Ailike,

    try appending options snd-hda-intel model=haier-w66 to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and then restart alsa: /etc/init.d/alsa-utils restart. This solution works for me.

  15. MJ Klein, try typing lspci and lsusb in terminal to see what the exact hardware that you have is, and then search on for a solution.

  16. Paul, the m70 has 2 drive bays so i’m considering a separate 500MB drive for a linux system. i have to admit, the Vistard integration is very well done and it works well. i’m running KDE4.x on it so i can at least use some of my familiar tools. thanks for the sound advice.

  17. Thanks dobrichkia, but your model has an ATI video card. The M50-Sv’s video card is an Nvidia, so the fix above might or might not apply. We still have have no confirmation if audio through HDMI works.

  18. Hi there,

    I’m finally able to test the HDMI port with my friend’s plasma TV. I have Asus M50SV, but instead of Ubuntu I’m using Debian Testing (I suppose that this shouldn’t make a big difference, though). I’ll write here some notes after I test it (probably today or tomorrow).

  19. Here is my report. I tried to connect my laptop to a plasma TV via HDMI – the TV was found by nvidia-settings and video worked flawlessly. However, I wasn’t able to get audio working :(.

    According to this post,
    HDMI audio support should be included in the nVidia 177 beta drivers, so I installed them. I also tried enable/disable various switches via alsa-mixer, but nothing changed.

    Also, there is no HDMI audio listed in /proc/asound/cards:
    0 [Intel ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel
    HDA Intel at 0xfebf8000 irq 22

    I think I’ll wait until some new information/nVidia drivers (or maybe alsa 1.0.17?) are available…

  20. Paul Weiss: No, I didn’t, because

    1. There is no HDMI audio listed in # cat /proc/asound/cards on my laptop, even with the latest nVidia beta drivers (I read somewhere that this might be fixed in alsa 1.0.17, but I’ll wait until this alsa version is in the Debian repositories – I don’t want to compile it myself).

    2. There is no such file: /dev/snd/pcmC1D3p.

    From what I’ve read, there seems to be rather more success with ATI HDMI than nVidia HDMI (audio).

  21. RE: 4 – Fingerprint reader driver:

    I added the repo, and did an update, but the packages are not found. Further looking on the repo and the owner’s homepage both find that these packages aren’t currently (today is Aug. 17, 2008) available for Hardy in that repo, or I am mistaken in what I am finding. One page of his site says yes, the other no, but the fprint packages don’t show in the list of packages for the repo either.

    Is there another repo that might have this and simplify the process, rather than compiling/installing manually?


  22. Pingback: Hardy d’installer Ubuntu sur… euh c’est pas une rediff ça ? « Olympi pense, et ça vous soigne !

  23. OK… I bought the Asus M70, and I had the same problem with the speakers and with brightness, after doing this, the speakers and the brigness are just working!! Thanks a lot!!

  24. Thank you for this guide. I have the M50sa (with the ATI vid driver) but I couldn’t get the brightness to work. The tips here worked great…

  25. Thank you a lot for this guide. It allowed me to install easily ubuntu on my notebok. I found the guide because of the dim screen but everithing works good on my Asus M50 Sv.

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  27. I’ve been trying to get my speakers to mute on my M70. I’m using Intrepid (so I’m using the latest ver of ALSA) and the haier-w66 model for the alsa-base statement, but it still doesn’t work. Are there any enable or index switches that might work? I’ve tried so many things that I’m getting frustrated. Have any other M70Sa owners sussed this out or seen similar issues?

  28. Pingback: Отвечу за козла | Замечания в скобках

  29. I followed the steps to fix the sound on my ASUS M50VM-A1 but I cant hear any sound at all… I installed Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex. Everything else is working(just need to check the webcam also). On a side note: is there any way to enhance the finger sensor in Ubuntu? Compared to windows its quite bad. I registered my fingerprints, then when testing out of 20 passes, only 2 matched. Thanks for the help!

  30. Yes I had trouble with fprint myself too. The good news is that fprint will be a part of Ubuntu 9.04, so the support might improve.

    As far as the sound is concerned you have these two possible options:

    1) Add this to alsa-base:

    options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-dig

    2) Switch to OSS:

    Both have been reported to work.

  31. I dont know if I did anything wrong, but after following the installation instructions I get a “no volume control GStreamer plugins or devices found”.

  32. Another error, actually the first:
    “The volume control did not find any elements and/or devices to control. This means either that you don’t have the right GStreamer plugins installed, or that you don’t have a sound card configured.

    You can remove the volume control from the panel by right-clicking the speaker icon on the panel and selecting “Remove From Panel” from the menu.”

    When I run the ” aplay -l” command it tells me “aplay: device_list:215: no soundcards found…”

  33. Paul, have u tried to install Ubuntu 9-04 on ur asus? I’ve an asus m51sn, similar to yours. My problem is with grub brightness. I have a dual boot system (Vista + Ubuntu 9.04), and after a session of Vista, rebooting in Ubuntu, grub brightness is very low; after login mask, everything turns ok.. How can i solve it? I tried ur workaround in Ubuntu 8 and it was ok, but in Ubuntu 9.04 it doens’t funcion.. Do u have any advice? Thanks

  34. Hi Paul loved your blog on how to set up for Hardy, as a new Ubuntu user it was easy to follow. Is it possible to update it for 9.04? Things that worked under 8.04 no longer work on 9.04 Particularly the inbuilt mic and speaker mute when plugging in headphones.

  35. For people who cannot fix the brightness on (k)ubuntu 9.10, the path /sys/devices/platforms/asus-laptop/ls_switch changed to ../platforms/asus_laptop/ls_switch, note the underscore “_” instead of the dash “-”. If you change the path accordingly everything will work again!

  36. Hi, came across your site via Google… Haier laptops?? I am looking for a friendly Ubuntu person to advise me re a Haier T66 Laptop I have acquired from one of my sons recently back form China after a number of years.

    If you are able to assist me regarding the onborad volume controls locking Ubuntu (9.04 and 9.100 I would really be grateful. It would put this machine back into useful lief for me as a work horse dual booting….

    Thanks… my email is I am a relative (but aged) newbie so – be gentle!! :) Thanks a lot! Best regards………………………

  37. -1Early adopters shuodln’t even complain, they’ve had the privilege to use it in advance before others. Also, they would have purchased it, upon weighing its worthiness beforehand. Unless the idea of Nexus got to you first.It’s like the NDS and PSP. Nds -> Nds Lite and PSP Fat -> PSP Slim. There’s always refined versions. It’s easily anticipated such things would happen.

  38. First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like
    to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out.
    I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?


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