Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Jaunty and Wireless

So, after a fairly long time, this ancient, ailing, and still slowly dieing laptop has finally been upgraded from Ubuntu Intrepid to Ubuntu Jaunty.
My huge list of 3rd party sources gave a few worries, but since the upgrade helpfully disables them and replaces all instances of 'intrepid' to 'jaunty' so it's looking for the right version's packages, there was only one major issue.
My aMSN messenger package ended up with broken dependancies, and a little investigatory work on their forums revealed that they're linking to a package for Karmic, not Jaunty. I have no problem with this - not any more, at least - but it'd be nice of they checked these things.
So instead, I downloaded and compiled the source tarball, and new have a spanking new version that's even further ahead than the old one, and works better.

That aside, my long overdue impressions of Jaunty are this: It's better. The sound works better, but for a few sounds that still play the default instead of my custom ones, performance is greatly increased - something my desktop conky system monitor reminds me of - the boot time is impressive, since it used to take about a minute to get to the gdm login, let alone have a useable desktop.

I still have a few issues though. Firstly, something odd's happened to my NetworkManager. I don't like WicD,  some people might like it, but I don't. There's such a thing as too much choice. Anyway, NM has decided not to enable on login, I have to open a terminal, start it manually, and leave the terminal open. This has actually carried over from Intrepid, not only before I upgraded, but before I added the PPA on Launchpad with more recent builds of NM. I partially solved it with the Guake Terminal, which takes it's name from Quake's drop down command line interface. It's a godsend for a terminal in a pinch. I used to just open a new terminal in that, and leave it alone.
I've gone one better - sort of - and solved it further by adding a line in the startup applications which starts it. Unfortunatly it requires root or sudo, so I prefixed it with gksu, and all I do is enter my password again after the normal login. It's a minor inconvenience for having my wireless work normally.

The second issue is a long-known one - wireless.
Now, I've been tracking the bug thread for it on Launchpad, and it claims to be fixed in Karmic, by using a new NetworkManager. The same one, incidentally, I happen to be using right now on Jaunty. Guess what? It still can't connect to any secure network. Karmic may have fixed it, but NetworkManager didn't.

The final issue isn't exactly Ubuntu at all, it's the laptop. When I first decided to put Ubuntu on it, everyone told me it was impossible, I'd be left with an expensive paperweight, and I was an idiot. Even Jay, who knows almost as much as I do, said it wouldn't work.
It was difficult, but not impossible. The first issue is that this laptop has no CD drive, I had to use a USB one. Even then, the laptop wouldn't boot from it. Windows XP, which was on here when I got it, could read it normally, of course. I had to make the Windows autoplay that comes up from a LiveCD create a boot option.
When I finally got it to go to the LiveCD boot, I had to tell it to install using ACPI workarounds - whatever that means - because it couldn't boot the LiveCD Ubuntu, and the normal install gave a kernel panic and stopped. I have absolutely no idea why that happened to this day.

At any rate, I finally installed Xubuntu 8.04 on it, and the issue I had right from then, was graphics. Not bad ones. The lack of memery periodically caused odd errors, text artifacts appearing over pictures and toolbars, text going blocky and unreadable.
I moved from Xubuntu to normal Ubuntu - XFce to GNOME, if you prefer - and it fixed most of that, with a slight downturn in performance, but I expected that. I toyed with KDE, but since my experiment with it on here led to waiting ten minutes before it was useable ruled it out.
The upgrade from Hardy, 8.04, to Intrepid, 8.10 didn't seem to change much on that.
However, on going to Jaunty, the text problems returned, worse. I fixed *most* of that by using Ubuntu Tweak's 3rd party repository for Ubuntu X - the experimental upgrades for the drivers and such. After applying that, it worked, and still does work, mostly normally again.

Okay, so you didn't really need to know all that. But it helps. I still have periodic issues with odd text artifacts, and text on image's but it's far reduced, even from Intrepid and Hardy. If anyone knows how to fix it entirely - without buying upgrades - do let me know.

And on a completely unrelated note, post a comment if you actually read this - I'm interested to see if anyone ever does.

No comments:

Post a Comment