In our last episode,

I finally conquered the recurring VGA driver quirk that has plagued the

whole of my Wacky Linux Adventures. It seems only fitting that now is

the time to take a little break from my personal Penguin crusade. When

this all began late last year, I had lofty goals:

  • Use an entirely free distro of Linux, requiring absolutely no outlay of cash for any reason, not even for disks
    One borrowed copy of Ubuntu 5.1 later, and this one was accomplished
  • Get the notebook up and running efficiently without upgrading

    its five-years-out-of-date hardware (I’d post the specs once I got my

    hands on a machine)

    Ubuntu did it, though only after some serious boot-parameter wrangling

  • Ability to connect to a Windows-based home or office network

    without any intermediary server. Plug straight into the router, CAT5

    and go.

    Ubuntu does this, as well (can’t get into my office network share, but that’s about security, not compatibility)

  • Ability to run OpenOffice or an equivalent word processor that can open MSWord files that I use for my work
    Ubuntu comes with OpenOffice 2.0
  • Ability to run an Internet browser that can handle Outlook Web Access clients, so I can log into my work mail from home
    Firefox–the native Ubuntu browser–handles OWA just fine
  • With the help of an over-the-counter USB wireless transceiver, connect to home and office Wi-Fi networks
    TBD–frankly, I don’t have the scratch to make this old box wireless-ready
  • Full end-user security lockdown of the notebook, including a free virus scanner and firewall
    Ubutu comes with its own iptables-based firewall manager, the rest is unnecessary in Linux
  • A GUI interface that keeps me out of the command prompt realm 95%

    of the time, can run all the above-mentioned apps, and won’t crush the

    performance of the weakling processor

    Ubuntu is GNOME, and GNOME is good

The laptop has a bad battery which, even though it registers as

fully charged, won’t run the laptop. It’s AC or nothing. There’s no

internal wireless card. To go any further will require hardware

upgrades for which I have no budget. That means its time to stop. Wacky

Linux: Over. (For now, anyway.)

In retrospect, I have been fairly impressed with Ubuntu Linux. It’s

very user-friendly, with the exception of spitting the bit on laptop

drivers. I imagine that outside my personal expection case, it’s a very

easy OS to install and use, especially for Gatesware refugees like

myself. I certainly wouldn’t see it as a backend solution, but for the

average n00b desktop, I’d give a thumbs-up. I can’t pass judgement on

Linux as a whole, because the GNOME GUI got me out of the command line

a great deal. I learned a lot about sudo and pico,

but that’s hardly the whole of the OS. I get it a bit more than I used

to, but I’m hardly a Penguin convert. Like most users, I just want my

OS to work and for the most part, Ubuntu did. In fact, it looked (and

worked) almost exactly like Windows.

Now that’s wacky.

Keep up with the Trivia Geek’s ongoing Wacky Linux Adventures with the wackylinux tag. If it doesn’t say wackylinux, it’s not really a wacky Linux adventure.