You’re looking at the default desktop for Ubuntu 9.10 on Nokia’s Booklet 3G, with a running data connection courtesy of my carrier’s SIM card.
If you were following my live blog of the installation on Twitter yesterday you already know how I got here. If you didn’t, it’s all thanks to a nifty little app called Wubi — the Ubuntu installer for Windows.
Rather than installing Ubuntu on a separate partition, Wubi puts all the necessary bits into a single folder on your Windows file system. It’s all quite clever and mostly works — unfortunately the internal link to the latest Netbook Remix was broken. I went with the standard GNOME desktop instead and everything proceeded according to plan.
Once the necessary files were installed I was able to boot into proper Linux without issue. But as you can see above, the Booklet’s native resolution of 1280×720 pixels was not detected by the Intel GMA 500, the onboard graphics processor. There’s an available fix that’s basically a kernel modification and therefore not a trivial thing to install. I’ll assume that it works, as I had already invested a few hours of my time to get to this point.
Carrier data was another matter altogether — getting it up and running was dead simple. After popping my SIM card into a slot beside the largely useless SD reader (see yesterday’s post) I was immediately able to select a mobile broadband connection from Ubuntu’s wireless data drop-down menu. Even better, APN for my carrier was pre-loaded. All I had to do was enter the PIN for my SIM card and I was connected!
Here’s my informal test of download speeds via my SIM. 1.1MB per second is the fastest sustained rate I could get, which seems to jibe with the latest specs for 2.5G data. As my Booklet was obviously made for the UK market the data speeds are likely tied to the absence of North America-specific 850/1900MHz 3G bands on the Booklet’s broadband modem.
If a user wanted to banish Windows from the Booklet’s hard drive altogether there are ways to make that happen. Moving Linux to a dedicated partition on your drive would be the next logical step, as Wubi doesn’t currently support any kind of sleep mode when the Booklet’s lid is closed. On the other hand, if you somehow broke your Ubuntu installation you could log right back into Windows and fix it with Wubi.
Two things are clear from this experience: (1) Nokia made a very poor choice with the GMA 500, and (2) Wubi is a fantastic way to get Linux on your freedom-hating machine.
Coming up tomorrow, another Linux distro and devious workaround for installing Linux… 😎