I haven’t used a desktop Linux distribution since a frustrating experience with Ubuntu some time in 2004 or 2005. My lasting memory was of having to load a terminal window not long after installation and fiddle about with various configuration files. Even then things didn’t work too well for me and I was (and still would be) a contended user of Windows XP for my day-to-day computing needs. My working life was firmly focussed on all things Microsoft and Linux was forgotten.
This week, after my long avoidance of desktop Linux, I installed the most recent Ubuntu Desktop LTS edition on a test machine in the office and was very pleasantly surprised. So I decided to give 11.04 at home on a computer that was in need of a XP reinstall.
It installed quickly, runs very responsively and handled all of the hardware right away. Even the wireless networking. Most impressive.
I then took the plunge and installed it on my laptop. Because a reasonable processor and 3GB of RAM doesn’t seem to be enough for Vista. All was going well until I tried to connect to a wireless network and a sense of deja vu kicked in.
Cue Google. Cue the Terminal window. In the end it wasn’t a big deal in the scheme of things. The fourth or fifth possible solution worked. Ubuntu didn’t keel over. I only had to remove some packages, install one new application, download an obsolete driver, install it, protect it from updates and reboot. I’ll put it down as a lucky escape. For Ubuntu that is. I was this close |<–>| to getting rid of it, buying Windows 7 and waiting another six or seven years before I tried again.