Sunday, June 4, 2006

Ubuntu

An African word, meaning "humanity to others" or "I am what I am because of who we all are." The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

(from the Ubuntu website)
A suggestion: If you have an older computer around that's not doing much of anything, install Ubuntu. Ubuntu is an operating system, a friendly version of Linux, "Linux for human beings," as the website says, available for free on CDs and as a download. I installed Ubuntu on an old family computer earlier this week, a Gateway laptop with Windows ME (Millennium Edition). Reformatting the hard drive, installing Ubuntu, and installing applications (Firefox, OpenOffice.org, and so on, all packaged with the operating system) took less than an hour and involved nothing more than starting up a CD (yes, just one CD) and responding to a few prompts. Using an online guide, I found an Ubuntu-compatible wireless card and had a wireless connection in roughly another hour (a 45-minute trip to Staples and 10 minutes of trial-and-error entering the network information).

Five years or so ago, I spent several days trying to establish an Ethernet connection with this Windows ME laptop. I had no luck, not even after trying the one network card that Gateway and Microsoft guaranteed to work. I never found anyone else who was able to get a network card to work with Windows ME either. Now, for $34.95 (plus tax) and couple of hours, we have a "new" computer with which we can browse, do e-mail, and create documents that we can open with any of our Windows XP computers. Ubuntu is stylish, fast, and, so far, fool-proof.

[Silent laughter at Microsoft's expense.]

Links

» ubuntu, the word
» Ubuntu, the operating system
» Ubuntu and wireless cards

comments: 2

Marc said...

Ubuntu is great and the latest release, Dapper Drake makes it even better.

I upgraded to Dapper and was pleasantly surprised to find that my system is much more responsive than with Breezy. Firefox seems especially snappier. I really like the new GNOME deskbar applet too.

Genevieve said...

We just installed Ubuntu on an older Gateway that had Win-98SE on it. It runs well and we have it networked to the Win-XP computer.

I had no prior experience with such an installation, but with good instructions from an internet friend, I was able to format the disk, partition it, and install Ubuntu with no problems.

If only we had a better internet connection! In our little corner of rural Kentucky, we still have only dial-up.