Very bad status of hardware (especially wifi) support in ubuntu, due to the too many accumulated regressions

Vincenzo Ciancia ciancia at
Mon Nov 10 01:47:58 UTC 2008

> Is there a reason you are running Intrepid and not Hardy, the LTS
> release?
> Also try installing from scratch instead of doing an upgrade.
> HTH,
> Erik

I'd like to run intrepid because it has some nice usability 
improvements, but I don't at all, I use the LTS, because everything is 
broken in intrepid. At the moment actually I use windows, and I am 
waiting for my money to vanish and an external wifi card to appear.

I think I experience so many problems because I really move a lot, 
changing very different networks, I have an 802.11b only laptop at home 
which for intel means "I don't care" and I frequently change laptops 
(don't ask me why I don't know myself). This probably increases my 
probability of meeting a bug. However my laptop used to work in dapper, 
and it does not work at all in intrepid, I can't use it in hardy due to 
this iwl problem in any case. I'd like to see if ipw3945 solves the 
problem but hey, it's not supported and it can't be even compiled (the 
kernel interface I mean) in hardy, because the new driver works oh so well.

So, for the record, here is a list of hardware that was usable in 
dapper, and is not in intrepid:

- vga out (so that at conferences I can show my ubuntu to the world)
- webcams (you know the drill)
- audio input (no idea no clue whatsoever of why)
- tablet secondary and ternary buttons (ok here I am cheating, it is 
difficult but I seem to have understood that there is a way)
- wifi network (since at home I have an 802.11b router)
- hard disk (it would break if I didn't set hdparm -B 200 every 2 
minutes from an init script, since there are too many places, including 
suspend/resume, where that setting may be reset by mistake even if 
laptop mode is enabled etc.etc.).
- bluetooth functionality (is there, but needs code to switch it on, 
which has been broken by a *completely undocumented change of interface)

All these breakages happened in various stages during the various 
releases, so there is no release I could just use (e.g. feisty was nice 
but I couldn't suspend, with 1 hour battery life and system powering off 
suddenly, that is very dangerous). And so on. Instead of improving, it 
goes down and down and down.

 From a release to another, I report bugs, they are fixed after months 
of year, and this may be normal, but in the meantime other stuff breaks.

If you like, I can provide a patch against xorg that selectively 
disables the keyboard on M400 ... in case you need it for jaunty :)

By the ******* way, this laptop will be returned to the university in 
march when I will leave for better places (hopefully) and I will never 
care anymore of it. Will restore windows tablet, and next user will 
likely use windows journal with its wondeful handwriting recognition, 
save its notes in a proprietary format, and give his handouts around 
because microsoft provides a reader for free. As in beer. And as in 
"windows only". I would be disgusted but it's going to end that way. And 
by march, I can now be sure, I will never have had the pleasure to be 
able to say that ubuntu worked well on it, even if I had chosen it by 
carefully looking at each component to check if it was supported, and 

The times are finished, when I could just point my finger to evil 
proprietary drivers. And the worst thing is, that in these years I 
wasted hours reporting every bug I found, and keeping in contact ubuntu 
developers and upstream to maintain xournal in good shape (not that I 
was the only one, it is thanks to many persons that are much better than 
me in patching and bug hunting if hibernate now works properly, screen 
rotation with compiz at least does not hang everything, the tablet works 
after suspend-to-ram, and many other things that a restricted team of 
talented users of laptops similar to mine took care of).

What I wanted to learn by such a Virtuous Conduct, is how to Thank 
Ubuntu for the Good Software that I Receive Every Day. What I am 
probably learning, is to be an atheist also in my virtual life.

Don't do that for me, do that for the sake of letting the very good idea 
of ubuntu survive: start keeping a page of TRULY working hardware, that 
is, hardware that you would let e.g. 10% of your money DEPEND UPON. And 
if the "WIRELESS SUPPORT" section is empty, or will get empty, you will 
be in front of the amazing truth. And please start DELETING stuff from 
that page immediately when users report that they break. So that your 
"WIRELES SUPPORT" section will become empty, and the truth will be there 
with you, again.

If I had ubuntu only, as I was tempted to do many times, during this 
month abroad, I would have spent some 100-150 euros only in phone calls. 
This is more or less the 10% of my monthly income. I could not depend 
upon ubuntu, yet another time. LUCKILY I had windows. How disgusted I am 
to type this, but it is true. I had not rebooted into it for 2 years. 
This happened already other times, e.g. when I first discovered that VGA 
out wasn't going to work before a public presentation, and, NOT WILLING 
to reboot in windows because I felt like my public image would have been 
damaged - after all I have even been paid to implement free software 
once, and I found that job only because I am a free software activist - 
I had to ask another laptop. Since then, the "other laptop" has also 
been windows, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Forgive the second lenghty e-mail of the day.


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