2007-04-15

Ubuntu Linux 7.04 on Dell D820 laptop

On Friday I got quite a boring looking but nice Dell Latitude D820 laptop (Intel Core Duo processor and 2GB of RAM) with WinXP pre-installed. The most important task was getting a working Linux installation on the machine and a first attempt, with Ubuntu 6.10 ("Edgy Eft") from DVD, nicely repartitioned the hard drive and installed in under 20 minutes but somehow failed to do much with the built-in wireless device. It occurred to me to try the pre-release version of Ubuntu 7.04 ("Feisty Fawn"). I was a bit surprised not to see Gnome Partition Editor in the menu of the live disk - it seems that Feisty prefers to suggest some repartitioning during the installation wizard. So, I deleted the previous Linux partitions using fdisk first and proceeded with the installation which went very well. After that, using the wired ethernet connection, I followed the advice of the appropriate Ubuntu forum and issued the commands
sudo apt-get install bcm43xx-fwcutter
sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome

at which point (perhaps after a modprobe but rebooting should also do) my WiFi just started working. There are two important things to note: (1) Ubuntu apparently likes it better when you boot with the hardware switch (on the left-hand side of the lapgtop) for WiFi in the on position; (2) running the DHCP client on two devices is apparently not what Feisty wants, so deactivate the wired connection when you want to use the wireless one. At this point I started updating the system and here hit a serious but short-lived hitch: after upgrading the kernel to 2.6.20-14 my system would no longer boot into Feisty. Of course, I just booted to the old kernel and in fact the problem was solved the next day by the release and installation of kernel version 2.6.20-15 which I am using to write this post. With Automatix2 I installed some naughty things like GoogleEarth and xDVDshrink effortlessly and right away!

3 opmerkings:

Anoniem het gesê...

Wireless didn't work after a restart, but after a "sudo modprobe bcm44xx the wifi light kicked on and I am online! :) Thanks for the info.

jw het gesê...

I was able to see the networks, but not able to join them. Any thoughts on that?

Petrus Potgieter het gesê...

jw, I suggest you go to System... Administration... Network and view the properties of the wireless connection. Deselect "Enable roaming mode" and select a network using the dropdown list next to "Network name". On my installation Ubuntu shows the available networks together with signal strength in that list.