Linux on a Gateway Solo 450

Last updated July 7, 2008.

I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 (also know as Hardy Heron) after umpteen years of running Fedora Core 3. I wasn't going to bother upgrading this machine any more since I'm planning to get a new one Real Soon Now, but circumstances intervened -- I needed some functionality that just wasn't working on FC3, and I needed it now. So I bit the bullet and installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu (backed up all of my data first, of course, and in the process discovered gigabytes of stuff I Just Didn't Need. Nothing like a good disk wipe to help with the housecleaning).

Notes on previous installations are here, but I notice in looking at them that there have been lots of changes since I last updated them. In the first place, I now have an 80GB hard drive with the partitioning split just about evenly between Windows XP and Linux. Also, at some point I upgraded to FC3, but I see that I didn't bother to document the upgrade -- which probably means that the upgrade was relatively painless.

One advantage of Ubuntu over older installations is that you can run the "LiveCD" version off the installation disk before you go and actually do an installation. By doing this I was able to tell that all the pieces of hardware I was really interested in were going to work -- networking, display, wireless, touchpad, etc.

Another advantage of Ubuntu over older installations (or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it) is that the installation fits on one CD -- only the most basic functionality is installed from the CD. The rest is installed over the InterWebs during installation, or after installation, or in many cases not installed at all. This may sound like a pain, but it turns out not to be that bad -- one of the nice features is that if you type a command in a shell prompt it will tell you that it can't find it and give you the command to download it and install it. I don't know who thought of that feature but it's pretty slick, especially for us command-line types. Barring this, the Synaptics package manager is fairly straightfoward. Barring that, it's fairly easy to find the name of the package you're looking for by searching the web. When I first started with this notebook that sort of support wasn't really available.

Things that work:

Things I haven't checked yet:


Tips and Tricks

Basic Hardware Specs (see also the Gateway 450 specs page)

Processor: 1.4 GHz Mobile Pentium 4
Memory: 256MB DDR SDRAM
Hard Drive: 60GB
Video: ATI Radeon Mobility M6 w/ 32MB DDRAM
Display: 15 inch XGA (1024x768) TFT 32-bit
CD-ROM: modular 8x/8x/24x CDRW / 8x DVD Combo

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Copyright © 2008 David W. Strauss