Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Samsung NC 10 Running Ubuntu Linux 8.10 or Intrepid Ibex

This little marvel runs Ubuntu 8.10 in very much the same way as the Aspire One runs on Hardy Heron. A couple of things need tweaking however.
They are namely;

1. The brightness buttons
2. WiFi
3. The Euro key
4. F5, F8 and F9
5. the headpone port works but fails to silence the internal speakers when headphones are inserted into the 3.5mm jack socket.

What does work:

1. Sound
2. the screen is at its correct resolution of 1024x600
3.internal webcam which the terminal command identifies as made by "Namuga" with the command 'dmidecode' or 'dmesg'
4. the SDHC card reader
5. CPU scaling. The Intel Atom 1.6 GHz supports this under Intrepid Ibex.
6. All three USB 2.0 ports.
7. The Fn buttons F6,F10,F11,F12 and the sleep feature subsumed under the Esc button. The volume buttons also work properly.

Virtual all of my peripherals function perfectly under Intrepid. The compiz 3D desktop works brillianty when extra features are enabled. The graphics card is an Intel 945 GSE with 128MB integrated. The upgradability of the NC10 as opposed to the Acer Aspire One is very, very easy. No need to dismantle the entire encasement to access the SODIMM slot.

The battery power is what everyone seems to be talking about and it is genuinely impressive when compared to the competition at this time.

It is a netbook, and most netbooks use the Atheros 5000 type WiFi card which still does not work out of the box with many Linux distros. To get it to work you open a terminal sudo or log on as root and add the following commands to the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file and add to the end it the following code:

blacklist ath-hal
blacklist ath-pci

Having done that, you'll need to connect to a wired network via your ethernet interface or 3G USB dongle if you have one and enter the following in your terminal as root:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid

Reboot and you're sorted. WiFi is alive and operational. These instructions are to be run at your own risk and I disclaim all responsibility for what follows. It worked for me and I only quote what I have learned from the following site; http://netbook-forums.com

Failing that there's always the Edimax WiFi USB dongle I have mentioned on my earlier blogs which works out of the box and requires no configuration at all with latest Linux kernels i.e. 2.6.24 xxx and beyond.

The Samsung NC 10 is quite frankly the best netbook I have used to date. The battery power is remarkable, the keyboard superb and the design simple but complete.
My only worry is this: the superb keyboard is also coated with Silver Nano (Ag), that is de-ionised water and silver known for its anti-bacterial action. Some specialists ,however, say there are health risks associated with it. See www.nanoaction.org. This is worth bearing in mind.