Kubuntu 20.04 on an Fujitsu Esprimo Q558

I replaced the old Esprimo Q9000 by a new machine, my choice was a Q558 because of a good offer. The Q558 comes with an Intel® i5-9400T, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and no operating system. The machine is Zero-Noise designed, the fan runs a few minutes after start, then it is quite. The processor is astonishingly powerful, just video rendering using ffmpeg produced enough heat to let the fan rotate. For me quite unusual this is a brand new machine, I usually like to buy refurbished 3-12 month old hardware. Beside one power management quirk, all works very well running Kubuntu, but read the details:

Disclaimer

This page describes my personal experiences with my hardware only. This is nothing official from any vendor! I am not responsible for anything you do with your hard- and software. For any support contact the respective vendors! Please respect the legal notice.

Who should read the following description? The machine runs mostly „out-of-the-box“. All the rest is due to you. Be willing to learn, follow instructions form Ubuntu geeks, accept to fail and start again.

A good resource for hints, tips and questions is http://ubuntuforums.org/

Preparations

I used the SSD from my old machine, you do not need any tool for this. It is very easy, but better safe than sorry, you find a “ESPRIMO Q558/Q958, System Upgrades and Repairs”-Guide at https://support.ts.fujitsu.com/ read the manual.

Open the case on the top by pressing the clip and slide the cover, then open the mount (drive cage) carefully, there it is. Memory extension would be the bottom cover.

Monitor, PC and lamp is powered via socket board with switch. To avoid the short run-up after power is back, I changed the BIOS option “Power Failure Recovery” to “Disabled”.

Installation of Kubuntu 20.04 „Focal Fossa

Installation runs smoothly, no binary drivers needed. Beware there is a power management issue, I had no problem during the installation, nevertheless maybe if you install unattended and come back to a frozen machine, better add “pcie_aspm=off” as boot parameter. Press “e” for edit, in the GRUB menu, which is the black screen menu right after start.

The system seemed fine, but after entering some power management state the system came back nearly frozen, eating hell a lot of resources.

less /var/log/syslog

showed a lot of those entries

Jul 19 11:26:38 q558 kernel: [ 2458.685052] pcieport 0000:00:1c.0: AER: Corrected error received: 0000:00:1c.0
Jul 19 11:26:38 q558 kernel: [ 2458.685123] pcieport 0000:00:1c.0: AER: PCIe Bus Error: severity=Corrected, type=Data Link Layer, (Transmitter ID)
Jul 19 11:26:39 q558 kernel: [ 2458.685125] pcieport 0000:00:1c.0: AER: device [8086:a33c] error status/mask=00001000/00002000
Jul 19 11:26:39 q558 kernel: [ 2458.685126] pcieport 0000:00:1c.0: AER: [12] Timeout

There is an issue with Active State Power Management (ASPM), means I switch it off and wait for system or Linux updates to try it again.

sudo vim /etc/default/grub

add “pcie_aspm=off” to the following line:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash pcie_aspm=off”
save the grub file and

sudo update-grub

reboot whenever you like.

++ Graphics card

„Intel® UHD Graphics 630“ works with the correct resolution and 3d support. The open source intel driver seems to be fine

++ USB

All functioning.

++ Network – LAN

The cable „Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller“ interface runs.

No WiFi or Blutooth in my configuration of the machine.

++ Audio

„Realtek ALC671“ is doing the job as designed. As soon as you connect a device like loudspeakers pulseaudio switches the profile.

LSPCI Listing

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 8th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation UHD Graphics 630 (Desktop)
00:12.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH Thermal Controller (rev 10)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH USB 3.1 xHCI Host Controller (rev 10)
00:14.2 RAM memory: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH Shared SRAM (rev 10)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH HECI Controller (rev 10)
00:17.0 SATA controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH SATA AHCI Controller (rev 10)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev f0)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Device a315 (rev 10)
00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH cAVS (rev 10)
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH SMBus Controller (rev 10)
00:1f.5 Serial bus controller [0c80]: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH SPI Controller (rev 10)
01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 0c)

LSUSB Listing

Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 04d9:1603 Holtek Semiconductor, Inc. Keyboard
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 1a81:2205 Holtek Semiconductor, Inc. Laser Mouse
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

BIOS version

V5.0.0.13 – R1.24.0 (06.05.2020)

Any hints?

Please send me any hints, new tips, report errors, etc. via comment below. Please no support requests, thanks!

Links

Fujitsu support, bios updates and documentation:
http://www.fujitsu.com/de/support/

https://www.fujitsu.com/de/products/computing/pc/desktops/esprimo-q558/

Camera, DSLR as a webcam for zoom, teams, jitsi and co.

It is quite impossible to record three people standing at a distance of 1.5 metres with a common webcam in a zoom meeting. When a typical webcam is placed far enough away so that all persons fit into the picture, the fixed focus kicks in. The picture is blurred and in our case, there was only little light. Another detail that should not be forgotten is the webcam’s USB cable length.

To be prepared for the next time and because it is a nice gadget, I remembered that there are beta drivers for some Canon DSLRs to use them as a webcam.

Be aware though that your camera was most likely not designed for use as a webcam and may degrade when used as a webcam. Please check with the camera manufacturer if and how your device is suitable for this purpose. Use this report at your own risk.

Starting point for my research were two websites: A guide for Linux using gphoto2 and the Canon Webcam Utility Beta drivers. There must be a cheap second-hand camera that is on the list of supported cameras of gphoto2 as well as supported by Canon on Windows or Mac. Please note, these beta drivers are only available from Canon USA and in the USA the camera models are sometimes called differently than ours. For example the Canon “EOS 1300D” I acquired is called “EOS Rebel T6” in the USA.

At second-hand dealers an EOS 1300D costs from about 200 EUR. My camera comes from private ownership, less than 2 km away with two zoom lenses and under 1.000 shutter releases.

Canon DSLR als Webcam

The camera worked immediately with Linux using the above instructions. Oddly enough, the resolution provided by the camera is 1056×704 (at about 20-25 fps). Under Linux, the camera controls are not available on the camera, but can be controlled via gphoto2. The mode dial should be set to “P” or “Auto”, in the video setting little changes except that the frames per second (fps) drop to about 15. Set the lens to manual focus “MF” and adjust the focus on the lens ring. The camera is now available as a resource under Zoom, Teams, Jitsi and Co. This also works in parallel e.g. for local recording of the video.

EOS1300D under Linux in VLC

Using Windows, the camera only showed a kind of splash screen with the words “EOS Webcam Utility BETA”. Uninstalling all the other Canon tools actually helped and a live image came up. This time the resolution is 1280×720, set the camera to “video” using the mode dial and it remains partly operable e.g. autofocus. In VLC, Skype and Zoom the video is square with black bars on the sides, so it’s more like 720×720. The microphone of the camera will not work in both versions.

Possibly you’ll find out which part of the EOS Utilities actually has to be uninstalled or if you can’t put the tools to sleep. Simply terminating the EOS Utilities was unfortunately not enough for my installation (EOS Webcam Utility Beta 0.9.0 for Windows 04/28/20). Beware some users report that this solution does not work with every video software.

EOS1300D unter Windows im VLC
EOS1300D under Windows in VLC

This camera provides a resolution of 1920×1080 (Full HD) in the built-in video mode, i.e. when you film with the camera itself and record to the SD card. I suppose that the webcam resolution is basically a kind of preview image for computer-assisted shooting (tethered shooting).

The webcam scenario

Having a zoom lens on your webcam is truly unique. Unfortunately, such a camera is a bit too heavy to be hung on the top of the monitor like a webcam via clip. So you need a travel tripod or a mini tripod. With my space conditions and the rather lightweight EOS1300D a mini tripod on the windowsill would be great. But this is very tricky to position the camera due to the construction. I couldn’t find good cheap monopods that can stand on a table. Maybe you have an interesting idea.

It’s worth buying an external power supply or rechargeable batteries. I emptied a battery charge in one evening testing. In a video conference, I estimate the battery to last one to a maximum of two hours. A camera power supply unit costs about 20 EUR in the open aftermarket.

A 2 m USB extender cable helps to place the camera a little further away from the notebook in the room. With gphoto2 even the connection via WLAN might work, but I haven’t tried it yet.

For unknown interiors it is worth taking some lighting with you, as existing lighting might not be flicker-free or not sufficient.

Conclusion

The DSLR webcam hobby solution is especially suitable for people who already have a camera or use the SLR camera for their actual purpose.

For my goal of a hobby video conference with several people in one room, such a DSLR solution with a matching zoom lens is also excellent. The camera is even useful for taking photos or videos before and after the conference to document it. Including all necessary parts I kept costs below 250 EUR, that’s what a very high quality webcam would cost.

Actually, I thought that these cameras would then also provide Full HD as a webcam, but if you look at the transmitted video resolutions during web conferences, 1056×704 is more than sufficient.

Finally

+ Amazing possibilities compared to a normal webcam
+ Inexpensive if second-hand camera
– Needs some time to set up
– Needs space on the desk
o Reuse of an existing camera

Learn why things work on a system

Yesterday I migrated a 10-year-old laptop to a new one. Therefore I installed the new system (10 min via proxy), installed standard software (20 min via script) and transferred the user data 1:1. For this purpose I dismounted the hard disk of the old laptop. Remove a screw at the side slot, open the cover, take out the HDD and copy it via a SATA-USB3 hard disk adapter (25 min depending on the amount of data), log in, be amazed that everything is ready and works. Continue reading “Learn why things work on a system”