Ubuntu Dapper Flight 7 Mini-Review

by Jeremy Jones

Ubuntu Dapper Flight 7 came out earlier this week and I decided to do a fresh install on my laptop. Part of the reason for a fresh install is that I'm ready for a new Ubuntu to install and automagically configure my system as a few things have gotten unconfigured and I can't seem to re-configure them properly. Another reason is that I'd like to get Windows on this laptop as well as Ubuntu and the easiest way to do that is to repartition the hard drive and do a from-scratch install, anyway.

When I booted up after installing Dapper, my laptop was set at a proper 1920x1200 and it looked great. The video was configured to do direct rendering, but was using the xorg ati driver rather than the ATI proprietary fglrx driver. The 3d performance was pitiful and the quality of playing videos was poor, so I decided to try the fglrx driver. It only took a one-line change to my xorg.conf file (changing "ati" to "fglrx") and it just worked. Another thing X related that just worked without any configuration on my part was the Synaptics touch pad scroll area. I've gotten this working in the past, but only with some hacking on the xorg.conf file.

Of course, none of the video files I tried to play worked since their respective codecs don't come installed with Ubuntu. I Installed win32codecs and VLC was able to play everything I tried. xine is having some trouble seeing any codecs I give it, so I'll keep plugging away at xine and use VLC in the meantime. Or maybe I'll just stick with VLC.


2006-05-11 17:38:28
Thanks for the info. If the previews of the release look this good I will wait for Dapper to come out before I test out Suse, Ubuntu and Fedora on my laptop. It will let me test them all a once and skip Breezy if Dapper is a significant improvement.
2006-05-11 23:47:06
xine works fine for me. You have to enter the path of codecs in setup dialog of xine. that will do.
2006-05-12 06:28:51
I also do have working xine along with gstreamer and mplayer. The only problem is which one to choose :D. Recently even hibernation automagically started working.
2006-05-12 08:27:02
Use a great tool called EasyUbuntu (http://easyubuntu.freecontrib.org/) to set up all the extras that don't come on the Ubuntu CD. It sets up Flash, RealPlayer, codecs, etc. in a flash.
2006-05-13 14:51:46
you say "It only took a one-line change to my xorg.conf file (changing "ati" to "fglrx") and it just worked " great for Linux technos but for the rest of the world we have no idea and don't have the ability to just change things like that. Until things just work without geek input 99% of the world would call that feature unavailable or broken
Jeremy Jones
2006-05-13 18:21:21
Hi, chris,

I don't disagree at all with what you're saying. But you've got to understand where Linux has come from to realize how good it is now. For me to be able to say that more hardware was recognized and configured properly by Ubuntu than Windows XP on the same laptop is huge. It's not there 100%, but it's getting awful close. And the "ati vs. fglrx" thing isn't really a huge deal. For 95% of the stuff an average user is going to do, it isn't going to make much difference. The biggest thing is 3D gameplay. The next biggest thing is OK video (i.e. avi, mpeg, etc) quality vs. excellent video quality.

Regardless of all that, even Ubuntu has a bit to go before it's ready for the masses.

Jeriko One
2006-05-16 09:45:06
I'm curious, since you installed it on a laptop: Is the monitor layout adjusted for laptops - or does the lcd panel just stayed black until changed? I have an Asus A6VA notebook, and up to now, no release of Ubuntu was able to properly adjust this option - kinda sad I have to say.
Jeremy Jones
2006-05-16 10:07:01
Hi Jeriko,

Not exactly sure what you're asking or what your initial problem was, but I've had no problems with the display at all. The proper resolution was configured at install time. The "on lid close" event handling seems to work fine (i.e. blacks the screen on close, but can be configured to lock as well). Or are you talking about running it dual headed? I was able to configure it for an external monitor and the laptop display under breezy, but haven't really tried with dapper.

Jeriko One
2006-05-16 15:37:13
My english is bad, I know :-)

I tried every Flight (except 7) and the Beta of Dapper Drake (as well as Breezy and Hoary), but whenever I tried to boot into the live CD, the screen stayed black when it should switch to gdm. I know where the bug is located (Option MonitorLayout "LVDS,auto" is missing in xorg.conf), but I'm pretty much sure that most of the users of Ubuntu would have no clue where to look if they have the same problem.

I don't know if this happens on every notebook, or only those with Ati GPUs, or even only for my model. That's why I asked :)

2007-01-20 02:49:13
Why is it all "Ubuntu", "Ubuntu" when there's always a "Kubuntu" out there with the same features and a better interface?
2007-03-14 02:32:03
you didn't mention the wifi? does it work properly without doing any "hacking" at all? what about bluetooth? my Compaq Presario V3194 when booted on a Kubuntu LTS 6.xx (something) Live CD both devices are propertly recognized. however the wifi doesn't work properly. sometimes you can connect to wifi, sometimes it doesn't do anything.
Jeremy Jones
2007-03-15 07:13:52

I have a pretty well supported wifi card (Intel's ipw2200). The driver has been shaky at times, but now it's pretty solid. So, no, I've never had to do anything to get it to work. I did have to do a little bit at one time to get it working well. That "little bit" was downloading the source for the driver and compiling it by hand. But that's really it.