Rather than continuing to blog apologies for things I have failed to do, I’m going to go ahead and write in the positive about something I am doing and enjoying. At work when I walked in the first day, I was handed a Dell Inspiron 9400 – a really nice laptop. I was also given a Dell external LCD display. It came preinstalled with Windows XP, and my first morning of work I used Windows just enough to download some Linux ISOs and burn them. By the afternoon of the first day, I had wiped Windows off and tried to install Fedora Core 5. I had some problems trying to get the external monitor working and a few other issues, so I ended up trying Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake) to see if I could get things working. Eventually, after days of trying, I was able to get the display stuff working with both the sweet built-in LCD at 1920 X 1200 and the external at 1600 X 1200 in the big shared desktop, so between the two I have a 3520 X 1200 screen spanning the two. It’s quite cool and good for lots of surface area to have multiple text editors, web broswers and tailing log files open all at the same time.

After all was said and done, I probably could have gotten things up and running with about the same effort under Fedora Core but I ended up liking a lot of the Ubuntu specific little tools. It’s just nice, and the more I use it the more I like it. It is the closest I’ve ever had to a “It Just Works” experience with any Linux box, even though I had display setup issues. If I hadn’t been trying to do something weird with a fairly unusual video card to the Linux world (Intel 950 GM) I would have had the thing set up in an hour. After using it for a while at work, I decided I like this enough to redo my aging Thinkpad T20 at home to the same version of Ubuntu.

Having spent two months using this on a daily basis, I dig the look and feel. I dig the tools and the ease of management on a daily basis. I’ve been building my own kernels, just for fun, and I’m currently on a SMP kernel so that I can use both CPUs in this machine. Previously I’d been a little leary of building my own kernels, but with this checklist and step by step procedure it is actually pretty simple. All in all, I recommend this distribution as a good one for people that aren’t into Linux for its own sake but want a tool to get things done. I’ve used it every day for the last two months at my day job, and am getting serious work done with it. It has reached that point, so if you want to make the switch the biggest of the hurdles are behind us.

This post complies with my work blogging rules of the road.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

8 thoughts on “Ubuntu”

  1. Linc says:

    Hey Dave, great to hear you having a good time with Linux!

  2. Tormod says:

    If building kernels wasn’t so fun, you could just have installed the -k7 or -686 kernel packages to get SMP. The -386 kernel (in Ubuntu 6.06) is UP.

    If you’re building your own kernels on Debian/Ubuntu, you should take a look at kernel-package (http://newbiedoc.sourceforge.net/system/kernel-pkg.html) or even https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelCustomBuild

  3. dave says:

    Linc, I’ve been using it in one form or another for something like 5 years now but not as a desktop. When I contracted with Orbitz and they had a Linux workstation for every developer with a full setup of app servers and a copy of the website running locally for every single one of us, I had to admit that was a cool use of desktop Linux. Ubuntu is my favorite of all time. I heard y’all recommend it a number of times, but I think Dapper is way better than even the previous versions.

    Tormod, that was an intermediate step before I started building my own kernels was using the SMP kernel from the repository. I’ll look at the kernel docs, thanks.

  4. Shannon says:

    I’ve been looking at Dapper Drake for awhile, just itchin’ to put it on my box. It’s good to hear more happy words about it. I’ve been running an old and gettin-moldy Fedora 3 for a while, and have been quite annoyed that I couldn’t wedge any decent video editing into it. I had my wife’s business email routed through my box for awhile after Yahoo boinked it for us so couldn’t be down for extended periods. I’ve finally moved that mess off to a different commercial setup. Now, if I can find enough time to do backups and other prep, I’m ready to jump on it before much longer.

  5. Tilted Edge says:

    I agree about Ubuntu, also I tried the Knoppix DVD version which comes with some really cool software such as The Gimp and Blender if anyone wants to demo those programs without installing anything. It’s an excellent way to rescue files from a trashed windows as well. It’s not so practical for everyday use but possible with a thumb drive to save user settings. In that case you have a totally portable OS with all your preferences saved.

  6. Dave,

    Did Suspend/Resume work for you with Ubuntu on the T20? It would be great if you could share your results here:




  7. Oops. For some reason that link goes to an empty page, but this one works:


  8. dave says:

    Mark, It did not out of the box and I haven’t fooled with it enough to get it working yet. Suspend/resume is the thing that has consistently given me the most trouble with Ubuntu, with the Dell Inspiron 9400 at work and this T20 at home.

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