Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Operation F-Windows Part One

I just fired the first salvo in my “Operation F-Windows” campaign. I have a spare workstation at work and installed Ubuntu Linux (desktop) on it. Although I still cannot recommend Linux for the casual or novice computer user this release of Ubuntu, 6.06 LTS aka “Dapper Drake”, was a completely pain free install for a computer literate person like myself.

The Dapper CD starts a live version of Ubuntu, placing an Install icon on the live desktop. You click the icon to install and go from there. The installation correctly identified all of the hardware on the IBM ThinkCentre model 8183-3U: video and sound are working. I was able to plug in a USB thumb-drive and have it instantly recognized (something you have to do manually in the server version, by the way). The base system has Open Office software and the Firefox Internet browser.

Most users will want all of the goodies for their desktop and browsing experience and the best way to accomplish that is to do Google search on Ubuntu post install script. Easy Ubuntu seems to be a popular one. I opted to do everything manually but will build a script to use for future installations of Ubuntu server and desktop. The post install scripts assist you with getting most common items installed; like video CODECS, CD/DVD recording, Java, Flash player, etc.

Since this workstation will be for development I installed Eclipse from the repository. I also installed Opera 9, my preferred browser.

I have had only one crash since installation. After installing the Firestarter package the machine hard-locked with it's GUI and Firefox loaded. I'm not sure if this is a fluke or a bug. Some of the problems I've had in the past with Ubuntu have been fixed (lock-up with screen saver, GRUB not working, Open Office locking up on large documents).

So far this has been a pleasant experience. The next step is to convert the “family server” at home from Windows 2003 to Ubuntu. The only thing the machine is used for is file sharing, backups, proxy cache for anti-virus files, and the occasional bit torrent; all easily replaced by Samba, squid, and Azureus.

This blog entry was made from that workstation.

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