New Laptop, Windows 8 Gone, Installed Linux Mint 14 Nadia

g580Well I finally took the plunge and purchased a new laptop. I got myself a Lenovo G580 with a B980 PDC CPU sporting 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and more goodies. For the longest time, 10 years, I have either used a build it yourself desktop or a second hand laptop. It has been a long time since last buying new. While I did not go all out and get the latest i7 or i anything, the B980 compared rather well on Intel’s site with their newer and last years models. And as a bonus it sits atop the Sandy bridge giving it an extra punch in the graphics arena. All said and done I am happy with the purchase so far.

As you might be guessing from the post’s title, Windows 8 did not last very long on this machine. :) First priority was to disable the secure boot in the BIOS. And I do not give Lenovo much credit in making this intuitive. Perhaps there is industry pressure not to? We’ll never know for sure. Once in the BIOS you have to enable the legacy boot option and other OS options. This disables the secure boot but does not tell you it does. But upon checking you will find it is disabled after doing this. Save the settings and boot normally. At this point you can boot Windows 8 or your favorite OS. I booted the former. I wanted to see it first hand and I knew there would be an app to register the computer.

After a rather lengthy install process and a video or slide to show you Windows 8, one slide and not helpful at all, you are finally logged in to the desktop. What surprised me right off was I was wired to the network and it would only choose wireless as an option. My second thoughts were how clunky the interface was. Once in an application, which was not an issue, getting out was. No instructions, no pop ups, nothing. I managed to get out eventually and did indeed register the laptop with Lenovo. That is as far as I wanted to go with Windows 8. I have had my experience now.

I replaced the 500GB hard drive with mine, Linux already installed, faster spindle speed (7200rpm) and booted. Linux roared to life as expected. But that is not to say there was not any issues to deal with. Apparently this laptop comes with a newer network chip that does not have a module in the kernel yet. My first thoughts were that I was running the Debian edition of Mint and that the drivers were in the non-free category. I had been planning on installing Mint 14 Nadia since its debut but had not yet given in to the task.After all nothing was broken or anything. I fired up my employers laptop and downloaded the ISO burning it to a thumb drive in short time. Once again the install went off without errors and I was running Nadia in no time.

But the wired network was not working nor was it detected. The command lspci did indeed show the chip set, Ather03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR8162 Fast Ethernet (rev 10), but nothing was happening network wise on it. Enter the best Linux trouble shooter Google and I found the answer here in the Ubuntu forums. There were other posts from Google but this one had the crucial step of installing build-essentials. Without it the fix does not work. I had Ethernet in short order once again. Wireless was functioning but where I live there are so many signals that it is degraded all the time for serious connections. So I prefer wired over wireless right now. It should also be mentioned that the wireless is the famous B43cutter and worked right off the bat. The non-free driver was also available if desired.

So far this setup is doing great and there are not any issues that are deal breakers. My only complaint and I do not yet know if it is the OS or the hardware, is when I go the click something the mouse pointer hides itself. Annoying to say the least. Oh well if that is the worst thing then I have done pretty well.

I should also mention that after setup sound was working, video was set to a good resolution and everything just worked as it should. Nice work to the Ubuntu teams and to Clem and the Mint team for putting this together.

Update: I noticed when changing themes the disappearing cursor is gone. I will have to pay attention to which one it was since I had been switching around on them. This is good to know and I will update again if I notice it.


4 thoughts on “New Laptop, Windows 8 Gone, Installed Linux Mint 14 Nadia

  1. Owen

    Hi, I have just bought the same machine, except mine has an Core i3 processor.

    I’m usually a Debian user but becuase of this new hardware I have been trying Ubuntu and Mint. In Ubuntu 12.10 I can see the network and try to connect but it usually does not connect and when it does it seems to be a dead connection and then is immediately dropped.

    Since the ethernet port is also not supported I have no networking at all!

    1. Please could you tell me the exact steps you followed to get your wireless working?

    2. Also, how is your experience with the wireless since you got it to work.


    1. Jraz Post author

      My wireless was the b43 cutter chipset. With Debian it will be in the non-free repos. The Ubuntu versions installed mine automatically and also offered a non-free driver. No extra steps required. I think this is supported in the 3.x kernels. I am not sure when the support began though. You may need to go with a Windows driver to get started. Can you download from another machine? If so you can do that.

      The wired driver also needs a download. As I pointed out the build-essentials package is necessary too. If you can get connected here are the steps.

      sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic build-essential
      tar -xf compat-wireless-3.5.1-1-snpc.tar.bz2
      cd compat-wireless-3.5.1-1-snpc
      ./scripts/driver-select alx
      sudo make install
      sudo modprobe alx

      Notice the first two commands assume an Internet connection. When the last command finishes, wired access starts almost immediantly. Last point to mention is there are two Atheros chipsets in this category. The alx and the atl1c. See this post on the Linux Foundation if possible. Note they assume you already have the build-essentials packages. Good luck and let us know.

      To ID both chipsets run this command and at the bottom will usually be the network chipsets.


  2. skbhst

    I have the same engine as yours, but only the core i3. I have tried to disable the touchpad with Fn + F6, unfortunately I was not lucky.
    Is the touchpad can be deactivated via the Fn?


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