The Laptop Saga: Cut Short

Well, that was easy. The new laptop is up and running with Kubuntu Breezy. What's more, I worked on it for less than two hours and everything I've tried is working perfectly.

So here's the deal. On Saturday morning, my neighbor brought over the box with my new Dell Inspiron B120 in it. It was actually delivered $500 worth of laptop sitting on the front steps, so my neighbors picked up for safe keeping. (Thanks guys!) I was out of town until Sunday night, so I didn't get a chance to play with the new system until this afternoon.

By the way, while I was away, I went shopping for a case and USB mouse. I found a nice, padded case with lots of pockets in Staples for $30 and a Logitech optical mouse for $15. This beats the $44 that Dell wanted for a laptop case.

The install was pretty painless, as usual. It took a little longer than expected, because the battery died half way through the installation. (Apparently they don't come pre-charged.) I could have tried to rescue it, but I figured it would just be faster to plug it into the wall and start again, so that's what I did. After the initial install, everything worked except WiFi. Even the integrated sound works. Of course, I haven't tried suspending it yet, but that's not a huge concern for me at the moment.

Getting the integrated Broadcom WiFi card to work was actually surprisingly easy. I pretty much just had to follow the instruction in the Ubuntu NDISwrapper how-to, and it worked. No compiling necessary! Based on the lspci, the integrated WiFi card was the first Broadcom card on the supported cards list. Basically all I had to do was download the two linked files and follow the directions in the how-to and everything worked. In fact, the process was so easy, the Ubuntu team could probably automate the process. Wouldn't that be sweet?

So, I am glad to report that my quest to put Kubuntu on my laptop was cut short when everything unexpectedly worked. I guess it turns out I didn't need to order those Windows CDs after all. In fact, I wish I hadn't, because not only did I not need the driver disk, the CDs are those OEM restore disks, not real Windows, so they're basically useless for anything except restoring the system you bought them for.

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