I have a spare Dell Inspiron 600m laptop sitting in the office here. It is quite a decent machine with 1.4 GHz and 2GB of RAM. Not top of the line or anything, but actually much better than my shoddy work laptop which has recently decided it won’t work without an external monitor. I’m too apathetic to be fixing it though, since I almost always use it with an external keyboard/mouse/monitor combo and I hardly ever open it at home. I might just commandeer the 600m for my use – but before I did that I wanted to make sure I can run Kubuntu on it.
Don’t ask me why, but I only have Dapper CD’s in my bag. I could probably just download and burn Gutsy but I’m extremely lazy. Also, I’m a long time Dapper user and not only do I know this release well but I hardly ever see it develop any odd sort of behavior like I’ve seen on Edgy or Feisty. I never had major issues with Ubuntu but most releases have one or two weird quirks that surface given the right combination of hardware. Never had that with Dapper though – whatever I throw at it, it keeps chugging along without complaints. So I just popped in the original Dapper CD (ShipIt FTW!) into the drive to see how it behaved on this hardware.
It’s probably worth noting that I first installed a fresh copy of XP on that same laptop. Unfortunately XP could not figure out how to work with following devices:
- Broadcom NeXtreme BCM7505M Gigabit Ethernet Controller
- Intel Pro/Wireless LAN 2100 Mini PCI Adapter
- Integrated Intel sound controller
- ATI Radeon R250 Mobile Graphics Card
- The voiceband win-modem
All of these showed as yellow question marks in the device manager. When Kubuntu loaded up from the CD, all of these were detected and configured automatically. That is, with exception of the modem, but I don’t even know what I would use it for anyway.
Here is the kicker – Dapper supports the Intel wifi card out of the box, while XP doesn’t! How funny is that? I was actually pleasantly surprised to see this to work out so well. I did have a slight issue getting associated with the local access point which is using WEP but I’m blaming the KDE networking tools. I think there is some bug there that prevents a 64 bit hexadecimal WEP key from being passed down to iwconfig. I pulled up the console, brought down eth1 (which is what got mapped to the Wifi card) then manually set essid and encryption key via iwconfig then ran dhclient and I got associated and connected. So the GUI is flaky. Most of the time I’m using ndiswrapper to get the wifi working so I thought maybe that’s why the default KDE tools for Wireless were not really working for me. But no – they just suck.
I might try Gutsy on this laptop next just for comparison, but so far I’m very pleased with the result.
[tags]dell, inspiron, 600m, dell inspiron, inspiron 600m, dapper, kubuntu, ubuntu, linux[/tags]