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November 23, 2007

Ubuntu Totally Rocks

Ok, so I know I said that Ubuntu was terrible. I had a horrible experience with the installation and it seemed like it was never going to install. As you recall, I was unable to even get past the "simple" installation process. The notebook I was going to use for the installation is a Dell Latitude D600. It seemed to have the minimum specifications to install Ubuntu, but here's the kicker. The minimum memory required is more like 1Gb than 256mb. Sure, it might have finally installed at some point, but the PC was so busy thrashing that it never actually got to installing the OS.

I tried the version of the installer that was text based and that almost installed, but once I finally got to the point where X starts up, the system stopped responding.

The solution: 1Gb of memory. That made everything work very well and I'm staring to get used to Gnome. I normally use KDE but Gnome seems to work pretty well. It just seems a bit too much like Windows.

What I really like about the Ubuntu system is actually what I like about Gentoo. It is really easy to get packages and customize your installation just the way you like it. Unlike Gentoo, you don't compile the packages so you are not getting the best overall performance, but you are getting packages that will probably play to together.

So what didn't work? The biggest issue I had was with the Broadcom wireless card. In order to get things working, I had to get the original windows based drivers and rip the firmware out of the driver, and externally load it into the wireless card. It seems there was some licensing issue with Broadcom and to avoid problems the Ubuntu folks just decided to leave the drivers out of the distribution.

There are a number of different packages that are not supported or get blacklisted for different somewhat arbitrary reasons, but all and all I was able to create a pretty good portable we development platform.

Posted by Hefe at November 23, 2007 03:22 PM

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