Let’s Put Linux on an HP4525s, OK?

Just got an HP4525s laptop at work to replace an older unit.  The decision came down to several MSI and HP laptops, due to price and specs.  Unfortunately there was a long course on Intel processors required to figure out whether an i3 or an i5 was dual or quad-core.  This turned out to depend on several factors, such as chipset, date, and whether the tech is left-handed or not.

Rather than bother, I went with the HP, as AMD is very straightforward about labeling and a quad-core is a quad-core, even if I am left-handed all of the time.

Naturally I didn’t have a choice as to operating system – I had to order it with Win 7, whether I wanted it or not (there’s money we’ll never get back).  It was going to receive Xubuntu 10.10 (Manic Mongoose), whether Microsoft liked it or not (they don’t care – they got the money).  Of course this depended on procuring Xubuntu at work.  This was complicated by working at the only place in the universe where Faceyspaces and YouTube are more important than work – slowing the download to a crawl.

Just for fun I booted the laptop into The Redmond Menace’s latest iteration.  HP somehow felt the need to insert more crapware than I have ever seen in my life onto the desktop.  It took forever to set up (both Win 7 and HP).  Unfortunately we’re using this series at work, so we’re going to spend a lot of time removing crapware in the near future.  We used to use Dell exclusively until Dell started treating us like doodie.  Dell lost a good customer.  Dell cares less than Microsoft, apparently.

Why, oh why, is it mandatory for Windows to have the blasted sounds turned on by default?

Using the AMD64 disk, I booted.  Right into an error message.  Not impressive.

The forums mentioned similar problems.  One solution was to re-download and burn.  So I booted into Win7 and re-downloaded and burned.  Rebooting to the cd, I finally got the installer going.  After manual partitioning (I always use a separate, large /home partition) the install was off to a running start.

Under twenty minutes later, I had a functional install of Xubuntu.

The installer has improved considerably over the years.  It detected both my Broadcomm wireless (historically a blind spot) and the ATI proprietary video.

UH-OH

The first real glitch is the touchpad.  This isn’t the first touchpad problem I have experienced.  On a recent MSI, the touchpad flatly refused to behave.  On the HP the right-click is intermittent at best.  The cursor is all over the place too, but I believe this is fairly normal.  Something like synaptics might fix it – I’ll have to investigate.

Oops – synaptics is installed.  Tried gnomepointingdevices-config, which didn’t seem to help.  Still no right-click.

Further research proves that I’m not the first person with this problem.  HP actually provides a linux driver, but it’s for Suse and alien won’t convert it correctly.