Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Heron Alpha 6 Review

In a couple words, really promising. Everything is working well.

Heron installs with no problems. The GRUB resolution bug that plagued Gutsy is gone. Easy as following a simple graphical user interface.

The Driver Manager has a bug when installing the driver. The Broadcom B43 firmware cutter will not work when used through the Driver Manager. In order to install B43-fwcutter you need to use the terminal.
In a terminal Type:
sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter

Once you do this the WiFi light will light up then turn off. Wireless will work even with the light turned off. After a reboot the light does turn on.

I couldn't get ndiswrapper working. If you did, please let me know how you did it.

ATI Proprietary Driver
The Restricted Driver Manager can install the the driver for ATI graphics card in the Dell 1501. ATI's 2.1.7281 fglrx driver is automatically installed, configured and 3D enabled. The best part is that the driver supports AIGLX, no more XGL.

Compiz-Fusion is enabled once you install the ATI Propiety Driver.
To get the most out of Compiz try installing the advanced configuration tool.
In a terminal:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Media Codecs
Ubuntu will install the appropriate codec when you try to play a file. mp3, DVD, avi, aac, mpeg, wmv, asf, mov, flv, mp4, flash codecs are installed when you try to play them. If you like to add all the major codecs and make playback easy, check out my codec cheatsheet. The only thing codec Ubuntu will not enable is reading encrypted DVDs (You'll need to install it yourself).

Works out of the box. In order to do any of these guides you're going to need to plug in your Dell Inspiron 1501. Don't be cheap, go out and buy an Ethernet cable.

Brightness & Volume
Works with BIOS 1.70, use this guide for rolling back you BIOS.

Logout, Suspend & Hibernate
Logout is working, suspend and hiberate are not working with BIOS 1.70.

A kernel update broke sound, thats been fixed and sound on the 1501 works.

Will work once Dell releases the new driver, usually it takes a month after release.

Card Reader
Works out of the box.

The 2.1.7281 fglrx ATI driver plays video while Compiz-Fusion running. This has been a problem with some ATI driver installs.

What I don't like
Firefox 3. Not that Firefox 3 is a blotted piece of bad software. It's that Firefox 3 is not compatible with 90% of my old plugins and 100% of my old themes. While this won't be an issue 3 or 4 months from now because plugin authors will update their plugins as Firefox 3 becomes used more, it is an issue now.

If there is anything else you want to know, please ask.
edited by pHreaksYcle


Marcelo said...

"The only thing codec Ubuntu will not enable is reading encrypted DVDs." - Even with Mediubuntu won't work??

Marcelo said...

I never downgraded my BIOS, and with LiveCD brightness control with keyboard, works out of the box.

Did you try suspend and hibernate with Envy driver as explained in another post's comments?

redDEAD said...

In order to make encrypted DVD play you have to add the medibuntu repo or install the deb.

I am using Ubuntu's repository fglx driver.

Ger said...

I'm tempted to switch to heron once we get full release. But later this year Debian 5 will be released. I am likely at this point to switch from Ubuntu to Debian. Debian runs well on the 1501. Have you any thoughts on this reddead??xcsa

Drew said...

If Hardy does not fix the ATI/Suspend (which I assume it won't) when it is released, I am not upgrading.

Daniel Alberson said...

my sound is still broken after the kernel upgrade. how does one go about fixing this?

rollerskatejamms said...

So have you noticed any gamekilling bugs so far? And what's actually new about 8.04 that you can tell?


francesc said...

could you please post a link to the page where it explains how to use suspend/hibernate with Envy?

Tolik aka AcidumIrae said...

> Logout is working, suspend and hiberate are not working with BIOS 1.70.

It is not BIOS fault :)

It was working in Edgy and now it works in Gutsy with the latest ATI Catalyst 8.03 driver. I'm using BIOS 1.70, 2.6.22-14-generic kernel, ndiswarapper 1.51, AMD ATI Catalyst 8.03 and userland wrapper suspend.sf.net - both s2ram and s2disk are working.

blueboy said...

everythings fine for me but..
my graphics are very slow and sometimes choppy. what should i do!?

Drew said...

I hope when this is released as a final version, everything will work out of the box like suspend, brightness, ati, etc.


r4wMUnt34q said...

Is there a way to get things (sus, hib, brightness buttons) working without rolling back your BIOS ?
I remember someone got the brightness buttons working by compiling the kernel himself without downgrading BIOS, but maybe its hard for noobs like me

Marcelo said...

For getting Suspend and Hibernate to work:

cadoo said...

reddead you can use the nightly tester tools to get your firefox extensions to work. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6543

Marcelo said...

I installed Heron for 64-bit. Compiz is working much smoother and faster. I recommend this.
Envyng driver for Heron will make you graphical interface unusable. I couldn't find out why. Luckily it makes a xorg.conf backup at /etc/X11

Cannot get my Wifi led to turn on... I don't know if WiFi is working

blueboy said...

my wireless worked fine then all of sudden it stoped!!!

when i try to install it from terminal i get:
"serbian@serbian-laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter
[sudo] password for serbian:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
libfaad2-0 libneon26 libxine1-x obex-data-server libsdl-gfx1.2-4 libxcb-xv0
libmp4v2-0 libpt-1.10.10-plugins-alsa libpt-1.10.10 libsdl-net1.2 libsvg1
libpcrecpp0 libxml++2.6c2a libxcb-shape0 libgsl0 libopal-2.2 libxvmc1
libdb4.5 libraptor1 libxcb-shm0 libopenobex1 libxine1-console librsvg2.0-cil
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 4 not upgraded.
Need to get 0B/15.8kB of archives.
After this operation, 102kB of additional disk space will be used.
WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated!
Install these packages without verification [y/N]? y
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package b43-fwcutter.
(Reading database ... 153973 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking b43-fwcutter (from .../b43-fwcutter_1%3a011-1_i386.deb) ...
Setting up b43-fwcutter (1:011-1) ...
Error parsing proxy URL http://:8080/: Invalid host name.
dpkg: error processing b43-fwcutter (--configure):
subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
serbian@serbian-laptop:~$ "

Donald J Organ IV said...

Have you downloaded the Beta release yet? :)

Mitchell said...

I'm trying out the Beta, wireless did not work out of the box, downloaded all updates, then it picked up "new hardware", and installed b43-fwcutter. It looked like it was gonna work, i could see the networks, i selected mine but it hung on connecting and wouldn't connect. I restarted, and since then have not been able to pickup any wireless networks :(

Levi said...

I use arch linux on a 1501, but I was just wondering if anyone else is happy that the catalyst drivers support AIGLX now? compositing is a lot more crisp.

TenaicousLee said...

I've just upgraded from a 7.10 to the hardy beta, and i've had some issues from the login screen. For any non failsafe login session, the session doesn't usually last more than 10 sec and then get an error message saying:
"unable to start gnome-settings-daemon". Any ideas?

Levi said...

To mitchell and anyone else. If your wireless card is rev 02...b43 will not work without kernel 2.6.24 being patched. I don't know if this has been done in hardy. lspci, and see what revision you have.

Levi said...

Reddead sorry for the multiple post, but I promise this one is helpful. I just noticed you said you couldn't get ndiswrapper working...this is a common problem with 2.6.24. The problem is that b44(the ethernet driver) loads ssb which conflicts with ndiswrapper. So, to make it work b43 needs to be blacklisted, and ndiswrapper needs to be loaded in kernel modules on startup before b44.

Ndiswrapper seems to get you better internet speeds overall, but b43 provides better functionality with networkmanager, wicd, etc. And it supports promiscuous mode with out path. =) Besides, we should go open source when we can anyway.

HSE 2006 Mexico Practicum said...

Hey Reddead, you're the man, thanks so much for writing up all these amazing tutorials I use this site every time I want to set something up for my laptop, it's really the best out there. Between your blog and the ubuntu forums I have had no trouble getting things working in ubuntu.

Anyway, I'm writing this to let you know that I got ndiswrapper to work by following http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=734003&highlight=ndiswrapper+hardy

I used that guide in conjunction with yours to get my wireless working within about 15 minutes.

Thanks again for the sweet guides!

lsutiger said...

I just do not understand....why don't the developers recreate the perfect method for the wireless driver in the next release?

The Gutsy method kicks ass! Anyone here dare to disagree?

In my mind it would be almost perfect if Ubuntu recognized the chipset then did the appropriate action...just do not understanding breaking something in a new release!

Levi said...

lsutiger it is not necessarily that easy. The new Kernel 2.6.24 doesn't use bcm43xx anymore...it now changed to b43(new). The ubuntu developers probably didn't foresee the problems that would come with different revisions of the card, and conflicts between ndiswrapper and ssb. That is a kernel issue; not an issue with ubuntu itself. If you are lucky, they might implement the workarounds...like say the kernel patch for rev 02 of the card. And even if that is not the case ndiswrapper isn't that bad, and I actually find it to still be in some aspects more stable still than the kernel driver. The kernel driver has come a long way, and it is getting better(way better, especially since it now supports promisc. mode without a patch), but it still needs some work. This is out of the ubuntu developer's control.

Now what confuses me is why brightness keys will not work with hardy unless you downgrade the bios. It is using 2.6.24, and it seems to work fine with the newest bios update for the 1501 using Arch linux(with no workarounds etc). That could definitely be an ubuntu issue.

pHreaksYcle said...

lsutiger, while I agree, I still want to burn down some broadcom buildings because of terrible linux support.

Levi said...


you and me both...sometimes it seems like they aren't even trying to make it better...