Tried out Ubuntu’s latest version (8.10 – The Intrepid Ibex) over the weekend on a laptop and a old Dell desktop, both of them works without any problem. The big improvement for my laptop (Toshiba Tecra-S1) that I noticed is the xorg settings in gnome for external monitors. I didn’t need to go and change the xorg.conf manually this time, I only need to set it from the GUI, restart and everything works. It even works on a 22″ HD ready monitor (LG 22LS4D) displaying the correct resoluation (1920×1080) which didn’t work with Ubuntu 7.10 nor 8.04. I would recommend trying this version if xorg hasn’t been working properly for you in previous version.
Another additional feature that I found interesting is that it allow auto login, so you no longer have to type in your username and password on startup. The default timeout for this auto login is 10 seconds, which I can see is quite handy if you are using it solely at home as a desktop but obvious the draw back is that the system is less secure if auto login used. Haven’t found any problem with it yet, another great release, thanks to everyone who worked on this!
For some reason I didn’t keep up to date this time, I only found out about the new Ubuntu 7.10 Gusty release being told by a friend. I think my demand for my home PC is dropping, mainly using it for surfing the internet really! Surprisingly the new release doesn’t work for me!
So no luck for me with Ubuntu this time because firstly the upgrade manager (7.04 to 7.10) wouldn’t work… so I did a fresh install (keeping my /home directory). After that everything seems to work but it wouldn’t display correctly on the external montior (Xerox XA7), I tried almost all the settings I can think of including manually editing the xorg.conf and using the auto-config tools, just wouldn’t go above 800×600! Imagine a 19″ monitor on 800×600 resolution! I can stand a lot of the features not working, but working on a proper resolution is one of the min. requirements.
As much as I like Ubuntu, I have decided that I will try something different, may be something very simple, something very fast and stable, doesn’t have to look good but run very fast on my laptop (Toshiba Tecra-S1), and of course supporting 1280×1024. Decided to try out FreeBSD and may be with gnome 2 since the main upgrade in Ubuntu 7.10 is the support of the new gnome, but I know that it’s very possible that it’s gnome 2 which is not compatible with my monitor and or my ATI graphics card! Will see how that goes, but conclusion is, simple is good…
On a side note, about simplicity, I have come to like a very old text editor (VI) very much. It must be one of the oldest text editor that comes with Linux, it’s great because it’s so simple, don’t even need the mouse to operate it, your hand can stand on the keyboard all the time while performing search, replace, etc… There are Windows version (e.g. VIM) which people have developed. Also I’m using a web browser called Epiphany is great too, very simple and fast, but less feature as compare to FireFox. Something that’s worth trying out.
Since the computer at home (HK) has been 5 years old now and all the DVD players and recorders are out of order, we have decided to get a HTPC. It’s cheaper and more fun to put together one myself and that’s what we did. There is no need for the best components out there, the priority was
- cost -> space -> performance
After looking at what was available in the Mong Kok Computer Center, the following components were picked:
- 2thMax 7GJ3
- Nice case, very small, came with a power supply and cooling was good
- Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2160
- Asus P5L-VM 1394
- Should have got a more experience one which support DDR2 800 but nevermind
- ADATA 2GB DDR2 800 (1GB x 2)
- 啟視錄 E500 (Compro) TV card
- Support everything we need + Remote + schedule power on function
- Logitech EX111
- Cordless keyboard & mouse, valuable and good for normal use
- Grandmars ATI x1550 – 128 DDR2 – PCIE
- Lower end – enough for normal use
- LG 18x DVDRW – SATA
- Hitachi 160GB – 7200rpm HD
All these comes to a total of around $3700 HKD, not much problem while putting it together except that I have cut the metal part of the grahics card to fit it in this low-profile case. Installed Windows XP and the program that comes with the TV card, i.e. ComproDTV, ComproDVD, ComproFM and scheduler. It is a lot faster than my Toshiba Tecra S1 in all aspects!
Out of all the components, I’m most happy with the case, I did look at many cases but most of them are very expensive and aren’t small enough. Could have gone for a barebone from shuttle but it’s generally too expensive. Other HTPC cases are usually a lot more expensive where this one is only $500 including the PSU. You can also choose to have it standing up-right or sideway too.
Looks like I can’t run away from Windows. Just handed in the Final Report for the Final year project yesterday and now thinking about the presentation on the coming Monday. So I need to do some demostration of the program which I developed and it requires
The problem is that Quartus II Web Edition is only free for Windows but not Linux, so after thinking about it for a long time I decided to install Windows again. The process isn’t that straight forward but found some very useful tools. I only had a 40GB hard drives with only 8GB free, so I used that for Windows but after the installation I find out I don’t have enough space to install all the program that I need to install. So I asked Terry to let me his 120GB 7200rpm hard drives, that solved the space problem but I didn’t want to reinstall everything and so I find a software for migrating hard drives called:
It’s a great program I have to say and it comes with 15 days trail! Everything works great and it handles both Linux and Windows partition without any problem. It also allows manually adjusting the size of the new partitions. After the migration, everything works, quite a surprise to me actually as I can still remember last time when I try to clone a hard drive.
It has been quite a while since I have Windows on my laptop (Tecra S1) now, just for fun I tried the Vista Transformation Pack by WindowsX. That also works without any problem, quite a interesting program, but mainly it just brings a nicer interface to XP. But be warn, there are always risks with this kind of program. Anyway, I’m quite happy with the migration especially thanks to Acronis for the excellent tool and Terry for letting me his hard drive. Linux will still be the main OS that I will be using and I don’t think I need a new computer any time soon .
Before really getting into my final year project and revision for exams. I spent some time ugrading my 3+ years old laptop (Toshiba Tecra-S1) from Ubuntu 6.10 to 7.04 and optimising it. At the same time cleaned up my desk to have more space to work.
I have trying many different ways of optimising it with online resources including some websites and forums. Here are the changes or applications that I have installed that I felt have increased the performance dramatically.
- Upgrading to Xorg 7.2 beta (follow link for detials)
- Added all the respositories on this page and perform a update + upgrade
- Installed the windows manager E17, see below for details
Also tried out a windows manager called Enlightenment (E17), the installation was quite simple, updated some repos and did a apt-get install. Then just log out and change the session and everything works already. I have to say it looks very nice with many special effects, however after using it for a while (10 mins) I find that I prefer the normal gnome. The effects are just too much for me, but it’s quite impressive that it’s very fast with all these eye-candle enable. After I decided to go back to the normal gnome, I find that applications switching and menu loading are a lot faster. Not sure excatly why that is, possibly because some softwares and core has been updated.
Anyway I’m quite happy that everything is working fine now on this laptop and it doesn’t feel slow at all! It doesn’t take much time to load any application, if I don’t run any heavy program or applications, don’t think its responses is any slower than a new desktop. It’s amazing how Linux makes this possible, but at the same time I do feel that Linux is getting way too user friendly, a bit like windows!
The Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn beta came out a few days ago, after finding out about it I have decided to try it out. It’s quite risky has it’s still beta version, but want to try it out and help testing it. The first version of Ubuntu that I tried out was 6.04 Dapper, then I upgraded it to 6.10 Edgy and now to Feisty, will post again after the upgrade if it still works .
– Update 30/03/07–
It’s getting quite late now, the upgrade seems to run fine until I restart the computer. It has problem booting into Linux giving me an kernel panic error, seems I’m not the only having the problem! At the moment, using Ubuntu 6.10 live CD to see if I can fix it, backing everything up. In the worse case, will wait until the final version come out and install the new one instead .
– Update 31/03/07 –
Finally got Ubuntu 7.04 beta working, at the end I had to format my comp and do a new installation. As I had to format some of the partitions anyway I thought about installing DesktopBSD and PC-BSD but couldn’t get either of them working. The new 7.04 is good with some new features, still testing it out and a lot of updates and installations to do. In a way it’s that the upgrade didn’t work so I had to clean up my computer! Let’s see how it goes…
– Update 02/04/07 –
Fixed the problem with high cpu (100%) usage and slower response with ubuntu 7.04 compare to 6.10. Installed the xorg 7.2 and the problem seems to be solved, everything is running smoothly and as fast as before . To do this:
Add the following to your sources.list (i.e. sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list)
deb http://users.tkk.fi/~tjaalton/xorg72 feisty xorg-test
Update your apt database
sudo apt-get update
Run the upgrade
sudo apt-get upgrade
If you have EXA enable, you might want to change it to XAA first. Other than that, restart session by Ctrl+Alt+Backspace and everything should be a lot faster!
– Update 03/04/07 –
Ubuntu 7.04 detect k800i without the need of installing extra drivers. Today I just wanted to get some photos from the k800i, since I just got the new ubuntu I thought I would just plug it in and see if it can be detected. Surprisingly, it works, it detected the phone and allow me to transfer files. Thanks to the development team for such a great OS!