Dell ships Ubuntu pre-installed

mark_01may2007.jpgAn exciting day.  Dell is shipping Linux PCs.  Here’s a write up of Mark Shuttleworth talking about the move.  He’s a major smoothie if you watch the video. I just love the way he avoids the use of the word ‘Microsoft’. He he.

I reckon it mightn’t be long now before Linux becomes a serious desktop competitor.  We really need a bit of improvement in some major apps – word processing, email, calendars and I’m in.  Then I’ll get a whole bunch of new problems to cope with.

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Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

I very nearly decided to install Ubuntu on the box I’m using to write this – but I’m sticking to plan, and going the Debian route, because I had it all worked out and changing horses in mid-stream would just defer the period of improved personal productivity and wealth creation Debian is supposed to usher in.

This makes it stupidly easy to install and update software. If only configuring it was as easy.

Just goes to firm up the selection of Debian, for me. I’ve already done quite enough buggerizing around trying to configure a Samba server, home LAN and other stuff on an incomplete “Core” commercial distribution (well, two incomplete commercial distros actually). I sort of suspected that Ubuntu’s separation of the distributions into Server/Desktop versions might lead to a bit of aggro.

As for apps – I’ve learnt to get along with the Open Office word processor just fine, Thunderbird is satisfactory for E-Mail and I don’t use calendars much.

There’s a Windows box sitting on the floor next to the Linux box – it hasn’t been turned on in two weeks. But then it is running XP and the old Word (2003?). I only keep it around for the one or two legacy apps that won’t run on Linux – like Internet Explorer. I’ll need a working copy of that when I get around to doing web-stuff again.

patrickg
14 years ago

I’m reading this on an Ubuntu machine right now, I think Linux is the bomb.

That said, I still think a few things need changes before it’s ready for the main, mainstream. A simple example: folder names. THey don’t make a lick of sense in Ubuntu after an XP machine. WIth windows, you can take a pretty accurate guess as to what a folder will contain, based on its name; no such luck in Ubuntu. “etc” “Dev” wtf??

Other than that, I have been pleasantly surprised with the relatively small amount of work involved with this OS. The terminal is like a better version of command prompt.

Amanda
14 years ago

While we’re on the topic … is anyone using IE 7 right now? I’d like someone to look at a site I’m working on to see what atrocities IE has inflicted on it.

I have Firefox and Safari on my Mac at home but IE 6 on the Windows box at work and I’d like to see if the problems it has are duplicated on the newer version.

ta!

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

“Dev”? Never seen that one. But once you get used to the idea that your first hard drive is /dev/hda, your next /dev/hdb and then you’re into /dev/hdb1+ (or something like that – when I need to know what’s in dev, I look it up in a book or a man page) the antiquated DOS idea of a “C-DRIVE” starts to look a bit quaint (and rather silly once you run out of letters of the alphabet).

Linux’ history is as a port of a commercial system, developed for installations with masses of storage and large numbers of users to the PC. Windows started out as a GUI wrapper round an operating system (DOS) developed for computer hobbyists, that was bought by Bill Gates and on-sold to IBM and a lot of the features that seem to make sense hide a lot of features by “design” (the in-house division of Microsoft with special responsibility for writing egregious bugs into the software) that used to make sense when a DOS box only had to load one program at a time and that program would have the whole thing to itself.

How did Microsoft achieve its dominance of the desktop? Let’s not go there – but it wasn’t all better marketing.

dr faustus
14 years ago

I ran Debian as my primary desktop from Hamm through Sarge, and loved every minute of it. Mind you this was before OpenOffice, but a few versions of WordPerfect for Linux were released by Corel, so it was possible to get a few things done (and mutt is the one true email client).

That said, I eventually got sick of waiting for Debian (and Linux in general) to catch up. Sure, it was powerful and slick and ran like a dream on mediocre hardware, but as a desktop it just eventually wore me out. For a server, a Debian-based OS is still a dream to administer and upgrade (especially a remote one over SSH). I haven’t tried Ubuntu on the desktop, but maybe one day I’ll load it into a virtual machine to check it out. It certainly has the mindshare these days.

These days I use a Mac. Beautiful interface over the top, and Unixy goodness like a proper shell (zsh rulez!) and X11 lingering just out of sight until you need them. And everything Just Works™. (And scary folders like /etc and /dev, which normal users have no place poking around in anyway, are all present, but safely hidden away.)

I still love Linux – I just don’t have the patience and need for it these days.

(Apologies to those for whom that post made no sense at all, but it’s not very often I get to be a Unix geek these days).

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

scary folders like /etc and /dev, which normal users have no place poking around in anyway, are all present, but safely hidden away.

Well, for most purposes, I stay away from them. I got along quite nicely with RedHat 7.3 on pretty much that basis.

Best RedHat moment ever? Replacing a PC that had died with a (slightly more powerful) second hand junker bought off the internet. Took the hard-drive out of the old, dead box, strapped it up to the new motherboard and booted it up.

Boot, boot, boot – Kudzu has detected new hardware. Did I want to configure it? Damn straight I did. About half an hour later, I was up and running. My housemate who bought an identical machine as a new Windows box spent a week on the whole back-up, reformat, re-install and apply all the Woody’s fixes routine.

Then, another new machine later, I switched to Fedora, and lost use of the sound-card. No biggie – I want music, I’ve got a CD player. But I’ve got two bloody USB ports I can’t access for sneaker-net file transfers and a growing list of other irritations. And the whole Mandrake/Fedora dual boot lash-up is getting to be a bit of a drag (with Mandrake I get the sound card, and the USB memory sticks but no Samba; with Fedora I get Samba, but only for accessing the Windows box from Linux – that’s a configuration problem in /etc/…/samba.conf I’m still working through).

But hey, enough bitching – give me /etc over the Windows registry any day!

Ken Parish
Admin
14 years ago

Reading this thread is a bit like watching Revenge of the Nerds

David Rubie
David Rubie
14 years ago

I’m not sure about the desktop takeover. My old Fedora box is much more of a server (although it does double duty). There has been a slow tendency in our house to use devices that use the Fedora box for services, and the devices have become specialised. As an example, there’s a network media player in the lounge that we use to watch TV coming out of the fedora box. There are MP3 players of various kinds we update from it. For ordinary use (email/word/web) there’s nothing to choose between Fedora and Windows (thunderbird/firefox runs on both of them) but the thing that will prove the tipping point in my house is games. It’s the damn games that are the only thing stopping me from re-formatting the XP partition, kids games mostly, but I do like to fire up Deus Ex and have it work properly.

patrickg
14 years ago

I feel duty bound to point out there are tonnes of fabulous other distros out there, too.

Elive is beautiful and fast, Mandriva very user friendly and Suse stable as a rock, etc. etc.

Distrowatch is the place to be.

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

It’s not that difficult Nick. The whole process of picking the best OS for you boils down to six simple steps.

1. Select the options you’re going to consider – e.g. Fedora v Mandrake v Mandriva v Ubuntu (that’s actually one too many, in my book – three options is quite enough to deal with).

2. Ignore every helpful suggestion for other options you might consider (all the other distros out there) and get it down to your one, best option.

3. Plan how you’re going to put your choice into effect.

4. Now plan it out again.

5. Carry out the plan.

6. Shreik “Bloody Hell! It’s all gone pear-shaped yet again!” and go find something other than the PC to kick the crap out of. Preferably something inanimate.

And on the subject of whether we could trust gummint to dole out the money to the right people and deliver a publicly funded solution – well, maybe the problem there is that we’re hopeless at picking trustworthy gummints.

On the basis of a quick think over the history, I’d say we have a pretty appalling record when it comes to picking governments that can handle communications and IT issues.

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Francis Xavier Holden
14 years ago

One way to try out Linux without any pain at all is to run it from a LIVE CD (or DVD)

That is the program doesn’t install but runs entirely from the CD drive and in most cases will auto detect everything net connection, usb etc. Comes with Open Office and browsers and email and other stuff.

I’ve used KNOPPIX in the past and it was good. I think MEPIS was the simplest to run and use.

Just download the ISO from the net and burn it to a CD, insert in drive and away you go. [set pc to boot from cd first] . The more RAM the better. If you get sick of it just power pc down and reboot to windows.

It useful if windows crashes or borks or a HD fail then you can use it to reboot and look at your discs and save stuff by emailing it out or saving it to a USB. I always carry a couple of cds in my bag.

Millions of LIVE CDs