Saturday, 22 January 2011

Playtime - Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Banging on about experimenting with my new laptop is all very well, but installing the desktop version of Ubuntu Karmic is not that adventurous, is it? So, for no better reason than I had a couple of hours to kill, I decided to see how Ubuntu's Netbook Remix would look on the DELL Inspiron 1501.

It's been an interesting couple of hours! Firstly, my initial install disk was corrupted (almost certainly my fault, the burn speed was probably too high) and I couldn't run the live CD. However, burning a second disk did the trick and I confess that I liked the look & feel of the GUI so much that I decided to install it immediately.

I was anticipating a problem with my WIFI card, so I had a wired connection on the first boot. A simple update via the terminal made sure that the driver for the wireless card was available:

sudo apt-get update

Then all I had to do to get the NIC working was to activate the b43-fwcutter driver and reboot - easy when you know how!

However, I was not expecting problems with my graphics! I'd purposely avoided the latest version of the netbook OS thinking that I should be safe with the tried and tested, Karmic. However, turning on the enhanced graphics features turned out to be a disaster: all my active windows disappeared and I was forced to revert to the "none" option in Visual Effects (Appearance), which is easier said than done when you can't see the dialog box!

Actually, I'm not sure that I ever turned on the Extra graphics option when I installed the desktop version and, to be honest, I'm not sure that I miss them that much on the laptop. I certainly have no intention of upgrading the graphics on the 1501, so I'll just leave the eye candy turned off for the time being.

The good news is that all the network shares are all available, but I have yet to turn on the firewall, so I anticipate some modifications to the /etc/default/ufw configuration file, but that is straightforward enough.

It'll take a while for me to decide whether I like UNR or not, so I anticipate a few more posts on the subject. But, for now, it's 03:00 (am) and time for bed!


  1. I've been quite partial to the NR mixes. It of course didn't hurt that NR has typically run quite splendidly on my Samsung NC10. The only problem I encountered was if something like System had too many icons in it, the resulting popup window with the specific programs wouldn't properly expand or allow scrolling to see all the applications. This may have been addressed recently, but was quite a nuisance!

  2. I experienced the same problem, breley and, as much as I liked the eye-candy, it had to go!