If you've recently bought a laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, the chances are it's running on the Santa Rosa platform. Having wiped off the unfortunate Windows installation, you'll want to install some flavour of linux, such as Ubuntu Feisty. Unfortunately the installation process is not as smooth as you might as expect. In fact, it prooved so troublesome for me that in the end I decided that upgrading to Gutsy would be a better idea. But first I'll talk you through how you can go about getting Feisty installed:

When booting from the Feisty Live CD, the first problem you'll encounter will probably be something like:

/bin/sh: can't access tty: job control turned off

and the OS will not continue to load. I'm not sure on the cause of this, but to get round it hit F6 at the boot menu and append break=top to the list of options. You should then see a slightly different error message, and underneath it you should type:

modprobe piix

The LiveCD should then continue to load the OS. After a minute or so you'll probably see a lovely blue screen with a "Failed to start the X server..." error message. Hit Yes or No (whatever you fancy) and you'll be dumped at the command line where you should type:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure  xserver-xorg

Remember the sudo bit or you'll be reminded that you are not a superuser; no password is required. The Xorg configuration screen will appear and you'll be asked (a lot) of questions. Keep the driver on "vesa" and continue through the questions, providing the default answers. At the bit where it asks you something about monitor config options and gives you the choice of "Simple", "Medium" and "Advanced" I hit Medium and continued through. The vesa driver might not support your resolution if you have a widescreen aspect ratio (1280x800, 1440x900, etc.). Don't worry about this for now and continue. Eventually you'll be dumped back to the command line. Now type:

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

and the Gnome desktop environment should start to load. From here you can perform your installation as required.

When you boot Feisty for the first time you'll notice some more problems, such as the lack of an Intel graphics driver if your laptop uses the onboard Intel GMA965 chip, and non-functional sound & wireless. For me it was the lack of graphics driver that prompted me to upgrade to Gutsy, since the solution for Feisty involved upgrading the kernel to 2.6.22 anyway, which is the kernel version used in Gutsy (see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=494943 for more info). At the time of writing, Gutsy Tribe 5 has just been released and it seems to be stable. You can save yourself a lot of hassle where Santa Rosa is concerned by downloading the tribe 5 live CD which boots with no problems whatsoever for me, including desktop effects, wireless (my laptop has the 4965AGN chip) and sound. If you've already installed feisty you can upgrade to Gutsy by running update-manager -d.


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