Ubuntu Linux includes support for most netbook hardware out of the box. But if you happen to have a computer with Intel GMA 500 graphics, you may run into problems using the latest version of Ubuntu, since Ubuntu 10.04 doesn’t include drivers for that hardware. That’s not to say that drivers aren’t available. They just don’t come preloaded, and configuring them can be a pain in the behind if you’re not an experienced user.

Fortunately, one kind soul has taken it upon himself to create a custom Live CD of Ubuntu 10.04 with support for GMA 500 graphics. Basically, you can download this image, burn it to a disc, and use it to either run Ubuntu 10.04 without installing it to your hard drive, or use it to install the operaitng system on your netbook.

Netbooks and notebooks with GMA 500 graphics including the Sony Vaio P, Acer Aspire One 751, Asus Eee PC 1101HA, Asus Eee PC 1201HA, Asus Eee PC T91MT, Dell Inspiron Mini 12, and Fujitsu u820. The live CD has been tested with all of those models.

There are other ways to essentially get Ubuntu up and running on machines with GMA 500 graphics, such as installing Jolicloud, a custom netbook operating system that’s based on Ubuntu. But if you want the full Ubuntu experience, this may be one of the best options available.

What this Live CD won’t let you do is upgrade a netbook from the last version of Ubuntu to support GMA 500 graphics. If you already have Ubuntu 9.04 installed and want to upgrade, you’ll probably have to do some tinkering to get things working properly.

via GadgetMix

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4 replies on “Custom Ubuntu 10.04 installer with support for Intel GMA 500 graphics”

  1. Wait, What?

    I am using an Acer Aspire 5610Z for the almost year and a half I have used Ubuntu. I never remembered installing any graphic drivers, and compiz works. Although I should note that I upgraded from 9.10 to 10.04 instead of the usual reinstall.

  2. The original Dell Mini 10 (model 1010) also has the Intel GMA 500 chipset. Mine does run Jolicloud well, which I like, but not Ubuntu.

  3. This is great news for anybody who already has a GMA 500 device and wants to install Ubuntu 10.04 from scratch. However, that’s the extent to which this is good news.

    This is clearly a “give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day kind of situation”. There will never be good upgrade paths or long term solutions for the GMA 500 because, unlike the rest of Intel’s graphics chipsets, Intel licenses rather than owns the underlying technology, and there are no open-source drivers. There’s a reason why it’s take sooooo long for somebody to shoehorn the binary blob into an installation ISO of the latest Ubuntu, and that it comes with some pretty big restrictions and known bugs.

    If you’re interested in Linux, avoid GMA 500 / 600 devices. This is sadly ironic because Intel’s MeeGo is intended to run on Intel’s GMA 600. However, it was recently revealed that Intel will be unable to ship the driver for the Intel’s GMA 600 with Intel’s Meego OS. Scratch your head and contemplate that one. If you really want to study this situation’s history or follow it as it develops, the contributors and community at Phoronix are people to listen to on the topic.

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