Given some of the recent commotion about Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage, and my ever-growing curiosity, I decided to dabble in the world of Linux using Ubuntu, a popular distribution of the operating system.
When I got my new desktop a few months back, I played with a Windows Vista beta by partitioning my hard drive into 2 equal partitions: one booting into Windows XP, one booting into Vista. I figured I’d send the OS’ head-to-head, the winner gets the other’s partition. Not even one day later, I was blowing the Vista partition away, as it wasn’t working with my critical hardware (the music hard drive is really important to me!). Granted it is unfair to compare a production OS to a beta, but the early adopter in me wanted to toy with it.
Side note: This wasn’t the last time I got bit by Vista. Two weeks ago I tried installing the latest public beta on my laptop. It wasn’t even 4 hours later when I ditched that attempt – due to Vista not being able to access the network/Internet (both wired and wireless!). I ended up having to rebuild my laptop, which was a painful blessing.
Realizing that I’m done with Vista for anytime soon, I still have the curiosity bug that needed attention. I decided to let curiosity get the better of me and use my old Vista partition for Ubuntu. 24 hours later, I have been mostly pleased with my experience. The installation went off without any issues. I followed some great video instructions on how to dual boot a machine with Win XP & Ubuntu, and that’s been working great.
The process hasn’t been painless, and I’ve run into a few snags. I went to bed Wednesday night without being able to enable my dual monitors. I spent most of the afternoon trying to figure out how to mount my music drive into Linux. That said, the problems have more to do with my (lack of) understanding in Linux, rather than the OS itself. I would consider myself an intermediate to expert Windows user, and with the trouble I went through with Vista had everything to do with the OS limitations. It’s probably not fair to compare a production-level Linux OS with a beta Windows OS, but for the curiosity’s sake, I’d definitely recommend Ubuntu.
Some web sites that helped my in my Ubuntu quest thus far:
- Tutorial – Spiffing Up Ubuntu 6.06
- How to configure dual monitors with nVidia cards and Linux
- Ubuntu Linux Essentials, 2006 edition [dive into mark]
- Linux Commands
- Ubuntu Dapper – How to install Web Development System