I had an old Pentium II 450 MHz desktop just sitting in the attic. I thought I’d fire it up and take a trip down memory lane to Windows 98. Well, all I got was a background image and it didn’t move on from there. So, I thought it was time for a clean start. I thought about reloading the 98 disc (if I could find it), but then remembered hearing good things about the current situation with Linux. If you don’t know what Linux is, it’s another operating system that works like Windows or Mac OS. Word on the street is that it’s more secure, but I’m not worried about that as much as ease of use.
Anyway, with a dead computer, I thought I’d bite the bullet. The best part of Ubuntu Linux is the price – free. So, all I had to do was head to www.ubuntu.com and start a download . . . then leave the room. It’s a huge download at over 900 MB.
Once it was downloaded, I followed directions on how to make a bootable CD from the ISO file I downloaded. Again, easy as following a few directions from the site. I then inserted the CD into my old computer, powered it up, then sat back and watched as it came to life.
The good thing about the Ubuntu disc you make is that it’ll run from the CD on top of your current computer’s operating system. There’s no scare of it wiping out your system. Once you decide to install, there’s a nice little install icon that will step you through it.
**KEEP IN MIND, IF YOU START THIS INSTALL, IT WILL WIPE YOUR HARD DRIVE AND ERASE YOUR OLD SYSTEM**
Once it was installed, I found that it worked flawlessly. There’s Firefox for browsing the web and open office for all your word processing and stuff. It’s a very slick looking system (i.e. Macintosh). It automatically updates itself from the web like Windows to keep itself current. It even detected my video card to use graphics acceleration. Programs open relatively quickly (keep in mind, I use a much newer, faster computer every day, so there is a comparison there). I have over 400 megs of RAM on the machine, so I’m sure that helps too.
If you have an old machine you’re not using and might have a relative or friend who needs a machine for simple tasks like email, web surfing, or word processing, I say dive in. It took me a few years (my machine’s been in storage 4 years now), but I think it’ll make a good machine for my mom, who doesn’t have a computer. If she takes it, I’ll give a report later on how the older generation takes to it. It’s really a well thought out operating system. Kudos, Ubuntu.