Now that this whole Ted Stevens thing has simmered down, I can get back to doing what I want to – writing inane stuff that is of interest to few, thus, guaranteeing my spotlight under obscurity. The Joe Piscopo of the blogosphere I will be! (Piscopo really was hilarious.)
For this post I was going to write at length about the adventures in Linux me and my Dell Inspiron 8600 and myself have had over the past two and a half, or so, years. At about my fourth paragraph in of the pithy wit, I read what I wrote and decided to just sum it up in two words – Get Ubuntu.
You can stop reading now if you are looking for my point – you just read it. I am sure the front page articles cycled 20 times on Digg in the last 5 minutes and you missed something. Go there – or if you are still interested, read on.
Most people don’t do this, but I bought the Dell Laptop (and paid the Windows tax – dorks!) with the sole intention of running Linux only on it – no dual booting – dual booting operating systems is unproductive for most people in my opinion. If you can’t do what you want to do with what you are using then why are you using it? “I will make this work, how I want, no matter what, with Linux ,” I said with coffee in one pasty white hand and inhaler in other. And I did.
Cutting to the chase, the path I took was SUSE 9.0 -> SUSE 9.1 -> Knoppix -> Ubuntu 5.04 -> Ubuntu 6.06. All were good, as good as they can be for the time. As you go up the path of installs, tweaking took less and less time but I would be foolish to compare older versions with the newer versions, that is a “duh” – improvements to each distro made each step noticeably better and easier. Ubuntu is usability king now, in my opinion, and I can install the Ubuntu OS with the necessary added pieces (java, flash, et. al) in under two hours of not so intense attention.
Simply, over the last three years, “the Linux” have made major leaps and bounds with hardware compatibility and software choices and software maturity. And Ubuntu Linux has managed to pack all this maturation into one place. The install for the current version of Ubuntu is simpler than both Windows and, dare I say, Macintosh operating systems. Really. You pop in the disk, boot up and what you are looking at is a live, bootable CD that actually lets you test Ubuntu before you even begin to think about installing. This is huge. You can have all the answers as to whether your hardware is compatible before you make the leap. Brilliant. Want to install? Click the “install” icon. Again, brilliant. I have installed it on so may systems that it is rare that it would not work for you. Do give it a try.
As for my Inspiron 8600 – we just got back from a trip to Atlanta and it had no problem using any hotel wifi access points. This, again, is due to the maturity of the OS. There was a time three years ago when it was not so easy getting your wifi hardware working and configured with a Linux distro, ANY Linux distro, was a good three to six hour process of reading forums, trial, and error. And forget about traveling with ease of connecting. Not so any more.
I will give you the huge secrets at the end where I will lay out a three layer process of getting Ubuntu up and running on most system. Don’t tell anyone. They are secrets (easily found, commonly known, secrets. Shhhhhh.)
You can bring old hardware new life with Ubuntu. We have some old Dell laptops, and Transmeta based Compaqs at work and in breaks between projects, I loaded up Ubuntu with the greatest of ease and suddenly what seemed like an old slow bits of trash suddenly were perfectly workable solutions to doing most tasks you need to take on the road.
And now for the three layer process that will take you to Ubuntu nirvana.
1.Download it, boot from it, install it.
2.Install the network-manager. Good for both plugging networks on the fly with out rebooting and wifi.
3.Use Easy Ubuntu or Automatix for to add flash, java and various video pieces. Easy Ubuntu is, well, easier. Automatix is more extensive. Both are good.
In the coming months I am going to replace my old beast of a Mac with a dual core Mac Mini and try Ubuntu on the old beast. It will be “The Battle of the Kernels – micro vs. monolithic.” I have a feeling I know who will win, but keep in mind – I will be writing a post about it on a new Mac Mini. Confused? Stay tuned.