Ubuntu? No, thanks

After buying a new -cheap- notebook and trying to get it running with ubuntu 8.10 for three days, I had to give up and stuck to XP (since the original vista that came preinstalled is not an option).

I like unix, actually my main computer is a leopard iMac that's just fantastic, it runs smoothly and has all the power you can need. But you can do the simple things easily, too.

I really wanted to get linux to work on the laptop, but it proved a more complicated task than expected. First, the cdrom did not read, while installing a lot of i/o errors come out. The same CD could be read correctly on the same drive, with XP, and md5 checksum resulted correct. Well, never give up, so I moved the ubuntu live cd to a bootable usb stick, and installed from there. A very fast and smooth experience, indeed.

After installing, the screen resolution could not be set to something more useful than a mere 800x600, even if the correct vga driver seemed to be installed and working. More, the kernel could not use the wireless lan, even if it should have had the driver.

It is disappointing that the ubuntu team is choosing to push more and more towards a poor GUI configuration, so if the automatic procedure does not behave properly you are stuck with terminal, vi and the configuration files.

I have no doubt things can be setup this way, but after three days of fight with hacked drivers, packages that could not be found, and reading various tutorials and docs on the net, I realized I was wasting my time and losing the focus on the primary purpouse of a computer: do work with it.

It is someway fun to hack configuration files and compile drivers, while learning lots of new things in the process, but that's not the point. Linux can attracting you like a vortex, even now I'd like to try once more to fix the installation, but I won't. I have to use that machine, and XP is doing the job fine.

If only I were rich(er), I'd buy a powerbook with leopard, and forget about the rest.

[edit: the notebook is an Olidata Tehom 7900 with Sis672 VGA and realtek 8187B wireless card]


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