Ubuntu 7.10 Offering – Technical Details

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Now that we have shared that Ubuntu 7.10 is available for sale on select Dell systems, I’d like to take the opportunity to give an update on what customers can expect with this offering. Most of the Ubuntu 7.04 technical details are still valid for this release, but there are a number of changes that I’d like to point out:

  • On every system purchased pre-installed with Ubuntu 7.10, we are now providing Corel’s LinDVD DVD playback software by default. This application will allow customers to *legally* play encrypted DVD movies on their desktop or laptop. Note that this is a closed-source, proprietary application, and is not included on the Ubuntu 7.10 OS media.
  • Compiz Fusion desktop effects are enabled by default on all systems sold with Ubuntu 7.10. We chose to only turn on the effects that Ubuntu 7.10 enables by default, but customers can easily configure additional effects. Here’s a YouTube clip that shows off some of the effects. And if you’re interested, the Compiz Fusion wiki maintains a list of available plug-ins.  
  • Based on customer feedback, as well as to enable desktop effects, we are now installing and enabling the NVIDIA 3-D OpenGL driver by default on systems purchased with NVIDIA video cards.
  • We are now placing a DVD restore ISO image on the user’s desktop. By burning this ISO to a disc and then booting to it, customers can restore their operating system to the exact state in which they received it. This now gives customers a second option to restore their OS, in addition to the reinstallation partition already located on the hard drive.
  • The Adobe Flash player is installed by default (so you can watch Direct2Dell vlogs in their native state, plus a whole lot more).
  • We have added support for several new hardware peripherals. These include the following:
    • Integrated laptop webcams w/ digital microphone
    • NVIDIA video cards on laptops, including suspend/hibernate support
    • Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 on the Inspiron 530
    • Support for the Dell 1720 and 1720dn printers
  • Dell’s DKMS utility can now be installed from the Ubuntu Universe repository
  • Based on customer feedback, we now have an apt repository available for updating BIOSes from Ubuntu

Several key items have not changed:

  • We continue to work with our hardware vendors to push Linux support for the devices we sell upstream. We have made good progress in this area, and our customers should really start to see a payoff from those efforts over the next year.
  • As always, we want whatever Linux distribution you use (be it Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, etc.) to “just work” on all of our hardware.
  • Our wiki page on our linux.dell.com website continues to give technical details of the supported systems, information on the device drivers used for system peripherals, details of our Ubuntu factory-installation, and information on the problems we found during our testing, with their fixes/workarounds. Please bookmark it and refer to it first for any problems or questions.

I did see some Direct2Dell comments from people like jmxz, Mark W. Tomlinson, usr and Lem asking about how to upgrade their Dell systems with Linux to Ubuntu 7.10. Easiest way is through the Update Manager in 7.04.  Here’s a walkthrough from Canonical on the process. Thanks for supporting the cause!

In this vlog, Lionel talks to two of the engineers on my team, Amit Bhutani and Jose De la Rosa, about what we’ve been doing to get systems ready for this, a demo of Gusty Gibbon’s new features, and more.

 Update: Several people have been asking about the reinstallation DVD ISO’s mentioned in the post. We have made these available for download on the wiki. These ISO’s duplicate a factory-installed Ubuntu 7.10 image from Dell for those systems listed. They have not been tested on any systems other than those listed, so they may or may not work well on other systems. Note that these ISO images DO NOT CONTAIN LinDVD, as LinDVD is a non-free application that is included in the cost of a system purchased with our Ubuntu 7.10 factory-installation. We’ll make information available on how this application can be purchased after the holidays.

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Format: flv

About the Author: John Hull

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