Linux on your Gateway Lounge

Discussion in 'Acer (Gateway)' started by Nichod, Jul 10, 2007.

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  1. KingArthur10

    KingArthur10 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Toohyetoreply:
    First off, unless you've got more than 3GB of RAM, I wouldn't recommend the 64-Bit version of Ubuntu. Too many little things don't work with the 64bit version.

    Hibernate and Suspend - With the restricted drivers from ATI, you won't have success with either of these. The most recent ATI drivers (8.1) are better, but still don't reliably bring the computer out of sleep. The best results I've had for hibernate and suspend are with the radeonhd driver under Ubuntu 8.04. Finally, I have a reliable suspend and hibernation function with an ATI card!!!

    Rotation - The current ATI drivers don't support rotation with xrandr, sadly. The same goes for the radeonhd drivers. Neither support rotation, and at least talking to those in the radeonhd IRC guys, it's probably not on the top of the priority list. I really hope this does get developed within the next few months, or I'll never be able to dump Vista......well, I can't dump Vista due to OneNote anyway, but it would be nice to be able to use Ubuntu everywhere not Vista.

    Handwriting - I use cellwriter. It's a great program (in the repositories for 8.04), but it takes a bit to get it trained well. It also has a keyboard function that you can switch to.
     
  2. toohyetoreply

    toohyetoreply Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Damn, I had my hopes up.

    Well, I installed the RadeonHD drivers. And unfortunately, they haven't really fixed anything. I still can't rotate the screen, or sleep/hibernate. It's a little better though, when i press sleep, it at least goes into a sleep mode (it wasn't really doing that before). But it doesn't wake up when I try to turn it back on.

    Now I feel like I'm in a mess. I didn't know that 64bit had problems, I thought it performed better.

    I don't really know what to do now. I wanted this laptop for school, to take notes on and stuff, but also wanted it for general use. I heard a lot of bad things about vista, and it doesn't really have too much software that's compatible with it. Maybe I should install vista anyways. It seems to be my only choice about now.

    I really wanted to avoid using vista though =\. There's really no other way to rotate the screen? I'd be willing to reinstall ubuntu for the newest release to get the sleep working, but if there's no hope in getting the screen to rotate then that pretty much defeats all the purpose of having a tablet in the first place.

    Oh, and also with the new RadeonHD drivers I can't adjust the screen brightness...
     
  3. KingArthur10

    KingArthur10 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Alright......the ability to dim and brighten the screen is finally here (for at least the radeonhd drivers, I have to test them still with the fglrx drivers). ALthough this isn't an elegant solution, it is effective, so give it a try. Hit Ctl-Alt-F8. This will send you to a terminal (don't worry, you're work isn't lost), then you can increase or decrease your brightness at will. Once you reach your desired brightness level, hit Ctl-Alt-F7. This will kick you back to your X session, and the brightness level will stick. I was told by one of the members that this is actually a driver issue, but the reason they don't have it enabled is because they are trying to keep things stable while they develop. It keeps getting pushed under more important things, but they plan to have it reenabled as soon as is practical for them. For the meantime, this method will work. I hope it helps you all. I'll be trying fglrx soon to see if this works on those, too.

    As to the issues with no rotation.....Don't know what to tell ya. It's just something that will come when it comes. It will probably appear from ATI in their fglrx drivers before the open source radeonhd drivers. Hopefully it will appear within the next couple releases for the fglrx driver. ATI is also working hard to get hibernate and suspend to work properly. It's better than it use to be, at least.

    I would recommend having Vista and Ubuntu both for the time being. Tablet functionality just isn't quite there yet on Ubuntu. Hopefully by Ubuntu 8.10, they will have better tablet functions, but who knows until they start drafting ideas.
     
  4. KingArthur10

    KingArthur10 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    FYI, the little screen brightness trick didn't work for me using Ubuntu 7.10 with the restricted drivers. I'll try the newer ATI drivers under 8.04 later today or tomorrow. I can still toggle using Fn+F8, for max and min brightness, though, so not all is lost.
     
  5. toohyetoreply

    toohyetoreply Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Well, I'm using Vista now, and I have to say it isn't toooo bad. I like all the tablet features it has, though I still think Linux is better with anything else.

    Thanks for all the help though.
     
  6. tomtheweirdguy

    tomtheweirdguy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I would just like to throw my opinion of 64 bit operating systems (including Ubuntu) out there. I am a just beginning to program (using Python at the moment) and I have found that all of my math-intensive programs are significantly faster on the 64 bit platform. For example, I wrote a very simple program that calculates the Fibonacci sequence and prints out the number that you request as well as the amount of time it took to calculate that number. On my 32-bit version of Windows, it took 196 seconds to calculate the 1 millionth number in the sequence (my CPU is the C2D T7700). To show that this wasn't a terrible time, my friend ran the same script on his MacBook (similar processor I think, probably T7300 or T7500) and it only took 182 seconds. I installed Windows Vista Business x64 on my second partition and ran the same script (after installing Python of course) and it took 44 seconds to do the same operation. There are other factors that can affect this outcome, such as extra stuff running on my 32 bit installation that is taking CPU time from my script, but not enough to account for the 64 bit version running about 4 times faster than the Mac and 32 bit version of Windows (the 32 and 64 bit versions are on the same hardware).

    My point is that IF you are running a program that is natively 64 bit (was compiled by you or someone else specifically for a 64 bit platform) it has te potential to run significantly faster than its 32 bit counterpart. I really hate hearing people whine that 64 bit stuff doesn't work or is slower than the 32 bit version. Compilers are constantly getting better at making more efficient code, and more programs are being released that take advantage of the benefits of 64 bit processing.
     
  7. IMNOTDRPHIL

    IMNOTDRPHIL Pen Pal - Newbie

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    There are several reasons that might explain that:

    1. There are twice as many general-purpose registers available under 64-bit mode as there are under 16/32-bit mode (16 vs. 8.)
    2. The x86_64 specification includes "extra" instructions such as SSE and SSE2 that are not in the IA32/ix86 specification. Thus your compiler may be using SSE/SSE2 under 64-bit mode and not under 32-bit mode- couple that with the Core 2's very strong SSE performance and that could make a huge difference.
    3. There are twice as many 128-bit SSE registers available in 64-bit mode than in 32-bit mode.
    4. Data can be stored relative to the instruction pointer in 64-bit but not in 32-bit, making 64-bit code potentially faster.

    The problems that most people have is drivers and running some 32-bit programs on 64-bit OSes. Running 32-bit programs on a 64-bit OS requires IA32/ix86 emulation and will most likely be a little slower than running it native on a 32-bit OS. However, you mentioned using Ubuntu. Ubuntu and the other *nixes are almost all GPL or BSD code so people can just grab the source code and recompile for 64-bit. This means that all of your programs and drivers that you had on a 32-bit system are also available *as native 64-bit versions* on the 64-bit OS. Support for 64-bit Windows has improved by leaps and bounds in the last year or so after being horrible for the first couple years. But I'd still recommend a *nix over Windows for somebody wanting to use a 64-bit system because of better 64-bit driver and program availability.
     
  8. tomtheweirdguy

    tomtheweirdguy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Regardless of the reasons for my performance gains, my point still stands that many applications have the potential to see increases in speed when moving to a 64 bit platform. You are quite correct, however, in catching my oversight: most people who experience problems are the folks who don't have a 64 bit driver for particular piece of hardware. Of course, unlike regular programs such as Firefox or PuTTY, drivers can't just be compiled into a 64 bit version, placing the burden of developing compatible drivers on the hardware vendors (or the incredibly talented open source developers, hats off to you ladies and gentlemen).

    As for your insight into the potential reasons for my performance gains, I simply assumed that it was a result of the ability to do integer math further into the sequence. Based on what I know (which is admittedly little) integer math is limited to 2^32-1 (this may be different for other programming languages, I'm referring to Python). In a 64 bit environment, I believe that ceiling increases to 2^64-1, which is obviously quite a bit higher. Beyond this point, Python uses long integers, which I assume are either a floating point number or a combination of 2 or more integers, either of which would take longer to calculate on a CPU than integers. If you could explain this further I would be eternally grateful!

    Do 64 bit linux distros support running 32 bit software in an emulation layer of sorts (like Windows on Windows in the 64 bit versions)? Obviously it's better if you can recompile the source into a 64 bit version of the software, but on occasion the source isn't available, so it would be a nice fallback to have.

    We should probably move this to a new thread rather than making it harder for folks to follow this one, since this has more to do with 64 bit platforms than with linux.
     
  9. IMNOTDRPHIL

    IMNOTDRPHIL Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I am not aware of how Python handles long integers, sorry. The only experience I have is using C, where the maximum integer length does change with the bit width of the processor. However, floating-point numbers are defined by IEEE 754 and as such will behave pretty much the same on all computers due to the FPU being wider (80 bits) than the rest of the processor.

    Yes, they do. Most 64-bit distributions are set up out-of-the-box to handle 32-bit programs. That is called a "multilib" setup as you have both /lib32 and /lib64, with /lib64 linked to /lib. If your distribution cannot execute a 32-bit program, then you just have to install a few ia32-libs packages and it will be set up.
     
  10. KingArthur10

    KingArthur10 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Two reasons to stay away from x64 Ubuntu right now:
    Proprietary drivers
    Proprietary software programs

    For me, it's been a heck of a lot easier to use 32-bit Ubuntu rather than having to mess with half-working programs and workarounds. It's also not fun to tell people who install Ubuntu that they're going to have to do a funky work around for flash in firefox (been there, done that).

    The potential gains with 64-bit ability aren't that great for the average user. Normally, you won't even notice. Now, if you're using math-intensive programs regularly, it's much better to use 64-bit operating systems, but again, other than my specialized astronomy software, I have yet to see benefits to x64 operating systems.

    The only real benefit I've seen from them is the ability to handle more than 3.5GB of RAM. That is food for thought if you want your laptop to use 4GB.
     
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