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22 April 2008
I have been testing the beta release of Ubuntu 8.04 and Xubuntu 8.04.
There is only about 3 days until the final release, and I've been trying some of the latest beta versions. I had tried with some of the earlier betas, but hardware support was a bit lacking. I have had much more success in the latest versions.
First I installed Xubuntu on an IBM Thinkpad T21. I used one of the daily builds which had alternate install option only. This installed without any problems. I even got my Belkin Wireless card working by using ndiswrapper and the Windows XP drivers.
I didn't have quite the same success with Ubuntu on a Dell C640, but it was still fairly successful for a beta version. I first tried a daily build which refused to install due to a problem in the package install phase. I therefore obtained the rc version which booted into the Live CD version without a hitch. I then installed using the GUI installer, which again was successful. I have not however been able to get a the wireless networking working. The laptop has a WLAN MiniPCI card based on the broadcom chipset (natoriously bad due to the closed source Windows only drivers from the manufacturer). In the past I had got this working using the ndiswrapper and the Windows XP driver:
Despite following my own instructions - apart from using ndisgtk rather than the command line version - this would not work. I've submitted a bug to the Ubuntu bug tracking complete with output from the various commands.
Despite this I am very impressed with the new version of Ubuntu. If the wireless network can be made to work in the latest release then it will remain as my distro of choice.