I just got this laptop a short while ago, and the first thing i did was make the recovery dvds (it required 3? wtf…) and wiped vista clean from the hard drive and installed Ubuntu hardy 8.04
The laptop essentially works almost perfectly. The main problem that I encountered when i first installed it was the fact that the Ubuntu version of madwifi was not recent enough to support my wireless card, an atheros AR242x.
So i compiled the latest version of madwifi to find that the drivers worked, but ubuntu would kernel panic (bad) every time I put the computer to sleep (which was every time I closed the lid), so that wouldn’t do, so I hopped on IRC and was instructed to compile a special branch of madwifi that used HAL, and what do you know, it worked, although unstable (network manager sometimes just flat out refused to connect, and othertimes it would connect instantly)
I am almost positive that for the next version of ubuntu (intrepid) that this version of madwifi will be installed by default and you will not need to manually compile them, I’ll post how i got it working for anyone else who is having the same problem
First, download some stuff since your internet is gonna be disconnected. Enter these commands separately into the terminal:
sudo apt-get install subversion build-essential
svn co http://svn.madwifi.org/madwifi/branches/madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6/
after this point, you don’t need your internet anymore, so to avoid conflicts, go to your restricted driver manager and remove the atheros drivers.
this can be done by going to system > administration > hardware drivers, and deselect any entries that pertain to atheros (there should be two), it will ask for a computer restart, so save this page to your desktop, restart and come back.
now that you are back, lets finish installing the drivers:
sudo make install
after this, i had to restart my computer or else i got errors when i tried to load the new drivers, so again restart and then afterwards enter:
sudo modprobe ath_pci
sudo modprobe wlan_scan_sta
those load the required modules to enable wireless, and if everything went well, they should load without any errors and network manager should see your network and you should be able to connect. And if the kernel ever updates and you find yourself without internet, you will just have to recompile the drivers still located in the ~/svn/ directory against the new kernel and reinstall them. Just make sure you run “make clean” before you recompile them however.
To make it so you dont have to enter those lines on every restart, do this:
gksudo gedit /etc/modules
to the bottom of the file. Save and close.
Now, from my experience my network connection was a lot more stable once I upgraded to network manager 7.0-svn, which again should be in the next version of ubuntu (intrepid) by default. Installing it is easy. Simply go to software sources (system > administration > software sources), enter your password, and go to the third party sources tab. Click add, and add both of these lines:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ubuntu hardy main deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ubuntu hardy main
and click close. it should ask to reload the cache, click yes. Then just go to upgrade manager (system > administration > update manager) and it should say you have some upgrades available. Upgrade network manager (dont worry, network manager does die during the middle of installation, dont panic) and after its done, restart, and then upon restart re-enter your login credientials to your network and you should be good 😉