Ubuntu 8.10 Review: Broke but fixed

I have been using Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) since the beginning of December. So, this is a short term review. Although, I don’t think much will change in the long term.

I upgrade via the internet from 8.04. Considering the internet speeds in India, the download took about 6 hours to complete. After the upgrade completed and I rebooted my laptop, I expected 2 things:

  1. The WIFI would be broken… again
  2. Display would be screwed… again

After the laptop came back up again, what do I see? The display is fine! That was a relief!

Put in the username… password… press Enter… afraid to look at the Gnome Network Manager icon… 1 green spot… 1 grey spot… rotating fireball… at least the adapter is still working… and lo and behold… 2 green spots and now… full bars!

Yes, the WIFI wasn’t broken. I was using ndiswrapper in 8.04. I guess nothing in 8.10 broke it. I have however, seen many horror stories on the ubuntu forums. I was prepared for the worst.

I have a dual boot system with Vista Home Basic and Ubuntu. A month after installing 8.10 everything was fine. No problems at all with 8.10. Last week I decided to clean up and formatted the system! Its how I keep myself entertained. Make new partitions, decide the sizes, how much for WinVista, how much for Linux, etc. etc.

Display Problems

So I installed everything again. This time I installed 8.10 from the downloaded CD. I expected the install to be smooth and all the drivers to be detected. I was told that Artheros WIFI cards were better supported in 8.10. So when I got to the login screen, the display was in native and I had to enable the NVidia restricted drivers. That fixed the display problem.


After logging in it was pretty apparent that the WIFI was not going anywhere. So I downloaded ndiswrapper and the requisite XP artheors drivers from their site. Did what I did last time and waited patiently for ndiswrapper to compile. It wouldn’t! I tried and I tried and then gave up. So then I started scouring the forums for help and came across this post on Madwifi.

I have used madwifi before. It was doing duty on 7.10 when I was using that. Then it didn’t work on 8.04 and now I was back to madwifi with 8.10. The post on ubuntuforums worked like a charm and I was able to connect to my home WIFI. The WIFI indicator light doesn’t work with madwifi though. It worked great with ndiswrapper. There is a workaround to get it to work but its not been tested on 8.10. So I will skip it for now. So, WIFI fixed!

That’s how I passed my time over the lasst weekend and it was fun.

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