Took the Ubuntu plunge

This is a discussion on Took the Ubuntu plunge within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; After experimenting with a dual-boot config last year , I revisited this yesterday, this time letting the Ubuntu install wipe ...

  1. #1
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    Took the Ubuntu plunge

    After experimenting with a dual-boot config last year, I revisited this yesterday, this time letting the Ubuntu install wipe out my existing XP partition. 9.0.4 desktop on my IBM Thinkpad T43p. Installation was straightforward and a piece of cake.

    Things that make me happy so far:

    - installation was painless
    - wireless adapter a snap to configure
    - broadband adapter a snap to configure with my AT&T card
    - able to download photos from my Nikon digital camera out of box with F-Spot Photo Manager
    - snap to install packages like GVim and g++, that aren't installed out of the box
    - OpenOffice works with all of my spreadsheets and word docs

    The only snafu so far is that some of the screen savers completely lock the system up. Manual reset is the only recourse. I had to rename the screensaver executables that were failing so I don't accidentally lock up again when attempting to change it.

    Anyway, very happy so far. Last time I installed Linux was the late 90s with Red Hat. This was an order of magnitude easier.

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    Are you using ext4? (I think the default is still ext3)

    It's quite a bit faster. Ubuntu boots from power button to login screen in about 20 seconds (about 7 of those being POST) on my desktop (no RAID, 7200RPM harddrive).

    The only downside is (more) possible data corruption on sudden power loss due to delayed allocation.

    Welcome to the dark side!

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish
    The only downside is (more) possible data corruption on sudden power loss due to delayed allocation.
    But... correct is better than fast?
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    As for screen lockup, are you sure it's screensaver and not suspend/standby?

    Currently suspend is still hit/miss with Ubuntu. Some machines require workarounds.

    They spent a lot of time working on suspend for 9.04 (my laptop among one of those they fixed!), but I heard it's not perfect yet, due to the sheer number of different hardware they need to support.

    From my experience, machines about 1-2 years old work the best. Newer ones aren't supported yet (things are released before the machines are released), and few people use older ones.

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    But... correct is better than fast?
    Well, theoretically, if you pull the power cord with any filesystem, no one can guarantee your data (opened files) will be intact, unless you do a fsync() after every write...

    Just that it's more probable with ext4 due to this particular optimization.

    And by data corruption i mean only for the files currently been written to. Other files will be fine, and the filesystem will still be in a consistent state due to journalling.

    I think this is the reason they are not making it default, yet. But for machines with UPS (or laptops with battery), it's not so bad.

    On my server I still use ext3 on RAID, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    As for screen lockup, are you sure it's screensaver and not suspend/standby?
    Yes. It locks up on the preview when trying to select a new screen saver. I googled the problem and found others who had the same. I couldn't get past the problem without renaming the ss exe file so that the selection GUI couldn't run it. "Lattice" was the latest one giving me fits. There were others, but I haven't gone back to find all of them because I don't feel like restarting time and again :-)

    Re ext4 v. ext3, I took all the defaults, so honestly I don't even know. No issues with performance, and booting takes a fraction of the time it took in Win XP.
    Last edited by medievalelks; 05-10-2009 at 02:57 PM.

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    and booting takes a fraction of the time it took in Win XP.
    That's not saying much .

    Yes. It locks up on the preview when trying to select a new screen saver. I googled the problem and found others who had the same. I couldn't get past the problem without renaming the ss exe file so that the selection GUI couldn't run it. "Lattice" was the latest one giving me fits. There were others, but I haven't gone back to find all of them because I don't feel like restarting time and again :-)
    I am guessing you are using an ATI card? Unfortunately ATI Linux driver has always been flakey at best at 3D support (and I'm guessing the screensavers that don't work are the OpenGL ones), for quite a few years now. NVIDIA drivers, on the other hand, have always worked perfectly, with similar performance as Windows driver. That's why I have been exclusively NVIDIA since the GeForce 2 days.

    Which driver are you using? I heard there is now an open source ATI driver that provides 3D acceleration, but doesn't support the newest cards. You may want to give it a try. Sorry I don't know any more about this.

    OR, you can just avoid 3D screensavers (flurry, now known as "the Mac OS X screensaver", but actually from xscreensaver, does look nice, though).

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    Are you using ext4? (I think the default is still ext3)

    It's quite a bit faster. Ubuntu boots from power button to login screen in about 20 seconds (about 7 of those being POST) on my desktop (no RAID, 7200RPM harddrive).
    That's kind of meaningless without a point of reference. How fast does the same system boot using ext3?
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    That's kind of meaningless without a point of reference. How fast does the same system boot using ext3?
    MUCH slower. I didn't time it, though. >30s. The machine (my server) is slightly different, too, but also 7200 harddrive from the same era with similar performances.

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    CSharpener vart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by medievalelks View Post
    Re ext4 v. ext3, I took all the defaults, so honestly I don't even know. No issues with performance, and booting takes a fraction of the time it took in Win XP.
    By default Ubuntu uses ext3

    Do not use screensaver - save the Planet

    Do you know how much power is lost due to use of screensaver instead of Monitor Off worldwide?
    http://gquigs.blogspot.com/2009/04/k...ave-world.html
    Last edited by vart; 05-11-2009 at 03:17 AM.
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    @cyberfish - Yes, ATI, and whatever driver was the default with Ubuntu jaunty release. I'll look into alternatives.

    @vart - Sounds like a plan. I could stand for my electric bill to go down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vart View Post
    Do not use screensaver - save the Planet

    Do you know how much power is lost due to use of screensaver instead of Monitor Off worldwide?
    gQuigs' View: Kill The Screensaver, Save The World
    Not to mention that other people's screen savers are so distracting that they bug the hell out of me at work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by medievalelks View Post
    @cyberfish - Yes, ATI, and whatever driver was the default with Ubuntu jaunty release. I'll look into alternatives.
    If you are talking about a laptop the ATI Radeon card used in those does not have any hardware acceleration; I just mention this because I have a toshiba with big "graphics by ATI" stickers on it (and I had another one before that, too). And it's true the video card is made by ATI, however, the Radeon is not a true 3D card at all. (I just looked briefly at the IBM site and it does not say one way or another, but there is no way they are providing real 3D hardware acceleration in a $1000 laptop, so my guess is it's a Radeon). The point being, the set of issues referred to by cyberfish has nothing to do with this at all; there is no after-market driver, or any alternate driver, for a Radeon (ATI makes a variety of products besides high end, hardware accelerated graphics cards, and this is one).

    The Radeon driver which has been part of the kernel tree for a very long time works fine and provides all the GLX/DRI software acceleration necessary to get the candy effects of some new DE's. Do not bother trying to install some special ATI driver, that will be a waste of time (those are for the 3D hardware accelerated jobs in desktops). If you do a "lsmod", I think the module is called "radeon"; if that's what you are using, then it is almost certainly not the problem.

    Anyway, the X windows set up with screen savers is abysmal and has always been plagued with problems like this. I no longer use them at all (although I have, on the radeon driver, without problems, just to make that clear) mostly because you cannot run screensavers as root in X (no matter what distro), and a blank screen will do fine if I am not using the computer (especially on a laptop, I would think).

    Quote Originally Posted by medievalelks
    Anyway, very happy so far. Last time I installed Linux was the late 90s with Red Hat. This was an order of magnitude easier.
    Yeah, it's almost like they are trying to sell this stuff to people now Turn the screensaver off and check out Compiz
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    MK27: The Radeon solution used in the Lenovo T43 laptop is DEFINITELY a 3D accellerated solution, and should have good 2D accelleration too.

    You can get very good graphics processors in sub $1000 laptops these days. My work laptop is a Dell E6400, and the base-price according to Dell themselves is $733. It's got nVidia Quadro graphics in it, and definitely should keep up with most desktops on high-end 3D graphics. [My particular machine has more memory than the standard machines, and the better screen, so it's not the $733 model].

    Even the Integrated Intel graphics on the $399 model should be sufficient for most things requiring 3D graphics. Perhaps not the latest high-end games, but anything else. [Ok, so you may only get 50-60 fps on Quake at the highest screen resolution, but that's still adequate, considering that it's a laptop and the price].

    Now, is it worth bothering to install the drivers? Depends on what you are doing, of course. I've run plenty of Linux machines with the basic drivers, and not bothered with installing any particular driver. High-performance 3D graphics drivers are big, and complicated, and may have bugs that cause kernel crash. So if all you do is edit text-files and compile code, installing a graphics driver may just be an unnecessary risk...

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