Ubuntu on a booklet 3G

Ok, so after reading around on the net, it would seem like linux on the Nokia Booklet 3G is a no go, or a complete hassle at best. Mostly due to the GMA500 GPU. Which is a shame, as it’s possibly the best built laptop I’ve used (nicer than my macs).

However, this isn’t the case. I got it working easily enough, Ubuntu 9.10 with hardware accelerated video playback, native resolution, 3G connectivity and sleep/wake. In other words, working perfectly. Most lesser netbooks with the GMA950 will struggle with HD content, due to the lack of HW acceleration for video playback – who said the booklet was underpowered :-)

Lets start with the good stuff, a video showing off playing back a 1080p HD video clip from The Hurt Locker, plus sleeping and waking, on the Nokia Booklet3G in linux (sadly vimeo’s encoding has introduced artefacts in the video – it’s perfect on the booklet):

To test this, I just installed onto a USB stick, as I’ve only got the machine for a trial. So I downloaded the 32bit Ubuntu 9.10 release and installed it onto a USB stick using another ubuntu machine and usb-key-creator, giving it about 512mb extra for storage. A 2gig stick was fine.

Then took some hints (if the script link breaks, check that page) and carried out the following process:

  1. Boot off the USB stick (press F12 when the Booklet starts up).
  2. Enable all the extra repositories in synaptic, and refresh the catalogues.
  3. Install mplayer.
  4. Install mplayer-skins.
  5. wget http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1338581/Gma500/scripts/poulsbo.sh
  6. $ sh ./poulsbo.sh
  7. $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure psb-kernel-source
  8. reboot

Job done. The script also installs a VAAPI build of mplayer, so test playing some HD video like so:

$ mplayer -fs -vo vaapi -va vaapi HDtest.avi > /dev/null

I’m piping the output to null as if it runs behind the video it can cause tearing, try it and see.

3G should just work. Just don’t be hot plugging the SIM card, it doesn’t like that at all! (hard locked the system).

As Adam points out in the comments below, this state of affairs won’t last forever – support will likely be broken in the next major releases. A real shame. Come on Nokia, lean on Intel to sort it out!


10 Responses to “Ubuntu on a booklet 3G”

  1. If you’d read a bit further on my blog, you’d have read about the driver there, I build the packages for Fedora. It’s hardly a perfect solution, however. Especially, no-one’s provided a version for X server 1.7 yet. So it doesn’t work on Fedora 12, and won’t work on Ubuntu 10.04, Mandriva 2010.1 and so on – the next round of major releases except for Fedora (which went to X server 1.7 before the other distros).

    • Ah yes, I did see that – the fact that it’s likely to break in future is a shame. I just linked to your blog as one of the (many) examples I found saying it didn’t work well/easily/at all – I didn’t mean to give the impression it was impossible or something new I was doing (if that’s the impression it gives). I’ll maybe reword the intro a touch… All I’ve done is use the work by yourself and others and write it up.

      It’s a real shame intel/nokia haven’t ensured decent (open) drivers are provided – although intel’s desire to have Meego on netbooks gives me some, slim hope… (and the powervr core on the N900 etc. is in theory similar to the GMA500 one)

  2. […] up to his site’s name, and is Doing Something Differently. He’s made Ubuntu work on his Nokia Booklet 3G by using a USB drive and a whole lot of […]

  3. […] you want to try it with linux, see my guide here: Ubuntu on a booklet 3G How to do something differently… People knock the power saying it's no good at flash – but what with the ipad there's a big move to […]

  4. Just finished installing Ubantu 10.04 on Nokia Booklet and using your script now to install rest of stuff. Support is not removed till now. Good news I guess. Will post soon and will link yours.

    Hot swapping of SIM has to be seen though you mentioned that it doesn’t like that. Any more recommendations to check. Have only one more day with it

  5. Tomas Says:

    Am I the only one here who doesn’t see the script?
    I see you reference a script, and link the to ubuntu wiki with some tips.
    I don’t see anything resembling an actual runable script though.

    • Step 5 is to download the script.

      • Wow, how did I miss that?

        Anyway, I followed the tweaks in the wiki you linked to, everything seems to working nicely on my booklet now. One exception is that in Cheese Photobooth it doesn’t show the webcam output but does manage to take a picture. It’s rare for me to use the webcam though so I’m not particularly bothered about that.

        Did you/anyone test out the GPS?

  6. Well its a very easy shot

    My attempt went very smooth and it worked kind of out of box with some small efforts

  7. usb 3g viettel…

    […]Ubuntu on a booklet 3G « How to do something differently…[…]…

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