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Category Archives: Linux

Before starting off on this journey, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I had installed Ubuntu on my (crappy and old) desktop myself with no problems, so I didn’t see why installing it on a laptop would be any different. It wasn’t until I announced my intention that Paul wondered where I had found a PowerPC version of Ubuntu.

Power what now? I should have realized: it’s a Mac. I was planning on installing off of one of the many Live CDs we have hanging around and upgrading to Hardy Heron.

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So the Xubuntu install is gone. Critical parts of my desktop kept crashing (Thunar), and neither Paul or I could find a fix for it. So off we went in search of something else. I quickly found out that my only options were Mandriva, which I’ve used before as a Live CD on my desktop, Debian, and Yellow Dog Linux.

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I have successfully installed Xubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10 on Paul’s old 12″ iBook G4. Thank goodness he added more RAM when he bought it; I think there’s about 600mb rather than the factory-installed 256.

Let me tell you how much I hate everything to do with PowerPCs; I didn’t even know what they were until this afternoon.

Things went rather smoothly considering at the beginning I couldn’t get the Live CD to boot (you have to hold down “c” during the boot up sequence: who knew), and I have to type in esoteric commands during the boot up.

There are still a number of things that need to be tweaked (booting directly into Xubuntu would be nice), and apparently Flash doesn’t work on the PPC version of Intrepid Ibex; but I now have a pretty decent netbook! Sure, it’s a little slow, and the battery is toast, but these are things that can either be fixed or lived with. Besides, I don’t have a spare $1200 lying around for that Dell XPS that I’ve had my eye on, anyways.

I’m running the Mandriva Spring 2008 (One) Live CD on my Linux box (the one that normally runs Ubuntu). It’s the first time I’ve used KDE.

So far so good…although things generally go well or very badly in the first five minutes….

I forgot how slow live CDs are to boot or do, well, anything.

It doesn’t seem too different from Ubuntu; at this point it’s certainly not worth going through an installation.

(I really just wanted to try out the colour changing desktop. Somehow it’s not as cool as I thought it would be.)

I’ve been doing more reading about UMPCs. In actual fact, I think I’m a little obsessed. I’ve been awaiting the launch of the Dell-E, aka the “mini Inspiron”. It was supposed to launch yesterday, but now I hear it’s going to launch September 4th. For all the excitement around it – rumour is that is has a crappy slow SSD.

I’m leaning towards the EEE pc 1000H. I’m not keen on the SSD’s lifespan and heftier price. I wish the HDD version came with Xandros (it ships with XP) because Ubuntu doesn’t work all that great, even with all the kernel-hacking that’s being done. I’ve been reading about Mandriva, and from what I can understand it has the least amount of issues with the 1000. It works right out of the box for the EEE pc 700/701; the developers just didn’t realize that Asus was going to unleash a billion EEE pc models.

Some thoughts about using Ubuntu as a non-Linux savvy, but comfortable Windows user since I’ve been using it for a week or so (I ran it off of the live disc before the installation on the weekend):

The only thing that didn’t work was my monitor settings. I have a Dell 2005FPW wide-screen LCD monitor. Ubuntu wouldn’t display a resolution above 1280×1024. It was ugly. And I had no way of fixing it myself.

Sure, there were forum posts and articles galore about it, but as an extremely novice user, editing anything by command line is intimidating. (I haven’t covered the command line or terminal in my projects from the book, yet. I think it’s the next chapter). Until a few days ago, I had no idea what a “sudo” command was. Some of you might remember that the only thing a terminal is good for is the “secret internet”.

This is something that would be incredibly frustrating if I didn’t have someone to help me. It even took Paul a number of times to get the right modeline to fix my problem. This is something that would have probably eventually driven me back to Windows.

These are the types of issues that Linux and Ubuntu need to overcome if more users like me are ever going to be convinced to switch.

For the record, the fix is for the Xorg.config file is here. Let me know how it worked for you.

Things have been going very well with Ubuntu. We figured out how to fix the monitor resolution problem, so I can take advantage of my wide screen monitor again. I haven’t had to boot into XP at all.

The best tool for this has been the book Paul got for me, Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Project-Based, Get-Things-Done Guidebook. I can follow along with his projects, and I’m making good progress. The Ubuntu forum has also been a helpful place to lurk. Especially the “Absolute Beginner Talk” area.

I’m happy with my little penguin machine.

I installed Ubuntu on my machine (mostly) by myself…I’m dual-booting with XP for now.

Now I just need to figure out how to get my monitor to have a decent wide-screen resolution.

Like legions of people, I’m going to say “screw you, Microsoft” and switch (back) to Linux.

Some of you may remember back in 2001 or 2002 when I tried out RedHat Linux with less-than-stellar results. I ended up breaking my kernel. I couldn’t install anything on my own. My desktop crashed constantly. And so on. In desperation, I went back to Microsoft. But no more! This time I mean it!

I’m going to go with the Ubuntu, which seems like it can do everything I need it to do. This article is a very in-depth and unbiased account of Ubuntu’s usability.

I’m also going to order this book. Should be helpful.