Ubuntu works amazingly well with this trusty old Dell model. There are, however, two pains in the ass – one for each cheek.
- The mouse freezes briefly all the time
- The display resolution is incorrect by default
Firstly – the mouse freezes. Linux has a component called “powernowd” which throttles up and down the CPU depending on the requirement – you can see it working by adding the “CPU frequency scaling monitor” to the Gnome taskbar. You’ll notice the the mouse freezes occur when the CPU changes speed – how annoying! (I suspect the whole system freezes for a moment rather than just the mouse, but the mouse is what you’ll notice.) As far as I can tell, there’s no way to fix this functionality so it works and doesn’t freeze, so you’ll need to uninstall powernowd to get the computer working smoothly.
- Open up the terminal
- Type “sudo aptitude remove powernowd”
- Say goodbye to some of your battery life and some very cool functionality.
Secondly, if you have one of the wonderful high resolution displays (1400×1080), it won’t work correctly. It’s pretty easy to fix.
- Boot into the horrible looking wrong resolution
- Crack open a terminal
- Type “sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf”
Add the Sync / Refresh lines into the Monitor section so it looks like this:
Identifier "Generic Monitor"
Then add the full resolution into each of the modes, so they all look like this:
Modes "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
That’s it – now save and reboot, and you should be working in full resolution. Hurrah!