Long Live Ubuntu?

Amith had been hassling me to install Linux on his ofice laptop for over 6 months now. He is a slightly clued in Windows user and knows how to find his way around if enough pointers are given. He wanted an alternative to windows because he was getting fed up with the instability.

So I pinched the Fedora Core 6 DVD from Atul and attempted to install in a dual boot configuration with Windows. Unfortunately (or should I saw fortunately), the install DVD had IO errors and the process would fail randomly at various stages.

So now it was an SOS call to Avi at 2200 hrs for the next alternative – install Ubuntu 7.0.4 Feisty Fawn.

We slipped in the install CD and let it spin. Within a short 3 minute boot disco, we had a shiny clean GNOME desktop interface with an install icon. Clicked on the install application, did the partition allocation, chose the defaults for everything and completed install. In about 15 minutes we were now dual booting with Windows.

Now I thought the hard part was beginning – setting up the painfull wireless networking (Intel ipw2200 chipset) and getting the audio and video codecs to make everything functional. To my surprise, the NetworkManager applet had already detected and setup the wlan using the proprietory drivers. I only had to type in the WEP key and voila – I was now connected. If this is not cutting edge, what is?

Still shaken from the new found user friendlyness in open source land, I now slipped in a Divx DVD to see what needs to be done to get it to handle multimedia right. Again to my surprise, it fired up Totem and popped up the package installer to install the proprietory gstreamer plugins. 2 minutes later, we were watching videos in full screen.

Hmm… does it do special effects? Located the enable Enable Desktop Effects option in the preferences and we had all the fancy window and desktop animations. I have seen people (so called power users) struggle at work trying to get the wireless and desktop effects work on other Linux distros.

Everything just worked, which is an astonishing feat. I have been using Linux for almost 10 years and this is my first ever time where I did not have to hand fix something to make it work. Ubuntu kicks ass as a desktop OS.

Total times that I had to pop open a terminal with Ubuntu to fix something: 0

/me heads over to to unsubsribe from fedora-devel.

By Shanker Balan

Shanker Balan is a devops and infrastructure freelancer with over 14 years of industry experience in large scale Internet systems. He is available for both short term and long term projects on contract.

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