Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why I'm removing Ubuntu from my DV6770SE again

I tried ubuntu once with this laptop and got disappointed, I tried it again and got really excited. The second time I tried I went deep into all the issues I encountered, fixed most of them with some effort, but the ones I couldn't fix were the one that made me ditch ubuntu again: hardware support. I'd still install linux on some old home desktop / office PC instead of giving money away for a windows XP system.

Laptops usually are more problematic regarding hardware, at most you'd add memory to it and that's it. You can't get a different GPU, CPU, hard drive without giving up and buying a new laptop.

I paid $1000 for this laptop, it has a built in webcam with microphone, a pretty decent GPU from nvidia, some touch sensitive buttons to start apps and it comes with windows vista home premium. Big deal, so what? I mentioned those because they're the ones I can't get to work properly. Everything I used to do on windows can somehow be done on ubuntu in terms of softwares, but when you have to make workarounds for all your hardware to work it starts to get too shady.

Wine couldn't run any windows game (team fortress 2, counter-strike, battlefield 2...) at decent frame-rates. I tried Quake 4 which theoretically is made for linux and I got some pretty bizarre metallic sounds and ugly graphics. My webcam wouldn't work on flash websites like tokbox, flash won't support V4L2, just V4L1 (work-around available but... damn!). Two of my touch-sensitive buttons became just two decorative illuminated leds (work-around probably available but... damn!). My wireless card's on/off switch lost it's function and the built-in mic above the monitor too.

My point here is that installing linux on this machine is just an adventure. It's cool and all, but when you see you're not getting all you can get from the hardware you paid for, you just switch back to the OS that came with it.

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