Tuesday, June 20, 2006

To Switch or not to Switch, that is the Question

Last week I read Tim Bray's post about potentially switching to Ubuntu. That night I stopped by a computer store on the way home (actually as a way to avoid sitting in traffic...) and swapped out the hard-drive on my Dell D610. I downloaded the latest Ubuntu install ISO and gave it a whirl. I must say that the Linux installers have come a _long_ way from what I used back in '96 or even just a year to two ago. That really got my expectations up. The my first install hung. It just sat they trying to install gnome_panel for a hour or two. I tried again. It worked!

Mostly... I still can't get the wireless to work. The driver finds the device just fine, but it defaults to not-activated, and no amount of fn-key twiddling, rebooting, or bios prodding could get it to activate. I was impressed that I could just slap an pcmcia card in and in minutes had wireless up and running. That get me smiling again.

Then I found that suspend didn't quite work (my trackpad didn't work on resume).

I've swapped back my Windows drive, since it has my email, etc on it.

It looks like I may need to change the minipci wireless card (or live with a pcmcia card) to get wireless running reliably under Linux thanks to Broadcom's reluctance to document their chipsets. How compatible are the various mini-pci cards? Is it really a standard form-factor (i.e. can I buy any mini-pci wireless card and replace the Broadcom card?) From one oneline site I found, it shows an Intel mini-pci card that appears to be longer and skinnier than the pictures in the Dell service manual.

Maybe I should just get coLinux working fully and live with that until my next laptop?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use a cheap Belkin wireless bridge for my Ubuntu box. It's a lot simpler than messing around with ndiswrapper or the flaky WiFi support in the kernel.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MacOS X + Parallels + Virtue Desktops = AWESOME

11:28 PM  

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