I accidentally tripped and fell yesterday. My hand hit the keyboard along the way, and I accidentally installed Ubuntu on the way down. That’s how easy Ubuntu was to install. It was pretty much the geek equivalent of falling off a log.
Okay, not really, but it was almost that easy. Do you know what my hardest problem was? One minute I was updating security packages after the install, and the next minute the computer was off. “That sucks,” I thought. “Maybe Ubuntu isn’t ready for prime time yet.” Then I noticed that several other things had lost power, including another computer.
And I’m trying to figure out what happened when a sheepish cat walks out from behind the computers. My cat Emmy unplugged a power strip. She does stuff like this. She likes to get into boxes:
And any other nook she can find:
After I figured out that Emmy unplugged my computer, it was a pretty simple install.
Nice Ubuntu surprises:
– Detected an ethernet connection + DHCP and hopped onto the network with no problem. Nice detection of USB keyboard/mouse, and it worked to have both a PS2 and a USB mouse attached at the same time.
– Easily found other computers on the network, including network-attached file servers running Samba.
– When I plugged in an external USB hard drive, it automatically detected and mounted it as “usbdrive,” which is great. And if the hard drive has three partitions, Ubuntu will open up one window for each partition.
– The update manager is really slick. It tells you when to download a security update to a package, and makes it really easy.
– Plenty of command-line binaries (e.g. shred), yet the menus are nicely streamlined.
Some Ubuntu issues:
– Not fully cat-proof. Yanking power to the computer in the middle of updating packages can cause problems.
– Video card/screen resolution detection wasn’t perfect. I’ve got a 24″ Dell screen at home, but the highest screen resolution I was offered was 1024 x 768.
My former Linux machine at home was a Libranet install (much respect to Jon Danzig, who died last year, plus his son Tal and the Libranet team for an awesome Linux distribution). Libranet had several ways to tweak fonts and settings, but it wasn’t fall-off-a-log easy. But after you install Ubuntu, just give EasyUbuntu a try. It installs additional software for things like MP3 and video codecs, nice fonts, and installs binary Nvidia/ATI drivers too.
Recently I’ve been using Ubuntu to pull data off all the hard drives I’ve collected over the years and to put the data in one place. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how polished the distribution is; it’s even nicer than from a few months ago. If you’ve got a computer you can play around with, I’d give Ubuntu a try.