August 3, 2007 4 Comments
The new laptop arrived today, just in time for my trip to LinuxWorld. I had an Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn disc laying around from Ubuntu Live, so figured I’d just go with that. I’ve not had Linux installation problems in a long time. I guess the X61 is just too new. First, the harddrive wasn’t detected by the installer. The fix for this was easy enough, simply enable Compatibility mode in the BIOS for the SATA controller (defaults to AHCI). Looks like this is also needed for some Windows installs, so not a big deal. After that the installer fired right up and the installation proceeded without incident. First boot up and everything looks good. That is until I realize that neither wifi or audio work. Poking around I see my X61 came with iwl4965 and AD1984, respectively. Feisty supports neither, but Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 at least supports 4965 for sure, so I decide to upgrade. I really like how easy a dist-upgrade is in Debian (and therefore Ubuntu) and Gutsy is on the laptop in under an hour. Wireless networking worked out of the box without so much as a configuration change needed. Audio, however, does not seem to work out of the box. The chipset is properly detected now, but I don’t get any output. I haven’t had a chance to actually look into this yet as audio just isn’t critical for me at this time. Overall the Ubuntu install experience is really impressive. For an alpha release, Gutsy has been quite stable so far. Certainly not without issue, but we’ve come a long long way. The out of the box support for a device this new in Gutsy has almost reached an acceptable level. My guess is with Dell and others now making a driver push, we’ll be all the way there in the very near future.