Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Beta 2 on Sony Vaio X

The latest Ubuntu versions have all been a mess to work with my Vaio X. The problems are mainly in desktop performance where the interface clearly deteriorated with the introduction of Unity. The best way to get Ubuntu to work well is probably to move back to 10.04 (or thereabouts) but I'm going to give Ubuntu one last chance with 12.04. Rumor says that the GMA500 (graphics chip) is now supported from start.
  1. Downloaded the beta ISO image: ubuntu-12.04-beta2-desktop-i386.iso
  2. Made the USB boot from ISO using usb-creator-gtk
  3. Started from USB with "Try Ubuntu" option
  4. Installed Skype

Ok, the "Try/Install" Ubuntu screen worked but it was really messed up and split horizontally with only the top half part working.

It took a couple of attempts to get the screen resolution right (no changes - just that many times the screen boots in only 1024x768 mode).

Also the screen is flickering slightly and I filed some 3-5 bug reports (popup kept informing abt. several background crashes). (bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/972294)

All this allowed me to try most of the gadgets. Working:
  • Display
  • Audio (with keyboard volume control/mute / Fn+F2,F3,F4)
  • Webcam (with Skype)
  • Trackpad (with edge scrolling)
  • Bluetooth (with Skype)
  • Youtube video/audio (full screen working but rather laggy/chippy)
Not working (tested):
  • Keyboard display light controls / Fn+F5,F6 (adjusts ok but has no effect on display)
  • Multitouch trackpad (never got that to work with Ubuntu before either)
  • External display/VGA (nothing happens when connecting a monitor, keyboard switch / Fn+F7)
CPU/fan noice is irritating (saddest part of the Vaio X) but I must say that it's behaving and the fan shuts off completely from time to time. Running nothing but a Youtube clip spinns it up though.