Nokia Booklet 3G : Day 3 : I Can Haz Ubuntu

Wed 01.27.10 – #37 the Nokia Booklet and I are not only back on speaking terms, but with great affection. Thanks to Andrew Currie and Steve Rowlands who recommended Wubi as a fast and very painless way to get Ubuntu Linux running on a netbook without harming the original Windows install, as of this morning, I now have a working dual boot of Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Nokia Booklet.
And when it is time to ship #37 back to WOMWorld/Nokia, all I have to do is log into the Windows side of the install, go to the control panel and uninstall Wubi in the normal Windows fashion and the whole Ubuntu side will be gone. The machine will then return as it came.
The best part for me, is rather than spending the next 11 days of my trial period struggling with Windows and ultimately disliking the Booklet, I get to spend it enjoying the Booklet, use it as a mini-laptop, and being able to evaluate it as the lovely piece of hardware that it is.
Once Andrew got Ubuntu working on his trial Booklet, #38, via Wubi, he announced mid-day that he had uninstalled Wubi and was on to try Jolicloud. It appears that Andrew is going to test every possible way to set the Booklet free of the confines of Windows. Good on him.
Now that #37, my trial Booklet, is free, I am going to go deeper and see what the capacity of the Booklet is now that it has been set free. Many of the reviews of the Nokia Booklet 3G is the surprise or disappointment on the part of the user on how under powered the Booklet supposedly is in terms of RAM (1 GB) or in terms of the Intel Atom processor. Today as the Booklet wizzed along happily a good speeds under Ubuntu, it hit me that the Booklet may be ‘underpowered’ for an inefficient hog like Windows, but the Booklet was a speedy little fellow(ess) under Ubuntu.
For a mini-laptop, does it need to have bigger laptop sized RAM & processor or does it really need a better, freer, more open Operating System that is more efficient with the hardware it has?
Point in case, the Booklet allegedly has a multitouch touchpad, but for the life of me I could not get the two finger scrolling to work under the Windows OS, but in the Ubuntu side the touchpad is by far more responsive and is really fast at multitouch. Same hardware, different OSes.

And for those of you who want to know, yes, the GSM does work just like that. I put my AT&T sim chip into the Booklet’s sim bay, restarted it and Ubuntu walked me through a few questions (what country, what carrier, what plan) and then off I went surfing the web very slowly on my AT&T MediaNet account on Ubuntu with no wifi. Unfortunately, the average garden snail in the desert is faster than AT&T in my neighborhood, so let’s just say we had -3G speeds. But it the sim chip/ GSM works without any hassle or extra work in Ubuntu.
I did not try to make the GPS work in either the Windows side nor the Ubuntu side as I really can’t see a reason for it. I really only use GPS for geotagging photos or for maps, and to have location available for the browser, all I can say is: why? I will let Al or Andrew crack this puppy, of which Andrew did.
My only problem so far with the Booklet & Ubuntu is the screen resolution as the Intel® Poulsbo chip does not have open drivers and the script to change current kernel that one needs to change the resolution is on a free server that is overloaded. I am biding my time and going back every 30 mins to see if the server has freed up and will serve the script to me. Other netbooks have the same problem and I am surprised that no one in the Ubuntu community has set up a mirror server for the script. I can live with 800×600 until I can get the fix to work, but I really can’t get to work until I have more screen real estate.
Last but not least, one of the main complaints about Netbooks and the Nokia Booklet is that they are just internet browsing toys, as they are not powered enough to do real work or run real programs.
My ‘real’ work is web design and development. Ubuntu comes with GIMP, a powerful open source image editor, Terminal, FTP, and many other design and development resources. Right now I am finishing a python project on Google App Engine. Today I was able to install Google App Engine’s Python SDK for Linux on the Ubuntu side of the Booklet and was able to send files up to my Google App Engine account. Tomorrow, I am going to install Django on the Booklet and if that goes well, then no one can say that the Booklet is a little toy.
Maybe a toy with Windows, but tomorrow will see if it is a web dev mobile working machine with Ubuntu.
Wed. 01.27.10, 9:14pm: About 15 minutes after I wrote the above, I went back over the Ubuntu wiki page about updating the kernel for better screen resolution and someone had put the script to a mirror, so I am now letting Terminal chug away at making a better screen resolution.
About 35 minutes after that: Wifi keeps going in and out and so the Terminal chugging away at modifying the kernel got stopped several times, and then the Terminal announced it was doing a ‘sanity check’, then freeze. Two battery pull outs later, I was able to re-start Linux and the fonts & colors are clearer than before but the screen resolution is still 800×600. I shall try again in after walking Scruffy.
UPDATE: Fri 01.29.10 – Please don’t do the kernel modification as linked to above until the folks in the Linux community get the drivers from Intel, as it makes your Ubuntu install get unstable. Yesterday morning, I thoroughly read the instructions, I used the ‘uname -a’ command in the terminal to make sure I had the right kernel listed in the article, when I rebooted the screen was at a lovely 1280×768, and then over the course of the next 24 hours the screen resolution kernel modification made the whole install so unstable that I had to uninstall it from the Windows side this morning at Tuttle Club LA. For the time being until a more stable fix is found, if you want Ubuntu on your Nokia Booklet as a dual boot to Windows, please be content to have the 800×600 resolution. Please read Andrew Currie’s post from today and the first commenter who has solved the Intel Poulsbo problem on other linux installs.

4 thoughts on “Nokia Booklet 3G : Day 3 : I Can Haz Ubuntu

  1. Hey Jen, glad to hear you have now got Ubuntu working on your booklet, lets just hope the screen resolution gets sorted as quick as possible.
    I’m also quite interested to hear if Ubuntu has a better effect on the battery life than Windows. I have certainly found this to be the case with my Dell XPS M1330, although not to any huge extent. Maybe an extra 30 minutes or so. With the massive battery in the Booklet, any power savings may be more noticeable.

  2. Hi Steve,
    So far, Ubuntu has been managing the battery nicely, it announced to me last night that I had 90.6% battery left and calculate approximate time. The only time I noticed a faster than it should dip in battery is when I was installing Ubuntu.
    The screen resolution project got a bit derailed last night as my ISP has been having problems so I lost internet connection twice during the kernel modification. I am going to roll it back today and try again, as TimeWarner claims that their technicians have solved the problem.

  3. hello jen, please let me know if the resolution fix works for you. i too am using ubuntu 9.10 and the screen is stuck at 800×600.

  4. Hi Ani,
    For now I would live with the 800×600, as I was able to do the kernel mod (see the Update above from Fri 10.29.10) and the resolution was beautiful for about 24 hours and then the kernel mod made the whole Ubuntu install get very unstable to the point where I had to uninstall the whole thing.
    I am going to write up a blog post about it for today and will link it here.

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