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Linux: Xubuntu 7.10 on a Compaq Presario C500

I was frustrated with Ubuntu 7.10 on my Compaq Presario C500, so I thought I'd give Xubuntu a try. So far, I really like it. It's crazy fast, and I have almost a gig of RAM free :)

Like Ubuntu, the non-standard display resolution worked correctly out of the box. Sound works, although it was crackly during install. In Ubuntu, suspend crashed my machine, but hibernate worked; I haven't tried it under Xubuntu.

Note that since the wireless card doesn't work by default, it's best to be plugged into a wired network during install. The installer makes use of the Internet connection to download various things.

Since this is a laptop, it's best to turn on sub-pixel hinting in Applications >> User Interface Preferences.

I'm not sure if it's needed for the instructions below, but I always like to enable all repositories:
  Applications >> System >> Synaptic Package Manager:
Settings >> Repositories:
Click on all of them except source code.
Unclick cdrom.
On the updates tab:
gutsy-security
gutsy-updates
I found out last time that you really don't want to rely on the bcm43xx driver for this wireless card. ndiswrapper is really the way to go:
  apt-get update
apt-get install ndiswrapper-utils-1.9
apt-get install build-essential
apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
wget http://ftp.us.dell.com/network/R151517.EXE
rmmod bcm43xx
modprobe ndiswrapper
unzip -a R151517.EXE
cd DRIVER
ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
ndiswrapper -l
ndiswrapper -m
echo ndiswrapper >> /etc/modules
echo blacklist bcm43xx >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
Reboot.
Due to the location and sensitivity of the touchpad, I find it necessary to turn off tapping and scrolling:
  apt-get install gsynaptics
Added 'Option "SHMConfig" "true"' to the "Synaptics Touchpad" section of
/etc/X11/xorg.conf and logged back in.
apt-get install gsynaptics
gsynaptics: # As a normal user.
Disabled tapping and scrolling.
Adjusted the sensitivity very slightly or else it gets set to zero on the
next login.
Unfortunately, I have to configure gsynaptics everytime I log in. For some reason, it's not remembering my settings. This is currently my biggest complaint.

Simply plugging in my printer was sufficient to configure it. Nice ;)

By default, plugging in your headphones does not disable the external speakers. However, a friendly reader of my blog posted a workaround:
  echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=laptop' >> /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base
Reboot.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I got this help message when I installed gsynaptics in Gentoo

"You need to add gsynaptics-init to your session to restore your settings the next time you log into GNOME:
Desktop -> Preferences -> Sessions -> Start Programs -> Add"

Maybe it'll be helpful in solving your problem. Cheers.
jjinux said…
> I got this help message when I installed gsynaptics in Gentoo

Very helpful! Thanks!
jjinux said…
Under Xubuntu, I think Applications >> Settings >> Autostarted Applications is what you need to use.
Anonymous said…
Why would you reinstall the whole OS just to try XFCE?

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

Ta-da, you now have a clean install of the three main desktop environments.
jjinux said…
> Why would you reinstall the whole OS just to try XFCE?

Two reasons:

* I only want one desktop.

* There is a difference between switching to XFCE from Ubuntu and using Xubuntu from the beginning. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe one of the libraries will have been compiled with GNOME instead of just GTK. I'm not sure. However, I do know that starting from scratch with Xubuntu is something that is very *repeatable*. I.e. I understand what's on my system entirely.

I'm an anal control freak, and I admin my system with that perspective. It's not a big deal because I have exhaustive notes on how to install my system exactly the way I want it.

Happy Hacking!
jjinux said…
I installed openoffice and all the fonts were way to large. This drove me crazy for a couple weeks. After I installed openoffice.org-gtk, the problem went away :)

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