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Ubuntu on Acer Aspire 3000 (3003 wlc)

After trying to run Ubuntu 7.10 on Julia’s HP laptop without success, I was happy when it worked effortlessly on another friend’s Acer Aspire 3003wlc laptop.

Acer Aspire 3003wlcThe friend, Erica, has had an unfortunate spate of bad luck with some of her electronic gadgets and following a brief shopping trip we replaced her laptop hard drive which stopped working (literally, hardware malfunction). I pitched Ubuntu to her, she loved the idea and *poof* another Windoze user converted.

Everything is working great, except I can’t get the Compiz effects working.


Destktop effects could not be enabled

I’d like to the get the eye-candy going so she can impress and amaze her friends with her superior operating system, but when I right-click on the desktop, select Change Desktop Background and try to activate the Visual Effects, it gives me an error: Desktop effects could no be enabled.

I had this issue on my desktop computer as well, but I can’t remember how I solved it. I seem to remember having to install some or other *gl* driver, but for the life of me can’t remember.

The Good News

Well, a quick rummage through ubuntuforums.org revealed that if you have either a nVidea or ATI graphics card, you can install nvidia-xgl or xserver-xgl respectively and can get it to work like that.

This explained why both my work and home desktop machines where quick and easy to get working for the tasty effects that the Ubuntu desktop is capable off.

The Bad News

Erica’s Acer Aspire 3003wlc has a SiS (Silicon Integrated Systems) graphics and card, and sis on them for not supporting opensource 3d acceleration under Ubuntu. Microsoft minions; it works with DirectX under Windows.

Although Ubuntu has graphic drivers for SiS cards, the actual chipsets do not support openGL and thus, no fancy effects and no amount of crying or screaming will enable it to do so. It also means that on these cards no Google Earth or any other 3D joys of Ubuntu.

Of course, I didn’t believe it when I read it in this thread, but you only need to Google ‘ubuntu desktop effects sis‘ to find over 11,000 confirmations of the bad news.

Life is tough. It doesn’t have to be. Don’t buy SiS.

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