Giving Ubuntu a Look

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Pushed the new Linux distribution Ubuntu onto the test laptop here at the RedMonk home office. I’m impressed. Not impressed enough to swap out Gentoo for my production machine, but impressed. It’s a very solid all around distribution, and seems very well suited for laptops. It’s the first distro, for example, to pick up the Dell’s monitor properly without any additional X configuration – Fedora, Mandrake, SuSE and JDS (of course) all had trouble with it in the past. That said, the installer at least from a touchy-feely GUI perspective isn’t in the same class as, say, YAST, so it’s not perfect for the non-Linux user.

Also interesting with respect to Ubuntu is the complete GNOME 2.8 install, including Evolution 2.0. I’m still waiting for the latest and greatest GNOME to trickle down into Gentoo’s package support, but my initial experience with the Ubuntu version was very good.

Between Ubuntu and GNOME 2.8, I was able to remove the wireless NIC card in the machine, reinsert it, and have the network resume flawlessly. Very nice.

Anyhow, it’s early in the life of the latest Linux distro, but I like what I see thus far.


  1. Did I read somewhere that you put Ubuntu on a ThinkPad? How'd it work out with the hardware? I have a ThinkPad and I'm considering putting Linux on it in a dual-boot with XP. I use Gentoo on my desktop. Do you think Ubuntu would be a good choice for me?


  2. Hey Joe:

    No, actually my Thinkpad is currently occupied by XP and Gentoo partitions, with the latter being my primary OS. I have Ubuntu instead running on an old Dell test laptop here.

    Fortunately, the hardware support that my Thinkpad enjoys is not unique to Gentoo – Ubuntu would I think run at least as well as Gentoo. The trackball, etc are supported. The one hardware problem you may have – it depends – is the modem. I had to hunt a while before I found a Linux driver for my Lucent AMR Softmodem, but I did eventually.

    Overall, I'd recommend hunting around Ubuntu's forums or Googling for your Thinkpad model number and Linux and like as not you'll find somebody's who's been through the install before.

    As for whether Ubuntu's right for you, it depends on what you need, but I like the combination of Debian stability and package support and Gnome 2.8/HAL hardware support which is very good. I still prefer Gentoo, but that's a matter of personal preference.

    Hope that helps.

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