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Old 07-17-2011, 01:16 PM   #1
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to update, or not to update? that is my question...

I'm currently running Ubuntu 9.10 on my HP Pavilion laptop. It's an older laptop (bought it in early 2005) so when I use any newer distro's my Intel chipset doesn't want to support it as far as graphics are concerned. Because of this I don't want to update because I don't feel I'm getting the most that Ubuntu has to offer as far as compiz and things like that. The only problem is I keep getting a pop up saying that my version of Linux is no longer supported and that I should update. Do I have to update? Does anyone suggest I should update? Also, are there any newer distro's of Linux other than Ubuntu that could run on an older laptop like mine? One that would still enable me to use all the functionality but still be able to get all the updates and such? Thanks for any help, I really appreciate it.

Old 07-17-2011, 01:32 PM   #2
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Your hardware really isn't that old, so I'm not sure what the issue there would be. I have run Ubuntu on machines older than that with no problems, certainly.

If it is an issue of the Intel GPU, then you probably just need to figure out the proper drivers to use. What is the specific model?

As for the need to update, as long as you are doing the security updates you don't really need to update the entire system. I don't know off hand if 9.10 is one of their LTS (Long Term Support) versions, so I'm not sure how long the security updates are good for.
Old 07-17-2011, 01:33 PM   #3
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Simple answer: Ubuntu 9.10 is no longer supported, you will get no bugfixes, no security updates and will have problems to run newer software on it. There are plenty of distributions that are specifically aimed at older hardware, but in short: any distro should run when you don't go for the heavy desktop environments like Unity, Gnome or KDE. You can, if you want to stay in the Ubuntu family, use a recent version of Xubuntu or Lubuntu, or you go for a different distro with a more lightweight desktop environment, like XFCE, Enlightenment or LXDE, or some of the many WMs out there, like IceWM, one of the *boxes, JWM or a tiling WM.

So, short version: Use a recent and supported distro.
Old 07-17-2011, 01:35 PM   #4
Wim Sturkenboom
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If you don't update (in your case it's actually referred to as upgrade), you will slowly but surely become vulnerable to more and more vulnerabilities that are discovered and that will not be fixed.

I can not judge the importance of the functionalities that you want (compiz e.g. is not important to me).

But I would upgrade. Without the specs, it's difficult to say if your system will run 10.04; that is a long term support version (LTS) so you don't have to worry about upgrades till april 2013.

Give it a shot and see if it's workable.

Next step could be lubuntu which is lighter on resources; not sure if lubuntu 10.04 is LTS.

And there are plenty of other distros out there for older HW.
Old 07-17-2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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Burn a few Live CD's and test until you find one that works well with your hardware. Here's a good list to get you started:

Just a guess, but sounds like you might want a distro with "long term support" (Ubuntu 10.04, Debian, Slackware, CentOS, etc.) rather than the 18 months a typical Ubuntu release is supported.
Old 07-17-2011, 01:45 PM   #6
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You could also point your browser to and download a handful of liveCD distros (opensuse, knoppix, pclinuxos, etc) and give them a try. Check out their hardware detection and configuration abilities, as well as their graphical apps such as compiz.
Old 07-18-2011, 01:58 AM   #7
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thanks for the help

I've tried xfce (xubuntu) and pclinux, xubuntu gave me some trouble with my wireless card and when fishing through the threads I kept running into using ndiswrapper and then installing the windows driver. I didn't really want to go down that road so I decided to check out pclinix, it was OK but it was having some trouble rendering for my screen size. I'm not sure what was going on there so I didn't get too far into that either. I'm going to try kubuntu 11.04 once the disc burns, but I have tried that before and I was having some issues getting the feel for it. It was more personal preferences though rather than actual hardware/software issues. I figure if I tweak with it long enough, I'll get it to where I like it. Thank you for all the info though, it's been kind of cool checking out all these other distro's. Anyway, til next time...

Old 07-18-2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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My computer came with Ubuntu 8.04 (9.04 was already out, but Dell hadn't updated their image). I'm now running current and it works flawlessly.

Here's the video spec:

Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
I second the suggestion to post your video dip spec. Someone may be able to report whether there are known issues with that chipset.

Last edited by frankbell; 07-18-2011 at 10:20 PM.


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