Ubuntu on Laptop: It Just Works


Oh. My. Goodness.

Over the months, I've written so many blog entries about my struggles to get hepcat (a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop) running with Fedora Core Linux. This evening I installed Ubuntu Linux, and all the things that were causing me so much grief were cured.

  • Suspend-to-Disk - Fedora disables the kernel CONFIG_SOFTWARE_SUSPEND setting, which means you cannot suspend to disk. Without suspend, you have to go through a full startup and shutdown every time you want to use the system, which is unacceptable on a laptop. To work around this problem on Fedora Core 3 I built a custom kernel. After upgrading to Fedora Core 4, that kernel no longer suspended correctly.
  • Intel Wireless Drivers - Fedora is shipping broken ipw2200 drivers. To get the wireless network adapter working correctly under Fedora Core 3, I had to download the driver source and build them myself. You also have to grab the adapter firmware too.
  • No Suspend Scripts - There are no useful suspend scripts provided in Fedora Core. I had to develop my own script to initiate reliable suspend.
  • Busted b44 Driver - The wired Ethernet never worked correctly after a suspend. I was unable to find a workaround.

As you can see, there was an awful lot of custom building and tweaking required to get stuff to work on Fedora Core 3, and apparently even more work was going to be required to make it work on Fedora Core 4. I'm getting too old for this shit.

This evening I loaded Ubuntu Linux on the laptop. All of the problems went away. Everything just worked. The only thing I had to do was change the button action to launch the hibernate script (instead of the shutdown script) when pressed.

I'm going to test drive the laptop for a while before I decide what to do about my desktop system. Hopefully, by the end of July, I will be off Fedora Core completely and forever.


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re: Ubuntu on Laptop: It Just Works

w00t! Congrats, man.

I used to be a hardcore Slackware/FreeBSD user but the longer I work with these blasted contraptions, the more I want the OS to just get out of my way and let me do what I want to do.

Ubuntu sufficiently gets out of the way.


re: Ubuntu on Laptop: It Just Works

Congrats. I have all my systems running Mandrake 10.1 now except one and couldn't be happier. I tried Fedora 1 and couldn't see what all the fuss was about. All the laptops are IBM Thinkpads ( a 380XD, 390E, 600 and a 600x) and run with SMC wireless cards just beautifuly.

re: Ubuntu on Laptop: It Just Works

I was very happy with Mandrake 10.0 on my old Inspiron 7000 laptop. My problem with Mandrake was the support. I thought the Mandrake Club was poorly organized, and much of it appeared to be written by non-native English speakers.