Thursday, July 9, 2009

Installing Xubuntu 9.04 on an emachines E625-5192

Received my new laptop today - I need it for the fall, and got it a little early due to a sale.

What went well: I created a set of Restore DVDs (in case I want Windows back), then removed windows and installed Xubuntu 9.04 full-disk. Copied over my old /home directory, and installed all my favorite apps. E-mail, web, games, .bashrc, most dektop settings, etc. transferred without a hiccup. Recreated my crontab. Wireless networking and video work great. Built-in card reader reads all cards from my cameras and phone. Machine is noticeably faster. FN-key brightness control works. FN-key multimedia controls work.

Solved Problems:

  • Sound was tinny and a bit faint. Headphone jack works, not tinny, but low volume. Solution: Adding the following lines to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
    somwhat improved speakers and fixed the headphone jack.
    # Added by me on <date> while troubleshooting audio
    options snd-hda-intel model=6stack

  • The Volume-FN keys didn't work. Solution: Mapped FN-audio up, down, and mute keys by mapping them to aumix using these instructions.

  • The suspend FN-key didn't work. Solution: Enabled it in the gnome-power-manager preferences. It was set up to work out-of-the-box, but disabled by default.

  • DVD: DVDs play only after changing CDROM permissions after each disc insertion. Workaround: Created an alias in .bashrc as the 'fixcd' command

  • TomTom GPS automatic update doesn't work on Linux - Win and OSX only. Department of Defense forms and other applications are Windows-specific. Workaround: Installed a Virtual Machine (VM) to host an occasional-use XP instance.

  • Phone-made .3g2 video files play with weird audio - need a way to convert them. Computer .wma songs don't play on phone - need a lossless storage format, and a way to convert them to .mp3. Workaround: Upload videos to YouTube instead of the local hard drive.

  • Need password to restore from suspend (Xubuntu issue, not hardware-related). Workaround: Remove the screensaver package.

  • Unsolved Problems: No built-in webcam. Keyboard is different, and will take time to get used to - many typos in the meantime.

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