I have been a long time fan of Linux and Unix in general since the early 1990’s. I have tried many Linux distributions over the years but found that I kept on coming back to Debian. Some time ago when Ubuntu was first gaining traction I built my first Linux desktop PC. Up until this time I had only used Linux for server applications and the odd X-Windows Network Console. It was good, but device support was still not as good as Microsoft’s and I didn’t take Ubuntu any further.
About a year ago, I installed OpenSuse on an old laptop and was impressed that it actually worked without too much effort configuring it. I don’t know why, but for some reason I decided to try Ubuntu again and downloaded a copy of Ubuntu Desktop 9.10 . The old Dell Latitude D410 was the candidate for the install and I was completely stunned how well it went. So much so, that I have been using that old battered laptop more recently than my year old Vista powered Lenovo. Could this really be the desktop Linux distribution that pulls me away from using Microsoft products? I think so.
My wife recently purchased a Samsung N140 netbook with 2GB of RAM and Windows 7 Starter. This thing is an unbearable slug of a computer with Windows 7 and I’m surprised that anyone, including my wife cannot resist the urge to throw it across the room. I decided to see if the OS on the N140 was really the problem. I downloaded Ubuntu Network Remix (UNR) and created a bootable 1GB USB stick with it. Using UNR of the stick without installing it on the hard drive it was clear that the N140 was actually quite a good machine with the right OS. The netbook was snatched back before I could convince my wife to wipe it’s hard drive of Windows 7 but the impression it made on me has been astounding.
In the last few weeks I have resurrected three old PC’s that weren’t even that good on WinXP SP2. Each is now running Ubuntu with admirable performance. One by one, these old PCs will all become servers although I’m actually using Desktop 9.10 because the GUI tools are just so good.
Yesterday, I bought two old Dell GX240 midi-towers for a project. These old PCs had Win2K originally installed with 512MB RAM and 20GB hard drives. They are both running Ubuntu Desktop 9.10 now and I’m using one of them to write this.
If Garmin would produce a version of Mapsource that would run on Linux I would have no more need for a Windows PC. Ubuntu is truly outstanding. I’m glad I took the time to rediscover it.