22 January 2007

Ubantued?

While trying to resurrect an old piece of kit (Dell Latitude 400 MHz) I was very taken by the range of speedy and small Linux distributions that are available, two caught my eye:

Damn Small Linux, which fits a usable range of applications and tools into a 50 Mb footprint.

Puppy Linux, an Australian distribution, and only slightly bigger 84 Mb and with a pleasant interface.

I think that the smaller Linux kits are very appealing, they are a testament to human ingenuity and very usable.

I finally chose the latest OpenSUSE 10.2 distribution, I always liked SUSE, there were plenty of packages, updating applications was easy and it was robust.

Even after Novell took them over I still thought that the SUSE distribution was good. The advent of a community project such as OpenSUSE seem to bode well for Linux.

I was wrong.

Ages back I had some minor configuration problems with Linux 9.0 and wireless networking. I had hoped by now all such problems would be resolved, as much of the wireless networking has been put straight into the 2.6 Kernel. It was an unnecessarily amount of tedious fiddling with the wireless set up again, and again.

Eventually I got bored with OpenSUSE 10.2 and experimented with Ubuntu.

To be honest I never liked Debian Linux (which Ubuntu is based on) after installing it many many years ago, but according to Distowatch Ubuntu is one of the most popular distributions and it seems with good reason.

I was shocked, Ubuntu booted up as a LiveCD after a few minutes and looked perfectly usable, if a bit strange with that sandy coloured background.

Clicking on the Install icon brought up a simple wizard and after six (yes, six) steps it copied itself over to the hard drive in about 50 minutes, which for such a slow machine was good.

Ubuntu made me a believer! I am still tinkering around, but I have found it is fast, usable, has wide support and very popular.

So the product award of the month goes to Ubantu. Oh and did I say it was free, completely free?

2 comments:

anarki said...

I wish I could use Ubuntu, I've spent quite a while playing with it but just cannot get my wireless network working, which renders the whole thing pointless if I can't use the internet. Maybe I didn't spend long enough, but 10 minutes of being in a command line typing "ndiswrapper something something .6/i" is enough to drive anyone crazy.

I try every new release and it hasn't been any better for years, it's pretty annoying.

Josh Scholar said...

It took me a few days to get wireless working on Ubuntu (with 128 bit authentication, using a USB card and everything).

Apparently there is a little checkbox in network wizard, and it doesn't turn on the connection until you check it.

I was used to Windows that automatically logs on the network whether you want it to or not. But that step done, the box checked, and it just works, plug and play and all.

Actually I got it working before I noticed the check box because I realized that editting "etc/network/interfaces" can make it automatic like Windows.