I’ve come to the realization that I love utillizing older computers from yesteryear. And when I say yesteryear, I mean around 7 years old. Our current family computer is an “mature” machine I built in the early months of 2000. I haven’t been able to part with it, so I’ve spent the last 7 years updating it with new hardware and software to keep it current for our basic needs.
Lately, we have been running low on disk space and it has been extremely taxed with even the simplest of tasks, so there has been some thought of an upgrade. I’ve had my eye on the Macs, but our current financial situation wouldn’t allow me to get that Mac Book Pro I’ve been eying for the past several months (starting at $1999 for the entry-level… yikes). As for the Windows OS, well, let’s just say that the prospect of upgrading to Vista leaves me feeling less than inspired. I’m not a “hata”, but I haven’t found a compelling reason to make that jump quite yet.
I’d been a CLI Linux user for the past 6 years and loved to use the OS as a server with the LAMP stack and various Tomcat installations, but never found X Windows that attractive or user friendly. Looking back at it, I was using a Slackware distribution, probably the most user-unfriendly one out there, but after checking out others, I was still unconvinced. One day, my trusty server box with Slackware blew up and I was forced to buy some new hardware. Ubuntu was the new, cool distro on the block so I loaded that up, and to my pleasant surprise, it was a breeze (can I say a “delight”?) to install and I was up and running in under an hour, unlike my Slackware box that took months to configure to a tenuous state where if I didn’t alter anything it would be stable.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about the desktop version of Ubuntu, so tonight while my wife is out with friends, I’m making the switch to the Ubuntu distro, codename: “Gutsy Gibbon” (yes, I warned her before I did it, in case you’re concerned). Being a family computer, she was concerned about having all the applications she’s used to… Firefox, Thunderbird (she’s made the switch!), and AIM, plus having the ability to save photos on to the machine, etc. All the stuff that your average Joe computer user would want.
I have to say, the installation was painless. Like the server distro, it “just works”. Our seven year old machine seems to hum with new vim and vigor like it did back when I built it The real test is coming though — when my wife wakes up tomorrow and starts working on the machine, how will she adjust? Will she adjust? Is Linux, more specifically Ubuntu, ready for the “average” user to utilize as their main desktop system?