Sorry Debian…

… but I’ve installed Ubuntu on my laptop. I first installed Debian Woody on my laptop about 2 years ago then upgraded to Sid before switching to Testing for better stability. I spent ages battling the wireless drivers on my laptop (first Ndiswrapper, because ipw2100 didn’t support WEP at the time, then ipw2100 as its features improved) along with several other bits that took a lot of effort to get working. Anyway, I was pretty happy with the eventual setup after about a year of fiddling. However, I had to recompile various modules on a regular basis to get WPA support in the wireless drivers. And I never really got hotplug / hal / udev / whatever working to automount devices as they were plugged in.

So when I upgraded the hard drive in my laptop (80GB at 5400rpm – woo hoo!) I decided to try Ubuntu. I’ve used it at work for over a year and it does what I need. So one Breezy install later (delayed due to a dodgy CD), an evening installing about a dozen extra applications and copying my data over, I’ve got a working system. Even wpa_supplicant was suprisingly easy to get working, having already had a good configuration on my Debian install. I’m sure I’ll remember the odd utility or two over the next few weeks that I haven’t yet installed, but they’ll just be an apt-get away. The bonus is that I now have a 40GB drive to use with a recently purchased USB caddy. (I’m not entirely sure about the caddy though, it seems to stop responding when copying very large files.)

This might sound smug, but I’m really pleased with the way that Ubuntu has installed on here. It’s kind of frustrating that you sometimes have to wait a year or two for hardware to be well supported under Linux, but I know that’s often not the fault of the FLOSS community, rather the hardware manufacturers. Two things remain though: 1) I’m not sure if the GNOME battery monitor is showing the sum of the life remaining in the two batteries or just showing me the remaining charge in one. 2) I’ve got focus-follows-mouse working, but can’t work out how to not have a window raise to the front when clicking in it…

Update: A little practical experiment has shown that the battery monitor is monitoring both batteries, not just the one.

Update 2: Resiak tells me that Metacity doesn’t support not raising a window when clicking on it. I’d have to use a different Window Manager.

Update 3:Ghworg has e-mailed to say “you can get the behaviour you want from metacity as that’s how I run it. You need to run gconf-editor and go to “/apps/metacity/general” and unselect “raise_on_click”. ” Thanks Ghworg, works a treat!

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