Thursday, May 05, 2011

further developments

Linux has a reputation for resurrecting older hardware. The problem comes when old drivers are needed. My ancient (not pre-historic) Gateway 4026 laptop was stuck on Ubuntu 9.10. I couldn't upgrade, version 10.04 wouldn't even boot the live-cd, 10.10 ran but the wireless was unstable. With all the trouble I had with Ubuntu 11.04 on my desktop, it took a while to want to try it.

I did the usual backup of files (thank god for jump drives!), slipped in the CD and the net cable to the router.

It does the location, user ID, password, then gives you some hard drive options. I always choose manual manipulation. I select the partition that had the previous OS, erase via reformat, select file standard, check to boot from here (/), click the do it button.

It installed without a hiccup, even warned me I didn't have 3d acceleration hardware and when it came up was in a state that didn't need it. This did not happen on my desktop PC. Anyway the desktop that came up was Ubuntu Classic or regular Gnome. Then I had to open a terminal, type 'sudo apt-get install unity-2d' to install the new Unity desktop with lower resource requirements.

I was scared that the wireless would be a problem. I googled the forum pages, found I could install two apps to end my quest. Since my wireless chips were unsupported anymore there is one app to find a legacy driver and another to install it. I installed both, rebooted the laptop, configured the connection and had stable wireless. It is totally like the Twilight Zone that this beat up old laptop sports the new Ubuntu 11.04. I am checking out the Unity desktop, have wireless and it all runs pretty good.

Time to put the orange cones away, take down the yellow tape and get back to work.

4 comments:

MIke said...

"I googled the forum pages, found I could install two apps to end my quest. Since my wireless chips were unsupported anymore there is one app to find a legacy driver and another to install it. I installed both, rebooted the laptop, configured the connection and had stable wireless." Can you describe this process for a linux noob? I have a lot of experience with windows, just none with linux. I have installed 11.04 as you did, so I am ready to get the wifi working. Appreciate your help!!

Arnold Johnson said...

Unsupported means hardware vendor have dropped it. As new hardware and software are developed the access to the older resources become harder to find. Linux has a history of keeping legacy equipment alive longer but is similar to generic drugs because hardware vendors do not always supply info to open source developers (they are Microsoft oriented.

My Linux disc was a live-cd, usually it boots, runs in memory, discovers your ethernet connection. You can use the internet via the running live-cd session or install Linux to add new software to your new system.

Note the info of your wireless card and driver, names and versions. Then use Synaptic software finder/installer to find all the files related to your wireless card by typing "wireless" or "adapters" in the Synaptic search window, pick the ones you need, install them. Then reboot your machine, the driver finder app should ask you about the wireless driver that fits. Select the one that matches your card.

Configure your wireless connection according to your setup.

Now I will attempt to rewire you the user. Mike, it does not matter about Windows or Linux experience. The hardware is the same and the software is the same within the code that works it. The difference is the code language and the user interface. In the interface, Microsoft and Linux call a thing by different names. I think you can figure this out.

I have moved on to newer stuff because I I don't have the hassle of looking for drivers. I hope I have helped you in your quest.

Arnold Johnson said...

Go to Distrowatch.com and check out Linux Lite. It has the XFCE desktop like Xubuntu but is even lighter yet still has stuff! Should run on legacy laptops just fine.

Arnold Johnson said...

Go to Distrowatch.com and check out Linux Lite. It has the XFCE desktop like Xubuntu but is even lighter yet still has stuff! Should run on legacy laptops just fine.