Inspiron 530n a Year Later

Well, technically there is still one and a half months to go, but it is close enough.

What has changed from the original configuration?

  • Upgraded memory to 4GB
  • I bit the bullet and reformatted the hard drive to upgrade Ubuntu from the original 32-bit Feisty 7.04 to 64-bit Hardy 8.04
  • Updated BIOS from 1.0.3 to 1.0.15 to utilize all of the available memory – without the update, it reported only 3.2GB

64-bit Hardy feels faster and it took care of the minor annoyances I had with the original setup. It takes about 40 seconds between grub showing up and being able to click on something on the desktop.

I initially tried to upgrade Ubuntu to 7.10 and then to 8.04. The first upgrade went flawlessly, but the second choked up on some package dependencies that wouldn’t resolve, which made GUI unusable and after poking around for an hour or so I decided that fixing it was not worth my time: I wanted to upgrade to 64-bit system anyway, and I felt that even if I eventually fixed the problem there might still remain small glitches that could make life difficult. So I made a backup of my files, took a deep breath and made a fresh install of 64-bit Ubuntu 8.04, which was uneventful except that I had to add irqpoll kernel boot option.

BTW, I also installed Hardy on my little Fujitsu P1120 laptop, and it automatically installed drivers for the touchscreen and Linksys PC-card wireless adapter! Although the touchscreen needs calibration, the mere fact that it’s supported is huge. The laptop is almost 5 years old now and Hardy is too heavy for its 800MHz Cruzoe and 240MB of RAM, and I need a replacement. The manufacturers finally woke up and smelled the coffee, and Fujitsu squandered a wonderful opportunity to jumpstart the market. As far as I know P1120 was the first in the form factor of current Netbooks (feels nice to be ahead of the curve by 4 years :) and it has always been a conversation starter. Now I am waiting for the perfect device to take its place.

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