Friday, March 28, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Heron: Beta - Review and Wireless fix

Even more promising than the Alpha versions, as expected. Everything is a lot more stable, Firefox 3 is warming up to us and it is overall a good experience.

Although most peoples 1501's will work with no hiccups in the beta, we did experience an issue with our install. When trying to format the disk and install fresh, it would not format. There was a known bug that locked any previous partitions. To wipe the drive and start with the whole thing unallocated, it was necessary to create a new disk label by going to System->Administration->Partition Editor and in Partition Editor selecting Device->Set Disklabel. This is easy but should not be necessary. Hopefully by the official release this will not be needed for anyone and it will work the way it is supposed to.

The Driver Manager still 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

This takes care of the driver, and we can see wireless networks. If you're lucky, you can connect to them too, but many of our readers have been reporting that connecting just keeps going and going with the connecting animation seemingly going on forever with no results at all.

For the majority of users, the most recent updates that include the new version of "network-manager" will fix this issue. For those of you who are still encountering issues after updating completely, congratulations you have found the fix.

This will uninstall the unworking version of network-manager, that screws up and replace it with the old one which works without flaw.

Download the working version - Type in a terminal
sudo wget

Downgrade - Type in a terminal
sudo dpkg -i network-manager_0.6.6-0ubuntu1_i386.deb

If you followed the instructions, you now have wireless working perfectly. Simple, two commands, copy and paste, you don't even need to reboot. Hope this is satisfactory to everyone in need.

All other categories (ATI driver, card reader, modem etc.) have remained the same since Alpha 6.

Please tell me how these things work for you in the comments, a few of the testers have already confirmed it works well but I want to hear from everyone else. Keep up to date, good things to come soon.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


UPDATE: The fix has been released. Thanks to those who tested!
UPDATE: The new update with the ubuntu3 package has been released, not sure how long ago. It fixes all the problems, rendering my fix pretty much useless before I even published it. Sorry, but at least it works.

UPDATE: Testers have been notified with instructions, if you would still like to participate, hit me up. Hopefully we will be getting success stories soon.

There has been complaints that wireless has stopped working recently and not connecting to networks but still being able to see them. This is due to an updated version of network-manager with regressions. If you would like to test a fix to help us make the post, please contact pHreak immediately at pHreaksYcle for AIM or the same at for more info!



Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 New User Guide

Overview and setup for getting Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron installed on the Dell Inspiron 1501

Setting Up Wireless with NDISwarapper

Easy Codec Installation

Encrypted DVD playback & Medibuntu

Stop Compiz-Fusion From Loading Automatically

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

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Heron Alpha 6

its looking good, but i cant get the wifi to work. any help?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Amazon MP3 Downloader Released For Linux

Amazon has just released a Linux version of their popular MP3 Downloader.

Amazon MP3 is a digital music store owned and operated by It sells music without digital rights management (DRM) from the four major music labels (EMI, Universal, Warner Music, and Sony BMG), as well as many independents. All tracks are sold in 256 kilobits-per-second variable bitrate MP3 format without per-customer watermarking or DRM. Most songs are $0.99 and most albums are $9.99 or less.

Linux users have always been able to use the Amazon MP3 store but they have been limited to only being able to download one song at a time and having to pay $0.99 for each song on an album. With the Amazon MP3 Downloader, you get discounts on buying whole albums.

Screenshot-Amazon MP3 Downloader

You can downloaded it HERE

Once installed you can change the preferences by going to File>Preferences.

I've been using this service for a while now, I love it. I can find a lot of independent music on it and it doesn't force any DRM or watermarking on me. If I want to share a song or album I can and don't have to worry about it being traced back to me. Before this I had to load up my Windows Virtual Machine, download an album and then copy it back into Linux so I could play it in Amarok and transfer it to my iPod.
edited by pHreaksYcle