My old Compaq desktop recently decided that Microsoft Vista was no longer welcome. I mean, Vista just wouldn’t boot. Linux booted fine, but no amount of reinstalls, tweaks, etc. would get Vista going. I needed Vista only for the purpose of running a Microsoft Access database. So, I decided that this was as good of an excuse as I was going to get for buying myself a decent laptop.
I thought I would try to get something with Intel based cpu and graphics, since everything I currently used had older Nvidia graphics, and AMD processors. I just wanted to see how Linux and Intel get along. I should have studied up on things a bit more before buying!
I purchased a used Gateway NV79 from Ebay, with Intel i5 cpu, and ATI Mobility Radeon HD graphics. Windows 7 works beautifully, Linux, not so much…
I tried the following Linux distributions…
Linux Mint 14 64bit Cinnamon: no backlight on monitor after bootup
Siduction 12.2.0 -rc2 64 bit: no backlight on monitor after bootup
OpenSuse 12.2 rc 64 bit: no backlight on monitor after bootup
Antix 12: monitor backlight worked, but wireless network wouldn’t.
Rosa 2012 64 bit: no backlight on monitor after bootup
Kubuntu 13.04 alpha 1 64 bit: no backlight on monitor after bootup
Fedora 18 beta 64 bit: no backlight on monitor after bootup
Chakra 2012.12 64 bit: don’t remember for sure, but I think the monitor worked, but the wireless didn’t.
And FINALLY… I discovered the download for the upcoming Linux Mint 14 KDE version, and… everything works, once it is fully installed. The laptop monitor backlight did NOT work while running from the live-dvd, meaning that I had to shine a flashlight on the monitor to see what was going on during installation. That’s a little tricky… because it’s easy to lose track of your cursor… but once installation was complete, and I rebooted from the hard drive, everything works beautifully. Well… as long as I don’t close the laptop lid. Then the backlight goes off, and I have to get the flashlight and log out of the desktop and log in again, and the backlight comes back on. (Edit, 2/28/13: I’ve since discovered that Ctrl>Alt>backspace, which logs out of KDE, will bring the backlight back on, and allow me to log in and get to work. I am still using this installation, and am quite happy with it, and with the new laptop!)