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Install Report: Ubuntu Hardy Heron on Sharp Actius MM20
self, camphone, eye
ouij
I've been spending the last part of my vacation time sorting out various family IT projects. My dad's old laptop, a Sharp Actius MM20. The MM20 (and its predecessor, the MM10) was a couple of years ahead of the curve on what has since become the netbook trend-. It's thinner than a MacBook Air, has very humble hardware, and is meant to be a portable supplement to a more powerful "base" computer.

The Actius had one other thing in common with many of today's netbooks: it ran Linux pretty well-- well enough to be sold by Emperor Linux as their most portable system (the Meteor).

I had installed Ubuntu 6.10 "Edgy Eft" on it, and Dad had been using it as a Linux machine for a while now, dual-booting with Windows XP. He has a new XP laptop (amusingly, its' an ASUS eeePC 1000, running Windows XP). Since now he has a whole new box running Windows, he asked me to wipe his old PC to run Ubuntu exclusively.

I decided to take the opportunity to install a more up-to-date version of Ubuntu. An install of Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" failed--well, the textmode installer ran, but then on first boot, the machine just went black and did nothing--I couldn't even bring up a text console.

I burned through a bunch of CDs before it occurred to me to try to boot into a recovery mode session and see what was up. Turns out that the Ubuntu installer wasn't configuring Xorg properly.

Fortunately, it seems that novalugger David Cafaro has already solved this problem. I edited /etc/X11/xorg.conf along his lines. The relevant stanzas go like this:


Section “Device”

Identifier “Videocard0″
Driver “radeon”
Option “AGPMode” “4″
Option “XAANoOffscreenPixmaps” “true”
Option “RenderAccel” “true”

EndSection

Section “Screen”

Identifier “Screen0″
Device “Videocard0″
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”

Viewport 0 0
Depth 24

EndSubSection

EndSection


Fix that, reboot, and X should start.

I ended up installing Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS "Hardy Heron" instead--figuring that Dad should probably get a stabler Long-term support release rather than having to update every six months like I do.

performance

(Anonymous)

2009-02-01 07:39 am (UTC)

Thanks for posting about this, I am about to perform the same service for a friend's 256mb ram mm20. I was wondering if you had any thoughts about performance of ubuntu on this - do you think any other distributions might be faster on this laptop, having only 256mb?

'regular' Ubuntu at 256MB is acceptable, provided you don't do anything ridiculously resource-intensive.

That said, I'd recommend Xubuntu for this setup; XFCE is a much lighter-weight desktop environment, when compared to GNOME or KDE.


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