Installing Ubuntu 8.04

hardy_splash.jpgSo I installed Ubuntu on my ‘gaming rig’ which runs XP since wine doesn’t support voicechat in TF2. Anyways, running XP SP2 and installing Ubuntu 8.04 goes something like this, burn cd, put cd in drive. Step 1. Click install. Step 2. ??? Step 3. Profit! Err.

This is the correct account of the install process. The short version: Zero Glitches. The longer version (behind the cut)

Well my gaming rig has no optical drive (I’m steam powered exclusively), so the first step was to download it (I chose the AMD64 distro for my core 2 duo) and burn it on my mac, then install an optical drive on my rig. After rebooting XP it recognized the drive, and I was able to stick in the Ubuntu disc and immediately an installer (inside windows, keep in mind) popped up.  It had three options, Live CD (boot from CD without installing anything, to try out “sampler”), Install next to Windows (installs as file and gives you an option at boot to boot XP or Ubuntu, “lite”) or simply wipe the drive and do a pure Ubuntu linux install “pro”).

I chose the second option, clicked next. Decided what drive to install it on (D, in my case), how big it would be (15GB – standard) and language. You can choose a username and password at this point if you like. Click install. Computer spends about 5 minutes checking the RSA key (lame) and then installs in about 10 minutes on a 16x cd drive. Reboot, and let it finish the install.

I’ll admit I was impressed by the loading screen. It’s as slick (or more so) as OSX 10.1. It doesn’t have the finely honed polish of 10.5 or Vista, but damnit, it’s nipping at it’s heels and drawing blood. A couple of things I’d like to mention at this point: eithernet, network time, sound and 1280×1024 resolution (highest my monitor supports) all worked out of the box. There was a notification that I could upgrade my drivers for my 3d card, which involved clicking the notification box, clicking the “enable” box, and then clicking “ok” to reboot.

As for polish, I was impressed by the Compiz effects (right click desktop, choose ‘change desktop, and it’s buried in one of the tabs) which includes, what my friends and I refer to as “jello windows”. The windows move a little like Salvo the Slime from Yoshi’s Island. Very amusing to play with, but the system doesn’t seem very snappy. Sluggish, sorta like jello.  Probably enabled as well is Compiz’s expose-like features.

With the ability to install next to windows, from inside windows, without any reformatting, I think Microsoft has an honest contender, not just a potential contender. You can see what everyone has been talking about, with no technical knowledge besides use of the eject button on your CD drive.  Previously the major issue was having to get them to dual boot (dirty process even I try to avoid) or have a spare computer to install it on. Being able to install it on your primary computer with no issues means you can effectively demonstrate this to people approving funding for new, large computer installs, like we always hear about in 3rd world countries. Even mac and windows interfaces are beginning to merge, and Gnome on Ubuntu seems to straddle both nicely. Ubuntu makes a solid desktop OS finally.

Firefox has long been a staple of any Linux distro, and is included, along with Open Office and a Media player. Pretty much everything you need to be functional is included in the 697mb install disk. It’s a little hard to believe how suave Linux on the desktop has become in the last ten years. This is a distro quite literally my grandmother could install (with support over the phone for reassurance) and use on a daily basis. I said it when google street view was implemented, and I’ll say it again, The Future Has Arrived.

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