Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on Dell XPS M1330 Part 2

October 10, 2008

During the latest round of updates released by the Ubuntu team yesterday was a display update of some description.  Having the Nvidia Geforce M8800 model of the Dell the said updates have stopped the display from working properly.

It has switched to a low graphics mode which I tried to fix using the built in reconfigure menu.  This led to a black screen which was unrecoverable and led to a hard shut down.

It looks like I will be waiting for the official release of 8.10 before using Intrepid again as I don’t have the time at the moment for a bug fixing session.


I managed to get the Laptop to boot again in low graphics mode.  I then proceeded to install more available updates, rebooted and then got a 20 second or so burst of loud system (POST) beeps during start up and was left with a blank static orange Ubuntu screen.  After trying a couple more reboots the problem stayed the same but without the beeps.  I decided to return to the cosiness of Hardy Heron which is where I am writing this from now.

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Alpha 6 on a Dell XPS M1330 Laptop

September 26, 2008

I normally upgrade my Ubuntu installation to the latest Alpha when it becomes available.  I just love being an early adopter for no other reason than that.

However up to Alpha 5 I have been unable to get the M1330 to boot using the install media or a direct system update via the net.  Black screen crashes with each method.  So along comes the Alpha 6 yesterday or the day before and I try over again.

And we have success.  I have tested both the distro upgrade via the net from 8.04.1 and also a direct, clean install from the i386 live cd.  Both work flawlessly.  The only bug I had, which was resolved it seems by an update released shortly after I upgraded, was the wireless, which didn’t work correctly.  However, like I say, this is now working fine too.

The system itself seems to be slightly faster and more responsive.  Other notable features?  To be honest to look at and use on the surface 8.10 looks and feels pretty much like 8.04.1, but we are in an early alpha stage.

I know that there are features under the bonnet that have been upgraded.  The new kernel, new xorg, ACPI support and others.

I’ll say well done to the Ubuntu team.  This really does feel like a stable and a faster machine with Intrepid Ibex on it.  I look forward to more rolling updates to see where it goes from here all the way up to the final release in October.

It’s Distro Time

June 22, 2008

OpenSUSE 11 Installing

The time has come around again for me to do some switching around with regards to the Operating System I use on my main computer, my Dell XPS M1330 laptop.

Up until yesterday I had been using a dual boot system consisting of Ubuntu 8.10 Hardy Heron which I have been using on and off since the alpha stage of it’s release.  Along with Ubuntu the other OS was Vista Home Premium.

So why did I feel the need to change this set up?

To be honest I have been more than happy with Ubuntu for a long time but I wanted to switch from the dual boot system with WIndows eating up half of my 250gig hard drive, to a streamlined linux only option.  I don’t use Vista often enough to justify it being installed here.  I do, however, have Vista Ultimate on our desktop should I need it for whatever reason.

After deciding to get rid of Vista I could simply have deleted the partition, formatted it to ext3 and added it to the Ubuntu partition and edited the grub bootloader.  But I decided to take this opportunity to try out a few new major Linux distribution releases and then stay with one based on whichever I prefer.

First off was Fedora 9 which although very smart looking failed me due to issues with the way the display is managed.  The fact that there are problems getting the proprietary Nvidia drivers working for my mobile laptop graphics card is something I can’t live with.  Stuck without this working properly the system runs hot and the display simply isn’t up to scratch.  Maybe Fedora will be worth another look when this issue is resolved properly through the repos provided.

Next up was Linux Mint, which is a perfectly fine distro.  It is basically a modified Ubuntu Heron which includes the restricted extras like codecs.  The front end is very smart indeed but I found that it was basically a pretty Ubuntu and the extras are things I already had working in Hardy Heron.

I am currently writing this on the Gnome version of openSUSE 11.  This is definitely a promising distro and one which I have not used for any length of time before.  That is about to change however as it installed like a charm detecting all the relevant hardware, including the wireless, out of the box.  I need to keep an eye on the battery life as that is one thing I have discovered with different Linus Distributions on laptops.  They all seem to use up battery power at different rates by default, with Ubuntu being the easiest on power consumption as far as I can tell.

Next on my hit list is Debian, which I have used before and I know will take a bit more setting up on this laptop.

At the moment though, as I said, it’s time to give openSUSE a fair run out.  I’ll post my thoughts on it later.