Kubuntu Dapper on Inspiron 600m

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:

  1. Broadcom NeXtreme BCM7505M Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  2. Intel Pro/Wireless LAN 2100 Mini PCI Adapter
  3. Integrated Intel sound controller
  4. ATI Radeon R250 Mobile Graphics Card
  5. 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]

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11 Responses to Kubuntu Dapper on Inspiron 600m

  1. dwasifar UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I’ve been running Ubuntu on my 600m for quite a while now. Mine has a faster processor but less ram than yours, and a SXGA+ display. Started with Edgy over a year ago and now running Gutsy – upgrades, not reinstalls. Works great, all hardware recognized (except maybe the modem – I don’t know, I’ve never used it), and Compiz does just fine on it with no lagging. It’s way more stable than it was when it was a Windows box, and it has the best font rendering of any of my Linux boxes.

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    This was a great little machine even as a Windows box. My company bought many of these back in the day. I was actually kinda upset when they discontinued it. :P

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  3. Muhammad SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I love it when Linux saves an old PC from ending up in the landfill or junkyard!

    I’ve also recently obtained my fiancee’s 5-year old HP PC. Promptly wiped the hdd and installed Ubuntu Gutsy. Now, its acting as my game server with a mysql db. And I don’t even need to connect it to any peripherals. VNC FTW!

    :D

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  4. Starhawk UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Unfortunately XP could not figure out how to work with following devices:

    1. Broadcom NeXtreme BCM7505M Gigabit Ethernet Controller
    2. Intel Pro/Wireless LAN 2100 Mini PCI Adapter
    3. Integrated Intel sound controller
    4. ATI Radeon R250 Mobile Graphics Card
    5. The voiceband win-modem

    And people say Linux doesn’t support alot of hardware. I think people just buy computers with Windows installed but most Linux users have to install it themselves. lol

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  5. Starhawk UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    And hey notice I’m now getting

    Posted using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.11 on Linux Linux

    instead of what I was getting. need to fix it now to say ubuntu. BTW I’m currently using Swiftweasel and am very pleased with it. Noticeably faster than my FF was. :)

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  6. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Well, I would avoid to install Gutsy on this specific hardware, because it will probably not recognize your Intel sound controller. Unless you wish to install the new ALSA drivers which are not included with Gutsy, for some unknown reason…

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Starhawk – very true! Most people start their adventure with linux by installing it on a former Windows box without actually doing any research on hardware compatibility. Then they get pissed off when stuff doesn’t work out of the box for them.

    In the meantime they are perfectly ok to hunt down drivers for all their hardware when they reinstall windows. Go figure.

    @Alphast – how hard is it to install ALSA? Are the new drivers in the repos? If I have to compile them from source then that might be annoying, but anything short of that I do not consider a bit issue. And hell, if it compiles nicely on Gutsy without major dependency issues then it should not be a show stopping issue either. :)

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  8. Starhawk UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I suppose I’m the cautious type.

    Most people start their adventure with linux by installing it on a former Windows box without actually doing any research on hardware compatibility

    I first researched my hardware, tried a few live cds, looked thru linux forums to see the kind of problems people have and how hard they were to solve, read a few online books, and thought about it for a couple of months before I actually did it. And then I loved it :)

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  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Same here. I did tons of research played with live CD’s. I knew the potential limitations an pitfalls of the system long before I dove into it.

    I guess this is why I never had this “OMG, Linux is the sux” reaction when I couldn’t get something working.

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  10. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Last time I checked, two weeks ago, the ALSA drivers were only on the ALSA website and had to be compiled to work with Gutsy. But again, I am in no way a specialist nor a computer professional like you guys (only an amateur who has worked with a lot of different OS in the last 20 years).

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  11. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Well, I tried Gutsy on this hardware and the sound worked just fine. Alsa does seem to be installed. The post about it should be going up around 11 today. :)

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