Ubuntu on Fujitsu Lifebook S6510

Ubuntu on Fujitsu Lifebook S6510

Summary: Having had so much success with Ubuntu on the older "test" laptop (Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S2110), and not expecting to want to try Vista on the newer Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 again anytime soon, I decided to try installing Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) on the S6510.

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Having had so much success with Ubuntu on the older "test" laptop (Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S2110), and not expecting to want to try Vista on the newer Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 again anytime soon, I decided to try installing Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) on the S6510. My primary interest was once again, as it was initially for the S2210, to see which devices would be recognized and which wouldn't. The S6510 has very different hardware from the S2110, both because it is much newer, and because it is based on Intel chipsets, while the S2110 is based on AMD chipsets. In particular, the Intel Core2 Duo CPU, Mobile Intel 965 Express graphics, and the 4965AGN WiFi interested me - without all of them working properly, I could not even consider changing my primary laptop to Ubuntu.

This time I paid more attention to the amount of time that it took for the initial load. It turns out that Moley is correct (of course), it was significantly less than an hour. It took about 5 minutes to boot the CD and answer the few questions that come up, then about 15 minutes to actually load Ubuntu and reboot, and finally another 10 minutes to download and install all the updates. Total time about 30 minutes!

The first thing I checked was the Ubuntu hardware manager, and I found that there were no proprietary drivers required or offered for this laptop (the S2110 had needed one for the modem, and offered one for the ATI display adapter). That seems like good news. Then I checked the display; the Intel 965 graphic adapter had been recognized correctly, and the screen resolution properly set to 1200x800. Very nice. I noticed that there seemed to be something different about the screen effects when I selected menus and opened windows, it had some additional graphic effects that I had not seen on the S2110. Hmmm...

The WiFi adapter seemed to have been recognized, but then I remembered that I had it turned off at the front-panel switch. When I turned it on, Ubuntu immediately added a Bluetooth icon and said that the laptop was now "connectable"! That will definitely merit some more investigation, but not right now.

A quick scan of the dmesg log showed that even the built-in camera had been recognized! Very impressive.

So, now there is a new dilemma. I still have to have a Windows system, for a variety of reasons. But it looks like Ubuntu will run even better on the S6510 than it does on the S2110. The obvious choice is to "reverse the roles", put the Windows XP Professional disk back in the S2110, and go ahead with Ubuntu on the S6510. But perhaps it is time to start considering dual-booting one of them... If the Ubuntu installation procedure detects Windows partitions on the disk, it offers to preserve that partition, and install Ubuntu in the remaining space. I didn't do that this time on either of these laptops, because I was installing on what had previously been the Vista disks for them. But perhaps I will now try installing on the XP disk for the S2110, as it is the "test" system, preserve the XP partition and set it up to dual-boot. If that works, I could even consider setting up the S6510 with three partitions, for Ubuntu, XP and Vista, so that I can go back and try Vista again from time to time, to see if the latest updates have improved that situation. I wouldn't try the three-way partition setup on the S2110 because that system doesn't run Vista worth beans anyway.

Ok, time to retreat to XP Professional on the S6510 for now, and to consider what to do next. It should be interesting!

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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