So, I was a bit unfortunate to spill a cup of tea in my old laptop. Fortunately, I discovered the thing had full insurance, which means I’m now the happy owner of a brand-new Toshiba L40-10Q (at no charge!).
As the laptop was in for repairs (I wasn’t sure whether the thing was unfit for repair, or if they would repair it and ship it back to me), I was going over the range offered by the store to see what would suit me best (and at a similar price of the old one).
I found what seemed like a decent laptop, the Toshiba Satellite L40-10Q, which had a dual-core processor, an Intel chipset, on-board Intel graphics (GMA950) and a gig of RAM.
When I received note that the laptop would be too expensive to repair, I went directly into the store and spoke to the manager—great guy; even offered me a job. Full-time, unfortunately.
Anyway; he let me put in the LiveCD, which I played with for a bit. My initial impressions were mostly wow and sweet: the 1280×800 resolution worked out of the box, it was incredibly fast.
I noticed a loud high-pitched note when I started machine, but didn’t take further note of it. I couldn’t use my wireless, either—despite the Atheros HAL module being listed as installed and in use in the restricted modules dialogue.
I took the laptop home, installed Ubuntu, and after searching the internet for 2 hours, compiled the madwifi module properly and got it working (with a bit of help from #madwifi and the MadWifi bug tracker).
However, the loud-pitched noise was still present every time ALSA attempted to play sound; I figured it was a bad module and re-compiled it. No cigar.
I spent around 5 hours searching the internet, asking in #alsa and searching the ALSA website. I eventually concluded it must be a bug, and reported the issue on the ALSA bug tracker. Today, I got a reply from someone, and to my joy, it worked—I no longer have a high-pitched noise when attempting to play music. In fact, I’m listening to my music in Banshee right now with no issues whatsoever!
I’ve had a few minor issues with the install; most notable is the lack of ability to use the Fn+F6/F7 keys to adjust the brightness of the screen, making it slightly dark. This is not a major issue, and I could easily live without, despite being completely certain this’ll be fixed at some point.
Update: I’ve now installed Hardy (the development branch of Ubuntu) on the laptop, and on this, sound works out of the box (I haven’t rebooted. It may die when I do; I’ve seen this happening on Feisty…) and my brightness modifiers work! Amazing.
Lasse Havelund on December 19th, 2007