Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) on Dell Inspiron 600m

Last week I said that I will try Gutsy on Dell Inspiron 600m that is sitting here in the office. When I booted it with Kubuntu Dapper I was really impressed that almost everything worked out of the box. I was wondering if running Gutsy will be an improvement or a downgrade with respect to hardware support. Naturally I was hoping for the former. ;)

I finally got few minutes to download and burn a Gutsy CD. Yes, I do not have any Gutsy CD’s! Me, the local Ubuntu guy doesn’t have the latest and greatest release on him at all times. The horror!

I will tell you a secret – I’m what they call a late adopter. You have your early adopters who can’t wait to get their hands on the new software, and they get perverse pleasure out of running beta or even alpha releases. I’m not one of them. While I enjoy solving linux related problems and learning how the guts of my OS work, I do not usually actively go looking for trouble. Why? Well, I have a life, a full time job, a part time teaching gig, bunch of games to play and a blog to write (ok, so the first item on this list is a lie, but I think you get my drift). Yes, from time to time I enjoy messing around with a new OS to see ways in which I can break it, but usually when I get a spare machine I tend to install ubuntu on it for a reason – it gets assigned a specific task, such as being my nethack server, or a network backup location or something else.

So this is officially the first time I’m actually using Gutsy. Again, Dapper and me are tight – we are like the best buddies. I do not have this relationship with Fiesty – we had our differences but we do respect each other. Gutsy is new to me.

I plopped it into the drive, booted up and noted that everything was working. In the previous thread Alphast mentioned that I may have issues with support for the internal sound card but I didn’t. KDE loaded with the bootup chime, and when I launched Amarok I was able to listen to the Welcome message without any problems. Lshw identified my audio device as:

82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC’97 Audio Controller

Alphast – is that what you had on your system? I also ran aptitude search for alsa packages and it told me that both alsa-base 1.0.14-1ubuntu2 and alsa-utils 1.0.14-1ubuntu4 are all installed. Perhaps they were added in since you checked it last time. Who knows… Either way, it all works fine and out of the box. I didn’t have to do anything to enable it.

I was especially happy that the jump from Dapper to Gutsy did not mess up the excellent out-of-the-box support for the Intel Pro/Wireless LAN 2100 Mini PCI Adapter I had in that system. Once again I had to manually bind my Wifi card to the access point by passing ssid and the WEP key as arguments to iwconfig, but once I did that I was connected. Very nice! I was about ready to snag it for myself, but the boss gave me a go-ahead to order a brand new one instead. So naturally I opted for the dual core Latitude clocking at twice the speed of 600m and allowing me to stick up to 4 GB of RAM in it. Downside is that I have to wait few days before I can start messing with it, and I do not know if everything will work out of the box this nicely. However I ordered it with the same Wifi card that Dell puts in their Ubuntu model (Inspiron 1420N) so it should work…. At least in theory. We’ll see how it goes. You will probably see a review for it here in couple of days.

Getting back on topic, everything worked out of the box. Including the damn winmodem. All I had to do to enable it was to go to K-menu, choose System Settings, then go to Advanced tab and click on restricted drivers tab. It was listed right there as a “software modem driver”. I simply had to enable it.

Apparently it fetched the driver, and configured it. Now I see the comforting green check-mark instead of a red x next to it. Did I test it? No, I didn’t. How am I gonna test it? Where am I supposed to dial up?

I didn’t install gutsy on the HD so it’s possible there are few little glitches here and there that I didn’t notice just using the live CD. But as far as I’m concerned the 600m and Gutsy are a perfect fit. If you have one of these, and considered trying Ubuntu definitely give 7.10 a whirl. You will be impressed how well it works with the hardware. I know I was.

[tags]ubuntu, kubuntu, gutsy, ubuntu 7.10, kubuntu 7.10, inspiron 600m, dell, dell inspiron 600m[/tags]

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7 Responses to Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) on Dell Inspiron 600m

  1. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Hi Luke,

    I am glad to see that you had no trouble at all. To be honest, on two other configurations (at home) I have no problem with the sound under Gutsy. But they are not Intel chipsets.

    But at work, with this chipset:
    82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC’97 Audio Controller

    it simply doesn’t work properly. As far as i understood by reading the various forums on this topic, I have to wait for ALSA 0.15 to be integrated into Ubuntu next distribution. But ALSA 1.0.14-1 (which I obviously have) won’t work. My system does tell me that I have this chipset and that ALSA is being used as driver. I actually get sound from Rythmbox (for instance) or from the test of the Sound panel of Gnome. But if I try to get sound from a streaming site (YouTube, etc.) it is just silent. If I try to register sound (for an office use with Skype, for instance, or by testing the microphone in the Sound panel) I get the dreaded message:

    gconfaudiosrc ! audioconvert ! audioresample ! gconfaudiosink profile=chat: Resource busy or not available.

    I will wait patiently for ALSA 1.0.15 to be integrated into Ubuntu (Hardy, I guess), but I am not a happy Gutsy customer, as you can imagine. And this despite the fact that I love this distribution for pretty much everything else.

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  2. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    By the way, in the message above, I meant record, not register. Me and my English… :-(

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

    Interesting… I just tried Youtube and for shits and giggles installed the Gnash plugin instead of Adobe flash. Then I was prompted to load few assorted Codecs and plugins and sound worked just fine. Animation was bit choppy but I guess that’s Gnash for you.

    Sound recording also works. I installed Krecord and recorded a short clip of me tapping on the laptop case and was able to play it back immediately.

    I do have the AC’97 Audio Controller in this machine but for some reason I’m not experiencing any trouble you are mentioning. Weird!

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  4. Jake UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I’ve had equally spectacular results with my Dell Inspiron 1501. The one thing is that I get slightly better reception for when I’m on the go with the ndiswrapper drivers… better than under Windows XP itself. That one, I’ve yet to figure out. The native drivers work just as well as the Windows drivers under Windows though.

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  5. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I guess I am just cursed, then… :-( But also, I don’t use KDE at all, only Gnome (so no Krecord).

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

    @Jake – ndiswrapper has improved greatly in the last year or so. When I first installed it, WEP was not supported for my card. Now it works without any major issues.

    @Alphast – It could be that Kubuntu ships with a slightly different set of libs which somehow perhaps play nicer with ALSA. It’s probably not the case but that is the only thing I could think off.

    Btw, did you upgrade to Gutsy or did you do a clean install? If you upgraded then it’s possible that some odd dependency glitch based on your former configuration is holding you back.

    I remember dealing with stuff like that when I upgraded my box from Hoary to Dapper. When I booted Dapper off the live CD everything would work. When I booted the upgraded dapper some things were broken. It was nothing that couldn’t be fixed but shit like that happens sometimes.

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  7. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Hi Luke,

    I have read somewhere on Ubuntu support forums that Kubuntu had indeed a lot less problems with sound than Gutsy + Gnome. And yes, unfortunately, my work PC has been updated many times (before going to Gutsy). But we did a nice clean up (reinstalling all kinds of dependencies) some weeks ago to make sure that this was not the issue.

    By the way, some of our Linux specialists here (we have a nice and friendly development team) did put some efforts into it too, but they couldn’t do much for me. I don’t blame them though, it is not their job to offer Linux support to a guy like me (a non-IT professional, I mean).

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