Ubuntu is not ready for laptops (at least not mine)

8 09 2008

So today i just reinstalled vista on my laptop, and its going to stay there for the near future.

I tried installing ubuntu on this, and most everything worked fine, but some underlying problems with ubuntu, and linux in general make it a horrible choice for laptops (at least mine)

1: load_cycle_issue.

almost a deal breaker for me, this has the potential of destroying my hard drive in under a year, and the only way to get around it is to use some ugly hacks and scripts that don’t even work all of the time (even after i implemented the hardy scripts, my load cycle would sometimes just jump up 50 counts, and other times it would obey the scripts and not spin down so the counts would not go up). This NEEDS to be fixed on the kernel level before i can consider putting ubuntu back again. I paid 700 dollars for this laptop, i dont want its hard drive getting destroyed prematurely

2: wireless woes

the hardy version of madwifi doesnt even support my wireless card, but luckily compiling a special branch of madwif from source seems to work. its just the fact that network manager 0.7 is still highly unstable, and even with these working drivers, i get random issues, like i cant connect to a network and i have to keep retrying until randomly, it works. Also, the unstableness of the ppa i was using means that one time, i lost all network connectivity together, and then with the most recent version, i cant connect to WPA TLS networks, which is what my college uses, which makes my laptop fairly uselss

3: ubuntu (or gnome’s) power management sucks

seriously, the power management options in ubunut pale in comparison to vista’s, random bugs like you cant controll how bright/dim the screen gets when you unplug/plug in the AC cord, different power management schemes, and more make it annoying for laptops. Also, because of the load_cycle_count issue, you have to keep your hard drive spinning 24/7 so that drains the battery considerably. It also does not help that ubuntu/linux in general sucks at delaying writes to the disk when on battery power, it seems even when im not doing anything ubuntu is doing something to access/write the disk where my disk could be sitting idle/spun down to save battery.

4: battery life is much better in vista, i don’t know why, it just is

5: annoying synaptics touchpad bug, which is present in other distros as well

this wonderful bug makes it so that the kernel loses connection to the touchpad, and when it reconnects to it, all your mouse/touchpad settings are lost, which means that the touchpad ‘tap to click’ feature becomes enabled which is the most annoying feature EVER. im just dragging my mouse and the touchpad somehow registers that as a tap so i click random buttons, files, urls, bookmarks, close buttons, etc. Ive noticed this in SUSE 11 as well, so it must be a kernel bug

6: suspend/hibernate is still wonky

it seems pretty good for my laptop, but i still get issues that shortly after thaw/resume my computer just freezes completely.

sure most of these problems are a result of the fact of using non offical reverse engineered drivers, and i understand that, but the load cycle, suspend/hibernate and the power management things are CRUCIAL for laptops, and sadly i’ve tried very very very hard to make it work, and it’s just not worth it anymore. The touchpad and the network manager issues might be fixed in Intrepid, but the load cycle/power management/suspend/hibernate issues don’t show any promise of being fixed in intrepid. oh well.

Ubuntu will still have a place on my desktop, but for now and the foreseeable future, vista will remain on my laptop


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5 responses

9 09 2008
Brian

I am sorry to hear you have come across some problems regarding linux, however at least a couple of these I have found ways to fix.

First, I really recommend installing Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Alpha 5. It is now reaching more stable points of operation to where you won’t have as many bugs as in Alpha 1 or so (I’ve yet to find any bugs that show stoppers). Intrepid has fixed my suspend problems that were absolutely terrible on Hardy. The good news is, that if there is a bug, it will most likely be fixed before the final release. Also, when the final release is out, you will not need to reinstall it because downloading the daily updates keeps you up-to-date with the latest version. You can get it here: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/intrepid/alpha-5/

The load cycle count issue can be fixed! It used to be quite a problem for me on my Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop. There is a “fix” out there called the “ugly fix” developed by UbuntuDemon. The fix has changed between gutsy and Hardy/Intrepid, in fact it used to be quite hard to do, but now an average linux user can apply the fix with ease. Here’s the link to the guide on how to fix it. http://en.opensuse.org/Disk_Power_Management

It’s a fairly short how-to, so make sure you read all of the information because it tells you how you can adjust the settings to your preference, but the numbers they give you should work just fine.

Hope this helps!

9 09 2008
polygon89

the thing is, the ubuntudemon guide was what i was using, and i followed that opensuse wiki page to the letter, and it only worked half the time. I took notes of the date and the load cycle count, and it was pretty stable, then like over ne day it would suddenly jump 100 counts, like it failed to call the script or something. Also, that opensuse guide does not work after resuming from suspend/hibernate =/

ill check out intrepid for sure when it comes out however. thanks for your comment =)

9 09 2008
Brian

The opensuse version works every time for me but like you said does not work after suspend/hibernate. I’ll have to suspend and see if my hard drive starts parking again here in intrepid.

28 10 2008
joe

Load cycle count issue has not been fixed in Ibex. The hard drive in my laptop is parking every few seconds. Good job, guys!

29 10 2008
polygon89

i hear that ubuntu did release a fix, which makes it so the disk is aggressive while you are on battery, but then never parks while its plugged in,

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