Windows to Linux

January 8, 2007 at 11:10 am 2 comments

Ubuntu 6.1.0

As an experiment, I thought I’d install Linux on my laptop. After looking at the various Linux packages (distros, they’re called) I settled on Ubuntu 6.10. Mostly because it included most of the common applications and it seemed to have a nice graphical interface.

I downloaded the AMD64 .ISO and burned it to a disk from my Windows desktop. I put the CD in the drive on my Gateway MX3414 laptop and followed the install instructions. I chose to have the installer repartition the drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu. The installation finished and I booted into Ubuntu for the first time, not for long though. Ubuntu reported that I had 86 updates – weighing in at  147 MB – to download and install. So I did.

Once the updates finished I began to play around with the installed applications. I copied some MP3s from my Windows desktop to a USB drive and put them on the laptop. I tried using the installed MP3 player (Rhythmbox) but it wouldn’t import the files into it’s library work because I was missing some drivers. I fired up Firefox and tried to find the missing pieces, but the wireless card wasn’t working. So I ran a cable to my router and got online. Using the error message from Rhythmbox I found the missing package (gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly), downloaded it and then tried to install it. It came as a TAR package which I expanded into a folder, but I couldn’t get anywhere from there. Probably some command line magic needed to happen or something.

Figuring there had to be another (graphical) way to do this I found Automatix, a GUI-based installer for common Linux applications. I downloaded the file and installed it using it’s own installer (how nice.) I located the drivers I needed under Multimedia Codecs and installed them. Now Rhythmbox imported all my MP3s just fine. I could even use the player to play the MP3s, except no sound came out of the speakers. I checked System > Administration > Device Manager and the sound card seems to be listed. I went to System > Preferences > Sound and verified that the system had detected the correct sound card (hda nvidia), but none of the test buttons produced any sound.

I also tried to troubleshoot the wireless card, but ran into the same problem. It’s detected but not working. I’m tired of tracking down all these drivers, it reminds me of installing Windows98. Windows has really come a long way.

So now my laptop sits mute and unconnected until I get the energy to figure out what’s missing, where I can get it, and how to install it.

Maybe I’ll just put Windows MCE back on until I can get a copy of Vista Ultimate 64bit.


Entry filed under: Software, Tech Adventures.

Visual Task Tips Mud and batteries

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erik  |  January 8, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Yep. Getting hardware to work can be a huge PITA when it doesn’t work automagically. Usually it’s just a matter of loading the correct kernel module. The good news is, most sound cards are supported. The bad news is, most wireless cards aren’t. But the good news is that there’s a module called ndiswrapper that will let you use the Windows driver. But the bad news is a Win-32 driver can’t be used in 64-bit mode.

  • 2. Greg  |  January 9, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Thanks Eric. I wondered if I was shooting myself in the foot by trying to go Linux AND 64 bit.

    Time (and Google) will tell.


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