Friday, August 15, 2008

It Just Works

I mentioned a few months ago that I had bought a cheap refurbed Gateway desktop to use for playing around with Linux distros. I had briefly loaded a few different ones and had settled on the then-latest Fedora, but then became engrossed in getting JennySlash's laptop, her desktop and a new computer for Dad in shape for them to use. In the meantime, Ubuntu 8.04 came out and I picked up one of the Linux mags with a DVD with both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions. So while I was frantically working last weekend to get ready for the Meadowmont art/craft show in a few weeks, I rather absent-mindedly threw the DVD in on the 64 bit side and let it loose.

After taking all defaults and answering about 3 questions, I had a fully functioning Linux system in about 30 unattended minutes. Holy Crap!!

After I brought it up for the first time, it recognized that there were a bunch of updates it needed, so I told it to go ahead and again left it alone while it downloaded and installed a couple hundred updates, fixes, patches, etc. No problems importing the Firefox bookmarks from my Windows XP laptop. I decided I might want to download the occasional mp3 from Usenet, so did a quick search online for recommendations, hit the add/delete button and installed the Pan newsreader from the repository, gave it the news provider address and it just worked. Decided I might want to do block renaming of photo files or the aforementioned mp3s, did a quick search online for recommendations, hit the add/delete button and installed Pyrenamer. It just worked. I opened up the latest version of GIMP (which of course was preinstalled) and it looks like they've dramatically improved the user interface, but I'll admit that I haven't tried to use it yet.

So far, no driver or compatability problems with sound, video, keyboard, mouse, nothing. It just works.

I've got a lot more to check out - need to go to some favorite websites (I Can Has Cheezburger works just fine!), try burning a CD or DVD, try playing both CDs and DVDs, try ripping CDs, etc. I also haven't set up the email client yet - checking my email via web interfaces so far. But I'm already blown away. Keep your over-priced, proprietary Crapple MacBook - I'm liking Ubuntu!