I finally got around to installing this. Here are the steps involved.

  1. Basic install, reboot, BEEP. As usual, one of my first acts after installing is to blacklist the annoying pcspkr driver.
  2. It used my full 1680×1050 resolution right off the bat, but the non-accelerated driver. Didn’t take me long to find EnvyNG, install it, and run it. Voila! Considering how bad X configuration has always been in the past, this was a pleasant surprise.
  3. Wireless seemed to be working pretty much out of the box (modulo my network-specific configuration), which was another pleasant surprise.
  4. Function keys also worked out of the box too, as did front-panel keys. Sweet.
  5. Suspend/resume seemed to work, albeit slowly (about a minute for the resume). Then I found that my wireless went away. I spent a lot of time figuring out that the b43 driver is a piece of crap. It never survives suspend/resume on its own, so I started writing a script to do it. I eventually had something that would work most of the time, with lots of sleeps and retries and such to work around the various race conditions in b43, only to find that I’d usually lose my connection within a minute anyway. Even when I had a connection, packet-loss rates were awful and performance was abysmal. Much, but not all, of the problem seems to be that this driver refuses to set the transmit power to anything near its full value, so it’s like being at the very edge of my network’s range. I eventually resorted to the tried-and-true combination of ndiswrapper and the Broadcom bcmwl5 NDIS driver, and things are a lot better now.
  6. Firefox 3 is still clearly not done. There’s no excuse for not being able to import a Firefox 2 bookmark file. Apparently somebody did write most of the code, because it gets invoked when you do a version upgrade, but they didn’t hook it up so that it would work for a fresh OS install or any of a hundred utilities that worked with the old format. That’s just a developer being lazy. I downgraded to version 2 until version 3 grows up a bit more.

At this point everything seems to be working, so I’d have to say the install was a success. It’s nice to be up to date again.