Welcome to my page on the Ubuntu Wiki.

I want to record all my steps and experiences installing Ubuntu on my laptop. Hopefully you will find this useful and interesting. Its going to be a slow process, since I only have occasional evenings after work for this. All the same, the goals are ambitious:

  • AMD64 install.
  • Get every aspect of the hardware working. That's including the modem, firewire, IR, WiFi, suspend, etc.

  • Make a comfortable "home" environment, for surfing, watching movies, IM.
  • Dual boot with Windows, for Windows-only games and occasionally working from home.

The whole time I will always be trying the Ubuntu way first - using the default install and tools, Ubuntu forums. This is also my first experience using a Wiki, so I'll be learning as I go. Hopefully there will be an occasional update from anyone who has spotted an error or improvement. The final aim is to have less of a blog, and more of a start-to-finish guide to running this excellent distribution on this excellent laptop.

A couple of points to note:

  • There is no support for Flash in 64-bit mode. It's often a problem when a proprietary software becomes an important part of the web and in my case its important because I'm a big fan of Homestarrunner and free Flash games :). An important project to address this gap is GPLFlash2, and we'll take a look at it when the installation is finished.

  • Using proprietary Windows networking drivers with NDISWrapper is not an option in 64-bit mode. I expect at some point when more 64-bit Windows drivers are available this will become supported.

  • I will be using the controversial proprietary ATi driver since I want all the hardware I paid for to be working as well as possible, and get a good framerate for the few Linux FPS games. If you want to avoiding tainting your kernel, simply skip that section. I can't resist including a quote from Linus Torvalds on this topic, courtesy of

    • Basically, I want people to know that when they use binary-only modules, it's THEIR problem. I want people to know that in their bones, and I want it shouted out from the rooftops. I want people to wake up in a cold sweat every once in a while if they use binary-only modules.

About the Amilo A1630

I bought this laptop for its hardware :). Its a early example of a full AMD64 laptop, with a widescreen and Radeon graphics card - what more could you want? Well, actually a bigger harddrive, and more RAM. But otherwise, it was a great deal and I have been happily using it for a year now.

Like almost every laptop it comes with Windows XP (SP2), and a couple of useful bits of Windows software like Nero. I will be using the Windows installation to check out the hardware, and to download the firmwire required for my Speedtouch internet connection.

Amilo A1630 Hardware

  • AMD Athlon 3200+ (64bit) cpu
  • SiS 755 chipset
  • ATi Mobility Radeon RV350 (128MB)
  • 256 MB PC/2700 (333MHz) DDR RAM
  • NEC DVD +/- RW ND-6500A
  • RaLink RT2500 IEEE 802.11g WiFi

  • Fujitsu MHT2040AT IDE HDD (40GB)

Useful Amilo Links

The main question is whether this hardware is supported in Linux. Linux "out-of-the-box" hardware support is impressive and has steadily been improving. However, there is always an issue with newer hardware, since hardware vendors are typically unwilling to provide drivers. A good example is Intel's Centrino chipset/wifi card combination, which was only supported by Intel long after the Windows drivers were released.

Much as I don't want to admit it, this laptop is no longer new, and I expect all the hardware to Just Work. All the same, the best way to check out the hardware support for Ubuntu Breezy is to use the Breezy Live CD, which can safely be run without touching your current installation. This is the procedure I will be following.

Windows Installation

I don't want to spend too much time on this - in all probability your laptop came pre-installed. My laptop has seen a series of operating systems come and go, so I will start with a fresh Windows install. I want to see what Ubuntu has to offer in terms of setting up a dual-boot system (and compare it to my strong personal preferences).

I'll be installing the best open-source Windows software (incidentally Canonical also sponsors the TheOpenCD which is an excellent collection), along with all the necessary precautions (firewall, antivirus, spyware removal). The Windows install will be a base to check that all the hardware is working along with the all-important internet connection, and be a good benchmark to compare against Ubuntu's desktop distribution.

[Sun 6/11 15:00] Do windows install.

tomstart (last edited 2008-08-06 16:14:40 by localhost)