I loaded the latest version of Ubuntu the other day to my DELL M60 laptop; it’s about 5 years old and it was really struggling with life as a laptop with Windows. I had issues with power, issues with hibernation and issues with staying connected with my wireless router.
I was incurring all these problems and I figured, what the hell, what do I’ve to lose? If I screw it completely up, I’ll just reload Windows and go back to shoveling muck around; just like I was doing before.
If you’ve never loaded Ubuntu before your in for a treat. Ubuntu has this great option, since as far back as I can remember; booting from a LIVE CD. If you’ve never used this before I suggest you at least give it a try. And WHY Microsoft can’t do this- the world may never know.
I downloaded the ISO from Ubuntu and burned off the image to a CD and then I changed the BIOS to boot from a CD; I rebooted and waited.
Ubuntu started. I chose ‘run from CD’ and kept moving on. In just a few minutes, I had an Ubuntu desktop and I had applications I could run and test and muck around with. I just love playing with next settings and programs.
Once in Ubuntu, everything seemed similar, but not Windows; things are not Windows and you’ve remember you’re not in Windows, so don’t put the same expectations there… this is something completely new, but if you can use a mouse and can read… your going to be fine.
After playing with it for a bit, I chose the option to INSTALL UBUNTU; again this is an awesome process. It’s awesome because I’m already in the Operating System, and I’m able to load the Operating System from inside the Operating System- sound right? Sounds weird, and yet it’s ALL RIGHT.
Now Ubuntu is only 650mb on a CD. Windows 7 is like 2.5GB – do you realize Windows 98 was only like 30mb? That’s a big step. More size, more space and more bloat. Sad really, but anyway, the installation is running, it asks a few questions along the way, and in about 20 minutes, the new Operating System is load on my DELL M60 laptop. I’m expecting a ton of issues, with video, wireless, hard drive and maybe some other issues- nope, nothing.
Perfect install; flawless.
Ubuntu picked my optimal desktop resolution, during the installation process I chose the auto-login option [since its just me].
Internet, I’ve to have the Internet… oh the new wireless icon in the top right is there, connect to network- ah! My available networks has picked up my WiFi router! My network connection is available! I’m saved! Double click, connection, enter my pass code and BAM! Connected. I go back to network connections and tell Ubuntu to load this connection each time with the same pass code and auto-login… easy enough… all GUI based.
The network connection cuts out for a bit and then it connects automatically.
My display is a bit fuzzy, so I head up to SYSTEM and choose HARDWARE Drivers; it scans my system and tells me this thing about Nvidia and how they’re sods for not working with them more and do I want to enable these video drivers, I say yes. Ubuntu loads the ‘restricted’ drivers. BAM! I’ve a nice new crystal clear display… but I want more, I want the special effects and desktop gems…
I right-click, desktop properties, effects, I choose the bottom option, give me the ultra bling-bling for desktops- BAM! It’s on baby.
I was very impressed that Ubuntu has no issues what-so-ever with finding my Wireless Epson Artison 800 printer. I went to add printer, search network, it found my Epson and I clicked on it and BAM! it was working. I was thinking for sure I’d have to go through another computer [Windows based] to be able to print. It just worked.
Now, you need to understand that the biggest sell to Windows 7 was the desktop, the Windows and the GUI. Ubuntu has a great desktop; it’s small, compact and powerful. AND it’s replaceable. If you don’t like it, load another. I haven’t done this yet, but it’s something I want to try out in the future.
Firefox is already loaded. I love that browser. I open it up and the first thing I do is start loading my worldly plug-ins- yep the plug-ins you’ve in Firefox in Windows, yep, they work in Ubuntu. I use GMARKs with GOOGLE bookmarks, so I load that, BAM! I’ve all my favorites. Easy Peezy, Lemon Squeezy. All my auto-logins are not there, but I can handle that.
I had some problems with ADOBE FLASH, but those are taken care of…
- One of the most cherished things about Ubuntu is that I’m not running anti-virus… AND I’m not worries about it right now. Because anything major, any major changes to the system have to be approved by me; by entering my password.
- The second thing I love is the Symantic Package Manager; Microsoft sucks in this area. Ubuntu handles updates for the Operating System AND the software packages that are installed as well. Ubuntu just pops up a message and says you’ve updates; you choose okay and they start downloading.
- The third thing I love is the WINE. Ubuntu has a lot of great apps, but some are not as good as others and I’ve some great programs I use in Windows, so I don’t want to leave them. WINE is such a great tool on this point. I use a lot of programs that are stand-alone; meaning I can just copy the folder from A to B and run it and it works- these are the best kinds of programs. You can go in to the Synaptic Manager, search for WINE and install; it take a minute or two and then the installation is complete.Now, when you see a file with an EXE on the end you can right-click and tell Ubuntu to launch it with WINE and wala! Your program will open. Now obviously the more powerful and complex the Windows application, the more you take a chance of it not working in Ubuntu/WINE, but so far for me it’s perfect.
I’ve been running Ubuntu for about two weeks now. I’ve had several update notifications and I haven’t had to reboot yet; the updates just install. My wireless connection is as stable as I’ve ever seen and the desktop is responsive and fun to play with [bouncy Windows]. My wife is also using Ubuntu and she’s able to get around just fine; and this is good cause she’s not a ‘techy’.
So it’s entirely possible to bring an old laptop to life with Ubuntu and if all your using your laptop for is email and browsing; you should really try this and get away from the bloat of Windows.
I think Windows 7 is really good, but an Operating System for free—that’s good too.
Thanks for reading!
Impressions: Working with Ubuntu 9.10
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