Dell E4300, 3 weeks on

Linux support has turned out to be much, much better than I anticipated, in fact I’ve basically switched to Ubuntu.

The first surprise was when I tried Ubuntu 8.10 – everything worked. Suspend, resume, hibernate, wireless, ethernet, the webcam, hotkeys… there were no issues. I’ve since upgraded to Jaunty and have been using it daily for the past couple of weeks. In that time a few glitches have become apparent, but these are not majors and won’t stop me using it as my main machine:

  • Occasionally doesn’t power off on shutdown (needs ctrl+alt+del)
  • Graphics can occassionally go haywire with an external monitor, mitigated by restarting gdm
  • Hard disk parks too often when running off battery
  • Poor battery life compared to Vista (used to get 5 hours, now 3-4)

The battery life is probably the one that concerns me most, but I suspect the excessive hdd duty cycle and poor intel graphics performance (using too much cpu) are contributing factors. I’m sure the Intel issues will be fixed by 9.10… Hdd issue just needs some tweaking.

My colleague also bought an E4300, and has installed SLED (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop) on it. It worked well for him, although there were some issues with sound and he had to spend a bit of time getting it working.

All in all I’m impressed, this is the best Linux experience I’ve had on a laptop, and it’s also the newest laptop (age-wise) I’ve ever owned.

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