Thursday, 21 June 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) on a Dell Inspiron 6400

My new laptop
Originally uploaded by REALJimBob.
  • Dell Inspiron 6400
  • Core 2 Duo Processor T7200 (2.0GHz, 667MHz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache)
  • 2048MB Dual Channel 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 256MB
  • 15.4" Widescreen Display WXGA+ (1440x900)
  • Intel Pro Wireless 3945 802.11a/b/g Mini-PCI Card
  • 160GB (5,400rpm) SATA Hard Drive
A 'reasonably' middle of the road Dell Inspiron model. Maxed out the CPU and RAM, the Hard Disk too although the HD choice was a disappointment, I would have preferred something faster/larger. Kept the screen small enough while still being usable.

Information Sources:

The Ubuntu website itself lists test results for the specific model, however it had only tested against the Herd 5 version of Feisty Fawn rather than the final release and the ATI driver installation instructions contained some errors where following the 6.10 (Edgy Eft) instructions fared better than the 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) advice.

Linux on Laptops linked to an article by Cedric Lagneau which also contained some specific advice on getting the ATI graphics subsystems to work correctly.

A combination of these instructions led to a successful installation...

Installing Feisty Fawn from the Live CD:

The Live CD won't start X correctly as the ATI card/screen resolution won't fly. Once the attempt fails it drops you back to a normal command prompt. You'll need an active network connection to perform the driver installation, and the commands are as follows:

$sudo apt-get update
$sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx

Reset the kernel dependencies to ensure the new drivers load correctly:

$sudo depmod -a

Configure Xorg to use the new driver correctly:

$sudo aticonfig --initial
$sudo aticonfig --overlay-type=Xv

And finally, restart the GDM server:

$sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start

X should now start correctly and allow you to start the installation procedure. I followed the obvious defaults for my configuration -- UK keyboards and language, and allowed the installation to completely overwrite my existing partitions (you do have install CDs don't you?). Upon restarting I ended up with the following partitions:
/dev/sda1 * 1 18701 150215751 83 Linux (142GB)
/dev/sda2 18702 19457 6072570 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 18702 19457 6072538+ 82 Linux Swap
X again, fails to start, so repeat the same commands again, but this time reboot instead of restarting GDM:

$sudo apt-get update
$sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx
$sudo depmod -a
$sudo aticonfig --initial
$sudo aticonfig --overlay-type=Xv
$sudo reboot

Once the system comes back up, it's as good a time as any to do a System Update (I'll wait here).

Back again? The wireless connection pretty much configured itself. I had to drop my router back from WPA to 128bit WEP encryption (as Gnome doesn't seem to know about WPA), but the ESSID appears in a drop-down list - select it, type in your passcodes (you may need to create an encrypted keyring as part of this). But it 'just works'...

The SD/MMC card reader was a total breeze. Plugged a card in and straight away Ubuntu asked me if I wanted to import my photographs.

Still to test:

DVD re-Writer
USB outputs -- all work, although some USB block devices don't seem to unmount from the desktop.
Additional graphics functionality (external monitors, TV out)
Audio (beyond basic beep) -- all works

Also, still need to transfer remaining personal files, applications and configuration from my 'work' laptop and Ubuntu desktop to the shiny new girl.

Update 30th July 2007:

Upgraded to Gutsy Gibbon last night, I'd manually compiled development versions of GIMP and UFRaw which caused it some confusion, but after removing all GIMP/UFRaw packages, deleting the compiled versions and reinstalling the packages everything worked a treat.

Desktop eye-candy (compiz) still doesn't work, I assume this is a limitation of the ATI graphics drivers rather than Ubuntu itself as other people have reported it working on other hardware.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

More Flickr Faves

Flickr Faves
Originally uploaded by REALJimBob.
More and more I'm liking my Flickr favourites, some make me laugh, some just impress me. But I think I'm fave'ing more often now and getting a wider selection as well:

Fe em Brasil: 4, Big Al Davies: 3, curlsdiva: 2, Patrick T Power: 2, jody9: 2, nic_sinnot: 2, 1, Linda's Manymuses: 1, alterednate: 1, Thomas Hawk: 1, phoneyman: 1, It'sGreg: 1, digimatized: 1, beebo wallace: 1, wvs: 1, moosehd2: 1, scribeoflight: 1, Linda B (Wine Diva): 1, Sazzle Dazzle: 1, Supercapacity: 1, dopiaza: 1, eshu: 1, emdot: 1, popescool: 1, ♥ shhexycorin ♥: 1, Muffet: 1 and VORFAS: 1

A total of 27 different users for 36 favourites, they say variety is the spice of life... Go check 'em out and maybe find some favourites for yourself.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

My first roll of Holga film

Holga Tree
Holga Tree, originally uploaded by REALJimBob.

Finally I've had my first roll of Holga film developed and managed to get them scanned in for uploading. This was one of the better ones from the set, hopefully I'll get around to the rest later on. But this one hasn't garnered the love I was hoping for... :(

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

He did it...

After the marathon
Originally uploaded by Doc Lem.
3 hours and 22 minutes, not a bad time for a first Marathon. And no, he isn't going to talk me into doing it next year...

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Marathon Day

WP duathlon champs, 19 Nov 06
Originally uploaded by Doc Lem.
Getting ready for my sister's arrival. Her husband (pictured) is running the Whatever-Brand-This-Year London Marathon and as it goes right past the back of my flat she's popping so we can both try and pick him out of the passing throng...

Camera battery is charged (I say battery, I had two, I know I did, I bought a spare for Brasil, can I find it?, no I **** can't!!) so I might actually take some snaps.

(and no, this isn't Stuart actually doing a Marathon, it's a Duathlon, but it's the closest I could find).

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Happy Easter

March of the Easter Bunnies
Originally uploaded by REALJimBob.
Happy Easter to everybody, hope you over indulged in chocolate (and cake for those that don't dig the chocolate) and had plenty, plenty fun...

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Something must be wrong...

Something must be wrong...
Originally uploaded by REALJimBob.
Definitely messed up. Suddenly explore is telling me (and others) that we have a lot more pictures in explore than we were expecting... My sister suddenly has 432 listed. I had 650 this morning and now Scout's reporting that I have 738. Presumably the madness ends when all my photos are listed as being in Explore?

Tuesday, 27 March 2007


Originally uploaded by REALJimBob.
At the weekend, to celebrate the move to British Summer Time (BST) as well as, coincidentally, Utata's 2nd Birthday. The beard came off. I've had the face fungus since 12th December and I've grown (hahah) to love it, but it's time for a change...

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Flickr and the Nokia N73

The integration between Flickr and the Nokia N73 is pretty sweet. You take a picture and it offers to upload it straight to Flickr for you, titles and descriptions can all be set (no tags or sets yet). But I'm finding more and more that since my work laptop has starting restricting USB access to external storage devices I'm uploading pretty much every photo I take as a viewing method rather than a presentation method. The N73 is capable of taking photos that the screen on it just can't do justice to, so I'm uploading them to Flickr just so I can see them on the 'big screen'. Of course that's starting to turn my Flickr stream into a photoblog which was never really the point...

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Flickr Goodness

On the down side I've worked through the night (people are turning up for the next day atm) trying to rebuild a production directory server. On the plus side, it seemed to co-incide with Flickr announcing Collections and a choice of layouts. So I've spent the time waiting for the 3rd attempt to rebuild juggling my sets into Collections and jazzing up my page a little. Also, finally uploaded some Utata Thursday Walk pics from a month ago (it's not a great excuse, but I do have one).