Confessions of a Linux newbie
Well, it happened again (to be versed on the lines of a famous track)! And I was awed by the charms of Ubuntu 7.10.
Being the newbie that I am in Linux, I was looking for a distribution which would leave little for me to do, when it comes to installation, and getting the hardware working. I remembered hearing the name 'Debian' a number of times from some Linux pros. I downloaded 4.0_r2, burnt the basic installation, and tried installing.
Set-up wasn't a hassle, apart from some minor hiccups. It's later that I realised that those hiccups would actually pose a bigger issue. Once installed, the poor OS, couldn't detect the graphics card, and X crashed. Some googling made me download Linux-specific drivers for the card. But since, my Debian install was a basic one, I couldn't build it. That led me to another issue. Using 'apt' required the setting up the wireless card. And to get the drivers running for the wireless, there's a dependency on a MAC package. Building MAC package required, probably, Debian source to be available. Which takes us back to the issue of Debian being a basic install (Chicken-and-Egg?)
After hours of effort, and no progress, I finally gave-up!
I also had the Ubuntu 7.10 disk downloaded 'just-in-case'. My case, it seemed, was strong enough to give it a try. And that's the basis of the awe that I mentioned in the beginning. With absolutely no hassle, almost every hardware on the machine got detected. Even the wireless, which I expected the least! The only issue is getting sound to work, which, I presume would take little effort (aka googling.) I am glad.
I loved the GUI, and the fact that it's supported for free by a group of people who are enthusiastic about free software. Can't help them much technically, but I guess there are other ways I could. Let's see. Once installed, the Synaptic updater got me the latest recommended security patches.
Aside to the above: Seems so cool, when you show-off your Linux installation to the Windows junta. The other day, I was telling someone...that I do an ESR in this office, just because I worked in NCST for some time. :)
Anyways, final word: if you're new to Linux, do give Ubuntu 7.10 a try. You'll love it!
References (apart from the links included above): 1. http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/hosted/Dell-Vostro-1400-Ubuntu-Gutsy.html: On how to get Ubuntu working on Dell laptops (the write-up is for Vostro, but I guess it would be more or less the same for Inspiron/Latitude range) 2. http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu: Get Ubuntu 3. http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/desktopedition: Ubuntu info 4. http://www.debian.org/distrib/: Get Debian.