Monday, June 29, 2009

Your Problems Are Fixed in the Next Release: Mint 7

Back in January I posted about installing Ubuntu 8.10 on my dad's HP DV9000 laptop. There was also a followup to that post about DOSBOX .

At the end of the Ubuntu Install, and after using it for a few weeks, there were three issues:

  1. Wifi: it worked, but with a work-around
  2. DOSBOX was slower than DOSEMU, but DOSEMU required manual setup: Another workaround
  3. On reboot, Dad had to hit enter about 30 times to get past various hangs being caused by the oddball ACPI on the DV9000. If I understood this correctly, it only showed up as a problem when the AMD CPU's were being used in the DV9000. Those are what Dad had of course...
I had tested the first two points at length with my research into Ubuntu 9.04: I knew that once I upgraded Dad's computer that those two issues would be resolved. I do not have an HP DV9000 though, so I had no way of verifying that the third point would be taken care of as well.

If you noticed the infrequency of my recent posting (both here and at BMC), you might have guessed I had been kidnapped by space aliens, but the truth is I was just working 70-90 hour weeks getting ready and implementing a data center migration. With that in the past, it was time to rest, and then to catch back up on all the other things I had been letting fall to the side.

In the mean time, not only had Ubuntu 9.04 GA'ed, but Mint 7 after that. I took both on USB fobs to Dad's house, and test booted both. Both worked fine: no ACPI hangs at all.

I talked about it with Dad, and we decided to put in Mint 7: Same as my brothers Linux system will be getting soon.

The install was straightforward, other than the install complaining about not having a swap partition. with 4GB of RAM, I just did not want to have to add an LVM to the boot disk in order to get the 5th partition on it. Dads disk already had 4 partitions: 2 NTFS (Vista and the recover partition) and 2 Linux: '/' and '/home'.

I set '/' to format, '/windows' as ntfs, and '/home' as ext3, and both to mount at boot. Once the gparted was done, it took about 4 or 5 minutes to install Mint 7.

Once up, we updated the packages, and installed DOSEMU.

DOSEMU, as delivered, configured the 'D' drive as /home/dad already, and the vbdos programs were already installed there, so it was a simple matter to cd to D, then to the programs, and then to run his NASA stuff.

What DOSBOX takes 30 seconds to run, DOSEMU takes 3. And it is graphical data, so Dad was interested in how to print it and screen capture it so it could be emailed. It turns out that this is easy under DOSEMU as well: Just full screen by clicking the center box on the upper right hand corner, and then fn-prtscrn, and Gnome pops up the screen, all captured and ready to save. A quick trip through GIMP to crop out the tool bars and the graphical display on the DOSEMU screen is ready to email or print to be added to a report.

One interesting thing: If we full screened the DOEMU window *before* we ran the program, then it would run more slowly: Maybe 20 seconds rather than 3. Faster than DOSBOX still, but much slower than EMU was normally. Dad made the easy decision to always run the programs first, then to full-screen them.

Everything works:

Display: Mint prompted for the install of the NVidia drivers, and we told it to go do it.

The Wireless stuff just works now.

We plugged in the HP printer, and Mint saw and configured it instantly. We also tried a Lexmark multifunction (resold by Dell), but that did not. I did not expect it to, since Lexmark printers are one of the few anymore that ship without Linux capabilities from the vendor.

Sound: The Altec Lansing speaker make all the right sounds: I am not sure that Altec Lansing should be claiming these speakers as theirs, but that is another story. They sound equally tinny on Vista. I fired up Rhythmbox and we listened to some Internet Radio for a bit.

Boot Speed: Fedora 11 is making a lot of noise about their new 20 second boot speed. I tested it, and on my desktop Dell 945, it is 30 seconds: Same as Mint 7 on Dad's DV9000.

Battery: This dv9000 is only 9 months old now, but Linux reported that its battery was only able to charge up to 80% of its design capacity: Something Vista was reporting as 100%.

And so forth: What a difference 6 months makes in Linux land. Dad was thrilled with the computer, and said that, other than to play a RealArcade game called WordSlinger, he did not see ever having to go back to Vista. I tried briefly to get that going under WINE, but it was acting very weird: Another thing to research!


shawnr said...

Just ran across your post on Tuxmachines. I have been on a mission to solve ACPI problems with mostly HP machines due to buggy DSDT's in the BIOS. Microsoft is breaking Linux/Mac compatibility with their AML compiler.

Steve Carl said...


Thanks for the comment, and even more, thanks for working to fix the problems related to the DSDT and Linux.

I read through your link, and some of the associated material with interest, and it shed a great deal of light on the problem. This was an area (ACPI) I had only skimmed the surface of before, and many things are now making much more sense to me.

Mihail Buzarin said...

Yes, you're right! The latest Mint - I might say now after so many searchings - fits perfect into a netbook. Especially into an Acer Aspire One. Everything works immediately. There is a small problem still with the sound on Skype. When I talk , on the other side they say it cuts off from time to time so there are difficulties for whoever listens. I'm sure the problem is not from Skype and definitely not because of my English, Romanian, French, or Italian language.
But... for now let's blame the punks who listen on the other side. As I always did!!!
Salve! ...for now.

bluetooth headset said...

I was just passing by here and came across your post but happy to see this.Now all the problems get fixed in new release.I m eagerly waiting to release it.I will keep vising to know about it.

Steve Carl said...

I just did an inline upgrade of Dad's computer to Mint 8 last weekend. No problems at all. It took a little while, but everything was updated, and back to being what it was supposed to be.