Ask Ubuntu update for July 2012

Ever since the 12.04 release, Ask Ubuntu has done beyond pulling its own weight. With the site receiving almost 180 questions and about 138,000 visits every day, it might be surprising to see the high level of quality maintained in most of the posts but all thanks should go to the community and the moderators who are working tirelessly to get everything in order.

Highlights of this month:

Hottest questions
Some of the hottest questions for the month of July:

Ask Ubuntu on Google Plus
Ask Ubuntu has a fan page on Google +. People who are active on Google + can circle us there and receive regular updates on interesting and useful content on the site. A circle containing all of our splendid community moderators has been created and shared as well. Feel free to circle them and show your support and appreciation. Another circle containing the top users of Ask Ubuntu is in the works and will be shared shortly once we have finished forming the circle.

Second year anniversary
It’s been two years since Ask Ubuntu first entered the private beta on 28-7-2010. The first question to be asked on the website was George Edison’s How to get the “Your battery is broken” message to go away? Since that remarkable day, over 60,000 questions and 85,000 answers have been posted on the site, making Ask Ubuntu one of the most useful repository of collective knowledge regarding Ubuntu. Join us as we celebrate an important milestone in the history of Ask Ubuntu as we continually transform the site into a great source of information for millions of Ubuntu users across the world.

If you are looking to help, the featured questions should be a good place to start. If you are interested in the site, you can sign up for the newsletter and you will be kept informed of quality questions and answers every week.

In case you are struck and is looking for help on how to use the site, feel free to ask your doubts on the Ask Ubuntu meta or join us in the chat*.

*Requires 20 reputation to participate in the chat.


Test Quantal kernels on Precise

Earlier yesterday, before I upgrade to Quantal, I thought I would test Quantal kernels on Precise to help the Ubuntu Kernel team to provide better hardware support for 12.04. Surprisingly, the entire process was as easy as it ever can be.

I’ll just leave them in point form here. So, if anyone wants to test them, they know what exactly to do.

  • Check the Wiki page for kernel testing.
  • Download the script from the wiki page. Check the modules that you should be testing for.
  • Install the Quantal kernels as per the instructions provided.
  • Add yourself under each relevant kernel module on the Wiki page.
  • Boot into Quantal kernels. Check whether all the hardware is working fine. You can follow the basic instructions provided to guide you on testing.
  • If there are issues, report bugs on Launchpad. If there aren’t any, then report on the QA tracker accordingly.
  • Now pat yourself on your back. You have done the Kernel team a favour.

Don’t buy Dell laptops, really

This comes from someone who bought a Dell laptop (Inspiron 14R N4010) about two years ago. I totally regret buying Dell laptop right now. The hardware starts sucking once you pass the first year mark. The battery got spoilt more than a year ago and recently, the laptop started overheating once I start using the laptop for more than 10 minutes.

The only part that I am relatively satisfactory about Dell is that most components work out of the box with Ubuntu. Initially, I had problems with WiFi drivers in 10.04 and 10.10, but luckily those were sorted once in 11.04 onwards.

However, I still have not gotten my Bluetooth working. Actually, I don’t even remember being able to use Bluetooth in Ubuntu. I am not sure whether it is Dell hardware to be blamed or the Linux kernels but I’ll blame both of them just to be safe. 😉

Anyway, I have developed an immense dislike towards Dell hardware. Add to the fact that I broke my laptop screen last year and it took more than three weeks to get it replaced thanks to the awesome customer support at Dell. And one other thing: One of my friends b0rked his laptop because it ended up overheating to such an extent that BIOS did not even let the computer boot up and I totally don’t want to end up like him.

I know Linux kernels in Ubuntu took a drastic hit in power management since 10.10 onwards, but it still doesn’t mean the batteries can get spoilt to such an extent that it can barely hold power for more than 5 minutes or so. Because of this, my laptop has been effectively reduced to being a mere portable desktop, having to plug in to a power socket if I ever intend to do anything useful or productive.

And, as if the spoilt battery is not enough, now the cooling fans are blazing at full speed for most part of the time. It barely slows down and has been very annoying and worrying at the same time. I even got myself an laptop cooling pad but it doesn’t really help the case. And, don’t tell me it was Unity’s fault for this overheating. The same happens when I am using Unity, GNOME or even Unity-2D. Lubuntu has been somewhat gentler compared to the rest but I don’t like the bluish feel of Lubuntu. 😦 KDE has been somewhat of a compromise between looks and hardware constraints and I have been using it for quite some time now. Though I don’t really like the looks of Qt apps in KDE and I would really like the looks of Gtk apps in GNOME or Unity.

What were we talking about again? Ah, yes. Dell hardware is pathetic. I am looking forward to getting myself a new laptop as soon as possible. Looking at the alternatives, it looks like I’ll get myself a Thinkpad.

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