Mandriva 2008 vs Suse 10.3 vs Ubuntu 7.10 on an Averatec 2370

October 31, 2007 at 3:16 pm 16 comments

When I purchased Averatec 2370 last year, I thought I was getting a good deal on an ultra-portable laptop. Two warranty repairs later, I no longer think the same. To pour salt in the wound, Averatec 2370 does not work properly with Vista. Due to a BIOS incompatibility, Vista only runs at the processor’s lowest speed. When I close the laptop lid, the laptop’s screen goes blank and never comes back from sleep. How can anyone claim to be Vista compatible with these problems? Both Averatec and Microsoft should be ashamed! Annoyed, I had a thought; can Linux succeed where Microsoft and Averatec have failed?

I had previously failed to install Linux on the Averatec 2370. The two areas that all distros failed in were the wireless and suspend to RAM. Now that Suse 10.3, Mandriva 2008, and Ubuntu 7.10 have recently been release. It was time to try again.

Unlike the other reviews, I will mostly concentrate on hardware detection and support. Based on past experience, Averatec 2370 is not a particularly Linux friendly machine. What I am interested is to install the Linux on the laptop and have all of the hardware working with a minimum amount of configuration. In all cases, I put in the install CD and default install overwriting everything on the hard disk. I then get access to the internet and do an update.

Mandriva 2008.0 (KDE)

Mandriva installed quickly with a graphical wizard. The distro detected the screen properly and automatically install the Nividia proprietary display driver and offered the choice of none, Metisse, and Compiz. I chose Compiz. The wireless card was detected properly and I was able to select the WPA-PSK options. Unfortunately, the wireless driver did not actually work.

There are two annoying problems with the installer. Some of the screens wizard screens do not have a back button, so if you make a mistake, you cannot go back. When the installer ends, it doesn’t reboot the machine but leaves you at the command line. You have to press CTRL-D to logout (most people will probably just turn off the machine).

When I did reboot the computer, it boots into a blank screen. After playing around, I realized that it’s freezing on the splash screen. Turn off the computer and boot again. When you see the startup menu (grub), press F2 for options and remove from the end of the boot line “vga=788” to get past the splash screen. Next we need to remove the bad vga entry from the boot parameter. Login and click on the Control Center icon at the bottom task bar and click on the Boot tab. Click on the choice “Set up boot system” and wait. Click on the next button. Click on modify button to modify the default grub menu. Expand the Advance options and set the options to 640×480 16 bpp and press OK. Press the finish button and reboot the laptop.

The touchpad was correctly detected, but I could find no GUI option to configure it. I ended up editing the xorg.conf file manually to remove the tap click.

Suspend to RAM and Suspend to Disk both failed. In both cases, suspend were both successful, but when we wake from RAM, we get a blank screen. When the laptop wakes from disk, flicking garbage appears on the screen. The wireless driver was able to connect to a public network, but I was unable to connect to a WPA-PSK router.

All in all, I am impressed by Mandriva but found that the disto isn’t completely compatible with my laptop.

SUSE 10.3 (Gnome)

SUSE is the only distro without a live CD. Unlike Mandriva or Ubuntu, you cannot test the disto on your machine before you install. The installer was easy to follow but took over an hour to install everything. I suspect that it was because it was downloading packages from the net. Installation would probably be faster if I had use the DVD instead of the CD. The installer correctly detected the 1280×800 LCD. The installer initially detected the RT73 wireless card, but the drivers failed so I had no wireless.

After the installation, I attempted to fix the wireless problem but it appears that I would have to download and compile a new drivers. To make things worse, neither suspend to RAM nor suspend to disk works. In either case, the laptop would appear to suspend, only to drop back to the enter password screen. Attempts to run s2ram with different parameters all failed. In each case, suspend is always halted.

The touchpad was correctly detected, but I could not find the configuration screen to turn off the touchpad tap clicking. I ended up editing the xorg.conf file manually to remove the tap click.

Unlike the other two distros, it isn’t quite that easy to install 3D desktop effects. Video files do not play because codec is missing.

All in all, I am not impressed at all with the SUSE 10.3 release. Suse used to be the best distro for laptop because of their laptop management support. It appears that they have fallen way behind the other two distros.

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gnome)

Ubuntu comes on a live CD that you can test before you install. The installer was easy to follow and install the disto quickly. Like the other two distros, the screen was detected correctly at 1280×800. Surprisingly, the wireless worked right out of the box with WPA. On the downside, there is a bit of instability to the wireless drivers. I have had a few cases where the wireless driver lost the connection.

Unlike Mandriva, the proprietary driver is not installed by default. You have to install it using the restricted driver. If you want 3D, you have to go to a different screen to enable it. In this case, you should install the proprietary driver because suspend to ram will not work properly without it.

The touchpad is correctly detected and there is a GUI option to turn off the touchpad tap. The product does not come with any codec, but the OS automatically prompt you to install it if attempt to use a codec that it does not have.

Conclusion

The clear winner is Ubuntu. It is the only distro that seems to work mostly out of the box. It is the only distro where wireless and suspend worked even though I had to install the proprietary driver to get it to work.

I have to admit that Ubuntu has never been my favorite distro. From my point of view, it’s one of the ugliest distros and is heavily hyped. Yet there is substance behind the hype, the distro over the years have always managed to be just a little bit better than its competitor especially in its laptop support. It’s managed to won me over despite my dislike of it.

Note that all distros were much easier to install than Vista. Unlike Linux, I had to search and download drivers from the manufacturer to get Vista to work. Even when all of the drivers were installed, the computer ran at half the clock speed and had broken power management.

Linux is not perfect. There are still some problems, particularly with the wireless. None of the distro have drivers for the modem. The difference between Vista and Linux is that one day; the problems I encountered with my laptop will most likely be fixed. The problems I have with Vista will most likely not be fixed, so I am saying goodbye to Vista on the Averatec 2370.

 

Mandriva 2008 KDE Suse 10.3 Ubuntu 7.10
Dual Core support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Display      
  Detect 1280×800 LCD

Yes

Yes

Yes

  Detect Video card

Yes

Yes

Yes

  3D Desktop effects

Yes

No

Yes

Audio

Yes

Yes

Yes

Touchpad

Yes, but can’t figure out how to turn off tap without editing xorg.conf

Yes, but can’t figure out how to turn off tap without editing xorg.conf

Yes

Power Management      
  Suspend to RAM

No

No

Yes, but only when using Proprietary Nvidia drivers.

  Suspend to Disk

No

No

Yes

Modem

No

No

No

Ethernet

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wireless      
  Public

Yes

Yes

Yes

  WPA-PSK

No

No

Yes

Play Flash

Yes

Yes

Yes, but autodownload of codec was needed.

Play mp3

Yes

Yes

Yes

Play Xvid

Yes

No

Yes, but autodownload of codec was needed.

Play DVD

No

No

No

Advertisements

Entry filed under: linux, ubuntu, Vista.

DTS is ignoring my failure workflow Running Zenwalk as a linux guest on Virtualbox

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jabeez  |  November 1, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    had pretty good luck with Gutsy myself (Kubuntu anyway), although the random wireless disconnects are pretty annoying, I guess I’ll have to go the ndiswrapper route. Out of curiousity a few weeks ago I installed the free Vista upgrade Averatec sent and surprisingly it works pretty well, even with the eye candy turned on. I have noticed lately the fan runs constantly in Vista which drains the battery pretty quick, but other than that I was pretty shocked………….

    Reply
  • 2. paulsiu  |  November 5, 2007 at 11:06 am

    In my case, Vista cause the CPU to downclock to 800 Mhz and there was no way to get it to run at 1.6 Ghz. As a result, my machine ran at half teh speed.

    In addition, there seemed to be a problem with the lid handler. When I have it go to sleep when I close the lid, it works just fine. When I set the action to do nothing, the screen is blank when you close the lid and you can’t get it back (technically, you can just hit sleep and then wake again).

    Reply
  • 3. Oleg  |  November 17, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks

    Reply
  • 4. Doug Lytle  |  November 25, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Mandriva 2008 comes with LinDVD.

    Reply
  • 5. paulsiu  |  November 26, 2007 at 6:12 am

    Lytle,do you need the non-free powerpack to get LinDVD? I just notice that when I run the DVD, it did not decode.

    Reply
  • 6. ~linhead  |  November 28, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    well i could not go through the whole article you put forward but sure did have a look at the comparison table you made. it is interesting to see how you can say that features like suspend to ram and suspend to disk are not there in suse 10.3 when they very much are. also ubuntu does not come preconfigured to play mp3 unlike suse…hmm tho you have mentioned its not but ubuntu does seem like your personal favourite here

    Reply
  • 7. paulsiu  |  November 29, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    The article say “on an Averatec 2370”. This is NOT a general review of the three distro, but how the distro run on Averatec 2370. Suse 10.3 does have suspend to RAM, but it did not work on the Averatec 2370.

    If you have read the article, you would have notice that I don’t particularly like Ubuntu, but installed it because it was the only one that had suspend to RAM on the Averatec 2370.

    I also tried Fedora 8, which I actually liked better than Ubuntu, but unfortunately I was unable to get suspend to ram to work.

    Reply
  • 8. Matt  |  January 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I have an Averatec 3200 series laptop and I have tried almost 35 distros (linux and bsd’s) on this.

    The ones that worked perfectly out of the box (including wireless support) are:
    – Ubuntu Dapper (6.06) and its derivatives
    – Puppy Linux
    – Sam Linux 2007
    – TinyMe (another PCLinuxOs derivative)
    – OpenBSD
    – FreeBSD
    – PCBSD (FreeBSD derivative with KDE)

    I love to use Puppy Linux from livecd because its the fastest on my laptop (with only 512MB RAM) and everything I need – multimedia, wireless, office, internet work extremely well.

    Reply
  • 9. Edward  |  February 24, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    I also made multiple attempts to install linux distros on an Averatec 2370. Ultimatly I tried about seven or eight. For whatever reason my experiences with Ubuntu and Mandriva were the reverse. With Ubuntu neither my internal nor an external wireless was recognized, and (it has been a couple of months) I remember some other problems. With Mandriva the only thing not recognized was the intermal modem, but as far as I can find out there is no version of Linux that is friendly to winmodems. So I ended up with Mandriva. Lately though it has been causing problems. Every time I let it get updates I find that I have more problems, and I’ve decided to try another distro, most likely PSLinuxOS.

    Reply
  • 10. Kiernan  |  February 27, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    All linux will have some DVD support if using VLC Player which can play DVD’s, whether it can play them well depends on the DVD. Also there is a way to configure Ubuntu to play any DVD by configuring it with medibuntu instructions. I enjoy full video support in Miro and VLC, and file suffix is not an issue. Also I watch flash in firefox on wine since adobe’s flash for linux sucks.

    Also am able to play Quake Wars Enemy Territory, a EA Battlefield-like game with world and team VOIP, (with faster inter-game loads on Linux than on Windows) with microphone support and all the settings.

    Wine can be a big addition to linux, it gets you off windows while allowing you to keep applications from the windows platform. The bonus is that you don’t have to keep switching OS’s/software like you do with Microsoft products. I can’t say this about office products which are designed to be incompatible, best to go with OpenOffice.

    Reply
  • 11. Kiernan  |  February 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    BTW, the Quake Wars is a native client supported by ID software, it isn’t running on Wine, the only thing I’ve gotten to run on wine is MAME.

    Reply
  • 12. Kiernan  |  February 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Oops, I’ve gotten lots of stuff to run on wine, only game stuff is mame..

    Reply
  • 13. K° blog» » Recopilacion Ubuntu Vs Suse Vs Fedora  |  May 12, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    […] (la distro sucesora de mandrake) vs ubuntu vs opensuse https://paulsiu.wordpress.com/2007/10/31/mandriva-2008-vs-suse-103-vs-ubuntu-710-on-an-averatec-2370/ (otro caso muy particular, la marca de la notebook me suena a “abarat(a)ec” …) […]

    Reply
  • 14. Dipin Krishna  |  June 27, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Lots of linux tips:

    http://blog.diipnkrishna.info

    Reply
  • 15. jacek  |  April 27, 2010 at 4:08 am

    no play for DVD? – strange, my edition does it. Mandriva2008.0

    Reply
  • 16. AnyDVD Keygen  |  December 4, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you get entry to consistently rapidly.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

October 2007
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Most Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: