Experiences with Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)
The notebook that I’ve recently bought (an ASUS X51RL AP019A) comes with Windows Vista Basic preinstalled, as the mayority of the laptops sold. Unfortunately, this fact forces every customer to pay for the price of the OEM Windows licence, including those who, like me, choose their notebooks for its characteristics but that use other OS.
Even though some manufacturers have refunded their customers the price of the lincence, the procedure is designed only for the determined (moved more by principles than by the money they get) In my case, even though I was sure from the beginning that I wouldn’t use my shiny Windos Vista, I didn’t have the energy to fight against the manufacturer for the licence refund.
In my case, I had already tried some distros based on Red Hat and on Debian, and I personally prefer the latter, though lately there are many good and mature distros among which to choose. Therefore, as my notebook will be shared with my wife (that wants usability) I chose to install Ubuntu, that improves usability but relies on the power of Debian.
I must say that the installation was very easy. All the installation process was guided by the assistant and when it finished (almost) everything was working. The only things that weren’t working were some drivers for certain video formats (because they are not free and you need to enable other repositories) and the wireless network card (with an Atheros AR50006EG chipset) that is not yet supported by the MadWifi drivers.
Apart from that, even though the drivers didn’t work, Ubuntu had already included them in the restricted drivers manager.
I will post later explaining how I solved those problems, but I was still greatly surprised for the simplicity that has been achieved, including tasks that are difficult to perform for an average user in Windows.
Once my wifi network card was recognized by the system, connecting to a wireless lan has been easier than in Windows.
For all the administration tasks you can find graphical applications that make the task easier, but without loosing the necessary level of control. Besides, there exists a great amount of information about Ubuntu, Debian and Linux on the internet, as well as a growing amount of users that are willing to help others and to comment their problems and their solutions.
To sum up… I believe that the conditions are set for this tendency of using Linux on the desktop to increase. Only time will tell.