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I put Ubuntu 10.04 on a Dell XPS laptop on Friday. All weekend I’ve put it through the paces on general computing, mobility, battery life, software installs, programming tasks, and everything else to test whether I can use it on a daily basis.

Good news! I can!

It might be the very first Linux distro and version I’ve been able to completely use out of the box without doing a single compile of a driver or essential software package.

From WiFi to backlit keyboard to stand by mode to webcam and skype calls to long painful ATI 3d drivers. It all works.

Even better… the darn thing is very “pretty”. I love the integrated mail, chat and social stream into the desktop alerts. I love the new default visual styles. I love the Ubuntu Software Center.

On a very nerdy note I was delighted that the Eclipse package is finally up to the latest for Ubuntu in the officially support repository. I hate when I have to go do something special for a decidedly popular piece of software.

Now I still don’t think the basic PC user should bust out Linux. There’s still enough that CAN go wrong and when it does they will be lost or calling a pro. It pains me to say that, but it’s the same way I feel about phones, cars, TVs… if you’re mainstream, stick to mainstream stuff where the support will be easier and cheaper and more standard.

Linux or not… this is a freaking sweet release. You gotta love great software no matter your brand preference.

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Yeah, baby.  Got my new DELL Studio XPS working with my Blackberry Storm.  A little bit of futzing and now I’m blogging from verizon 3g.

Note: Dell Studio XPS from Best Buy does not have Bluetooth enabled.  You have to use USB.  Doesn’t matter that’s really the only way to go with tethering as BT drains the battery…

Here’s how to do this:

Get barry from Net Direct.

(there’s an ubuntu binary package, they link to the repository.  just add it to synaptic and you can get all of barry)

once you get barry installed.  edit /etc/ppp/peers/barry-verizon.

just change the top part for user and password:

user “<yournumber>@vzw3g.com”

password “vzw”

and at the bottom with the pty line:

pty “/usr/sbin/pppob -P <devicepassword>”

If you didn’t set a password in your Options > security on your storm, you need to do that.

save your edits.

connect your blackberry.  when it prompts for mass mode, if it does. select YES.

go to command line and type: btools -l   if your Storm is listed, great.  if not, something is wrong.

if it’s connected, now you can connect to the interwebs:

sudo pppd call barry-verizon

This should work on all ubuntu 9.04 installs, not just DELL studio laptops.  I point out the DELL thing only because sometimes people search that way and sometimes there are weird things that you look for by model…

Speeds are really good with tethering this.

Also, I have to point out that the DELL XPS laptop is great with ubuntu.  Easy install.  only thing I’m futzing with is hibernate.  Everything else works out of the box.

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[UPDATE July 2009:  I have a mini guide just posted for ubuntu 9.04.]

Original post:

Here’s a better way to tether your blackberry on Linux.

Much easier.  Much more robust.

Good job, Net Direct! Link to their Barry page…

This is a follow up to my earlier, more primitive effort with my Storm and Ubuntu 8.10.

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