Hardware and Graphics

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2008-04-25 Print this article Print

Ubuntu Linux 8.04 is available in separate versions for 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x86-64 systems. I tested the x86 version of Ubuntu on a Lenovo ThinkPad T60 notebook with 3GB of RAM and an ATI Mobility X1300 graphics adapter, and on an Athlon 64-based desktop system with 2GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 6600 LE graphics adapter.

When I reviewed the previous Ubuntu Linux release, Version 7.10, I ran into trouble with my ThinkPad's X1300 adapter and had to head to the command line to get up and running. This time around, Ubuntu correctly identified my graphics adapter, and the system's new Screen Resolution tool made it easy for me to adjust my display resolution from the 1024 by 768 pixels supported on the ThinkPad's built-in LCD to the 1280 by 1024 pixel resolution of the display attached to my notebook's docking station.

My graphics experience was not, however, trouble-free. When I closed the notebook's lid, the system's default power management settings switched my LCD panel off. When I opened the lid again, rather than switching back on, my LCD screen awoke to a garbled pattern of colors. I had to switch between virtual terminals by hitting control-alt-F6 and then control-alt-F7 to straighten out my display.

For me, this was a minor annoyance, but for someone unfamiliar with the occasional vagaries of Linux graphics, it could prove much more troublesome. Fortunately, I was able to exorcise this issue by installing ATI's proprietary driver, a process that Ubuntu's Restricted Drivers tool makes close to painless.

I was able to suspend the ThinkPad both to disk (aka hibernation) and to RAM (aka sleep) without any trouble. In previous Ubuntu releases, hibernation has worked well, but I've had problems getting sleep mode to work. When I tested Ubuntu 8.04 with the ThinkPad's docking station, I experienced no difficulties docking or undocking the system.

I was particularly pleased with the progress Ubuntu has made with its printer setup tools. When I opened the system's printer configuration utility and opted to create a new printer connection, a list of the five HP LaserJet printers (three 4000s, a 4050 and a 5000) and the Xerox Phaser 6250N on our floor appeared right away. I selected the printer closest to me, accepted the driver suggestions the tool offered, named the printer and was set to go.

Two years ago, when I reviewed Ubuntu's previous LTS release, I reported that while I could connect to a Palm OS device, I could not complete a sync operation. This time, I plugged a Treo 755p into my ThinkPad's USB port, clicked through the setup dialog in the GNOME-pilot utility, and completed a backup and sync operation without issue.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at jbrooks@eweek.com.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel