Until the other day I was running just Vista Enterprise on my work lappy. I was freaking annoyed with its lack of speed on this dual core machine and opted to install Ubuntu 7.10/Gutsy. I fully expected to have to work to get the wireless going and was ready for the headache. I wasn’t worried too much about anything else… whoops!!
The good news, the wireless card was working as soon as the installer completed and booted me into Gnome (so all of my preconceptions have already been blasted out of the water). The restricted drivers manager let me know that I was using an unsupported driver (ipw3945), I smiled, thought “who cares”, and started installing all my stuff. That’s where the good news ends.
It wasn’t long before I noticed that I had no sound (took a little time as I usually keep the machine muted). It turns out that I had to install
linux-backports-modules-generic and tweak a few files. I simply had to follow the steps listed in method G over on https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Gutsy_Intel_HD_Audio_Controller. This didn’t bother me too much. Of course I would have liked it to work out of the box, but the effort involved was minimal. Sound working, moving on to the fun stuff.
So I’m theming the desktop, Glass icons, a new Metacity theme and wait, what’s this? Let’s turn on some of those funky Compiz Fusion effects! Nope, not in the cards, when I try to enable it I get the error “Desktop effects could not be enabled”. Rather useless error, but whatever, I Google it and find out what’s up. Just to be clear, this is not the fault of Ubuntu, it’s an issue with the driver for my card (GM965/GL960) and Compiz Fusion (see http://wiki.compiz-fusion.org/Hardware/Blacklist). They list a simple enough way around the blacklist, but after the next prob, there really was no point…
Saddened but not yet dismayed, I close the lid and grab a brew. When I return and wake the machine from suspend, the wifi adapter won’t connect to my AP. I could force it by restarting services (dbus) but really, my wife needs to use this machine too. I can’t ask her to issue a
/etc/init.d/dbus restart and to check if
NetworkManager is running away in the background should the restart of dbus fail. Oh and then expect her to know how to kill the cracked out process. It’s all just too ugly.
I shortened this a bit for the post, I did have the suspend problem more than once, it’s intermittent which makes it all the more annoying to me.
All of those issues (but mostly suspend) combined to tell me that I won’t be running Linux on this laptop. This is the first time I haven’t been able to get Linux up and usable on a machine. Sucks for me, I’m really finding myself more at home in Linux than Windows these days. Hopefully in time, support for my hardware will improve. Until then I’m stuck with Windows on the lappy.