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