I used Ubuntu 7.04 on my Dell Inspiron 9100 for quite a long time. Unfortunately attempt to upgrade to 7.10 failed miserably – after reboot all I got from Gnome was gray screen (which I managed to go past by explicitly selecting session type at logon), but then “HAL failure” and other problems forced me to just make a clean install (having a separate partition for /home helped a great deal).
Some of the problems that I had with previous releases still were present, namely
- volume control didn’t control the volume (set the correct preference for my keys in the System/Preferences/Sound menu fixed it as described here)
- WLAN didn’t work (fixed by installing ndiswrapper as described here)
- mouse speed control didn’t work for touchpad (fixed by editing xorg.conf as described here)
One new issue with ATI Radeon graphics card:
- Advanced desktop effects didn’t work after installing ATI proprietary drivers (fixed as described here)
Otherwise installation was simple and the final result is just amazing. Advanced desktop effects are marvelous. Coupled with desktop search it clearly indicates that creators of Ubuntu are determined to bring Linux usability up to the level of MacOS.
I installed Ubuntu 7.10 also on my wife’s new laptop – Sony Vaio VGN-FZ11SR instead of Windows Vista that came preinstalled. (On a side track – first impression after booting up Vista installation was scary – it flooded me with requests to purchase antivirus software that was soon expiring, upgrade MS Office version to full version and pay for that, register and pay for CD burning software, allow Vista to send data to Microsoft, etc.).
Installation on this Sony laptop went without a single hick-up. All hardware was autodetected and autoconfigured. All necessary codecs and plugins were installed automatically – system just prompted for a confirmation to install non-free components. Default software package was more that sufficient to start working immediately without any additional installations.
So if you haven’t tried it yet – try to burn a live CD and boot Ubuntu, even if without installing it…