Christmas present

Sweet and sleek. And silent. That about sums up my favorite Christmas present – a Western Digital 80GB external hard drive. I used some money from my parents and grandparents to purchase it on As this is my first experience with them, I was pleased to find the service as good as I had anticipated from hearing about from friends. (ordered 12/27 around 10pm, had it by noon 12/29).

I was able to get it formatted this morning using Windows Disk Manager for lack of anything better. So I now have a ~10 GB unformatted partition for Linux (more on that in a moment), a ~30 GB FAT32 partition for Linux and M$ Windows to share, and a ~40GB NTFS partition for M$ Windows backup purposes.

So now I'm ready to install Linux… sort of. I got the Ubuntu CDs from a guy at school (livecd and install cd) but I'm having a problem with, I'm guessing, x-server configuration. I put the livecd in, went through the all the configuration stuff, and everything looks great until it done and goes into GNOME. Then the screen just flashes like crazy, and it's mostly black. I can't see enough to click anything and Ctrl+Alt+Delete doesn't seem to do anything (not sure if that's even used in linux), so I do a hard power-off (hold power button of my laptop in for 5+ secs).

I did some googling and also some searching at the ubuntu forums, and came up with a couple ideas. I tried the livecd again, and instead of just hitting Enter at the boot promt, I typed in "live-expert" (minus the quotes) and then hit enter. I select the defaults for everything until i get to the x-server configuration. Then instead of the default selected "vesa" driver, i selected "ati" (I have a ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card – it came w/ my laptop), I also changed the default screen resolution from something like 1500×1400 to 1024×768 instead. I select everything else default and this time everything behaves fine… at least at first. The screen doesn't flash and I can see the desktop and everything (why brown?? ugh!!). But then the screen starts acting up, and gets progressively worse. First there's just litte horizontal black and white lines around the edge of the cursor or any open windows, but then it got worse, and the screen started flashing again. I quickly logged out while i could still see enough to do stuff.

So that's where I'm stuck right now. If any of you linux gurus out there have any ideas, leave a comment and let me know. At least for now anyway, I'm stuck with Window$ as my sole OS. I've had similar problems with the Knoppix CD, too.

My system specs if this helps any…

    Thinkpad R40 2723-6XU
    Intel Centrino 1.3 MHz processor
    Windows XP Pro SP2 w/ all the latest drivers and updates (as far as I know)
    256MB RAM
    ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card


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