Sun, 11 Sep 2011
10:45 PM - Linux is frustraiting
I always here that one of the advantages of Linux over BSD is the hardware support. My new laptop has proven to be a problem on that front. Ubuntu installed from Windows worked somewhat ok, so I tried to install it via burned ISO. It randomly crashed during install and never would setup grub for booting. I had deleted windows, but installed BSD at the beginning of the disk.
After trying 6 times to install ubuntu, I decided to try debian. Unlike ubuntu, debian has an older kernel (2.6.32). This is older than the magic 2.6.38 where AMD added graphics support. I thought I'd be clever and go to sid which has a 3.0 kernel. Often, the screen goes totally black during boot. No virtual terminals work and gdm3 won't startup either. I can't even get into single user mode without black screens after a few seconds of booting.
2.6.32-5 will boot and work, but I don't get battery or cpu frequency information and the amd graphics driver does not work well with it. It runs, but not much acceleration. Not knowing how much battery life is left on a laptop is a big problem. It runs like it's on AC!
I also can't dim the display because i have to use a hack to work around the broken acpi video so that the backlight won't be dimmed AND the keys don't work to change brightness either.
Sound also doesn't work in 2.6.32. It did in ubuntu.
Conversely, MidnightBSD does not have working wireless and i have not tried sound. The onboard atheros nic doesn't work well in either OS, but it's more stable on BSD. I have to run 0.4-CURRENT for that. I don't have the dim problem with the backlight unless i load the acpi_video module on MidnightBSD and that's not default. There is no binary amd graphics driver so I can't go with that forever.