Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal
HP Pavilion dv7t
UPDATE (02 MAY 2012): Report on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin here
UPDATE (18 NOVEMBER 2011): Report on Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot here
There are a whole lot of new problems in Ubuntu 11.04 that Ubuntu 10.10 did not have when running on my HP Pavilion dv7 laptop computer.
Recommendation (issued 22 May 2011)
If you feel that the cons of Ubuntu 11.04 (such as increased core temperature, messed-up graphics, increased boot time, missing Compiz effects, and software instability) outnumber the pros (such as Unity, updated software, and new Ubuntu Software Center features), I recommend that you downgrade to either Ubuntu 10.04 or Ubuntu 10.10.
I shall review Ubuntu 11.10 after its release to see if the problems of Ubuntu 11.04 are mitigated.
Finally, everyone should upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 because it is a long-term support release and is unlikely to be buggy like Ubuntu 11.04 is for HP Pavilion dv7 laptops.
What's Wrong Now?
Like I mentioned before, a lot. Here's an incomplete list:
- Graphics Problems
- The ATI/AMD proprietary FGLRX graphics driver worked wonderfully in Ubuntu 10.10, but in Ubuntu 11.04, frame rate is significantly lower. Compiz effects are sluggish. FlightGear Flight Simulator v2.0.0 is not only noticeably slower; it also doesn't work properly.
- Sometimes, when I click on a link, the Mozilla Firefox window opens and there's a gap about 25 pixels high across the screen from the top bar to the rest of the window. The clicking area remains the same although the display has been shifted downward. This also happens in other software, like gedit.
- My screensaver, which is currently Hypertorus, has performance problems, even though it is a simple screensaver that even my 2006 Toshiba Satellite laptop can run beautifully. That's not the main concern, though; sometimes when I try to unlock the computer, the screen freezes along with all the controls of the computer. Processes still run normally, confirmed by continuing a Skype call in the total loss of controls. To resolve, I have to reboot the computer.
- In Ubuntu Classic Desktop, the windows may think that Unity is running and remove the title bar. With other graphics and performance problems, Ubuntu Classic Desktop doesn't feel like GNOME on Ubuntu 10.10.
- Increased Startup Time
- Boot time is significantly higher in Ubuntu 11.04 compared with Ubuntu 10.10. I can now stand up and sit back down and the computer still hasn't started, whereas previously, the login screen loaded much quicker.
- Logging in also seems to take a while longer.
- Normally, this wouldn't bother me much, but compounded with frequent loss-of-control crashing, it gets quite annoying to wait to get back to work.
- Increased Core Temperature
- Ouch, hot! The fan is always spinning at near-full speed, but in Ubuntu 10.10, the fan would only spin like crazy when I was using my laptop intensively. Now, even when my computer is calm, the fan is screeching like a maniac.
- Due to the lack of GNOME panels, I can't conveniently check the core temperature with a widget, but a few days ago, for the first time, my laptop actually overheated. It was sitting on a flat wooden surface, which would have been fine in Ubuntu 10.10, and the screen suddenly flicked off along with the rest of the system.
- Decreased Performance
- I used to be able to compile big programs on all 8 CPUs, run X-Plane 9 and FlightGear 2.0.0 at the same time and set to the highest quality possible, or run 5 VirtualBox operating systems (including Windows Vista) at the same time with no performance problems whatsoever. That was Ubuntu 10.10. In Ubuntu 11.04, I often watch System Monitor to make sure that I'm using less than half my 8 GB of RAM and keep the processors calm.
- The Good Ol' Compiz Effects... Sacrificed!
- I traded my Desktop Cube for Unity. I miss my cube. . 'Nuff said.
- Oh, also, my Wobbly Windows feel like Corn Starch Windows. Graphics performance is poor that dragging windows feels like trying to swim through molasses.
- Slow Software
- Is it me, or are things in general slow to start up? I use Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Skype, GIMP, and more, and all of them seem to be slower than in Ubuntu 10.10. Even Google Chrome doesn't seem up-to-par.
Not only Ubuntu Natty
HP Pavilion laptops have had issues with Ubuntu 10.10 and before. They are well-addressed in this guide.
Here are some problems that everybody can experience:
- Adding Programs to the Launcher
- Have you ever tried adding WINE programs to the launcher? ... Yeah, thought so.
- Panel Widgets
- Why is it so difficult to get my weather indicator?
- Or that indicator with my CPU temperatures?
- Or that CPU clock throttle?
- Or Wanda the Fish?
- The Dash for Slow Typers
- Some people like Unity but don't like the disorganization of piling all the applications onto one page. Typing into a search box feels a lot like way back then when you had to type commands into the console to do anything. I'm fine with it; others might not be.
- "Move to Another Workspace"
- Maximized windows no longer have this feature in Unity. Why?
Just my two cents.
I was well aware of many problems in Ubuntu 11.04's development iterations. Initially, I had thought that, knowing Ubuntu's awesomeness, the problems would be worked out. Nope. Didn't happen.
The only reason now that I use Ubuntu 11.04 is Unity. Unity is amazing, and I sacrificed performance, quality, speed, and more for it.
If anyone has solutions for these issues, please reply and let me know! Ubuntu needs to stay as the best operating system ever, and I don't want problems with an HP Pavilion laptop to hinder my opinion.