Ubuntu Any Day

WARNING: Hardcore geekiness ahead!

Several months back, I built a new computer because the one we had was extremely slow, especially for the photo-processing and drawing programs that Anya was trying to run. The computer that I was replacing was a cheap $300 computer which I had purchased just after my mission. To say the least, it was time for something new. Well, being a computer geek, I wasn't about to get rid of that old computer.

What did I do with it?

First off, I installed a fresh blank copy of Windows XP. I put a few programs on there, and that was that. I also put a couple of games on there (Diablo and Starcraft). For a few weeks I was playing a lot of games but I got tired of that after a while.

Next I put on a copy of Ubuntu as a dual-boot. What does that mean? Basically, I could start my computer into Ubuntu or Windows. If you don't know what Ubuntu is, then you are like a lot of people out there. Ubuntu is a free Operating System that is based off of Linux. Linux is that ugly command line:

Fast forward several months to today and you'll find that I have booted Windows on that machine for at least 6 months and I've been thinking as of late that I really want to just get rid of Windows on it completely. Here are just a few of the things that I love about Ubuntu:

  • It's fast. I mean it is really fast compared to any of my windows machines.
  • It's lightweight. You can run Ubuntu on practically nothing. You can actually boot Ubuntu up from a thumb/usb drive and not install anything. Obviously you lose any changes or customizations that you make, but it is a fun way to try it out.
  • It's got cool graphics. That's right. Check out this video of some of the fun things that Ubuntu does:
  • Recognizes everything and gets everywhere. I can plug anything into it and it always recognizes it. I don't have to install any drivers and watch any annoying balloons. It just works. Not too mention the fact that I can get anywhere on my network. With Windows I can't find anything (a printer on my network for example doesn't show up half the time in Windows, but is always found by my Ubuntu machine).
  • It just feels more natural to use it. I can't really explain this one. You just have to use it.
  • FREE! And FREE programs for everything.

If you have never used Ubuntu, you definitely need to check it out. There are two ways to do so.

1. As I mentioned above, download a copy of the latest version and put it on a CD or USB drive. You can then restart your computer and work from that without even installing anything on your computer. Obviously this is kind of a pain because you can't save anything.

2. Install it as a Virtual Machine. This is actually really easy and something that I recently did on my work laptop as I needed a linux environment to test some different commands out on. Here is the quick run down:
- Download VirtualBox.
- Install VirtualBox.
- Download Ubuntu.
- Run VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine.
I know it sounds scary, but it's really not and really easy. Here are the instructions I followed.

Running Ubuntu 10.04 as a virtual machine on Windows.

The next computer I have for myself will have Ubuntu as it's base operating system with Windows as a virtual machine. I would much rather work in the Linux environment than in the Windows envrionment. Definitely check it out.

Oh yeah, the biggest downside of Ubuntu is that there are some things that don't support it. The biggest thing is my Nokia phone. Nokia is a Windows shop. I blame them.


Bradwich said...

One of the big things holding me back from making the dual-boot jump is that I'm running on a laptop. Most of the distros that I've seen (or at least this is the word round the 'net) don't have drivers for wifi cards, and I'm too lazy to hook up my machine via hardline to the modem. Any comments?

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JC said...

Have you tried booting up to Ubuntu off a thumb drive or CD? I don't have the problem because I have it on my computer and from what I understand about the virtual machine setup (which is on my laptop), the program somehow handles the internet forwarding, but I could be wrong.

Also, check for your wifi card here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/WirelessCardsSupported

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JC said...

Should be more specific - my desktop at home is plugged into my router. It doesn't have wifi, so I can't test it there. Definitely check the list of wifi cards I posted above though.

JC's picture

JC said...

So, after your question and my comments, I decided to test out my suggestion. I downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu, through it on a flash drive, and then booted up Linux. It recognized my wireless card with no problem. I am making this comment from my uninstalled version of Ubuntu (running off the USB drive). Try it. It is pretty slick. Hopefully it works.

tysqui said...

I used Ubuntu for a couple of years both dual-booting my laptop and as a virtual machine using VMware. But at the time (from Ubuntu version 5 to Ubuntu version 8), I could hardly get anything to work - including my wireless card - which finally made me give up on it. As I've already lost dozens and dozens of hours of my life over a period of a couple of years, I'm pretty hesitant to jump in again anytime soon. I do miss the worm game though...

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JC said...

That surprises me Tyler (although I didn't get on Ubuntu until 9.10) but I've heard that it's gotten much better lately. I was once again reminded of why I Windows is crappy this weekend after two events:

1) Google stops using Windows due to security issues.

2) Two of our computers were hit with a nasty "Antispware Soft" virus that was pretty tough to get rid of.

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JC said...

Tyler, I have never used VMWare, but I am just now noticing that Virtualbox forwards the internet on as if hardwired. Not sure what other issues you were having with Ubuntu though.