Monday, October 22, 2007

Adventures in Ubuntu - Part 1

Over the weekend i blew my home pc away meaning to install XP and Ubuntu side by side. However, i'm only using Ubuntu at the mo, due to the fact that some how when I tried to re-install XP somehow the my USB hard disk got stuffed, so i'm not happy.

I'm not entirely sure what happened, it looks like the partition on the disk has been deleted as I can see the disk in Windows disk management but it wont mount the disk and giving it a drive letter. I blew away the Windows install and put Ubuntu on to see if that could see it any better but nothing. So i'm now looking for something that will hopefully be able to re-build the partition.


Anyway on to the Ubuntu install. The first problem I has was using the default install it kept hanging on what looked like loading the drivers for my graphics card. I started it in the cut down installer and it seamed far happier and completed the install without any other problems.

As it rebooted my display seemed up to scratch, and I heard the startup sound so that meant at least my sound card and vid card were both in working order. Problem was when I logged in my wireless network card wasn't being listed as a device in the network config.

The first thing I did was check in the Hardware manager to see if it had recognized any hardware at all. It had as you can see below found the hardware, it just did'nt know what to do with it.

Knowing that it had found my hardware i started searching around the newsgroups and came across this page here.

This contained virtually everything I needed to know to get my card up and running.

I had to install the ndiswrapper packages, using the package manager, as below. All the files were on my install cd so I did'nt have to download them.

using this I could then load the windows driver for my card. I then had to create a new entry in my network config file for the interface.

After a reboot I could see the wireless access point using iwconfig command, but I couldn't get an IP address. I put a static IP address in, but I still couldn't connect to anything. After a bit more searching I read about people who had a similar problems, and it came down to the encryption being enabled on the wireless access point. I disabled it and hey presto I could get a connection!

So, not ideal but at least I could now get a internet connection.

After all this i am going to blow the pc away again to get XP back on, but Ubuntu will be going back on as well. I will still have to try and get my graphics card working better as all the modes weren't available and I couldn't seam to get that 3D desktop Compiz Fusion working ether.

Judging of my experience doing this install I would say that Linux still has a fair way to go before its going to be wildly accepted by the majority of home users. I wasn't to hard for me to get working, but i suspect the average Joe in the street will go no wear near it if they know they have to hack about with config files to get it working

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