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StudioDave Does A Hardware Review And Meets Ubuntu 8.10

Dec 02, 2008, 15:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Phillips)

"A new machine deserves a new operating system, so decided to sample a few distributions before settling on one. I first tried plain vanilla installations for 64-bit Ubuntu 8.10 and Arch Linux. Both failed, but I succeeded with OpenSUSE 11.0. Alas, the nVidia binary driver wouldn't load, so I followed another lead (thank goodness for Google) and installed the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 8.10, aka Intrepid Ibex.

"I must emphasize that my failures with the other distributions were likely my own fault. When I installed OpenSUSE I learned that a bad driver (the Atheros wifi driver) could freeze an installation. I fixed the problem by adding brokenmodules=ath5k to the installation options, and soon afterwards I had a working OpenSUSE system. I applied the same option to the Ubuntu installation, along with brokenmodules=ath_pci. I'm not sure I needed either option, but the installation proceeded smoothly to completion.

"After the installer completed the basic user-level configuration I replaced the GNOME desktop with Fluxbox and added the realtime kernel to my start-up selections. I also added nVidia's closed-source driver, an uncomplicated task thanks to Ubuntu's Hardware Drivers manager. However, I needed to add myself to the video group before I had full GL/GLX support as a normal user. With that issue resolved I was ready to wrestle with the machine's audio hardware."

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