Ubuntu on a Fujitsu Lifebook S6520
The fact that Ubuntu would work where Debian would not was a complete
surprise to me, because Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian. I almost
skipped trying it out. If I would not already have downloaded the
install disk, I would have installed openSuse. However, I have Debian
on my office PC, and I wanted to keep management of the two as simple
as possible. So I gave it a shot, not really expecting much. I am
glad I did.
Following is a list of what works and does not. It more or less follows
Remember that this applies to Ubuntu 9.04 downloaded May 2009. Things
may be different when you read this.
- Processor: Works. Both the 64 bit and 32 bit kernels work in
fact. However, the 64 bit kernel does not run any of my existing 32
bit executables. It complains "command not found." How do you mean
"command not found," idiot? They are right in front of your nose!
Another one of those completely useless Unix error messages. In any
case, I am not willing to try recompiling all my countless binaries,
especially with the g77 compiler no longer available. So I use the
good old 32 bit kernel. Disclaimer: whether both cores of the dual
core are used, I do not know.
- Screen: It works great, and that is a real surprise. Even dim
works. With an external monitor attached, the laptop display wants to
stay on (until sleep). Apparently, the idea is that you will put some
stuff on the monitor and keep other stuff on the laptop display. Do
people actually do that? However, I found that if I partly close the
lid, the laptop display goes out and stays out. If a monitor is
attached, the software will automatically switch from the 1280x800
WXGA wide display to a more suitable 1024x768 non wide format.
Screensaver works: I use blank screen and password.
- Power: Works. My UPS is recognized. On battery power, it
recognizes the battery discharging and predicts lifetime. Suspend
works. Hibernate works.
- HDD: Works. NTFS (Windows) partitions also mount automagically.
So do USB disks and firewire disks.
- Optical Drive: Works fine for playing movie DVDs after installing
VLC and libdvdcss. The graphical operating system will NOT write iso
images to blank disks. The reason is that the reliable dvd+rw tools
have been replaced by one of those horrible gnome packages, this one
called Brasero. Without asking permission, it doubles writing time to
write a checksum to the disk, then finds that it managed to corrupt
the disk while doing so. Not a random error, repeatable.
Unfortunately, the operating system is not smart enough to fall back
on the good old dvd+rw tools (which are still installed) even when
Brasero is uninstalled. Fortunately, your .iso images can still be
written to disk using the command line. Decline any help from the
pop-up menu. Instead from a terminal, issue the command:
growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd=aptoncd-20090530-DVD1.iso
where you replace the name after the equals sign with whatever .iso
file you want to burn to disk. Prepend "Desktop/" if the file is
there. It is ugly, but it works, and is a lot faster too.
- Graphics: Works. Disclaimer: I do not use heavy graphics and my
laptop does not have the chrome graphics card.
- Sound: Works. System sounds work. Movie DVD sounds work.
However, don't expect games and such to have decent sound effects:
that is a traditional Linux problem.
- Ethernet: Works.
- Wireless: Seems to be working. It found three networks and
connected to some Belkin network. Don't ask me from who. The
- Bluetooth: Not Tested. I have it but keep it turned off. I have
no bluetooth devices I can test it on, either. The operating system
is aware that bluetooth is present.
- Modem: The build-in modem is a Winmodem, (not a real modem, but a
software emulation of one), and WILL NOT work under Linux. I bought a
PCMCIA modem for my previous Lifebook, and that one still works on the
S6520. You need wvdial. Protect your passwords! Unfortunately,
every time you start Firefox, it comes up offline even if the modem is
connected. You must manually set it to online in the file menu.
Somewhat of an annoyance, but maybe not if you always keep Firefox
- USB: Works. USB sticks, USB mouses, USB disks, USB keyboard, USB
scanner, all confirmed.
- Firewire: My old firewire hotdrive disk works. However, the
firewire port has been moved to the front of the laptop (it is really
intended for DV cams, not hard disks), so I am now using a USB hook-up
for the WD firewire/USB disk I still use.
- Card Reader: SD card worked fine in read and write in the build-in
card reader port. External SD card reader on my WD also works for SD.
I do not have other media.
- PCMCIA: Works. Runs my modem.
- Fingerprint Reader: Ain't got one. What happens if the reader no
longer likes my fingerprint for some reason of its own? And my
password I have an option of refusing. My fingerprint can be used
while I am dead.
- Webcam: Works. Cheese has no trouble displaying its output and
taking pictures and videos with it.
- Docking station works fine. My parallel printer hooked to the docking
station also works.
Applies to software obtained May 2009.
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