Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hardy Herons

Not a post for David Attenborough but one about the latest Linux distribution form Ubuntu which continues with the wildlife naming structure. I have a battered corporate lease turn-in Dell on which I had tried unsuccessfully to get a completely operational installation of Windows XP. After hours of playing with WiFi settings to try & get onto my open WiFi network I gave up, went back on the Mac, downloaded Ubuntu & burned an ISO image CD, total time, less than 20 minutes.

I booted the now OS-less Dell to the ISO, followed the very simple on-screen instructions & within 15 minutes, had a fully operational Linux machine, including a large array of business, games & internet software (Firefox 3 for example). The process rivals Apple's OS X for ease & beats it hands down for speed. Upon rebooting the machine it had recognized the WiFi network and was ready to Bluetooth to my phone. It then prompted me to start a seamless upgrade procedure (again, similar to Apple's).

Ah ha I thought, what about my WiFi printer? That'll catch it out! Proved wrong again...a quick search of the Ubuntu help pages & I was printing over my network (btw, kudos to HP for supporting Linux). So less than an hour after beginning the install I had 3 user accounts set up, music playing, IM windows open & a whole host of other operations & software.

In conclusion, this was possibly the most seamless OS install I have ever done. It's nice to see an outdated laptop (P-M 1.8GHz, 512MB RAM, Ubuntu claim reasonable performance down to a 700MHz processor) brought back to fast, efficient & useful service. I think that with Hardy Heron, Linux may well be ready for the average home user!

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