Setting up Elementary OS

Back in 2015, I didn’t really enjoy using Elementary OS 0.3.2 Freya because it was too difficult to get Blender working with CUDA in it. It was based on the very old Long Term Support Ubuntu release, Trusty Tahr (14.04 LTS, from the year 2014).

However, the recently (2016–09–09) released Elementary OS 0.4 Loki is much better on the Blender and CUDA front for me. Elementary OS 0.4 Loki is based on Xenial Xerus (16.04 LTS, from the year 2016), and I got CUDA working in Blender somewhat easily. You can find the instructions below in the article.

But there are still a couple of annoyances that push me away from using this distro:

1. Even straight after installation or also after updating the distro, I can’t configure my dual-monitor setup (one monitor in pivot, one in landscape), the Apply button just doesn’t work in the Displays configuration manager:

The “Displays” configuration manager doesn’t allow my pivoted 20" monitor to be rotated — Apply button doesn’t work

2. When coming back from Suspend mode (that I use every day for not entirely turning off my computer, but almost), I was greeted by some random noise. (Might be because I had installed NVIDIA drivers at this point, but those are the drivers I need and they work well in other Ubuntu-based distros):

Returning from Suspend mode was full of weird noise

3. Google Chrome was surprisingly difficult to install. Instructions below

4. There was no Additional drivers control panel application, that can be found in many other Ubuntu-based distros, so that I could easily install the required NVIDIA drivers. Below you can find a workaround for this.

Even though Elementary OS is very polished and stylish, the distro seems still a bit too unfinished for me. However, I have a feeling that once it develops enough, it could become my number one go-to distro :) It’s constantly getting better and better. I recommend supporting it in Patreon.

NVIDIA drivers

Installing NVIDIA drivers in Elementary OS 0.4 Loki differ a small bit from the method I used in the other NVIDIA driver article I wrote. Here’s what worked for me:


1. Install “Software & Updates” package from the AppCenter:

2. Press Super+Space (Win-key+Space), type “Additional Drivers” and open it:

3. Install the latest NVIDIA driver (361.42 in this case) and apply the changes:

4. Restart the computer.


Google Chrome

In my tests, it seemed that the only option for installing the .deb file downloaded from Chrome’s website was via the Terminal. Open the Terminal, navigate to where you downloaded the file, then run:

# Installing the downloaded Google Chrome .deb file (use Tab to autocomplete the typing of the long filename):
sudo apt install ./google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
Installing Google Chrome .deb installer file via Terminal

Blender

Blender can be found in the AppCenter, however, it’s quite an old version. I usually install it via PPA or download the latest one from blender.org or builder.blender.org.

Weirdly in Elementary OS you can’t just click with mouse cursor to run the Blender executable when you have uncompressed a downloaded Blender package. But in the Terminal this will open it:

# Navigate to where you uncompressed Blender, then run:
./blender
Launching a Blender from an uncompressed Blender package

For having CUDA working in Blender in Elementary OS can be done with the help of the NVIDIA driver article. (Basically, just install the nvidia-cuda-toolkit and that’s it.)

To be continued…

My experiments with Elementary OS will continue. I’ll update this article as I encounter new stuff worth mentioning on my behalf.