March 1, 2008

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Ubuntu Again – Day 1

For those playing along at home — yes, I had just installed Windows 2008 on my machine less than a month ago. I got bored and frustrated on Friday with my machine. Mainly frustrated with a CPU stealing glitch. So I decided to install Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on my Dell Latitude D620. I have to say I’m really impressed with how well it worked out of the box. Especially since it is a laptop. All the “normal” problems were not seen what so ever. The Wireless and Ethernet work just fine. The graphics work, and started on the proper 1440×900 screen resolution by default! This makes me very happy since 95% of the time I’ve installed Linux to find it using a default resolution like 1024×768 which doesn’t look very good on wide screen (16:10) monitors. It took me only a few clicks to get all the updates installed and the restricted nVidia drivers put into use (which did require a reboot, but oh well). The only hardware problem I’ve had is the inability to get the external monitor working — but thats not critical. Also I plugged in a USB hard drive which contains my backups and the system threw a fit about the drive not being properly disconnected from windows. I got a pop up box on how to fix it (command line forced mount) but it would be nice if that pop up box had given me the option to force mount — instead of telling me what CLI to do — simply based on user friendliness. That being said, I’ve very pleased with how well everything has been working.

I’ve been using Linux for about 10 years now. The very first version I used was Red Hat 5.2 way back in ‘98. I don’t think I managed to get a functional X server until RH 6.0 to 6.2. Even then it was an 800×600 X server ONLY, no gnome, no KDE. I remember spending entire days digging through RPM dependency hell just to get a single package working. The more complex the software, the longer it would take. Even with DSL. Back then setting up a Linux machine to a working graphical state could take a week or more — sometimes a month of tinkering around, changing x conf files, etc. It is really nice to see the OS that I’ve basically grown up, finally hit a point where almost anyone can install it and start using it immediately.