Trying Ubuntu

I decided to try out Ubuntu so I can live in the Linux world a bit. I have a semi-aged tablet PC (an Acer TravelMate C110) lying around. I used to use it heavily as a totable laptop (ignoring the tablet features). It’s got negligible use since I got a shinier notebook (Samsung Q40), so it was ripe for a low-demand, try-it-out OS installation. I was hoping to do better than my colleague Patrick who tried out Fedora core on an old laptop … which then melted. (Oops.)

Summary: It was really much, much easier than you think if you’re technically competent and are at all familiar with Linux. I had far more trouble trying to burn the installation CD (under Windows XP) than I did actually installing Ubuntu on the tablet. So all your mates who tell you Ubuntu is very little bother to install are probably right – if you are fairly technically savvy and have come across Unix at some point as a user. If you’re not, you will probably get bewildered at some point, if not many.

It’s a nice operating system so far. It’s noticeably faster booting and browsing than the old Windows XP system was on the same hardware. I’ve not tried doing anything too clever yet, but for basics it’s great. It is lovely having a shiny GUI but with the gubbins easily accessible under the hood. (And there is a *lot* of gubbins.)

Ubuntu has fantastically simplified the whole process (my previous encounters were with RedHat and SUSE years and years ago ) … although even the shiny, user-friendly stuff suffers from open-source unnecessary forking. Do I want Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu … or one of the unofficial versions? Most people don’t know, don’t care, and don’t want to spent precious time finding out.

Next post will be a more detailed install log for those of you who care about such things. (Both of you.)

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Author: dougclow

Academic in the Institute of Educational Technology, the Open University, UK. Interested in technology-enhanced learning and learning analytics.