Ubuntu? Laptop? Intel Graphics? Speed Boost!

If you’re using the latest version of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope, or version 9.04 and you use a laptop with an Intel graphics chip like I do in my Dell D630 you may have gotten used to to the God awful video performance since you upgraded from the previous release.

I had. I had forgotten that windows aren’t supposed to tear when you drag them, and that yes, the underpowered chipset in my laptop can sort of handle the special effects in Compiz. What changed? The new drivers in 9.04 did. Intel are apparently reshaping how their drivers work but while they do it performance has taken a back seat and is cheerfully swilling on beer while the computer does the heavy lifting up front. (errr)

Anyway, simple way to fix it? Revert to the driver in the previous version of Ubuntu! It’s horribly easy to do. Just follow this guide, update your apt sources, install the old driver and restart X. I did and now I have fancy windows bouncing here, there and everywhere! In fact, my wife used her online O2 account to send a few texts and the confirmation popup window hopped around the screen all on it’s own! Oh how we laughed!

Oh, and for anyone who uses a browser, there’s a really simple way to get a CPU upgrade for free. Download Chrome or Chromium (or for Ubuntu .debs) and give it a whirl. After using Firefox for many years it’s like a breath of fresh air, fast moving air that is as it zips along! OK, it’s not completely bug free. The latest builds have a problem with the “default browser” setting (grab a build from around Sep 4 but the fix will be available soon) but it’s the main browser on my Linux desktop and I love the thing!


Google Chrome on Linux and Mac

Google Chrome, the open source browser that recently made headlines, was unfortunately only released for Windows. Linux and <a href="Mac users were left out in the cold.

It was possibly to get the browser working with Wine, but it wasn’t very stable by all accounts. Thanks to CodeWeavers, they have ported the Chromium browser to Linux and Mac OS X and packaged it ready for download on both systems!

First impressions of the Linux version? For some reason my whole screen goes black while a page is loading or when a new tab is opened. I see this in Vice (The C64 emulator) and any movie player other than mplayer so it’s an issue with my setup, not the browser. The fonts in the url bar suck as well, but I’m sure they can be fixed too. My curiousity is sated. CoveWeavers did a great job, but I’m going back to Firefox. (Via Tom)

So today I am pleased to announce that we have shipped freely available versions of Chromium for both the Mac and Linux. Not only does this give Mac and Linux users a chance to see what all the hype is about, it also lets the world see just how far Wine has come and how powerful it truly can be. In just 11 days, we were able to bring a modern Windows application across to Mac and Linux.