Friday, January 26, 2007

More Ubuntu experiences :(

Having little to do for a couple of days, I decided it was time to move to a real OS on my work laptop, a Dell Latitude D620. One of my colleagues very enthusiastically recommended Ubuntu. Having read a whole lot of other enthusiastic stories about Ubuntu, it was time to give it another try. This time it was to be Ubuntu 6.10.

Stupid me.

First of all GParted just gave me an "Error" while resizing my Window's NTFS partition. That was it, just "Error", no details whatsoever. About an hour later I had tried to downloading the latest GParted iso. Luckily this did work.

Second problem was the line "BUG: soft lockup detected on CPU#0!" during startup of Ubuntu. After this the system froze up. No where to go for, my enthusiastic colleague did a google and find out that the wireless driver crashed when the hardware kill switch for the radio was on. Bummer. I flipped the switch, rebooted and Ubuntu now started. It did take a good 2 minutes longer, just to find out there is no access to a wireless network. (Why do you think the switch was off?)

Third problem was the mouse. Well, actually I do not have a mouse but a very nice Wacom Graphire3 tablet. The tablet kind of works (I could move the mouse pointer) but you can not always reach the edges of the screen. You know, like the place where the menu is located. This really annoyed the hell out of me. Luckily Firefox was already installed so I searched the internet for solutions. I found several and none of them worked. There was one guy with the same setup as me who had worked on it for 3 days! After 4 hours of messing around I found a workaround by setting the mouse acceleration a lot higher.

Today I gave it another try. The older Latitude D620s have a really bad completely sucking low contrast LCD screen that is totally unfit for anything serious. So I decided to configure my kick-ass 20" wide-screen Dell 2005FPW. I found a post on how to configure dual head but to no avail. Boy what a bummer.

Now, I am back on Windows XP and Cygwin. Don't get me wrong, I am a big Linux fan, running it for ages already, and usually avoid MS programs (even on Windows). I liked the looks of Ubuntu and I still do. But as long as it does not run with my hardware, I will not use it.


  1. Being the "enthusiastic colleague", I have to admit that loads of stuff went wrong with your installation. As I told you, installation on my hardware (a just slightly newer Dell 620) was a breeze and I still have no problems whatsoever. All software is there, I can run eye candy and have my desktop split over two screens back home.

    Your configuration is not that fancy, so I would assume it should be the same for you. I am quite confident that if I would take your laptop home over the weekend and was allowed to make a clean and fresh install it would be running smoothly on monday. Then again, you never know... :)

    The only thing I can say is that sometimes, you have to persist. Research shows that people who are 30% more persistent reach their goal 75% more often than the others... *smile*


    Btw: Knowing where to look is at least 50% of solving a problem. "Structured aproach" is the magic word. ;)

  2. I have installed Ubuntu on all sorts of hardware including at least 4 types of Dell laptops... without much problems (not counting poor printer, dual head, and WIFI support). I agree to Che that some perseverance should do the trick.

    Now, about using Ubuntu at work. I love the distribution, but must confess that it has it's problems... after using it for about two years I decided to let it go (for my laptop that is).

    Poor hibernation support, dual head issues, in combination with bad WIFI support (WPA just doesn't work with) is stuff I can bare to live with... repository updates which break my system once in a while are more problematic; I have to get work done on my machine!

    Still, I have to say that at any moment I would still prefer Ubuntu over WinXP... but OsX is my current favorite; to bad running it on a 620 just won't cut it.

  3. Okay, I accepted Eriks challenge and took the laptop home for the weekend.
    I sat down with a cup of tea (it ended up being three, but oh well :) and stop-watched the time for a complete reinstall with all the options Erik wanted.
    The things he wanted were:
    - Dual Head with different resolutions on both screens
    - Flawless tablet usage
    - Quick boot times
    - Generally a nice working system

    To say it right in the beginning: it took me longer than expected!
    Apparently, a tablet is still exotic hardware and to get it work with dual head with different resolutions was a bit of a pain.

    But all in all, after a total of 2 hours and 52 minutes the system was running the way Erik expected it to!

    I think, compared to a windows install with drivers and all the shit, this is a decent time.
    I worked a little with the tablet and although I don't like it, I could not find any issues with it. Boot times are around 20 seconds now and both screens work nicely.

    The whole thing is of course yet to be confirmed by Erik. He did not show up at work today (;), but as soon as he does he has to check if everything is the way he wanted it.
    If not, I will add the time up it takes me to fix those things as well...

    Linux rocks :)

  4. Hmmmm, bad me - I was so in the flow:

    $lastComment =~ s/shit/stuff/g;

    Sorry for that

  5. Hé! No Perl on my blog please.

    Thank Che. That is absolutely brilliant. I'll check it out tomorrow first thing.

    Anyway, today I was absent (with permission of course) to go to my brother's wedding.

  6. Indeed! Using:


    is much better!

  7. Much better.

    And for our java-only readers: postBody.replaceAll("shit","stuff")

  8. Hmmm, I also have that great D620 laptop. And just like Che: no probs at all.

    Have you tried Feisty Fom yet? 7.04 (I know it sounds kinda like a horrible disease) It's a lot better than 6.06 or 6.10. Give it a go!

    O and don't forget: you can always try Windows Vista. Because the 'wow' starts now... *cough* *choke*


  9. I'll try 704. It has a newer kernel which supposedly has less problems with the wacom-linux driver.

  10. Well, if the kernel would be the problem then you could just compile your own on any distro... :)

    But I am pretty sure that it is not the kernel but and wacom drivers. I don't think using 7.04 (btw: is it not Feisty Fawn?) will change anything.
    I would be very, very surprised if it did. :)

  11. Well. I recently switched to Mac. Can't say I'm sorry 'bout that ;) Bye Ubuntu....

  12. yes, i have the same problem with you. i'm a linux fan, too. but to be realistic, a good OS should save people's time and let them concentrate on working, rather than waste their time on fighting with the OS. SO, although I love linux and always try to avoid MS software even on my XP (just like you). I won't switch to Ubuntu unless I can smoothly install it (at least).

  13. I'm an absolute Linux newby who has wanted to try Linux for quite some time, now, and my techy nephew recommended Ubuntu. I had the same concerns as other commenters, that my "main" computer needs to be compatible with the programs that I work with, and unfortunately that means Windows. I have XP and I've done some tweaking so that it works pretty smoothly.

    Recently I acquired a Gateway laptop, and a pretty nice one at that, with the exception that it had, you guessed it, VISTA. And it was very, very clogged up because the previous owner had installed and preloaded every single thing MS recommended. So my first act as new owner was to wipe the hard-drive. After that, I installed Ubuntu without any problems except that it has trouble playing DVD's on my DVD drive.

    I like it! :-)