After playing around with Vista for a couple of days on my new HP dv2899ea Artist Edition Notebook, I had decided it had to go. For starters it had a restore partition that had taken up 12GB and for some reason the actual supposedly fresh installation took up at least twice as much. But I made a set of system recovery discs on just in case if for some reason I decide to install it again. That took about a year and a half to create! (OK, may be it was a little closer to a couple of hours.) What is it with themno longer providing Vista on Discs for consumer PCs? How cheap can they get?
Since I was going to install another OS on it, I thought it would be a good idea to try out a Vista installation from the recovery discs just for comparison. Especially since everyone complains about how difficult it is to install Linux. The process itself wasn’t difficult by any means, but it took forever! Well, just over 45 minutes to merely get Vista onto the Notebook. After that it took a further 15 to 20 minutes for the first-time-login to actually get to a usuable state. I had stopped timing it after the login screen as I didn’t expect this bit to take so long! So much for a scientific comparison…
So, as soon as that was done, in goes the Ubuntu Hardy Heron (v8.04.1) CD. That was just one CD too, unlike Vista’s 3 DVD bonanza! Again, the installation was simple, very similar to a Windows installation with no questions that should appear difficult to anyone who’s used a computer before. In under 30 minutes I had a workable system running Ubuntu, and that included Open Office and a working network/internet connection including WIFI!
But Ubuntu beaing a Debian derivitive doesn’t install non-free software by default. So you you don’t have mp3 and DVD playback out of the box. The solution is dead simple though as described here on the Ubuntu help site. You basically install the
The surprise was that pretty much all the hardware worked immediately with no need to fiddle about with any config files. It was using the nVidia drivers with the correct screen resolution. It found my WLAN/Wifi network and my Bluetooth phone. The webcam also worked straight away. The media buttons also worked, as well as the remote control. I’d expected at least some problems!
I have to admit though, I did kinda cheat. When I was hunting for a laptop, I did deliberately pick a laptop that has Linux compatible innards. But that is becoming more common nowadays, so getting Linux on the desktop (or laptop as it may be) should start getting easier.