Ubuntu, or something else?

Recently at work we gave away a few old desktop set-ups (including monitor, cables, peripherals, etc.). I decided to pick one up, network it, and use it for whatever in the spare office.

I’m trying to decide what OS to use. Looking at few reviews, I think I’m gong to install Ubuntu, but I’m willing to listen to advice to see if others have had experience with different programs out there.

I don’t have much (or any really) experience, with open source, so I’m looking for something pretty easy to use.


If you want to have the full Linux Experience™ while having something “easy” Ubuntu is great, but be warned that if you like it and get used to it, most people switch out Ubuntu for something like Fedora if they use it as their primary operating system (see: this xkcd for a comical take on it).

If, however, you want a “replacement” for Windows (i.e. you don’t want to pay for Windows or are tired of it), and don’t want to dive straight into Linux territory, try Xandros Desktop, which last I checked still costs money, but is much cheaper than Windows (somewhere in the 50-60 dollar range). You could also try Linspire (costs $50), which I hear is a bit more complicated, but has more software supported.

Ubuntu was, hands down, the easiest OS install I ever did. I’ve installed it on 2 machines… one older one, and one that’s pretty new. Both went without a hitch.

What? I’ve never heard of this, and I’d be disinclined to take you at your word. In fact, Ubuntu has a few advantages over Fedora (speaking as someone who used Fedora up through FC4 and Red Hat prior to that):
[li]The package repositories are large, well-maintained, and updated frequently. This is in contrast to Fedora, where I often had to install packages from source and lose the advantages of a package management system.[/li][li]The package management system is pervasive. That means just about all of the low-level configuration is done automatically based on what software you have running. Manual editing of configuration files is very rare unless you’re running a server or doing something else a pure desktop system wouldn’t be doing. Red Hat/Fedora never achieved this in my experience.[/li][li]You can upgrade over the Internet, assuming your connection is fast enough. This means you don’t have to go through the install process ever again: Just tell the computer to upgrade (via a graphical package manager, usually) and wait until the new system has been downloaded and installed. It’s all very automatic.[/li][/ul]I came to Ubuntu via Red Hat, Slackware, Damn Small Linux, and (very briefly) Debian. I really think it hits a good balance between initial ease of use and configurability. Going to Fedora now would seem a distinct step backwards.

As a purely Windows user, I found Ubuntu pretty easy to install. Somewhat easy to configure. Overall it’s a surprisingly polished package, I daresay better than Windows.

I like Ubuntu. If you’re interested in doing any serious network services with it, CentOS is more stable and probably easier to set up as a service host.

Alright then, most people I know switch it out.

I recommend Ubuntu. It’s incredibly easy to use. I even had my mother using it on her old laptop, and she had no problems navigating it, even with her Windows-only (at the time) knowledge of computers.

Looks like I’m going to give it a try tonight. Seems like there are a lot of flavors of it out there. As I’m a windows user, I’m thinking of looking at the kubuntu version…

I guess they’re all free anyway, so if I don’t like it, I’ll just change it out for something else. This is mostly for fun anyway.

So I’ve picked up a box of wine, brought home some CDs from work, and have my laptop here. I’ll try to make this an entertaining thread as I work towards my install.


Almost done with the download (that took awhile, although I suppose it is an OS).

Time to make the CD. The website reccomends burning at a slower speed to make sure there are no errors, so I’ll do that too.

My brother has an old computer that has a spyware/malware infested windows 2000 install on it. I have a copy of WIN 98SE and gave it to him. I don’t think he has any plans on going online with it. I always liked 98SE for what it was worth. I also planned on giving him a disc with Open Office and some other freeware to make it worth his while. I was also thinking of giving him my copy of Morrowind which should be compatible with his computer.

I was also thinking of giving him a copy of Ubuntu, but I have no experience with that OS at all and he liked the idea of running a non-windows based system. He couldn’t play Morrowind with an Ubuntu install however.

I am looking forward to reading your experience with Linux whatami thanks for posting.

I’m glad someone responded. I didn’t want to flood a thread with only my own posts.

Anyway, I got the image downloaded, and then burned to a CD. I put it in the old computer (remember, totally wiped and no intention of partitioning the drive or anything) and hit the space bar.

Do you want to install Kubuntu?
Do you want to look around Kuuntu before installing?
and a couple of other choices…

I choose install, it asked me about 6 questions (Name, region of world, type of keyboard, and name of computer).

Hit the enter key and it’s installing onto the drive now. From what I’ve read, it should take 25-30 minutes or so.

Really surprising how easy it is (so far!).

I’ll let you know how the rest of the install goes in about an hour.

What did you do to “totally wipe” the hard drive? I’ve been wondering how to do this.

I got the computer from work. They had to wipe it (and re-wrte, and wipe a few times I think).

However, the install gives you the option to wipe it all when you run it, or, if you’ve partitioned the drive, to use a certain partition.

I don’t know how to totally wipe the drive, but I’m sure someone could comment on that.

Okay, so after I got it installed, it restarted, kicked out the CD, and there was my desktop. I immediately tried to cruise teh interwebs and wouldn’t you know it… worked great.

So as far as I can tell, it’s installed perfect. Now I need to learn how to actually use it, and if possible, network so I can store files on there (which was my main goal.)

Now for the hard part. I want to network a Windows system, with a Kubuntu system, via the router.

I once spent days and days trying to network a Win2000 and XP system and never could get it to work correctly. I had tried all kinds of things and no matter what I did, it never worked right.

This… I thought for sure I’d be half way through the box of wine and then give up.

I went to google and type in a search phrase “Network Windows and Kubuntu” and the first hit was http://www.kubuntu.org/doc/7.10/network/C/sharing.html

Turned out it took me all of about 5 minutes, by following the instructions. I can now see both computers from both computers.

This is insanely easy with the help that’s out there.

As good a place to ask as anywhere else: Does anybody have any experience with the Dell variant of Ubuntu? When I bought a Dell laptop last fall (an Inspiron 1420 I think?), there was a Dell-exclusive version of Ubuntu 7.06 that included proprietary drivers for some of the hardware on the laptop (but no built-in DVD support). When I tried to upgrade to 7.10, the system went kabonk on me.

Did they ever come up with an updated version of the Dell Ubuntu OS? Could I just install Ubuntu 8.04 (or some other Linux OS) on the laptop, and use the Dell disc image to get the drivers I need? Or does it just behave better with system updates now?

Reason I ask is that my mom has decided she doesn’t need as much laptop as I ended up giving her (with a new factory warranty-provided hard disk with Vista pre-installed after I somehow managed to break the old hard drive by uninstalling Ubuntu), so we’re trading for my humble (and cheaper) Toshiba Satellite L45 with XP, and I’m pretty sure I can do everything in Linux I’m likely to use a laptop for (word processing, reading PDFs and web pages, watching movies, and very light time-killing gaming).

Well, Dell will ship with ubuntu if you order it that way, so there must be something out there.

Even better, this is an ubuntu page for Dell stuff… maybe this would work?

Oooh, Dell Ubuntu 8.04. Seems my Google-fu isn’t only weak, it’s also extraordinarily lazy.

Will poke around to see if I can find an ISO of Dell’s Ubuntu 8.04 (since I already own the laptop and dont’ feel like ordering it again :D)

FreeDOS, also mentioned on that page, sounds promising since I have an old DOS copy of System Shock lying around somewhere. :smiley:

Well, I’m typing this on the kubuntu box, but it wasn’t quite as smooth as I thought on the sharing between this and my XP laptop.

I can see my Windows computer, and get to the root directory (I shared the entire thing for now, until I get it figured out), but when I try to enter a users folder through documents and settings, it asks for a username and password. Since I don’t have any set on windows, I’m not sure what it’s looking for and can’t get in.

In addition, I don’t seem to be able to see the kubuntu box at all from my windows machine. Much searching and tweaking hasn’t gotten me there yet. Hopefully, a little more trial will get me there. Apparently, there are some Samba settings that I don’t have right.

I’ll keep trying and remember that this is for fun and learning… hopefully, this will keep me from taking a hammer to the box.