I couldn’t get rid of the partition I had freed up for Ubuntu. So I thought I would try one more time with a clean installation. I also noticed on the page of lengthy instructions (from Linux, Part 2) that it was for the Dell 1390 wireless card and I checked and I had the 1395 wireless card. So I reran everything, only this time I downloaded the driver file R174291.exe instead of what the instructions told me. Worked like a charm!
Yeah, it still took a really long time to get everything to download and install, but I am writing this post wirelessly on the Vostro 1400 on Ubuntu.
The next challenge was getting DVD’s to play. This is pretty simple on regular PC’s, but not on open source software like Linux because of the copyright protection not being open source. After trying all kinds of crazy things to try to get the built in movie player, Totem, to play movies, I found a post that said the thing to do was try VLC player:
>>To install VLC in Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), select “Applications” > “Add/Remove…”. Search for VLC and install the VLC media player.<<
The only thing I had to do was make sure that when I opened it I went under File:Open Disc instead of Open File. Works great though I had to do some more craziness in order to get the Vostro’s speaker to work: speaker fix. The only problem there is that if you Suspend the notebook that the speaker won’t work once you wake the notebook back up (nothing wakes back up if you choose Hibernate, though winter isn’t over yet). Another problem mentioned by the speaker fix post is the fan. In Windows the fan is off if the computer is running cool already, goes to low speed sometimes, and high speed when it is really working hard. In Ubuntu the fan is always on low.
I ran some time trials on the notebook under the two different operating systems:
In Ubuntu the computer boots in 60 seconds from the GRUB loader screen (which pops up very quickly, maybe 6 seconds) and takes 13 seconds to shut down. In Vista the computer starts up in about 60 seconds as well, but takes 35 seconds to shut down.