I installed Ubuntu Hardy Heron onto my work laptop today, the HP Compaq 8510w. This post describes the experience, and covers:
- the install; - what hardware worked and what didn’t; - bonus: how I got my [rails](http://www.rubyonrails.org/) development environment up and running (ruby/rails/netbeans).
This went very smoothly, aside from one initial hiccup. Here’s a tip to avoid it:
- Install from the “Install Ubuntu” option rather than booting into the LiveCD using the “Try” option; when I used the “Try” option, the partitioner refused to work. Booting directly to the install resulted in a working partitioner.
What works and what doesn’t on first boot? Live-blogging at its finest! Or it would be, were I to get off my sorry behind and publish after each test rather than at the end of the process.
<li>Suspend and hibernate. <ul> - Suspend: computer sleeps, but doesn’t wake up. Required a hard reboot via holding the power button down. - Hibernate: computer seems to hibernate— at least switches off —but doesn’t appear to be able to boot up from hibernated state. Like Windows, the computer does a normal boot after a failed attempt at recovery from a hibernated state. (Phew!) - On the plus side, the power save auto-sleep options are off by default, meaning this problem won’t sting on a default install.
- Wireless networking works out the box. Though the system spots the network is WEP protected, I need to select whether I have a passphrase or WEP key. Leopard seems to work this out for itself. - Bluetooth can successfully bond with and copy a photo from my phone, using a passkey. Phone appears as a mounted device, this is nicer than OS X’s weird bluetooth file browser. <li>Video: <ul> - Correct screen resolution selected. - Colour depth seems wrong, but I can’t be sure: wallpaper has banding in the background gradient. - Nvidia driver for the laptops Nvidia Quadro seems to be installed on first selecting the Restricted Drivers manager, but then seems to need to be reinstalled on enabling Compiz, rather than Metacity, compositing. Weird interaction bug here, I feel. This re-install and activation of the driver seems to have fixed my colour depth issue. - The Metacity compositing manager seems to work. - Battery applet seems to be working. - Suspend, hibernate broken, see above. - Sound buttons work as expected, including the sliding volume control. - Wireless button works, and affects both the bluetooth and wifi. Things all come back on correctly. - (i) button launches Help, a nice touch. - Can’t test the projection-mode button, I don’t have a projector to hand.
I needed to install a couple of extra applications.
- [Gnome-do](http://do.davebsd.com/) is in the repositories. This was actually the first application I installed. - Gvim isn’t installed by default; this surprises me.
Overall the laptop seems compatible with Hardy, modulo the sleep/hibernate issues.
Sleep and hibernate still seem to be the perennial Achilles Heal of the operating system. This is especially frustrating for laptop users, and, I feel, an issue that all involved— the Linux community and hardware manufacturers —should have sorted out a long time ago.
Getting rails running was a bit of a chore, so deserves its own section. Having a full-stack ruby environment set up from the get-go on OS X Leopard is a fantastic choice by Apple, and Ubuntu adopting this would be a great move.
Before starting installed supporting applications; this was simple:
- Followed [Mark Pilgrim’s guide to installing MySQL](http://diveintomark.org/archives/2007/11/11/installing-mysql-on-ubuntu). - Netbeans 6.0.1 is in the repositories; installing this installs Every Java Package Ever. The Ubuntu version doesn’t pick up your GTK theme, nor can it launch firefox; it also doesn’t allow you to select to only have ruby or java tools—it’s all or nothing.
Getting rails itself up and running is a little more involved:
- `$ sudo apt-get install ruby irb rubygems` - `$ sudo apt-get install ruby1.8 ruby1.8-dev ri1.8 rdoc1.8 irb1.8 ruby1.8-elisp ruby1.8-examples libdbm-ruby1.8 libgdbm-ruby1.8 libtcltk-ruby1.8 libopenssl-ruby1.8 libreadline-ruby1.8` - `$ sudo gem update --system` (I needed to run this twice, the first time it errored out.)
After this line, I started getting the following error:
This was fixed by following the instructions on this blog post.
- `$ sudo gem install rails`
After this, I could use
script/server to launch a webrick instance over a new project.