I decided to spend a little time this week playing around with Ubuntu 7.10. At work, I installed it on two old Dell Latitude notebooks that we had lying around. They’re pretty pathetic machines at this point. They’ve both got just 256MB of RAM, which is the minimum you need to get Ubuntu up and running. And, at that level, you really can’t run the graphical installer. Rather, you need to run the text installer from the “alternate” install CD. Once I figured that out, though, the installs went pretty smoothly. My plan is to use these laptops for some device configuration and network troubleshooting when we move to our new office. The one thing these laptops have that our new ones don’t have is a 9-pin serial port, which is pretty helpful for doing initial router configuration and stuff like that. And Linux is usually a bit better for general network troubleshooting than Windows.

Just for yuks, I’m now trying to install Ubuntu on my desktop XP machine, on a second drive. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to dual-boot cleanly, though I’ve sometimes had problems with that in the past, with other distros. I guess we’ll see how it works out.

Up until recently, I’d been kind of skeptical about Ubuntu. There are certainly a lot of Ubuntu fans out there, but I really didn’t think I needed to bother playing around with yet another distro. In the past, I’ve used Red Hat, Corel, Fedora, and probably three or four other distros, including some fairly oddball ones. I’m pretty fond of Red Hat and Fedora, mostly just because I’ve got the most experience with them. And I kind of liked the user experience on Corel Linux, but of course that got dropped after just one or two versions. Ubuntu definitely looks like a nice, user-friendly package. I’m looking forward to playing around with it.

Well, while I’ve been typing this post up, the install finished, and I rebooted the machine. It went straight into Windows XP, so I guess I need to do some research on the whole bootloader thing.

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