Taking the Ubuntu plunge

System76 sells computers with Ubuntu pre-installed. I am deeply tired of endless Microsoft bugs, problems, patches, security holes, and the like. With the impending monstrosity called Vista arriving soon, it’s time for a change. I just ordered a quite reasonably priced System76 laptop.

Ubuntu has a thriving, enthusiastic user base. There are lots of websites with information, forums, etc on Ubuntu, which is billed as “Linux for human beings.” It has a friendly feel to it, like BBSing was in the 80’s. When’s the last time you felt that way about Windows?

Ubuntu is open source and free. It comes with loads of free software, including OpenOffice which users have told me will do most anything Microsoft Office can do. It too is free.

Amazon just released the pricing for Vista, the next generation of Windows. The upgrade for the version most people will want is $259, with minor discounts for quantity purchases. The full version is $399. Yikes. If you have an older computer, it will probably be too slow for Vista, so you’ll have to buy a new computer. A mere 512mb of RAM won’t be nearly enough either. Double yikes! Then you’ll need to get new versions of whatever anti-spyware and anti-virus programs you use, and maybe new versions of lots of other programs too. Triple yikes!

Vista has a new interface and supposedly better security, to which I say, big whoop. With Ubuntu you can choose from multiple interfaces at will, and tweak them as much as you want. The security is way better in Linux too. Like with Macs, you don’t need anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. You can also install it on older PCs and it runs just fine.

You can install Ubuntu to dual-boot on a Windows system (just don’t then install Vista because it will destroy the boot record and with it, your Ubuntu. Seriously.) and you can also run it off a CD.

My laptop will arrive in a week or so. I’ll let everyone know how it goes!


  1. Hi Bob,

    I just put ubuntu on a PC at home. I tried the live CD and that picked up everything so I took the plunge. There was a lot of information in the forums tha I found very helpful.

    So far it’s working fine and the kids think it’s cool.

  2. One of the things you can do with a Mac, and maybe with Ubuntu (you should check), is not just boot up off a CD, but boot up off an external hard drive (e.g., a Firewire drive). I do this all the time when I travel with my laptop. I have the HD plugged into my desktop normally, pseudo (i.e. manual) mirroring what’s going on on the desktop. Then when I travel, I just plug that into a laptop, bootup off the external HD, and I’m running the exact same OS (with the identical upgrades, ec.), same data, same files, that I have on my desktop, and when I return, it becomes a trivial matter to replug the HD into the desktop and update the changes.

  3. You could probably set the boot drive in the PC BIOS to boot on another hd, but that’s some extra steps.

    How do you do manual mirroring?

  4. Taking The Ubuntu Plunge…

    We love Ubuntu, and not just because it’s free software…….

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