Tuesday, December 25, 2007

a walk on the alternative side: ubuntu on my hp tc1100 tablet

being as big of a geek as i am, i admit that i am a bit disappointed in myself for not really getting onto the whole linux bandwagon a while back.  linux, imo, is the uber geekiest of all operating systems and should come naturally to me since i did mess around in AIX (unix variant) and kornshell scripting.

a few weekends back, i fixed up an 'about to be junked' laptop and was able to revive it w/a few hardware swapouts (new hd, memory) and a full disassemble and clean (pop was spilled on it).  since i now had a decent laptop along w/my tablet i figured i'd remove my vista from my tablet (since it ran a bit sluggish and i downgraded my memory to a 512mb stick) and in turn install ubuntu.





thus leading up to the rest of this blog post; my notes on the installation/using of Ubuntu 7.10 on a HP TC1100 tablet.  including getting the tablet functionality working!  thank you google and ubuntu forums. hehe.

Installation

For me, not a problem since i've done way too many OS installs.  The first time you do the install of Ubuntu, it will load a live environment of ubuntu (not actually installed).

To install Ubuntu to your harddrive, do the Install icon on the desktop.

I did have to choose a different display resolution for the installer (used 800x600 since the install failed to start w/the wrong display resolution).  Also, i am running Windows XP Tablet Ed on my main C: partition and also have a personal files J: partition.  I removed my Vista partition completely and in turn created both a main / partition and a 2gb swap partition while running the Ubuntu install.

Installation took about 20 mins; pretty speedy.  Once it finished it ran through the first time setup wizard.

Devices Support

So far, it seems that all of my devices are detected and working minus the Wacom tablet piece.  I'll cover that shortly.   Bluetooth and wifi had no problems.  My Nvidia display adapter was detected too and seems to be working fine minus the ability to change the screen brightness.

Tablet Support

By default, the TC1100 tablet function and pen will not work.  after finding a post on the ubuntu forums about getting the Wacom tablet to work, i was able to get my pen working!  so i now have me a tabuntu computer. :)  i plan to write up a simplified guide for the newb ubuntu users like myself over at tech-rx later this week.

I did notice that my right click button on the tablet does not function but i'm hoping to see if someone has fixed this.

Performance / Using as a replacement for Windows

wow! that is all i can say after having tried Mandrake and Red Hat linux distros back a few years ago.  Linux has really hit mainstream with the latest Ubuntu distros and other variants.   The openoffice and gimp image editor are powerful enough for me to do all of my tech recipe writing and other types of work i do on my laptop.

I am able to access my network shares and also my NTFS partitions from windows on my tablet.

Lets just say this, my new default os to boot to is now Ubuntu on my tablet, XP Tablet Ed being when i need windows.

Performance is superior over windows on my HP TC1100.  boot times are faster and overall OS speed is great.

Visually i like it better than Vista since each element is customizable and modifiable.

So it appears i plan to throw my OSX86 project out the door and stick to Ubuntu on my tablet.