Technology & Gadgets

Playing house with Gutsy Gibbon

Well, rumors of a user-friendly installation and easy compatibility for Ubuntu 7.10 are greatly exaggerated. Although it’s easy to use, it’s really quite difficult to install. Here are some of my trials and tribulations, and how I fixed them.

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First, I started with the following barebones machine, purchased from TigerDirect:


This machine got a couple of updates (of course) from me:

  • New video card: Radeon X1300 without fan
  • 1 GB of extra memory (total 2)
  • New Zalman 9700 CPU fan (got it working on this one, instead of the Vista machine)

I originally installed Ubuntu Edgy Eft (followed by an painless automatic upgrade to Feisty Fawn) on this, and found the installation quite painful. The exact same problems plague Gutsy Gibbon. In the end, I gave up on the upgrade and did a clean install.

1) Video drivers don’t work, quite.

On the upgrade, the machine simply would not get the screen resolution (1680×1050) right, and I couldn’t fix it. It recognized the need to install “proprietary” drivers from ATI, but wouldn’t work right.

On the new install, it upgraded to “proprietary” drivers automatically, but lo-and-behold, compiz wasn’t active, one of the most featured additions to the Gutsy Gibbon source. I had to manually install and enable xgl (other solutions I tried do not appear to work).

  • sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl

2) Sound doesn’t work.

This machine uses an onboard sound from Intel, the “High Definition” audio, with a Sigmatel STAC9221 codec. The upgrade preserved the sound fix I had applied. The fresh install did not, and I had intermittent sound. To fix it, add the following line to the end of the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base :

  • options snd-hda-intel model=ref

Once these were fixed, everything worked real well. Compiz is simply awesome!

Other hints

  • Install build-essentials package, otherwise you won’t have things like a C compiler.
  • compiz needs the emerald theme manager
  • The <super> key is actually the Windows key on most keyboards

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.