Ubuntu 12.04 on my Dell Precision M65

After upgrading my Eee PC to Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin", I also upgraded my Dell Precision M65 notebook. Like with my Eee PC, in previous versions little worked: Unreliable suspend, no hibernate, no WiFi, and frequent X freezes. This time though, things have really improved.

For the first time, I got my Broadcom BCM4311 wifi chip working. I had to disable the proprietary driver (Settings, Additional Drivers) and install the b43-fwcutter firmware package though.

To run Unity with acceptable speed, I needed proprietary drivers for my G72GL Nvidia graphics card which I activated via the Additional Drivers menu. I experienced no X freezes so far, which is a good sign. With version 295.40-0ubuntu1 of nvidia-current, suspend started working. Before, I had problems with memory corruption, probably due to a bug in the Nvidia driver. Now, even hibernate worked several times in a row after I managed to enable it. I'm impressed.

Unity works OK on small screens, but on large screens (like my 1920x1200 display), it's simply no good idea to maximize all windows. I use several windows per workspace which means I have to drag the mouse a lot to access the global menu bar. I know you can get your menus back where they belong by uninstalling some packages, but I really think the global menus should be configurable.

I played with the new Gnome Shell, too, but after two freezes within one hour, I went back to Unity. While I was able to configure a fixed number of workspaces using an Add-On, switching to workspaces directly via keyboard shortcuts didn't work. Also, it's not easy to open multiple terminal windows. On the plus side, there was no global application menu.

All in all, things are finally looking up. Unity and the new Gnome Shell still have huge usability issues, but at least hardware support improved a lot.